Herlings - Fastest Ever
Posted on September 10, 2019
So, Jeffrey Herlings has raced just three GPs this year, well, two and a half, and he is back to where he finished 2018. In a class as competative as MXGP is, and with guys like Gajser, Seewer and Coldenhoff in brilliant form, that is truly an amazing acheivement.
I am a big Tim Gajser fan, just love his easy on the eyes style, his friendly nature and his three World motocross championships at the age of 23 (turned 23 on the weekend), but when Jeffrey Herlings is fit and racing, nobody can beat him, NOBODY!!!
The only time Herlings has not been the best rider in the class, was back in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 he was just 15 years old and in his rookie season when he finished with two GP wins, but was masters on a regular basis by Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, Zach Osborne, Steven Frossard and Joel Roelants in the final points race.
In 2011 it was only Roczen that was better than Herlings and won five GPs in the season. In the final points race it was Roczen 651 points and Herlings 632 points, but Roczen was clearly better.
Now since that 2011 season, NOBODY has been better than Herlings on a regular basis. Sure, Tommy Searle beat “The Bullet” a handful of times in 2012, but Herlings was clearly the man that season.
Now at 24 years of age and with four World motocross championships and finally his 85th GP win, I can’t think of a rider I have ever seen with his speed. I have seen Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart racing supercross and motocross in America in their prime, as I have Stefan Everts at his peak (which I still believe was the mid-90s) and Antonio Cairoli in his peak. Both Everts and Cairoli I have pretty much seen their whole career.
Now all four of these guys I have mentioned have amazing talent, four of the best ever, and while RC and Bubba were brilliant and blazing speed, and Everts and Cairoli were more the calculating riders, with precision in their racing, none had the pure speed of Herlings.
Many are calling Herlings the GOAT, but I wouldn’t put him there just yet, because to me, statistics put the GOAT at the top, and Carmichael with his 15 major AMA championships, three MXoN wins, and he dominated Everts when both were racing the MXoN in the 450 class.
Everts is next up with his 101 GP wins, and 10 World motocross championships, not to mention five MXoN wins with Team Belgium. Cairoli is next up with nine World championships and 89 GP wins. Despite guys like Roger De Coster, Eric Geboers, Georges Jobe, Joel Smets all having a World championship more than Herlings, to me Herlings belongs just below the big three of RC, Everts and Cairoli in the all-time list. Sure, he doesn’t have an MXoN victory, but he should get once in two weeks’ time, but four World championship and 85 GP wins is pretty impressive for a 24-year-old (he turns 25 in two days’ time).
And as for that speed, he is the fastest man on the planet and not just by a little bit. He is 70% fit and already the fastest man on the planet, and in my opinion, he is the fastest motocross rider we have ever seen.
Herlings has elevated the MXGP class to be the strongest in the World and brought the speed of the GP riders to another level, never before reached. Now while the American media love to use the supercross is in the way of their riders being quicker, we all know that is total BS and the reason the GP guys are dominating at the moment is first, because of the age rule, and second the Herlings factor.
What burns me, had Herlings had less injuries, and it is clear he gets injured in crashes that most riders walk away from, he should have eight World championships to go with his 85 GP wins. Of course, maybe, if or possibly doesn’t count in the record books, and plenty of riders would have more titles had it not been for injuries.
Still, he will enter 2020 as a 25-year-old, and it is hard to see him not win at least two or three World titles in the coming five or six years, and that is counting if he gets injured, which unfortunately, seems likely. With injury, I think he ends his career easily with 130 GP wins and seven World championships, but it could easily be 200 GP wins and 10 World championships. I would struggle not to give him the GOAT roll if he gets to that count.
Ray Arche images