Motocross is a brutal sport sometimes.
Just days after the high of a brilliant 1-1 in France on the antithesis of a Jeffrey Herlings’ style track, the world championship leader came a cropper on of all things, Dutch sand while getting ready for the Italian GP at Ottobiano, the ultimate low after the ultimate high.
It was a case of deja-vu for Herlings who has already lost two world titles with injury and is in danger of losing a third.
Fortunately Herlings appears to still have a fighting chance with the news that he was getting surgery on the collarbone and will be hoping to ride again at the Indonesian GP.
Herlings has taken a lot of grief at times for pushing too hard in races but ironically the motos he has pushed hard to beat Cairoli this season have given him the extra points he has needs to allow him to miss Ottobiano and still have the red plate going into round 12 in Indonesia.
Herlings’ late race charges in the UK and the second moto in France gave him nine extra points and cost Cairoli the same amount, that’s an 18 point swing that gives Herlings that red plate in Indonesia regardless of what happens in Ottobiano.
The positive is that presuming Cairoli goes 1-1 and gets 50 points this weekend Herlings will still have a 12 point lead going into round 12 of the champoinship, something he probably would have taken at the start of the season.
But it will certinaly give Cairoli the motivation and boost he needs to really push in the second half of the year. At 62 points behind and seemingly unable to stop Herlings win streak, Cairoli has been given a second chance at getting a record equalling 10 word titles.
He won’t let the opportunity go without a fight and will no doubt attack now while Herlings is weakened and riding injured to try and get points lead he can defend over the last quarter of the year.
As we saw with Zach Osborne just couple of weeks ago when the American looked odds on to win his fourth 250 AMA title in a row only to be out for the season in a first turn pile-up, anything can happen in motocross and sometimes not in a good way.
You can do all the right things and sometimes it’s just not enough but it also shows just how good guys like Cairoli and Everts have been to get nine or ten world titles, it shows that managing a championship is just as important as raw speed. Getting the balance is key both during the races and at the practice track and even then you still need that little bit of luck to stay fit all year.
Meanwhile in MX2 Pauls Jonass is trying to do just that, manage the title, but Jorge Prado is making things a little too close for comfort! Prado has been superb recently and it meant even the normally cool Pauls Jonass made a mistake while in the lead in France. Jonass has had to push hard recently with Prado putting the pressure on and it could come down to the guy that can handle the pressure best that wins the title. Prado yet again showed he’s a fast learner by winnning on a track that isn’t known to be his strength.
Both classes now look to be real nail biters as the second half of the season gets under way but who can make the least mistakes and who will be the strongest mentally?
This could be Herlings biggest test now he has handed the advantage back to his teammate after doing everything right all year. We know he can deal with any track on the calendar and the physical pain of injury as well as anyone but will the disappointment of doing all that work and getting injured weigh on his mind over the next month or two?
That might be his biggest test and he searches to find a way to nail down that first big bike title.