MXlarge and Motocross Illustrated - 2011 Awards
News Wednesday 21th September 2011 By Geoff Meyer
Antonio Cairoli, Ken Roczen, Ryan Villopoto and Dean Wilson have proven too strong in the most important Championships in the World. Behind those guys came a long, long list if very good riders, from Ryan Dungey, Jeffrey Herlings, Steven Frossard, Tommy Searle, Tyla Rattray, Chad Reed, Clement Desalle and so many more.
Last weekend’s Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations was proof of just how good the competition is at the moment when you have around 20 of the best FIM and AMA riders missing due to injury of non-selection and the racing was still amazing and very competitive.
So with baited breath I would like to give you our best of the best for 2011.
Rider of the Year: It has to go to Ken Roczen, despite Antonio Cairoli picking up his fifth World title and Kenny just getting his first I can’t go past the young German rider. He offered a dominance in the MX2 class that we haven’t seen for many years. He was beaten on occasions, but then again Herlings and Searle are special riders and to lose to them is hardly a negative thing. His style and class throughout the season brought us so many memories and his maturity for such a young kid was just plan impressive. Have fun in USA Kenny and we look forward to seeing you again in the future.
Most Charismatic rider: Antonio Cairoli. Yep, the Italian legend is the best of the last 10 years. Titles in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 place him right up there with Stefan Everts for the new millennium King. The difference is Cairoli is in the middle of something special and Stefan was closing down his legendary career. Just as we lost Stefan to retirement Cairoli stepped in and took over. Against the toughest competition and a field of riders all comfortable with winning GP’s the little Italian still stood tall.
American rider of the year: Ryan Villopoto did everything asked of him this year. Coming back from that terrible injury of 2010 and slowly building momentum until he just drilled his rivals into submission. Beating the likes of Dungey and Reed is impressive and he did it in two Championships. His 1-3-1 results at the des Nations was the best of the weekend and in France and he is a rider who will be around for many years to come.
Team manager of the year: Claudio De Carli. He is like a father to Antonio and will be there through thick and thin. His quiet personality and lack of English makes him not the easiest person to get to know, but his heart is in the sport and the love he shows for his rider is impressive beyond believe. He also runs a pretty tight team and his workings with KTM are nothing but perfect.
Team of the year: Is there any doubt. KTM totally dominated this year’s FIM World Motocross Championships just as they did last year. Totally professional and always looking to improve this is the HRC of our era. In 20 years time we will look back on this like the old school generation look at the 1980’s. Feel lucky Motocross because this amazing era of KTM domination won’t last forever. Oh, by the way, Team USA came in a close second.
Event of the year: I know, the Motocross of Nations should have been number one, but for me it was Matterly Basin that stood out as a real Motocross event. Driving into the Grand Prix of Great Britain paddock I felt a rush of adrenaline, this was Motocross as I remembered it, out in a field with rolling hills and a natural terrain circuit. Man, when that first MX2 moto started on Saturday it was like being back 20 years. Hands up Steve Dixon and Johnny Hamilton for making this special.
Most exciting moment of the year: Yes, the second moto of the 2011 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations. We thought we had them didn’t we. As their number one rider Ryan Villopoto struggled to hold off our World MX2 Champion we all sat smiling. Out front sat Gautier Paulin and Jeffrey Herlings, it was just what we had waited for all year long. The thrill of that moto lasted just an hour before we all came back to reality, but oh it was so enjoyable while it lasted.
Disappointment of 2011: Steve Ramon getting injured at Lommel was a shock to us all. The quiet Belgian is the last guy you would expect to pick up an injury, and first thoughts were a lot worse than how he eventually ended up. It’s going to be a long road to recovery for Ramon and we wish him all the best and thank him for bringing so much class and talent every time he got on a Motocross bike. His MXoN results were always legendary and his friendly, shy smile will be missed in the paddock.
Rookie of the year: While he isn’t really a rookie, the debut MX1 performance of Steven Frossard this year left us surprised and happy that we have found another leading MX1 rider who can run with Mr. Cairoli. Along with riders like Evgeny Bobryshev, Clement Desalle, David Philippaerts, Gautier Paulin and so many more we can expect a thrilling 2012 when it begins.
Grand Prix victory of the year: How about when Evgeny Bobryshev stood on top of the box in Germany. His smile, his innocence and his friendly nature makes him a special person and rider. He will work even harder in the winter and come 2012 we will see an improved and more focused rider. I can’t wait for that.
Website of the year: With no doubt in my mind it’s RacerXonline. Always good interviews from Steve Mathes and Adam Wheeler and a daily rush of stories and video’s. Brilliant images from Simon Cudby and Ray Archer and you pretty much have the best in the business showing off their talents. The passion RacerX show is always evident and it’s a pleasure to read each and every day.
Magazine of the year: Again, I can’t go past this publication and its Moto magazine in England. While it is competition to my e-magazine Motocross Illustrated, it’s a good competitor. Great stories and images, very clean and exciting design, it’s just really a special magazine to read. All I need now is a subscription……..
Video photographer of the year: While I am on a roll of what is brilliant Mikey Neale deserved his award last weekend for his work as the best video photographer in the sport. There isn’t even anyone close in my eyes and the work this guy puts in is a credit to his passion for the sport we all love. Watching a Mikey Neale video is like being at the races, emotion is something you feel when sitting down and enjoying his work. And he is also a very, very nice guy.
Journalist of the year: Here I go again, it’s Adam Wheeler. He works for magazines throughout the World, be it Cycle News or RacerX in America or some Spanish MX mag. He owns the e-magazine www.ontrackoffroad.com and also works for Monster Energy, several of the Grand Prix teams and does the odd bit of commentary for the Grand Prix coverage with Mr. Paul Malin. Miles above us "would be" journalists in the press room (Adam is actually the only journalist who has a degree for journalism) he is the complete professional. How he doesn’t win this award every year amazes me.