Let’s be honest, it wasn’t the best GP ever.
Remember the days when MXGP tracks started flat on Saturday and were left untouched overnight on Saturday to create a tricky, rough and challenging track for the main races on Sunday?
Well, unfortunately it just doesn’t happen anymore.
A track that was deemed too smooth on Saturday was levelled again in Saturday night, ripped again to create ruts that ended up being one lined and leaving very few passing lines for the riders with bumps at a minimum until the second motos.
It’s something that has been happening again and again this season meaning the riders have less places to pass and less track diversity from circuit to circuit.
Ruts do not necessarily mean more lines, especially when only one main rut is used. It becomes follow the leader and a slot car race. It’s something that has been a problem in certain tracks in the USA and riders there have been vocal about it.
The advantage the MXGP riders had for years was the two-day format making the track extremely rough forcing riders to think outside the box, make new lines, not just slot into pre-planned ruts in every corner. It forced riders to ride in a variety of ways, not jut pin it from one rut to the other. It’s what made the level in MXGP higher than the USA.
But somehow despite a one day format Hangtown looked rougher than the German GP and not only rougher but with more options for the riders – they even had an off camber corner! The US tracks are getting rougher and more technical while GP tracks are unfortunately going the other way!
Quite why Youthstream have decided to over prep the track, they even took away bumps on a downhill during the break between motos on Sunday, is perplexing. Creating ruts on hard pack tracks tend to make it more one lined, at least if the corner is flat the rides can make their own lines and square the corner or push another rider out.
Ben Watson commented on the circuit saying: “To be honest this track is pretty boring. with these type of ruts it’s almost impossible to pass.”
Ruts work when there are 3 or 4 good ones to choose from otherwise it makes the track more difficult to pass. The track in Germany was over prepped and it made the racing worse and it’s not the first time it’s happened this year. Both Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass have been vocal about not levelling the track on Saturday nights but the track gets levelled anyway. Often times the lines are developing just perfectly on Saturday only for a brand new track to start Sunday means it takes all day for the track to develop again.
When Tony Cairoli struggles to pass you know there is a problem!
Track maintenance for safety is fine, taking out dangerous kickers or ruts, but levelling the track and smoothing bumps while creating unnecessary ruts overnight isn’t helping the spectacle in 2018. These are the best riders in the world in the best series in the world, they can navigate a chewed up, bumpy circuit, it’s what made them the best in the world in the first place!