ONLY 20 GP RIDERS SIGN UP FOR BRAZIL & MEXICO FLY-AWAYS
With over 70 riders signing up every week to contest their respective AMA 250 or 450 National classes, it is sad that the 2014 Grand Prix series will end on a deflated not . On the official entry list for the Brazilian Grand Prix on September 7 there are only 20 riders signed up for each class — and those numbers are skewed a little. For example, the 250 GP class lists Jeffrey Herlings as a starter, but KTM says that Herlings’ plan is to try to heal up from his broken femur enough to try to earn a few points at the final round in Mexico on February 14. To do more would risk his career if something went wrong and he fell on his leg. Plus, two of the 20 riders in the 250 class are South American’s (Hector Assuncao and Edrews Armstrong), who while well meaning, are not GP caliber. That leaves the field at 17 official GP riders.
It’s worse in the 450 class as five of the 20 entered riders are from Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador or Venezuela (Jhonatan Carbajal, Humberto Martin, Anderson Cidade, Matos Wellington and Jetro Salazar). That means that only 15 regular GP riders will go to the line. Even if they found more Brazilian, Mexican, or South American wild cards to beef up the fields — those are not the same quality wild cards as you would find from the British, French, Dutch or German Championships.
Every rider who enters the Brazilian Grand Prix will earn GP points — and this situation was so predictable that it is the linchpin of how injured Jeffrey Herlings hopes to hang on his 2014 250 World Championship points lead from Jordi Tixier. KTM knew that there would not be enough riders in the final fly-away races and that if Herlings showed up in Mexico at 50% he still might earn enough points to hold off Tixier’s charge. Even worse for the sport, the TV audience will shrink because of the time difference forcing the show to air in the late night time slot. Why are the GP’s ending their season thousands of miles away from their home crowds, race shops and sponsors? Is this all for the benefit of Giuseppe Luongo’s bank account? Because none of this benefits the sport, the teams, the fans, the manufacturers or the riders. The GP’s should end at the best European GP track available—not in some field in Mexico.
There are great riders in the FIM World Championships, but the series has bush league management.