Have you ever noticed that riding talent seems to arrive in waves? A good, or even great, rider arrives at the pro ranks now and then, but it is typically a slow process of replacing the guys at the top.
Then, all of a sudden, a wave of new talent crashes on the pro beach. Think about it, in roadracing we have Jason Disalvo, Roger Lee Hayden, and Ben Spies. In motocross, along comes Broc Hepler, Davi Millsaps, Josh Grant, and, soon, Mike Alessi.
These guys could be dominating roadracing and motocross in just a few years, with today’s big stars fading into the background (with the exception of James Stewart and Chad Reed, who are still very young themselves). All of these guys have stepped out of the amateur ranks ready to run at the front as pros.
At first, you don’t want to believe that your old favorites are getting outgunned by the young punks. This new generation won’t be denied, however. Motocross is perhaps the best example. Last year, Grant Langston, Mike Brown and Ryan Hughes had their own personal war going on (at least, before Bubba showed up for the latter rounds). This year, behind Stewart, Hughes can’t hang with the youngsters (particularly Hepler) on his two-stroke KTM, and Brown seems to run the same pace as the new guys on his four-stroke YZ. These rookies are damn fast. They will only get faster with experience.
The same thing may happen in roadracing. Disalvo, Spies, and the youngest Hayden brother each have huge potential, and they are already hanging with the older, more experienced racers (sometimes beating them).
The old favorites may end up with some bruised egos, but the future of motorcycle racing in this country looks awfully bright.