A Year For The Ages – MXGP

The MXGP class this year has continued its rich run of growing into the biggest motocross series in the world in 2017. While we often compared our series to the AMA series, it wasn’t until the last five or so years that we really did compare as far as depth went.

The American’s had the big names like Broc Glover, David Bailey, Ricky Johnson, Jeff Ward, Jeff Stanton, Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto, and Chad Reed. And while we did have names like Stefan Everts, Joel Smets, Mickael Pichon, Antonio Cairoli, and others, our depth wasn’t close to what their series had.

I don’t think anyone in 2017 can say that, the depth of the MXGP class is unequalled, and it is something Youthstream should be really proud of. To replace the American series as the strongest, and most diverse wasn’t something that happened over-night, and it isn’t something that will be easy to keep.

American will always have a handful of world class riders competing in their series, and as we have seen at the MXoN, riders like Jason Anderson, Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb, Justin Barcia and many more have been as good as the euros. And let’s not even talk about the USGP rounds in 2016, because Eli Tomac tamed our boys easily, and we can expect an American winner at this year’s USGP in Florida in September.

But let’s get off the boasting for a second and look at what the 2017 MXGP series has brought so far. The positives and the negatives.

Of course, the biggest positive has been the form of Antonio Cairoli. The current king of Grand Prix motocross. The positives are he returned to his best form ever and controlled the young kids. His Trentino and Ottobiano races were a legend at his best. Similar to Stefan Everts in Foxhills or Matterley Basin at the MXoN. Yes, those performances were that good.

Of course, it was Jeffrey Herlings who went into the series as the early favourite (before injury) and Tim Gajser who led the series (until injury). Do we take anything away from Cairoli leading the series by around 100 points, no way, having suffered two years of injury hell, he deserves a little luck? What we can say about Cairoli, he is at the moment, the best of the MXGP field, and that is up against a handful of former or current world champions, something he didn’t have often in his career. Again, similar to the 2005 season when Everts went up against Smets, Pichon, and Townley.

What of the two young guns, 20-year-old Gajser and 22-year-old Herlings. Sometimes it’s hard to remember these two are so young. Both multiple world championships and on their day the fastest rider in the world. I can’t wait for the next few years as these two develop their skills and hopefully we see some really good battles.

As for the veterans, Gautier Paulin and Clement Desalle have again risen from the dead and performed like a couple of years ago. When you consider we had written them both off at the start of the season, their second and third placings in the series points shows how dumb we are.

Of course, Arminas Jasikonis is also showing good speed, and with names like Max Anstie, Max Nagl, Glenn Coldenhoff, Evgeny Bobryshev and many more make up a field that is just brimming with quality riders.

Next year we will see Jeremy Seewer, Benoit Paturel and Julien Lieber join the big boys. Seewer on the factory Suzuki team, (rumour) Paturel in the Monster Energy Kawasaki effort and Lieber more than likely in a top team.

The sport is in a good place and with a bigger and better schedule in 2018, and those fast young MX2 guys moving up, not to mention a more experienced and hopefully fit Herlings and Gajser, plus Antonio Cairoli possibly going for his 10th world title to match Stefan Everts, 2017 will very quickly be replaced with an even better season. Unbelievable, but true.

Ray Archer image