Vurbmoto.com's senior analysts dissect the hardest hitting questions in the industry.
Which single rider was the biggest standout of the Olympics of Motocross?
Brent Stallo (Proud of our boys) - I don't think anyone can deny that Tony Cairoli was the biggest standout from Lommel. He's had his ups and downs at this race in the past but he proved to be the best in the world (at least in the sands of Lommel) at this year's MXoN. Not only did he post up perfect 1-1 results but he propelled what many believed to be a weak overall Italian team to a 5th OA. I was also pumped on Germany's, Marcus Schiffer. I've rode him hard leading up to the race as the weak link on the otherwise strong German team but he proved me wrong with impressive 7-14 moto scores. Nagl and Roczen may have been the rockstars of the German team but perhaps the most influential result in their win came out of Schiffer.
Troy Bendgen (Lives in America) - I should of written the Clueless feature this week because I don't have the CBS Sports channel and I didn't have the cash to shell out for the internet coverage. Here's what I do know, Antonio Cairoli killed it. He was the only guy to go 1-1 and beat the best sand rider in the world Jeffrey Herlings. He had that track dialed and showed the world that he was the king of the MXdN 2012.
David Bulmer (Lives in Europe) - I pretty much expected Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings to split the moto wins at the MXoN. I wasn't sure who'd take the third moto but the way that race played out, I think both of them can hold their head up and obviously, I can't pick two riders because the question is for one. Therefore my answer is going to be Tanel Leok. With essentially nothing on the line but individual pride, he went 2-4 against the toughest racers in the world. He beat all the guys who were battling for Nations glory and did so with barely any fanfare or coverage. He got his first podium of the year at Lierop, so when people talk about sand riders, his name definitely needs to be mentioned.
Choose one 250 and 450 rider. Who were the two best riders in the world in 2012?
Brent Stallo (All Knowing) - 450: I still think Ryan Villopoto is the best 450 rider in the world. Sure, his injury didn't quite allow us to see that in 2012 but when it comes down to it I don't think anyone can match his speed straight up. I feel Cairoli is definitely in the conversation as well and while I will probably get bashed by the European community for saying this I still believe that to be the best you have to be the best in all disciplines, which includes supercross. Cairoli hasn't done that and while I don't blame him for going after Everts' World Championship record, I have a hard time saying that he is the best "all around" rider in the world right now.
250: To me Eli Tomac was probably the best 250 rider in the world in 2012. He was an absolute beast on the West Coast in supercross and while he wasn't able to lock up an outdoor title he impressed the hell out of me towards the end of the season. It's really a tough call between Tomac and Barcia, though. Both looked superb this year and both could easily take the honor of being the best 250 rider of 2012. I would include Baggett in on this conversation had his SX season not been so disappointing.
Troy Bendgen (Family originated in Germany...) - 450: All of the top riders were hurt this season in the United States. If all of the superstars had been healthy I feel that our choices would have been way different. According to Bulmer, all I care about is American motocross, so I should stick with USA born riders because all I care about is America. Either way you have to be in it to win it, and Ryan Dungey proved he was the best rider in both racing disciplines. As for everyone stating that Cairoli doesn't have the balls to come race supercross, I don't blame him. Supercross is a death trap where everybody gets hurt, I wouldn't want to race it either.
250: I have to go with Justin Barcia. He was the most consistent lites rider in both supercross and oudoors. He had a total of three races this season where he didn't land on the podium. He won twelve races, seven of them were supercross main events and the East/West Shootout.
David Bulmer (Has a European passport) - The best 450 rider of 2012 was Ryan Dungey, he came 2nd in SX and 1st in the outdoors. However, the best 350 rider in the world was Antonio Cairoli and seeing as I weigh the importance of SX, somewhere between Trials and Synchronised Swimming, it doesn't bother me in the slightest whether AC heads to America at any stage of his career to compete in that completely different discipline.
As for 250, I'm going for Jeffrey Herlings because while Justin Barcia, Eli Tomac and Blake Baggett all won titles, the tie-breaker went down to whoever lapped the other guys first, therefore Herlings has to take it. In all seriousness, I do think Herlings was phenomenal all year long, with Baggett being second best 250 guy (see my earlier reference to SX, and then move the regional titles somewhere between ballet and backgammon). 2013 could be even more dominant for the pair but seeing as how much fun it is to watch them ride, I'm not really minding too much.
The German team gets home field advantage next MXoN. If next years team is as strong as this years will they win two years in a row?
Brent Stallo (USA) - It's definitely possible. I don't think anyone can argue that. As I stated in my first answer, Marcus Schiffer is the key to this team. I had him pinned as the weak link but he came through in a huge way in Lommel. However, I honestly think 2013 will be a completely different ball game. Lommel gave the Europeans an advantage that i don't think the Americans could have prepared for. The hype about Lommel being the toughest sand track in the land proved true but that won't be the case in Germany in 2013, meaning the Americans will be competing on a much more even playing field.
Troy Bendgen (The motherland won!) - I believe if they have the same team they can win it twice in a row. Even if they do beat USA again I won't be mad. As of right now my country(s) hasn't lost a MXoN in eight years. Both sides of my family originated in Germany and I took a year of the language in 8th grade, so technically I am from there. With the home crowd cheering them on next year and Ken Roczen leading the way they will be a tough team to beat. One thing is for sure, it's going to be hard to stop a fired up team America next year. Viel Gluck!
David Bulmer (Abides by the laws, set by the King and Queen of Europe) - They certainly stand a better chance than if Belgium won it this year. Belgium have six awesome MX1 riders to pick from and two average MX2 guys, meaning they are pretty much screwed next year. However Germany have Ken Roczen under-23 for a few more years, so they definitely have a good chance to repeat and together with Great Britain and Italy, they stand the best chance of stopping the USA for inflicting revenge in 2013. What you probably won't see is anyone lapping 10secs quicker than anyone else, because the GP this year was a one-lined procession...