We might be a few months off the first round of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship, but there is already a feeling in the air that next season will be another classic.
Defending MXGP Champion Antonio Cairoli knows that that record 10th world title is his for the taking, but as he learnt in 2017, that young brash Dutchman, Jeffrey Herlings isn’t easy meat, and the two will clash many times in 2018.
Cairoli the lightning starts, Herlings with the speed. It doesn’t matter how you look at it, these two will be locking handlebars a lot, and I can imagine, the interest from around the world might be bigger than ever.
The legendary Sicilian knows that his Dutch rival will be tough, but he also knows experience is important, and while speed can win GPs, it doesn’t always win championships.
“For sure,” Cairoli said. “Jeffrey has proven he is one of the fastest in the world, even on a single lap, and for sure he sped it up a little more. For some it’s easy to follow, for others not so easy. I mean, before the season a lot of people are fast in the winter time. Everyone is giving 110%, and I looked at Jeffrey, but I looked at a lot of riders. You don’t win a championship because you are lucky, you win it because you are good. Romain was good, and he got the championship, Tim was good, and he got the championship, so I don’t just watch Jeffrey. Being consistent and not getting hurt is important and that is how you get a championship.”
The GOAT of Grand Prix motocross, Stefan Everts knows that Cairoli has the chance to take equal his record of 10 world championships in 2018, but the Belgian is always classy in his attitude towards Cairoli.
“I enjoy watching Tony, he has been off for a few years due to injury or other problems. He is back, it’s like the old Cairoli, also in Qatar you could see was there. It’s good to have that competition from Tim and Jeffrey, it’s going to be a tough battle next year, between those three, and he (Cairoli) is working hard for it, and if he gets the record I can only congratulated him. It would hurt me a little of course, because I want to be the best ever, but records are there to be broken. You have to accept it, I have no problem if Tony is the guy to beat my record, because I have a lot of respect for him, and he has a lot of respect for what I did.”
Whatever happens in the early going of the 2018 season, might be the important mind games victory. Can the veteran Cairoli outsmart the younger Herlings? Will speed beat smart? All I know I can’t wait for that first round in Argentina. It’s going to bring many answers.