It was supposed be the race that was made for Jeffrey Herlings. The race where he show just what a phenomenal talent he really is. The race where Herlings could make history.
It was main storyline and excitement in the first two Superfinals of the year (aside from the controversy). The possibility of Herlings getting on the podium or even winning against the 450s was what everyone was talking about.
In Thailand he came within two laps of doing just that and in Portugal his lap times were faster the 450s. The stage was set in Brazil, could Herlings finally do it, could he make the podium on his MX2 machine in the last Superfinal of the year?
No –one had even thought about the possibility of not winning his class. Yet that is exactly what happened. When Herlings got yet another bad start and then went down on lap one, he had his work cut out not just to pass the MX2 guy but also the MX1 competitors.
It proved to be mission impossible. Herlings climbed to second in the race but could not catch a flying Jose Butron who went on to take his first ever moto win. The race that was supposed to be Herlings crowning glory ultimately proved to be his undoing.
Of course the director didn’t even get the camera on Burton as he crossed the line leaving a frustrated Paul Malin trying to talk about just what a fantastic result it was for the Spaniard without any pictures back to back him up. Storylines are still not the director’s strongpoint!
The cameras instead focussed on overall winner Herlings cutting a forlorn figure as he crossed the line victorious overall but yet still defeated.
“Soo disappointed” admitted Herlings later on twitter. “It’s like riding with a Smart against a Lamborghini. Gave up second moto, unfair battle. But let’s go for winning every GP then.
A slightly calmer Herlings later tweeted: “Blessed for what I am doing. Hope to give back another championship. What if I can get the championship in time, last one or two GP in MX1? We’ll see.”
Herlings appears to be searching for goals and maybe just maybe that could be the only slight chink in his considerable armour. The Dutchman’s ultimate motivation to win every race is now gone, his challenge of the Superfinal is over too. So will it be harder for the Herlings to motivate himself and, will that win by Butron make the rest of the class believe that Herlings is now beatable?
Time will tell.
Article by Jonathan McCready
Picture by KTM images/Ray Archer