Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th December: Tracks closed. The rain up here in the hills keeps coming.

Rider of the Year

Motocross Illustrated Awards

maddix park mx

Both the Lucas Oils AMA Nationals and the FIM World Motocross Championships have seen some really good racing, at amazing facilities and big crowds. The sport is very healthy right around the World.

So here goes, our Motocross Illustrated Awards for 2013.

Rider of the Year: This was pretty easy in many ways. Antonio Cairoli picked up his seventh FIM World Motocross Championship in a fashion that proves there is nobody in Europe and maybe also in America close to his class in the MX1 class. His domination of the opposition at the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations and the AMA riders confirmed his place at the top of the World of Motocross. His attitude to the fans, media, fellow riders and just about everyone else is impressive to say the least. While his charge to Stefan Everts 10 World Motocross Championship seems somewhat less important to him, we all watch in amazement as this guy from Sicily continues to improve and move up the all time winners list.

AMA Rider of the Year: Eli Tomac. This kid is special, and his come from behind charge at the Motocross of Nations showed what a talent he is. I am not sure I have ever seen anything like it, his choice of lines and aggression was really a thing of beauty and only his crash stopped him from possibly winning the moto. Often in 2013 his lap times were fastest than the AMA 450cc class, not to mention he beat a very good rider in Ken Roczen for the 250cc championship. No doubt its going to take him some time to get used to the 450cc class in 2014, and his Supercross skills might not be up the Villopoto or Dungey, but just as it took Ricky Carmichael some time to adjust,  I see this kid dominating in America in the near future.

GP rider of the Year: Jeffrey Herlings has as big a future ahead of him as Tomac does, and he might be the one guy who can come into the MX1 class and battle with “King Cairoli”. His determination to win his second MX2 title as a teenager was impressive and his stubborn attitude to racing the Grand Prix in Lierop gave me even more respect for him. Characters like Herlings we need in the sport, and love him or hate him he says what he thinks and has improved a lot in his four years on the GP scene.

Team of the year: Yes, another pretty easy selection. The Red bull KTM Factory team own the GP series at the moment, and just like Rinaldi Yamaha in the Everts era or Geboers Suzuki team in the Pichon era, the Red Bull KTM team will continue to dominate while they have the two best riders in the World. Don’t expect 2014 to be any different as Cairoli, De Dycker, Herlings and Tixier continue to impress.

Surprise of 2013: I know I am bias, but the ride by Dean Ferris at the Motocross of Nations was something that gave the FIM World MX2 class a lot of respect. His second place overall in the MX2 class in Germany, his clocking the quickest lap times overall on the Saturday (even faster than the MX1 riders) and his confidence and lack of nerves showed me that he has risen to another level. Watch him in 2014, he might have more surprises in store. His beautiful style will suit the at times difficult Yamaha, and he might be up for a top three in the Championship with a little luck.

Disappointment of 2014: Herlings and Villopoto no show at the Motocross of Nations was a big blow and while the event was still a classic, these two could easily be the two fastest riders in the World, so we missed them fors ure. Both missed out due injury, and both injuries, Herlings making his shoulder injury worse by racing in Lierop, and Villopoto opted out because he wanted to get an operation done. He did race two weeks later at the Monster Energy Cup, making the whole deal a little sad.

GP of the Year: Maggiora, hands down the best of 2013. While the GP season was littered with brilliant races and really gave the sport a shot in the arm, the old school beauty of Maggiora, its history, the large crowd and the amazing battle between eventual winner Gautier Paulin and local hero Antonio Cairoli made this a really enjoyable race. Little wonder all the hotels in the area are already sold out for 2014’s race.

The moto of 2014: In my eyes it was last laps of the Grand Prix of Great Britain, in the MX2 class. With Herlings out injured guys like Jordi Tixier, Jake Nicholls, Glenn Coldenhoff and Jose Butron all felt they could win a GP. Dean Ferris had done it a week before in Belgium, and looked good to win this one after winning moto one, but a crash in moto two cost him that chance. That didn’t stop Coldenhoff, Nicholls, Butron and Romain Febvre causing mayhem in the dying stages of the GP. Eventually Coldenhoff got his first GP victory, but those last laps of riders swapping positions and changes in the overall points tallies was classic.

Track of the Year: Thailand was in my books a beauty, which never got the recognition it deserved. Really a nice facility and some technical sections of the circuits made it fun to watch. The Superfinal in Thailand was for me one of the best races of the season.

Promoter of the Year: Again I go with Thailand. They thought about everything from heated toilets, a Mcdonalds vendor at the track, great industry area with plenty of bikes and gear on show. Not to mention a great circuit and entertainment for the public, with dancing girls and other cool stuff. The warmth the GP paddock felt from everyone involved in this event really made it a lot of fun.

Journalist of the year: While I feel Adam Wheeler is probably the most professional journalist in the GP paddock and rightly deserves his place as FIM journo of the year, I am going with David Bulmer for our journalist of the year. Bulmer is a bit of a strange fellow, loves adventure and enjoys life to the maximum, but his journalist skills are also impressive. Travelling from England to Thailand via train, or driving thousands of kilometers from one GP to the next shows that his passion for the sport and life is pretty impressive. He also works for Vurbmoto in America and MXlarge in Europe, two of the biggest websites in the sport.

Photographer of the year: Ray Archer. While he might not be the most creative in the sport, his work ethic still remains number one. He works for KTM, Suzuki, and Honda and does a great job, and his images are seen throughout these pages and the pages of most of the leading MX magazines in the World. As a veteran of the media tent Archer just works harder and harder to give his clients a good service.

Online Media of the Year: MX-life.tv did a really great job in 2013 and some of the interviews, footage and presentation was first class. The amount of effort put into MX-life.tv should of course also be rewarded and Youthstream deserve a pat on the back for this service as it has made the FIM World Motocross Championship the biggest MX series in the World and the growth continues.

 
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