What a British GP that was!
After a couple of so-so GP weekends, the British GP had just about everything you could wish for, close racing, big battles and a big take out that lit the blue touch paper in the premier class.
But it wasn’t just Herlings controversial move on Cairoli that will be the take-away memory from the event, it was the Dutchman’s incredible last few laps in moto two to catch and pass Cairoli with another aggressive but this time contactless pass on the last lap, before setting the fastest lap of the race on that lap to stop Cairoli exacting some revenge from moto one.
It was a GP that will go down in legend as two of the all-time greats took the gloves off and went toe-to-toe riding the best level either have done in their careers. It was simply epic viewing.
When you add in the a Prado/Jonass battle in MX2 with motos going to the last lap as well as the entertaining battles behind each duel for the lead, plus the very comptoetove EMX racing that saw two popular home winners with Brad Anderson and Steven Clarke it was pretty much as good as Steve Dixon and his hard working crew could have dreamt it.
It was probably the best GP of the year and certainly one of the best British GPs on record.
Although Pit Beirer might not have enjoyed it as much rest of us! Until Martterley, the Herlings/Cairoli rivalry had been walking a tight rope of aggressive but they just about kept fair racing and the mutual respect existed enough to prevent any obvious take-outs even if contact and block passing had been made in the past.
The rivalry simmered last year, and kept simmering in the first half of the 2018 season but now it reached boiling point at Matterley and Beirer won’t want to see his boys taking each other out and potentially wrecking a 1-2 in the championship or even worse, both riders getting injured and losing the title to another manufacturer.
But how does he stop them, both are riding at a level ahead of every other motocross rider on the planet and Cairoli is a very proud champion who won’t accept Herlings putting him down and taking a win he thought was going to be his.
Cairoli never steps back from a challenge and with both riders secure in their Red Bull KTM deals for the future and both set on winning the 2018 title against the other it is hard to see the rivalry getting any less combustible after Matterley, especially as they are in two separate awnings.
And MX2 could well go the same way as Prado, not short on confidence, isn’t afraid to push his teammate and every week he is getting closer and closer to Jonass in a straight up battle. It’s been mostly clean do far but like Herlings and Cairoli don’t be surprised as the championship goes to wire and the tension increases, especially as Prado is, like Cairoli, under the De Carli tent and Jonass, who was practicing with Herlings the week before under the regular Red Bull KTM awning.
It’s a dream situation for Red Bull KTM to have both riders fighting for a championship but it will be stressful to manage from here on out. But it should be great for the fans as MXGP hits the halfway stage and the central part of the 20 round season.