MXGP - Believe the Hype

Posted on May 05, 2021

So, here we are in the first week of May 2021 and just a little over a month FINALLY we get to go racing again in the toughest, fastest and most demanding motocross series in the World. Even when I say that now I find it incredible, because having followed the sport since the early 1970’s, most of that 50 years has been made up of the AMA Nationals being the most prestigious series in the World, but as we know, that isn’t the case anymore.

When I think about MXGP, and we all know it, is that this series has a handful of legends in the lead rolls, names like Cairoli, Herlings, Gajser and Prado, an amazing 19 World titles between them and an astonishing 243 GP wins, and then you have guys like Febvre, Jonass, Tixier, also with World titles to their names and a stack of GP wins.

While Stefan Everts leads the all-time list with 101 GP wins, current MXGP riders Antonio Cairoli has 92, Jeffrey Herlings 90, Jorge Prado 33 and defending MXGP champion Tim Gajser 25, an all are inside the top 20 all-time winners list.

Prado is just three GP wins behind the great Roger De Coster, and Gajser just three behind two other Belgian legends in Georges Jobe and Andre Malherbe. With Cairoli and Herlings second and third in the all-time GP winners list, Prado is 10th and could easily pull up behind the top five this year and Gajser could easily end up inside the top ten this year. Yes, our top four are the best four motocross riders in the World, and among the greatest of all time.

Comparing MXGP and the AMA Supercross, when I hear that the 2021 AMA supercross was so deep in talent, and I see just three former champions at the start of the season, and not one double SX champion in the field, I really have to think the hype is maybe over the top.

Now don’t get me wrong, this years AMA supercross championship was brilliant, I loved every minute of it, and Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen and NOW Cooper Webb are legends of AMA racing if you combine SX and MX, but Tomac has just one AMA SX title, Webb had just one before his victory a week ago, and Roczen doesn’t even have one title. Jason Anderson has one and then the rest of the field are carrying the spit bucket for these four. So four titles in total and three at the start of the season. Compare that to the 19 in MXGP and it falls well behind, but well ahead when hype is involved.

Tomac has 37 main event wins, Roczen 19, Webb 19, Anderson 7, Barcia 5, so those five have more than one main event win while Osborne, Brayton and Seely have one each, so a total of 90 main event wins between eight riders. Tomac is sixth in the all-time main event list and Roczen and Webb are equal 12th, so well up there and set to all join the top ten in the next year or two.

For now though, none of these guys really belong in the AMA supercross legends group. Webb has a shot at joining that group and is right on the crusp of it, and maybe Tomac can get there, but they don't belong in the same breath as multiple AMA SX championship winners like McGrath, Carmichael, Dungey, Hannah or Villopoto at this current stage.

In MXGP we have 15 factory riders in the MXGP class, which is nearly half the field and an unprecedented amount of factory riders and bikes in one class. No class ever in the sports history, anywhere in the World has had 15 factory riders. With HRC, KTM, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, GasGas, Yamaha, and Beta. Sure, Austria has stacked the field with factory riders

We have some of the best motocross tracks in the World, like Matterley Basin in England, Patagonia in Argentina, Pietramurata and Maggiora in Italy, or Lommel in Belgium. These are not all the same, touched up more than an Amsterdam hooker, or made to look beautiful for the eye, these are circuits that create brilliant racing and the unexpected. Some are rough and ugly, others do hold their beauty for the World to see, but all are completely different from the other.

So, with just five weeks before the 2021 season takes off in Russia, lets enjoy the lead up, and we at MXlarge will be travelling the globe to attend a majority of the series, and enjoying what is a historical season in the sport.

Can Cairoli join Everts at the top of the World championships list with 10, will Herlings or Gajser join De Coster, Smets, Geboers or Jobe with five World titles, or can Prado get his third and join the likes of Rahier, Albertyn, Malherbe, Thorpe, Chiodi, Friedrichs, and Moisseev? Yes, all four are already legends of the GP scene, but all four have the chance to rise a little higher in the all-time list and that is something I always find exciting.

Juan Pablo Acevedo image