Had you told anyone Glenn Coldenhoff would or should be mentioned in the same sentence as the two greatest Grand Prix riders of all time, Stefan Everts and Antonio Cairoli, I think just about everyone would ask why. Well, last weekend the Dutchman joined the two legends as the only rider in 40 years, and maybe ever to go 1-1-1-1 in two years of the MXoN.
Everts did it in 1998 (England) and 1999 (Brazil) and Cairoli in 2012 (Belgium) and 2013 (Germany). It isn’t hard to think his 1-1 performance at Redbud was a one-off, his one day in his career he would be in such a position, but now, with two Grand Prix wins in 2019, and his second 1-1 at the Nations, it is clear this is more than just a day that the stars were aligned or he got lucky.
It might be hard to find a nicer person in the GP paddock, and while there are many, the quiet, respectful Coldenhoff has one eye on the 2020 MXGP championship, a championship that will be fought between legends Cairoli, Herlings, Gajser and that teenager Prado. Adding the name Coldenhoff to that list seems crazy, but on his privateer Standing Construct KTM, it would be stupid not to include him.
We decided not to bother him at Assen on Sunday, as his media requirements were a little more than crazy. Probably 20 or 30 interviews all talking about the same thing. He was kind enough to call me this morning and explain the weekend of his life.
Firstly, congratulations again on your amazing weekend. How was your Sunday night, did you party or just go home?
As soon as it finished, I went to bed for sure. We hadn’t achieved anything like that before. And for me, same as last year and in front of the home crowd and in front of our King, it was a special day. We actually took it very easy, because I wasn’t tired from the racing, but tired from all the media and everything else.
I think that the weather also makes people tired, the wind and rain.
Yes, because preparing for a race like that is hard, with making decisions with the goggles and talking about stops for new goggles and you need to prepare. Although, I didn’t have any trouble with my goggles.
I was looking at some statistics from the MXoN and only two men in the last 40 years have gone 1-1 two years in a row: Stefan Everts in 1998 and 1999 and Antonio Cairoli in 2012 and 2013. That is pretty good company, right?
Yes, that is special. And those two guys the only guys who did that?
From the last 40 years, yes. But from the 70s, 60s, and 50s it is a little hard to find out, but I will try and find out. But still, the two best GP riders ever and you are in their company. Well done Glenn. What is also rather interesting, Stefan won his first 1-1 in the mud in England and the second was in Brazil, so a little similar to your mud experiences and racing outside of Europe in USA.
I was speaking to Jeffrey about it, and he said he has never gone 1-1 and he went 1-2-1-2 and now you tell me this, it is even more impressive.
Tell me, your family. I have seen your brother around a lot, and your dad was in the same bar at the hotel on the Saturday night of the Nations. They are always around and seem really supportive. You have a good family, which obviously is important.
Yes, sure. When I was younger, I did everything with them together. My mum would prepare the food for the races and we started small, just race by race and it started going up and my brother stopped his racing career, and he also liked to party and stuff like that and my parents would say you need to work hard for it, or stop and enjoy life. I was the only one putting the effort in, but still, my brother is always there and supporting me and it is nice to have them around. During race weekends, my dad is helping with cleaning and stuff like that. The family is still close, and it is nice to have them around.
The event itself is huge, but then you get to meet the King. How were you in that? I mean often when meeting famous people, it can be rather nervy and even surreal. How were you?
For me, it was a big honor to meet him. I was speaking to Jeffrey about it because he had already met the King. In the morning we were talking about it and I asked what should we say to the King. But it went smooth and he enjoyed the racing and I am happy we could win it for the King because if we didn’t win we would have had a different conversation.
I saw a lot of photos of him on Paulin’s bike and other things. He is a good King, but it is nice to see that.
Yes, it was, and it was also on the front page of all the newspapers in Holland, which is good for the sport.
A lot of interest, but tell me about that, now many interviews did you have to do?
No, not at all, you go from one to another and it looks like it never stops. It was really crazy, and I never had it like that before and if you look at the newspaper it is nice to have a lot of attention and great for the motocross.
I mean that ads another element to it, and obviously Jeffrey has taken the sport to a new level in Holland, but now do you also feel you can do your part to help the sport grow in Holland?
Yes, Jeffrey has helped with his four World titles. An event like this, the Motocross des Nations, in Holland and we win it, that helps for sure and gives the sport more attention.
You have gone 1-1 two years in a row at the Motocross of Nations, you win two GPs in a row and could have had four if Jeffrey had been friendlier to you and not passed on the final laps, now, everyone is talking about 2020, with a nine-time World champion in Antonio Cairoli, a four-time World champion in Jeffrey Herlings, a three-time World champion in Tim Gajser, a two time World champion in Jorge Prado, and now Glenn Coldenhoff joins that group. How does that feel?
It would be something.
Well, you must feel confident?
Yes, sure, sure. But, this year there were a lot of guys injured and it is a part of the sport and the amount of risk you take and you need to handle those difficult times and I think if I go like I have the last races, I can be up there. I mean last season and even this season, it is hard mentally when you give 100% and finish seventh. You have to believe in yourself, but sometimes it is hard to keep believing, but now, I have won a lot of races and the last time I won races was 2015, but to have that now in my mind, I feel I can do that again next year.
So, do you want to put yourself on cotton wool buds now, or do you wish the 2020 season was already here?
It has been a really tough season; I have always been playing catch-up with my body and with the injury and I am happy it is over. Catching up and riding as hard as you can, the whole season was like that and it was hard, and I am glad it is finished.
So, what is the plan now for the off-season? Some races, or just rest?
We will do some testing next week, with some new parts and all that. I will have four weeks off, then in November, we will start all over again. I will go and watch the Monster Energy Cup, that is something I have always wanted to do. I will make a small trip around USA with my girlfriend, also try and visit some sponsors in California. So, just a little time off and then it all starts again.
Last question, the injury last winter. I spoke to Tim (Mathys) and he mentioned it was a lot worse than the team let on. How bad was it, did you ever think it might be over for you?
Well, not stop, not like that, but I still have some pain now, and that is something I feel will never go away. If I am busy during the day with my body, I feel my back is sore and it might take a long time to recover, or maybe it never recovers, but I never had in my mind I would never race again.
Photos by: Ray Archer