The 2012 season was one of historical moments, from the crowning of six times World Motocross Champion Antonio Cairoli to the dramatic Monster Energy Motocross of Nations victory by Germany this season has been one for the record books.
Of course some moments stand out more than others and it is those moments that we are going to look the top five moments now.
1. Lommel, Belgium. Germany wins MXoN. This has to be number one. Their first victory in the teams event for Germany and until 1980 the biggest drumming for Team USA. Both moments in the sport that deserve some recognition. So why did Germany win and why did the American team struggle in the Lommel sand. Of course with Max Nagl in super form coming into the event it was easy to feel that the Germans had a good leader. And while Ken Roczen was not performing up to his normal speed in the AMA Nationals everyone knew that once he got to European conditions he would once again be the standout MX2 rider. That left just Marcus Schiffer to answer the final question, did Germany have a number three good enough to finish off Team USA. The answer was of course yes, and with his 7th place in the opening moto of the day it was always going to be difficult for Team USA and Team Belgium to fight back. Full marks to Team USA, despite never racing in these types of conditions all three riders did well, Justin Barcia and Blake Baggott belonged amongst the best of their class and Ryan Dungey while down on his AMA form was solid, and never gave up the fight.
2. Faenza, Italy. The sight of the KTM blitz. Both Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings walked away from the Italian circuit with the number one plates. Two great riders, one experiences and clever in his attitude to his rivals, the other young, inexperienced and at times a really rocky season. What they both had though is a speed advantage over their rivals. A special moment for Cairoli was his victory came on the same day as the passing of his mother 12 months earlier and he received the winner's trophy from his emotional father. Both riders are really impressive with their speed and both riders gave KTM the ownership of Grand Prix Motocross. Of course in 2014 it will be Cairoli versus Herlings, which should be interesting as Cairoli will be the veteran and Herlings will have the experience.
3. Uddevalla, Sweden. Zero for Antonio. At the time of the DNF-DNF for Antonio Cairoli the Italian must have felt a little desperate, but what everyone else in the GP paddock thought was this is now going to get interesting. Cairoli has always been a rider who has done just enough, be it pass his rivals on the last lap to win a moto, or score just enough points at a GP to edge his closest rival in the points standings. My first thought after Sweden was the multiple World Champion will come out swinging and be hard to beat and that was pretty much what everyone thought. To think that he would be beaten just once more in the next 16 motos (including his MXoN 1-1) says that Cairoli found that final piece of the puzzle to go to the next level. His run to his sixth World title was like Stefan Everts in 2006, it was stuff legends are made. What Cairoli will do in 2013 is anyone's guess, but I imagine the safe and steady approach will continue, however wouldn't it be great to see him enter the 2013 MXoN with a perfect season.
4. Matterley Basin, England. Searle magic. Despite the fact Jeffrey Herlings was the standout rider in the MX2 class this performance by Searle stands head and shoulders above anything the British rider had ever achieved in his career. Going 1-1 in the fashion he did was just magical to watch and something I won't forget in a hurry. How Searle hasn't won a World Championship yet is a bit of a mystery, finishing second to Cairoli, Rattray and Herlings on three different occasions is nothing to be ashamed of. Has his chance passed or will Tommy Gun arrive in Qatar in 2013 with something to prove once again.
5. Lierop, Holland. Herlings domination. While Searles victory in England was special this performance by Herlings was similar, yet done with such ease. Searles Matterley Basin victory seemed like everything went to plan, like he was on rails, well, two weeks late Herlings did his own version of domination and it was a clear cut performance. Lapping most of his rivals twice and showing us once again that the fastest sand rider in the world lives in a small village of in the region of Brabant, Holland and not in Florida, Minnesota, California or for that matter anywhere in the World. Herlings continues to improve in the sand and that is pretty frightening.