Team HRC’s Mitch Evans put in a great performance for a fifth place in race one of the 2022 Motocross of Nations, to help Team Australia get only their second ever podium in this historic event.
After a Saturday performance that gave them third gate-pick on a dry RedBud circuit, Sunday morning brought a deluge of rain which completely changed the nature of the terrain and meant that it was almost a total reset for all the teams. However, having experienced a whole variety of conditions throughout the 2022 world championship season, Evans wasn’t fazed by the mud and knew he had the ability to help Australia challenge at the front of the field.
Across the three-race format, each rider races twice with Evans competing in the first and third motos as a member of the MXGP class. In the first race he was alongside MX2 rider Hunter Lawrence, with Australia deciding that Evans would start from the outside to give the MX2 rider the best opportunity to get out of the gate. That strategy worked out well with both riders rounding the first turn inside the top 10, and giving Australia the perfect start.
In what were difficult track conditions, Evans kept things nice and steady, putting in good laptimes and making sure that he kept his fifth-place position. With rain continuing to fall, he rode an error-free race, ending up in fifth and giving Australia second position after the first moto.
Australia maintained that momentum with Jett Lawrence winning moto two, so when Evans lined up for the third moto, there was a very realistic chance that Australia could achieve just their second ever podium, over 10 years since their first. Unfortunately, Evans didn’t have the best first lap and was well down the field, so he wasn’t able to contribute in this race but with five excellent scores, Australia was still able to grab third step on the box, just a few points behind second.