MotoOnline.com.au editor Alex Gobert takes a look at the next generation in motorcycle racing - our standout rookie performers.
I watch with great interest many disciplines of motorcycle racing around the globe, and the striking thing to me in recent years is the amount of rookie standout riders who continue to emerge each season.
Whether it’s in road racing, motocross, or even off-road, shining new stars seem to keep popping up and pushing their individual sports to entirely new levels as the proven players improve their game too.
While there are simply too many to mention in one blog, a few standout rookies who come to mind this year have to be Ben Spies in World Superbike, Josh Waters in Australian Superbike, Cal Crutchlow in World Supersport, Troy Herfoss in Australian Supersport, Ty Simmonds and Todd Waters in their classes of the Australian MX Nationals, Ryan Villopoto and Josh Grant in AMA Supercross and Motocross, and even Tony Price in Australian Off-Road.
These are just a few names that spring to mind for 2009, but looking back to last year you have to remember that riders such as Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso were rookies in MotoGP and are now established GP winners, with a youthful field taking over road racing’s premier class.
In Motocross both here in Australia and abroad the average age seems to be on a downward spiral as the next generation breaks through, giving us, the spectators, some of the most intriguing times that motorcycle racing has seen in a long time worldwide.
But what is it about these young chargers that make them raise our favourite sports to whole new levels?
Earlier this decade we saw James Stewart invent the ‘Bubba Scrub’ that even club level riders are incorporating into their riding to a certain extent, while the likes of Rossi and co have started this all-new phase of dangling their legs into turns on road race bikes.
The sport is all about evolution for both man and machine, but something tells me that we’re currently living in a very special time for motorcycle racing, kind of like back in the last century when Supercross racers started doubling and tripling jumps in stadiums, while road racers started scraping their knees.
Every so often there is an acceleration in sport, and to me, that time seems to be happening all over again right now as the stars of today begin to push the envelope in hope of becoming the best.
I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.