Very few riders in recent times have arrived from the lower ranks, the feeder class MX2 championship, to bust out…
Very few riders in recent times have arrived from the lower ranks, the feeder class MX2 championship, to bust out onto the MXGP as fully-fledged race winners. Then two come along at once. In 2015 Romain Febvre surprised most but himself by running away with the MXGP world championship.
He remained consistent where others, including king of the hill Tony Cairoli, faltered. It can easily be argued that Cairoli got unlucky with an injury but it can also be argued he hasn’t had to try quite so hard in previous years to win out as he did in 2015. Febvre was an animal for speed and consistency.
Following in Febvre’s wheel tracks in 2016 is Team Gariboldi Honda’s Tim Gasjer who didn’t hang about in MX2, just three years before stepping up to MXGP. Given that Gasjer is a mere teenager still that might seem a little early but, as results so far in 2016 show, far from it.
Febvre and Gasjer currently holds the championship lead after eight races. Gasjer has won four of those races, finishing on the podium in two further motos. Febvre, current championship leader by three points from Gasjer, has won three races and been in the top three four times. There’s a long way to go but these stats are strong for a pair of kids from the MX2 championship.
These two extraordinary racers are benefitting from the Herlings effect. Serial MX2 GP winner, multiple MX2 champion Jeffrey Herlings is having an effect on the MX2 series: by being arguably the fastest rider in motocross world series he’s raising the bar, encouraging those around him to get with the programme or get lapped (something he often does in MX2 motos).
Those who can stick with Herlings, unsurprisingly have similarly epic speed and skills. Equally unsurprisingly the likes of Romain Febvre and Tim Gasjer are bringing their raised games to the MXGP class and making it look easy.
MXGP is full of stars. Big name stars. Multiple world champions and perennial nearly men who, for whatever reasons, never put the championship together but still have incredible records in the blue-riband motocross series.
To look through the list of riders lining up at the start gates at each round of the world championship shows it really is a golden time for the sport. Strength in depth doesn’t half cover it. Winning amongst that depth of field is remarkable. To win your first races at that level is unbelievable.