Motocross des Nations 1988  Villars sous Ecot, France

Motocross des Nations 1988 Villars sous Ecot, France

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Team USA wins eight MXDN titles in a row in France

1988 Motocross des Nations, World Teams Event – VILLARS SOUS ECOT, France (10-11 September)

1988 Jeff Leisk Motocross des Nations in France
1988 Jeff Leisk (AUS 500) dualling with Jean Michel Bayle (FRA, 125) in Motocross of Nations in France
1988 France Australia's most successful MXdN Team at the time – Craig Dack (251), Jeff Leisk (500) and Glen Bell (125) - By Mark Luksich

Photo:  [Left]  Australian Jeff Leisk finished second overall  in the 500cc class at the 1988  Motocross des Nations in France, leading Australia to 4th overall; [Centre] Leisk dicing with French legend Jean Michel Bayle  for second place in Moto 1; and [Right] Australia’s most successful MXdN Team at the time – Craig Dack (251), Jeff Leisk (500) and Glen Bell (125) with team manager Stephen Gall  (By Mark Luksich)

Leisk leads Aussies to best ever finish at MXdN in Villars sous Ecot, France

The 1988 Motocross des Nations at the Villars sous Ecot circuit in France was one of the best World Teams events held, particularly from the Australians point-of-view.

The Aussie team consisting of Jeff Leisk (500 Hon), Craig Dack (250 Yam) and Glen Bell (125 Hon) achieved this country’s highest ever result at the time – finishing fourth overall behind the USA, France and Finland.

The Olympics of Motocross’ lived up to expectations with 40,000 European fans seeing the top world riders in action.

Frenchman, Jean Michel Bayle had just clinched the World 125cc Championship and the French Team also boasted former World champion Jacky Vimond (500) and Yannig Kervella (250).

The US Team consisted of Ron Lechien (500 Kaw), Ricky Johnson (250 Hon) and Jeff Ward (125 Kaw). Lechien would go 1-1 for the most dominant performance of the weekend, with Johnson going 1-2, and Ward finishing (6-8), second in the 125cc class to secure America’s 8th win in a row ahead of the French.

Jeff Leisk rode sensationally to finish 3-4 to lead Australia to their best finish for fourth place, just one point of the podium behind Finland.

Moto 1
In the first moto, Leisk (Honda) won the holeshot, but Lechien (Kawasaki) took the lead by the end of Lap 1 with Dutchman Kees Van Der Ven in third. 

In the early laps, Ward and Bayle(Honda) changed the lead several times in the 125cc race, but Bayle would overtake him and finish an incredible overall second against the 500cc bikes and behind Lechien, after the 125cc pair started on the back row. 

Bayle even passed Leisk on the 500 and passed him on the finish line to finish second overall and win the 125cc class. Australian Glen Bell was sixth in the 125cc class, giving the Aussies an excellent start.

Moto 2
Ricky Johnson (USA, Honda 250) won Moto 2 ahead of Dutchman John Van Den Berk (Yamaha 250), who led early and Roland Diepold (West Germany/Kawasaki 250).

Starting from second row, Glen Bell was up into Top 10 on Lap 1 and went on to finish 8th in the 125cc class. Australia’s 250cc representative Craig Dack finished 12th overall, 11th in 250cc class. America’s Jeff Ward was 8th overall and the first 125cc home amongst all the 250s.

With one moto still remaining, Team USA had now clinched the MXDN’s Trophy for the 8th straight year, an incredible achievement.

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Video:  Gary Bailey, MXoN 1988 France  – Lechien, Ward and Johnson lead USA to eighth win in a row.

1988 Ron Leichen USA 500cc (1-1) Motocross des Nations in France

Moto 3
The third moto started with drama and the race had to be restarted after a 40-minute delay to repair the starting gate.

Leisk won the holeshot, winning both in his two races, ahead of Lechien and Van Der Beek. It would take Lechien 5 laps to get past Leisk with the pair battling it out for the 500cc class, while English rider Rob Herring joining in the battle on his 250, passing Leisk on lap 7.

In similar circumstances to his first race, Leisk was passed in the dying stages of the race – this time by Ricky Johnson (USA/Honda 250), who started from the back row and was 22nd at the start and stormed through the field.

Leisk finished fourth in this moto and his second overall in the 500cc class showed the world that he would be a force in 1989 when he would compete in this class in the World Motocross Championship.

American Ron Lechien (500cc Kawasaki) led  his country to victory in the 1988 Motocross of Nations in France, winning overall  in both of his motos (1-1) and the 500cc class ahead of Jeff Leisk (Australia).

Photo gallery

1988 Australian MXdN, France - Jeff Leisk 500 (by Mark Luksich)
1988 MXdN France (By Mark Luksich)

Photos:  [Left] Australian Jeff Leisk (Honda 500cc) in action at the 1988  Motocross des Nations in France; and [Right]  American Ron Lechien (500cc Kawasaki) leads one of the motos (by Mark Luksich)

1988 MXDN Team Placings and Race Results - Villars sous Ecot, France

Team Placings

1. USA, 4 points
2. France, 12
3. Finland, 16
4. Australia, 17
5. Netherlands, 17
6. Sweden, 17
7. Italy, 19
8. Germany, 20
9. Great Britain, 21
10. Belgium, 37

Moto 1 (125/500) 

1. Ron Lechien (USA, Kaw  500)
2. Jean-Michel Bayle  (Fra, Honda 125)
3. Jeff Leisk (Australia, Honda 500)
4. Hakan Carlqvist (Swe, Kaw 500)
5. Jacky Vimond (France, Yamaha 500)
6. Jeff Ward (USA, Kawasaki 125)
7. Kees Van Der Ven (NL, KTM 500)
8. Kurt Ljunqvist (Finland/Honda 500)
9. Dave Strijbos (NL, Cagiva 125)
10. Kurt Nicoll (GB, Kawasaki 500)

Moto 2 (125/250)

1. Rick Johnson (USA/Honda 250)
2. John Van Den Berk (NL, Yam 250)
3. Roland Diepold (Ger, Kaw 250)
4. Guiseppe Andreani (Italy/250)
5. Pekka Vehkonen (Fin, Cagiva 250)
6. Peter Johansson (Swe, Yam 250)
7. Rob Herring (GB, Yamaha 250)
8. Jeff Ward (USA, Kawasaki 125)
9. Yannig Kervella (Fra, Honda 250)
10. Soren Mortensen (Den, Kaw)

Moto 3 (250/500)

1. Ron Lechien (USA, Kaw 500)
2. Rob Herring (GB, Yamaha 250)
3. Rick Johnson (USA, Honda 250)
4. Jeff Leisk (Aust, Honda 500)
5. Jacky Vimond (France, Yam 500)
6. Guiseppe Andreani (Italy, 250)
7. Pekka Vehkonen (Fin, Cag 250)
8. Hakan Carlqvist  (Swe, Kaw 500)
9. Kurt Ljunqvist (Fin, Honda 500)
10. Yannig Kervella (Fra, Hon 250)

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