In a spectacular display of brand and nation dominance, Team France won this year’s “Olympic Games of Motocross”, their three-rider team all on board Kawasaki motorcycles.

The Kawasaki trio of Gautier Paulin, Dylan Ferrandis and Steven Frossard scored an overwhelming victory for France in the annual Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations at Kegums, in Latvia, only the second time that France has won this iconic event.

Team New Zealand this year – Queenstown’s Scott Columb, Dargaville’s Hamish Dobbyn and Takaka’s Hamish Harwood – finished 23rd overall of the 34 countries represented in Latvia.

The win by France at the weekend was a repeat of the Kawasaki sweep enjoyed by Team USA when the Motocross of Nations (MXoN) was held in England in 2008. On that occasion the three riders were James Stewart, Tim Ferry and Ryan Villopoto.

And no sooner had the champagne celebrations settled down following France’s MXoN win in Latvia on Sunday, when reports emerged from Europe that multi-time United States motocross and supercross champion Villopoto had agreed to terms to cross the Atlantic Ocean to contest the MXGP motocross world championships in Europe in 2015.

Over the past few years, Villopoto has become, according to American pundits at least, the preeminent motocross rider on the planet.

But, despite his dominance in what is widely regarded the toughest domestic competitions in the world, the AMA and supercross and motocross nationals, he has had to endure criticisms that he has not won a world championship.

Villopoto perhaps has nothing left to prove because he has raced against and often beaten the Grand Prix stars, but not over the duration of an entire GP season, and now his chance has come.

It is interesting to note that one of the riders to push Villopoto earlier in his career was New Zealand’s Ben Townley, the Taupo man who had crossed to the United States after winning the MX2 (250cc) world championships in Europe in 2004.

Both riding Kawasaki KX250F bikes and riding for the same team, Villopoto and Townley tangled handlebars throughout the 2007 season in America, Townley emerging with the East Coast Lites Supercross crown and Villopoto claiming the national 250cc motocross title, albeit by just a handful of points from the hard-charging Townley.

Townley rode a Kawasaki KX250F when he helped New Zealand into the podium at the 2006 edition of the MXoN, at Matterley Basin, near Winchester in England.

The Kiwi trio that year was Townley, Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper and Motueka’s Josh Coppins and they finished third, behind Team USA (which included Townley’s soon-to-be team-mate in the US, Villopoto) and Team Belgium.

Townley has since retired from the international scene and has returned to live in New Zealand, but for Villopoto the campaign continues and he will now see if he too can conquer Europe.