Josh Herrin: Down The Rabbit Hole
It’s a tough time to be an American Motorcycle racing fan.
Considering the legacy crafted by Kenny Roberts Sr, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Kenny Roberts Jr., Nicky Hayden, and their fifteen world titles in GPs alone (not counting WSBK), we can’t help but wonder when, or indeed if, America will re-emerge as a source of top riders.
It’s tough being a fan, but again considering the above history, any American rider has some big shoes to fill. Colin Edwards charmed fans around the world with his personality and courage on two wheels but never, for there is sometimes no justice in this cruel sport, managed to win a race. Ben Spies became the only non-alien to win a dry MotoGP race, but never managed to claim full-time membership in the elite club of repeat 4-stroke GP race winners.
Our national series is a shadow of its former self, especially when compared to the motorcycle racing development going on in Spain. Is it even possible to compare two such disparate programs? It’s certainly not an apples to apples comparison, and more like apples to raisons, or apples to rocks.
In the midst of the sorry situation that is the AMA Pro Roadracing series, Josh Herrin is carrying the Stars and Stripes into the GP show.
As reigning AMA Superbike champ, Herrin is certainly one of the top American motorcycle racers. But he faces substantial challenges coming into a series with experience earned racing in the US. Most of his competitors have been racing on the GP tracks for years, are accustomed to the extensive travel all all that goes along with it, and few of them have recently been racing liter bikes and have to adjust to the smaller CC Moto2 spec.
It has been a rough first half of the season for Herrin. I spoke to his crew chief, Mark Woodage (AKA ‘Brains’) at Losail and he was very impressed with how Herrin was adapting, especially considering the steep learning curve the 24-year-old rider faced.
Since then there have been a lot of crashes and bad luck, much of which Herrin talks about in this piece published recently on Cycle World.
I hope Herrin can stay positive and get past the lousy breaks he has had. He certainly has the talent to compete in Moto2. He just needs time to adjust to a situation that is very different from anything he’s experienced so far.