Welcome to our web-exclusive weekly column: Transmoto's MXGP Insider, presented by Kawasaki.
Last weekend's Motocross Grand Prix Festival, held at the Matterley Basin circuit in the south of England, was a huge success. More than 600 riders spread over 10 different classes made the event massive. Yeah, it was hot, but the beautiful sun shining all weekend was so much more pleasant than the pouring rain the rest of the 2012 Grand Prix season has been forced to endure.
Event promoter, Steve Dixon, might not have been out and racing on the weekend, but the passion and dedication this man shows towards the sport is unparalleled. It's not about money for Dixon, as it's about doing something in a manner that people will look back and remember positively. I can't fault the man. He makes it so easy for people to respect him, and there are barely words that could do him justice to describe just how much value he pours into the sport.
So often presented with the sour end of the deal, due to issues which took place nearly 10 years ago, Youthstream deserves mention. This company should be given respect for the vision they have for the sport. Delegates from Thailand and India got to witness some really good Motocross racing, and will now go home and spread the word. The State of Qatar is lining up for a shot at running a Grand Prix in the near future, and so many others will follow.
The British community, still on a high from the London Olympics, showed great support for Tommy Searle and his fellow competitors. What impressed me the most however, was the way the crowd also showed a considerable amount of respect towards Jeffrey Herlings. Had this Grand Prix been held a month or so ago, it might have been a different story, but there were no negative signs to be seen, and no name-calling. The crowd just let Herlings get on with his job, and what a brilliant job he did, despite two minor mistakes.
When British legend, Dave Thorpe, led the 600 or so riders around the Matterley Basin circuit, it wasn't hard to get emotional. Many people cried, from FIM and Youthstream big-boys, to the mothers and fathers of those small kids who got the chance to live their dream for a day. I've never seen anything like it, and I for one, for this reason, hope this event continues for decades to come.
The people who came out to the event, to help Steve Dixon make it what it was, are the heroes hidden in the shadows. Those who cleaned toilets, picked up rubbish, the flag marshals, and anyone else who came along and played their part. Compared to the 2006 Motocross of Nations and GP, or even last year's GP, this was on a whole different level, and Dixon and his merry men should all be very proud.
All in all, it was a great step in the right direction for giving young riders the feeling of what a Grand Prix feels like. As the British version was a huge success, there's talk beginning to surface of more of these these popping up throughout the 2013 MXGP season. If that happens, we can expect to see riders up to the standard of Blake Baggett, Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac coming out of Europe in the near future.