A few weeks ago, we caught up with the current MXGP World champion, Jeffrey Herlings, and talked about his return to racing. We ran the interviews as a podcast on the Valkenswaard GP weekend and obviously, not many people got the chance to listen to it. So, we decided to write it out and let you take another look.
Just a week or so from now and the Dutchman will be riding his bike, so I can imagine he is super pumped. Let’s hope we see him back sooner rather than later.
Firstly, good to have you back. How are you feeling, because I can imagine you probably went through a period of maybe even depression?
Well, I can tell you I am feeling great and I am not (depressed). I should be racing on the weekend and winning, unfortunately, I am not a healthy human being because I am healing from a foot injury. The timing is never right, but it happened just a couple of weeks before the season started. I prefer it now than leading the World championship and it happens five races from the end.
There was talk you would race in America, knowing you a little bit, I can’t imagine that was a goal because you always had your goals in Europe. What was the case about riding in America?
Well, I actually wanted to go, but logistical wise, if something happened to Tony, they would have nobody here in MXGP and three in America, with only Tom Vialle here for KTM. For KTM it wasn’t an option, although I would have dreamt to do it. It was a lifetime chance I would say, and I had to only spend three months there. I was prepared to do it, but I have an MXGP contract, so we couldn’t make it happen.
Coming back, I would imagine you would want a long time to prepare and come back winning. I spoke to Glenn Coldenhoff and he mentioned it takes like three months to get fit and you are not fit, so I am thinking, maybe Rhenen the Dutch championship race on May 30, or maybe Kegums in Latvia on June 16?
Obviously the longer the better, but KTM want me back as soon as possible, so whenever I can start training without pain, they pretty much want me to start racing. That is normal you know. I was wasn’t racing that weekend, I would be training anyway, so maybe it isn’t good to line up at Mantova and finished 15th, but we would practice anyway, so the tent will be full, I will be there signing autographs and things like that. So, when I am capable of riding and pain-free, I will race as quickly as possible. It won’t be for podium finishes, but I am mentally prepared for that.
Can you make a goal that you go for 10 GP wins or something like that and then go into 2020 close to Everts record?
Hard to say. When I go out, I want to win, but I know that isn’t realistic, but definitely the second part of the season I want to be back where I was. I know the first five races, I will just be lining up, but once those races are done, I want to be like the Jeffrey Herlings we all know, and winning races.
So, you won’t start riding until the end of April, so you think it would be possible to be racing two weeks after that?
For riding around yes, for winning never, maybe not even for top ten. I will practice anyway and if that is a 10th or 15th, or whatever, I just need to be realistic.
I watched you on Dutch television and it was like you didn’t really want to be there talking about your injury.
Yes, because I feel like, I don’t know why it happens to me. I never crash, but when I do crash, I break something. This time I just hit my foot between the wall and some dirt and the bike. I just looked at it and figured it was broken. I rode for three months, November, December and January and I didn’t crash once. So, one small crash and my foot shattered. I just don’t understand why.
Ray Archer images