It was a brilliant weekend for motocross fans. Not only was there the MXGP GP of Italy to watch but also a red hot race in the AMA Supercross series in Minneapolis.
The rider of the weekend for me was Ryan Dungey. It was a quite scintillating performance to run down Ryan Villopoto who had looked unbeatable in the last few rounds.
The atmosphere was brilliant and Dungey responded to the home crowd’s enthusiasm by going toe to toe with Villopoto for the first time in a long time. Villopoto as usual put up a strong fight but he just couldn’t keep Dungey back as the hometown here had the inside lines dialled in. Dungey fed off the crowd’s energy and was even riding aggressive – he proved a lot to himself on Saturday night.
The race itself is exactly why we all love the sport – two guys just going for the win as hard as they can. It doesn’t get any better.
The feel good story was Josh Hill. After all the injuries and time off the bike many thought Hill would never get back to anything close to his top form. But Hill showed what heart and self belief can do as he beat Chad Reed, Ryan Villpoto and Trey Canard to win the first heat race.
That win may have been the most gratifying and rewarding win in his entire career. He started well in the main again and showed for the first few laps that he still has the talent to ride at a level that most can’t. His eighth place and another top ten was the icing on the cake on a great night for Hill and it was surely justification for RCH to chose him as the second rider.
Marvin Musquin ran away with the 250 race but he may just rue his crash last weekend that could well mean he misses out on the title. Even if Musquin wins in Vegas Hahn just needs a second place to clinch the title and it seems to be only Wharton who could get in between them. Musquin though has finally shown his true colours and has been the class of the field from his win in Daytona.
It was another great weekend for the world championship in Italy. A huge crowd came to watch their hero Cairoli on one of the most picturesque tracks in the world. The track was also a throwback to the hard pack hilly terrain of yesteryear and it was nice to see the modern riders try to deal with it.
Jeffrey Herlings delivered yet another pair of fantastic rides. Last to first in race two with a best lap time just over two seconds faster than anyone showed just how far Herlings has come on hardpack in the last two years. Herlings is a phenomenon.
Alex Lupino endeared himself to his home fans with two fine rides of his own. Down in turn one Lupino had to call into the mechanics area to check is bike and then rode fantastic with the partisan home crowd urging him on as he climbed all way back to fifteenth.
Lupino finished seventh in race two and was all over Coldenhoff at the end with the crowd hanging over the fences but he just couldn’t find a way passed. It was subsequently revealed that Lupino had broken a rib in the first turn crash to make his two rides all the more impressive.
In contrast his new teammate Jimmy DeCotis had a nightmare. The much hyped Jimmy D suffered a fraught weekend where the pin it to win it American style just didn’t work on the slick track.
DeCostis scored no points and worryingly his best lap time in both races was not fast enough to put him in the top twenty and he also mentioned that he had never ridden a track like it. The American is seeing just how versatile you need to be in the world championship and he hasn’t got to Leirop yet!
Of course it was all a bit of a rush, getting used to a new bike and adapting back to motocross after a winter of supercross but still both Jimmy and CLS must have expected better.
It was also new track to everyone else except those who competed in the Italian national championship but DeCotis just couldn’t get to grips with it. He believes Bulgaria will suit him more and hopefully he can adapt better there but it was a very disappointing start for the American.
MX1 was the Tony Cairoli show and he really is a superstar in his home country – he even adapted to the slick track that isn’t his favourite and beat the hard pack specialists like Gautier Paulin.
As usual Cairoli’s rivals went into self destruct mode with Desalle taking out both himself and Tommy Searle in turn two and Paulin getting caught up in the mess as Cairoli took off.
Just why the rest can’t match Cairoli’s consistency is starting to become a mystery but it also shows just how hard it is to do what Tony is doing despite the fact he makes it look so easy.
It may not have looked like it on paper but Tommy Searle’s sixth place was the best ride of his season. Coming from the back Searle ride fantastic and if he can do that with a good start he should be on the podium. Searle is so mentally strong that once he does it once he will be there regularly.
125s are back! A full line up of screaming two stroke engines buzzed around the beautiful circuit and just for a moment you would have thought you were back in 1993. It is a brilliant idea by Youthstream to allow the MXGP team to get a good look at the young talent coming up as well as the giving the fans the opportunity to witness two stroke racing again as well as the stars of the future.
A special mention must also go to KTM, they won everything this weekend. From the 125 two stroke race to both MX1 and MX2 GPs and the 250 and 450 supercross races – they won them all! That is quite an amazing achievement and everyone involved deserves a big pat on the back. These things don’t happen by chance and a lot of people have worked very hard to make it happen.
After all that entertainment it is only a few days to the next feast of motocross. This time the MXGP will move to Bulgaria while the supercross series moves to Villopoto’s home town in Seattle. And let’s not forget the Red Bull Pro Nationals start in the UK!
Article by Jonathan McCready