Teenage talent: Prado v Forkner!
On one weekend on two different continents two highly touted teenagers justified their hype and for the next two weekends they go head-to-head!
In America Austin Forkner won his first AMA National at just 17 in his rookie season, while in Holland Spanish sensation Jorge Prado, just 15, stunned the world with a third place overall in his first ever MX2 Grand Prix.
The next generation is here now and in a strange quirk of fate Prado and Forkner will face-off for the first time of many this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina at the MXGP of the Americas.
While it would be unrealistic to expect Prado to beat Forkner on his home turf, the American who is more focused on Herlings, might have to work his way around Prado, who is famed for his holeshots. Prado who has already set his sights on racing supercross, will want to show his speed to his future rivals and as we saw with Herlings, he isn’t intimidated by anyone!
Prado is a pretty impressive character, he left the sunshine of his homeland a couple of years ago to live in the Belgian rain and race in the sand in order to chase his dream of becoming a champion. He also speaks multiple languages and has shown he can overcome injuries after missing a season with a broken leg on 85s. He is a very well rounded individual and has no shortage of self-confidence and, as we saw in Assen, he rides pretty smart too alongside his ridiculous natural talent.
Forkner also doesn’t lack confidence either as we saw with his claim he can beat Herlings at Charlotte and Glen Helen, but he also has a calm outlook on racing and doesn’t seem to get flustered easily. This season a bad race didn’t rattle him, he learnt and put things right at the next round. His way of working in his first year as pro should be a lesson to those who will come behind him.
In fact, his claim about beating Herlings is quite out of character for a rider who usually leaves his talking on the track and maybe is more of a reflection on the general lack of respect and coverage the World championship unfortunately still has in the USA thanks to the general presumption of superiority based on nationality and not reality.
There is no doubt that after Tomac and Webb, Forkner is the next big thing in America but, like Prado, pressure doesn’t seem to rattle this kid and he is now favourite to win in 2017 already. He is the real deal.
Both riders have no pressure this weekend with nothing to lose and everything to gain, so enjoy the two talents at the beginning of their career racing simply for pride with no titles or championship points on the line. And maybe ten years from the now, these two will have been career rivals and Charlotte will have been the historic moment their careers met on the track for the first time as professionals.