Jorge Prado won his first world title at just 17, Jason Anderson won his first supercross title, two great achievements in their own right as a speedy Eli Tomac successsfuly defended his 450 US National championship, but no-one showed the dominance and speed of new MXGP world champion, Jeffery Herlings in 2018.
The Dutchman even broke a collarbone mid-way through the series and still won the Indonesian GP a couple of weeks later showing the grit and desire that backs up his tremendous talent and speed.
Unfortunately some in America are still trying to take away Herling’s tremendous achievement. A still bitter US champ Eli Tomac came out again in a recent very pro USA interview in Cycle News and was embarrassingly unable to admit Herlings is the best motocross rider in the world despite the fact he is world motocross champ!
Because, amazingly according to Eli, he didn’t win both motos at the MXoN or race US supercross! But that is simply disrespectful to Herlings and the prestige, difficulty and versatility required to win the world motocross championship. It’s the only global motocross championship there is and the only measuring stick out there to show you are the best in outdoors.
Right now it’s Herlings, by racing 19 rounds of the world motocross championship in the premier class, who proved he was the best in the world and it’s up to the rest, including Tomac, to beat him in that championship and nowhere else, to take his crown of best motocross rider on the planet.
After some very serious injuries in his career including a badly broken femur and dislocated hip, Herlings refused to give in, kept coming back and has now reached the pinnacle of the sport.
The Red Bull KTM sensation took on his teammate and defending world champ, the amazing Antonio Cairoli, who still had one of his best years ever and simply dominated the tough Italian, winning 15 rounds of the 19 GPs and once again showed sensational speed at the MXoN.
Herlings has learnt to harness his amazing raw speed with more tactical racing, at times using Cairoli’s patented late-race charges against the Italian himself, right now the Dutchman is the complete rider and can ride hard pack as well as anyone then dominate in the sand.
Using his legs to avoid bumps and create traction when he sees appropriate, Herlings has a unique style mixing feet-on-the-pegs GP smoothness along with American intensity and aggression on a 450 that the rest have not quite been able to replicate.
Cairoli and the rest will be back with more determination than ever next season but Herlings set a new benchmark in 2018 in terms of speed and versatility across a variety of terrains and countries for the rest of the world to match.
Herlings raised the bar for the sport in 2018. That’s why he is Gatedrop’s rider of the year.