Fortunately, the off-season (the time of year that every motocross fan loathes) is almost over. However, the off-season is good for one thing, it offers us a chance to reflect on what has gone on in recent months – what a year it has been for the sport as a whole! So, what better way to look at some of the highs, and lows from the 2013 season, than to put together our own MX Vice awards?
Crash of the Year: Zach Bell
I cannot even begin to explain how much debate we partook in when making this decision. It came down to three crashes, in the end, as Martin Davalos’ frightening Phoenix fall, and Josh Waterman’s spectacular get-off at the British MXGP left most sick to the stomach, also. But, I do not think that anyone can argue against the decision to give this award to Zach Bell. If you have not seen his crash from the Arlington round of the AMA Supercross series, you need to! It shocked the world – every person watching was rendered speechless, as most wondered if he was going to get up under his own power, let alone race again later that night!
Honourable Mentions: Martin Davalos and Josh Waterman
Surprise of the Year: Shaun Simpson
Prior to Lierop, the possibility of Shaun Simpson winning an MX1 GP seemed unlikely; hence why his sensational victory at the GP of Benelux was such a surprise. The Scotsman is a sand specialist in the eyes of most. So, was it really a shock? Of course it was! Simpson has had to overcome quite a lot of adversity this season, which surely made the triumph even sweeter. It is rare to see an upset of this magnitude, which made it even more exciting for fans!
Honourable Mentions: Kristian Whatley and Davi Millsaps
Comeback of the Year: Trey Canard
Is there really anyone else you can give this award to? Trey Canard had to return from some very serious injuries heading into this year. In fact, most wondered if he was going to return to the track at all, let alone to the podium! So the fact that Trey came out at Anaheim 1 (the first race that he had completed since his injury), and put his Muscle Milk Honda on the box in second was just incredible – I was speechless. It was a big deal for him to get through the season uninjured, as he proved that he could do it! Some people had started to doubt that.
Pass of the Year: Shaun Simpson
Put simply, Shaun Simpson was unbelievable at the GP of Benelux. The Scotsman already has our ‘Surprise of the Year’ award, because of his ride in the deep sand. Whilst he was working towards the overall win, he made great passes. In race two, the Scotsman sliced through the middle of Clement Desalle and Ken de Dycker to go from fourth to second in a single straight – this was also the move that ultimately handed him his maiden overall victory. Simpson had not really battled with Desalle and de Dycker at all before Lierop, which proves just how well he was riding on that weekend – it was incredible.
Honourable Mentions: Conrad Mewse and James Stewart
Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Martin
Now, a lot of us here at MX Vice were debating over who should win this category for a long time. Why? Well, the word ‘rookie’ carries different meanings to different people nowadays – the definition of the word has become slightly skewed in recent years. So, for this column, we are going with the traditional meaning of a guy that has just completed their first season as a professional. Jeremy Martin was the obvious choice, really, as he landed on the podium indoors and out, in the highly competitive American 250f series. Jeremy didn’t enter the pro scene with as much hype as some of his counterparts, hence why his success rate was really quite surprising.
Honourable Mentions: Cooper Webb and Ben Watson
Youth Rider of the Year: Conrad Mewse
Undoubtedly, Conrad Mewse is our greatest hope in the youth ranks, as he has proven to be one of (if not) the fastest 85cc riders in the world. In 2013, he had the type of year that most dream of – he won the Junior World Championship, the EMX85 series and the Dutch title! In short, Mewse won everything that he wanted to, and he has the MX Vice ‘Youth Rider of the Year’ award now as well! In 2014 he will move onto a 125, where he will surely continue to improve and prove himself. With Conrad moving up through the ranks, it really is an exciting time for the British MX!
Honourable Mentions: Todd Kellett and Mitchell Lewis
Biggest Disappointment: Chad Reed
It pains me to put Chad Reed at the head of this category, it really does. Chad had health and bike issues this year, we all know that. But despite this, he was still a disappointment – we all expect him to finish comfortably in the top ten. However Reed failed to do this, shockingly; it could go down as the surprise of the year, also! It will be interesting to see if he can rebound from this – there are already quite a few questions surrounding his program going into 2014.
Honourable Mentions: Joel Roelants and Jonathan Barragan
Event of the Year: Motocross des Nations
Obviously, this award goes to the Motocross des Nations. Automatically, everyone considers the MXdN to be the event of the year. But, it undoubtedly was this year! The German facility of Teutschenthal was a great setting for the race – it hosted some incredible on-track action, the duel between Roczen and Tomac in race two left every single person present (and there were a lot of them there) on their feet. There is no race that unites the fans from around the world like the Motocross des Nations, hence why it is so special.
Honourable Mentions: The Vets MXdN and the Dutch MXGP
International Rider of the Year: Antonio Cairoli
It was quite difficult deciding whom to give this award too. But, the ride that Antonio Cairoli put in at the Motocross des Nations tipped the scales in his favour. It was another incredible season for him, evidently, as he proved to be too strong for the competition, once again; we expect this from the Italian now. Amazingly, he claimed his seventh world title this year – he doesn’t appear to be getting any slower at this point! Overall, Cairoli won nine GPs this year, which was just shy of his personal best. Antonio finished his season by winning his two races at the Motocross des Nations, and leading Italy up onto the overall podium, also, which was very important to him personally.
Honourable Mentions: Jeffrey Herlings and Ryan Villopoto
British Rider of the Year: Kristian Whatley
Is there really any reason to not agree with this choice? Kristian Whatley definitely exceeded the expectations that everyone had of him this year, hence why his success was surprising. In total, Kristian took home three titles this year – he won the British Masters, the Red Bull Pro Nationals, and the Maxxis British Championship. Basically, the MBO Sport Yamaha rider won every series that he completed – dominant would best describe his 2013 campaign. But, it is not just Kristian that deserves praise; the MBO Sport Yamaha squad ensured that he did not have any issues throughout the year, as a team, they were solid.
Honourable Mentions: Tommy Searle and Shaun Simpson
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image: Elliot Spencer