Can Jeffrey Herlings go undefeated in this years MX2 FIM World Motocross Championship? I am certain that most fans have already thought about this question. With Tommy Searle, Joel Roelants and Jeremy Van Horebeek all vacating the MX2 class, I personally think that it is a realistic goal for Herlings to win them all!
Although Jeffrey Herlings’ issues and problems both on and off of the track in 2012 have left most concerned, I honestly believe that the only person that could stop him from winning all of the motos, is himself. If you remove the riders that will not be in the MX2 class this year from last years standings, Jeffrey would have won twenty-seven of the thirty-two motos. Of course, that is just speculation as other issues could have potentially taken place. But it’s the off-season; all we can do is speculate, right?
The issues and problems alluded to previously include swearing on live television, a car crash and a fierce on-track rivalry with Tommy Searle. It seemed like every time Jeffrey lined up at a race last year, he was at the centre of the controversy. But, of course for him to win every moto he will have to avoid those controversial issues. But can he? If you base your thoughts on what happened last year, then you have to say no. It was not as if he made one mistake only; he never seemed to learn from them. But, in the latter stages of the year he did seem to turn a corner as he began to reel off consecutive overall wins.
It goes back to what I stated earlier; I truly believe that the only person that could potentially stop Jeffrey Herlings from going undefeated, is himself. Why is that? I do not really think that his competitors are capable of beating him straight up this year, if I’m honest. The riders that he will face this year have never been in a position to challenge for the world title; this will be their first time going in as a contender. Will his competitors struggle under the pressure? Of course, there will be some opportunists in the MX2 field; now that there is a possibility to win the title; they will elevate their game undoubtedly.
Astonishingly, Jeffrey Herlings will be the only rider in the MX2 class next year that has won an MX2 GP previously. Obviously, this is a result of the age restriction rule enforced by the FIM and Youthstream. Jeffrey will essentially be going up against a group of youngsters this year, with the exception of guys like Arnaud Tonus and Jake Nicholls. But, they have never won a GP, either.
Obviously, Jeffrey Herlings is world renowned for his speed on a sand track. What Jeffrey has done on a sand track (after racing professionally for just three years) is simply mind blowing. But, what most people seem to overlook is the improvement that Herlings has made on the slick, hard-pack tracks of Italy, and France. In 2010 (his first year in the World Championship) he was most definitely not the fastest on those hard-pack tracks, but at the start of last year he was capable of winning convincingly on all of the different track surfaces. This was surely key in his title success last year, and it could also help him in his bid for dominance in the future.
If Jeffrey Herlings is going to go undefeated in the MX2 World Championship this year, he will have to be practically faultless. If he is going to achieve this feat, Herlings will have to avoid the first turn crashes, and other freak incidents. One thing is certain; Jeffrey has the confidence to achieve his second world title, and maybe go undefeated. He has stated on Twitter numerous times that he would like to win every single moto this year. Clearly, he does not lack any of the self-confidence needed. If Jeffrey thinks that he can go undefeated then why should we doubt him? He has stated that it is his goal; so he will be expected to do so, right?
If Jeffrey Herlings manages to win every single moto this year, it will be amazing. There is not really a precedent for doing so (in the World Championship, at least). The statistics are going against him on this one. In recent memory, the closest a rider has come to going undefeated was Stefan Everts in 2006. That was the year when Everts was racing against a depleted field. It proves that if everything is going your way, it is not impossible.
At this point all we can do is ask the question, can Jeffrey Herlings go undefeated this year? We will not get any answers until the 2013 FIM World Motocross Championship kicks off in Qatar on March 2nd. Until then, all we can do is speculate.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of Ray Archer/KTM Images