The MX Vice ‘Results Recap’ has been a consistent feature for some time now, but the month of December always acts as a bit of a stumbling block. There really are no races to reflect on! The Christmas period offers those across the globe a chance to look back on the past twelve months with fondness, so we’ll do exactly that here instead.
Tim Gajser, Jeffrey Herlings, Ryan Dungey, Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb were the big winners this year, of course, as they picked up the most prestigious titles in MXGP, Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Is there one race that each rider had which stands out though? Well, here is what immediately springs to mind.
It is only right that we start with the man who was perhaps the most unlikely victor, Tim Gajser, and romped to seven Grand Prix wins in the premier division. His maiden 450F victory in the Qatari desert was arguably the greatest shock, but the first round always produces some anomalies and his closest competition was, surprisingly, Evgeny Bobryshev. Romain Febvre and Antonio Cairoli were in the mix, but not quite at their best on a track that arguably did not lend itself to their respective skillsets.
Fast-forward to the Grand Prix of Lombardia in June and the situation was quite different. Cairoli had finally risen to the level that most expected him to be on all year and was eager to please the thousands of Italian fans in attendance, but faced stiff opposition from ‘243’. The first of two motos was fairly mundane, as Gajser took the holeshot and established an insurmountable advantage. The tables were turned in the final MXGP encounter, however, and Gajser had to pass an exuberant Cairoli.
Not only did Gajser manage to do that with relative ease, he responded to multiple aggressive moves and won by more than nine seconds. Rarely does Cairoli lose in a fashion such as this and, in the future, fans may reflect on that one race on a sunny day in Mantova as the passing of the torch.
The way in which Jeffrey Herlings was viewed this year was quite different to Gajser, as victories were the only thing that could satisfy onlookers. It is hard to pinpoint a specific triumph that was really a surprise, with that in mind, but his dominant showing in Southern California confirmed his prowess on the 250F to some doubters.
Facing a couple of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross frontrunners, although the most accomplished of the two was a little behind the eight ball, Herlings romped to a pair of convincing race wins just one week after clinching his third title. Fuelled by the desire to exit his 250F career on top, Herlings won by a comfortable margin in each race. Had Cooper Webb been present, would he have been powerless? Perhaps. Herlings could only beat those who were sat next to him on the starting gate, however, which is a statement that could be used to back up a majority of his MX2 career.
Speaking of Webb, he is the only rider featured here to garner two high-profile championships in the last twelve months. The fact that he fought so hard for his second 250SX West title almost threatened to derail his outdoor campaign, but he rebounded from an unfortunate wrist injury to dominate in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Red Bud arguably cemented his position at the head of that series, as he swept both motos as Joey Savatgy faltered, but another event really showcased what his glass ceiling is.
Although there was not necessarily anything on the line for Webb at the Grand Prix of Americas, held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, his ride was awe-inspiring and arguably one of the best individual performances we have seen all year. On a track that was notoriously tough to pass on, he ripped through the field to demote both the world champion and rider tipped as the next big thing by most. When one lap was complete and Webb was buried in the lower half of the top ten, you would have been hard pressed to find a pundit willing to tip him as the favourite for the win. He did exactly that though and with a fastest lap time that was a second quicker than his competition.
What about Ken Roczen, the 450MX victor in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross? Roczen recorded countless dominant performances, which very few people expected in May. Hangtown was obviously a noteworthy ride, as it was his first of the series, then Glen Helen was just as impressive as he disposed of Ryan Dungey with ease. Aside from those events, Millville sticks out in the minds of most as it occurred just one week after Eli Tomac beat him straight up at Southwick.
Roczen was not shy when it came to proclaiming that he did not necessarily care for the timed practice sessions, but came out firing on this occasion and recorded a lap time that was almost two full seconds quicker than anyone else. That speed was then prevalent in the motos and he capped off a brilliant day by winning the final moto by twenty-eight seconds! Roczen destroyed any momentum that Tomac had acquired at that point and reminded everyone why he sat on a lead of fifty-five points.
It seems like an eternity ago now that Ryan Dungey clinched his second Monster Energy Supercross title, as things can change so quickly in this sport. The way in which he won that title was simply incredible though, as he stood atop the podium in nine of the seventeen events that were run. Oakland was one of the most intriguing events, as he achieved a personal goal and won three mains in a row for the first time in his career. What made that even more impressive was that he typically takes time to heat up and is rarely that good so early in a series. It was certainly a sign of things to come!
The penultimate fixture is another event that stands out when reflecting on the season, but Dungey failed to compete with an on-form Ken Roczen on that night. He did, however, capture his second-consecutive title with a fourth place. That finish marked the end of his podium streak, but his thirty-one races in the top three was also a new record and further cemented his position in the record books.