Matthes Report: Ironman

Matthes on a handful of topics.

Matthes on a handful of topics.

Well, that was quite an ass kicking wasn’t it? Jeffrey Herlings came to the USA, on a somewhat strange bike, and absolutely whooped up on everyone going 1-1 in the 450MX class. That was, uhhhh, unexpected, right? I mean, he is a world-class rider and being on the podium is expected. Coming from almost last after a first lap crash to first though? Yeah, no one expected that.

The real winners were, of course, Herlings and the American motocross fans that got to see the Flying Dutchman live and in person. Sometimes I have to shake my head at the lack of GP rider knowledge from a lot of fans over here (most people in the pits are pretty educated, please notice the “most"), but maybe JH84 showing up and doing so well will make some American fans follow the MXGP series some more.

Jeffrey Herlings has dominated headlines recently (KTM Images/Simon Cudby)

Of course the upcoming USGP is this weekend at the WW Motocross Park, which I hope will see more spectators than we have had at the more recent USGPs held on each side of the country. Herlings, Antonio Cairoli, Tim Gajser and Romain Febvre are world-class racers and it is cool that a lot, well some, will see them.

Any hope that Youthstream had that partnering up with MX Sports over here would get some more American racers signed up to race the USGP didn’t happen, but the usual Monster Energy riders will be there. The best American motocross rider, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac, will be in there and certainly Yamaha’s Cooper Webb will be in the mix. After that though, it is tough to see anyone of those running up front.

In MX2 there is a much deeper field of American riders with Adam Cianciarulo and Justin Hill mandated to be there, but the GEICO Honda rides of RJ Hampshire and Chase Sexton could’ve passed on the event and didn’t. Star Racing Yamaha riders Justin Cooper and Mitchell Harrison will be there as well to add depth.

I didn’t really think that partnering up with MX Sports would add to the roster of USA riders showing up, but it is still a good thing that the biggest promoters of motocross on each side of the Atlantic are working together. You cannot blame the teams and riders for not wanting to race when the budgets are stretched thin and the riders are tired of the grind of our schedule over here. But, regardless, it should be a good race. I’m looking forward to the battle in MXGP between Tomac and the MXGP regulars and, no matter what happens, it’ll be some good racing…

Eli Tomac won't have as much pressure on his shoulders this weekend (Monster Energy/Ryne Swanberg)

On that note, when it comes to the online hysteria of Herlings winning, I won’t be looking forward to more of that after this weekend, no matter what the outcome. I thought I’d help calm down some of the masses with some easy tips no matter where you live.

If you live in Europe and want to rub Herlings' win in online to American fans…

– Remember that Jeffrey only got the win because Marvin Musquin had a very uncharacteristic crash with a lap and a half to go and gave Herlings the moto win. Without the crash, Marv wins the overall and Herlings rides great to get second.

– Remember that Tomac was riding very cautiously (after his crash) in order to clinch his first 450MX title and didn’t want to have anything to do with the Dutchman.

– Remember that this was race twenty-nine out of twenty-nine in the 2017 season and every other rider not named Musquin, Tomac or Baggett wanted to just get the hell out of Indiana safely.

There is no doubt that all eyes will be on Jeffrey Herlings this weekend (KTM Images/Simon Cudby)

If you live in the USA and want to fend off the online attack of Herlings' fans…

– Remember that just last year Tomac swept two MXGP rounds rather easily and Webb beat Herlings in Charlotte.

– Remember that the best MXGP riders over the years not named Antonio Cairoli or Stefan Everts eventually end up in America racing.

– Remember that this weekend at WW Ranch is the real test with Tomac not worried about the title. If #3 gets beat though, disregard the previous sentence.

– Remember that USA still has Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin. Wait, they’re not American? Europe doesn’t have supercross and supercross is awesome.

That’s about all I got. Good luck everyone!

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: KTM Images/Simon Cudby

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