Liam Everts might have only taken his first major overall victory a month or two ago around the Matterley Basin circuit, winning the EMX125 class, but the work that has gone into that moment on the podium in England goes back a long way, maybe as far back as when he was held in the arms of his father on the podium at Namur in 2006 when “The King” held his son aloft in his seventh victory at the legendary Citadel.
The name Everts has been famous in the sport of motocross for 50 years when Grandfather Harry was himself taking GP victories and World championships. To think that Harry would have a son who would more than double his accomplishments is amazing, but now its Liam’s turn, and at 15 years of age you get the feeling he will himself stand on the top of a GP podium in the future. Matching his father’s statistics seems unlikely, just as it seems unlikely anyone will ever reach those goals, despite Antonio Cairoli coming so close, but if he can become a world-class rider, then that itself would be a massive achievement.
Getting the chance to do my first interview with the son of the King was special, and I was pleasantly surprised that Liam has the same straight forward way of answering questions and you can feel his confidence, this just a 15-year-old kid.
Sometimes you can see a rider and you know he is going to have something special, but the mental side of the sport is probably 70% as Antonio Cairoli once told me, and having spoken to Liam Everts, you get the feeling his head is in the right place and I have to admit, I am more excited than ever to see him race again after listening to the knowledge this young teenager already has.
For those who wanted to become a Liam Everts fan, or follow him a little closer, you can also check out his website at liameverts72.com.
Liam, thanks for your time. I am guessing you can’t ride, and you have to do schoolwork from home?
Pretty good thanks. The lockdown has been alright. I can ride in the forest here and keeping busy with physical training. I do home school, but my exams didn’t go through, and that is a bummer. We go for the next one.
Tell me, the pressure of being an Everts, how is that to deal with?
Last year, I had big problems with that the first time at the GPs where the big guys were riding and I didn’t really know how to work that out. It forced me a bit to ride differently, but this year I just ride, have fun, do my homework, and just ride as I do through the week.
Your dad mentioned you are seeing a sports therapist and he is also. I can imagine any therapist can tell us things we just can’t pick up on normally. How much has that helped?
For me, a lot. Especially the communication with Dad and that wasn’t always easier, and he also communicates with me better. A lot better than last year for sure.
Your Dad and Granddad have massive stories from the sport of motocross. Do you watch many old videos of your Dad?
Yes, actually a lot. I really enjoy them, especially the 1990’s and now I am getting into 2001 and 2002. It is nice to look back at what he has achieved and all the places he has been in England, or Brazil. It is cool to see the tracks back in the day and how the riders rode back then.
Have you seen any videos of you back on the podium with your Dad as a baby?
No, I think a few I watched—from Namur in 2006—but I watch more of the 1990s on the HRC days.
It is funny because I often say to your Dad how good he looked on that HRC bike. For me, the late 1990s he was at his peak, and he won a lot of big races. Why do you like watching those 90s videos?
Yes, I mean, once the 4-strokes came through on the Yamaha, I didn’t feel like he fit the Yamaha as he fit on the Honda, but the last year on the Yamaha in 2006, I think Yamaha came up with a new bike and he looked better on it. The thing I noticed also was the exhaust, it was so big on that Yamaha. Oon the 250 it was small, and you didn’t even notice it.
Obviously you won at Matterley Basin and I am guessing a lot of people were asking when Liam is going to start winning. Everyone expects that from an Everts. The Matterley Basin, what a performance! Your Grandad was crying, your Dad was holding back tears. For us, the ones who watched your Dad’s career, it was like watching a little Stefan riding around. How was it for you?
Yes, for me, I was just doing my thing and I wasn’t thinking about the podium at all. That hit me on the train on the way back home. It was nice to be a little like my Grandad or my Dad, and also create my own little style, which I like to have. It is a long way to go and it was just one race win. It is a bummer it all stops now, but even in Valkenswaard I showed many things I am capable of. I believe I am capable of more.
You made a pass for the lead on that same corner your Dad made famous in 2006 at the Motocross of Nations when he passed James Stewart. Was that something you thought about previously, afterward, or did it just happen and no big deal?
I didn’t really notice it until after when I watched the race back. The leader made a mistake. I was just about to pass him and right at the last minute he wasn’t going to jump and I just passed him in the corner. Like I said, I didn’t notice at the time, just later.
Obviously you worked with Ben Townley in New Zealand many years ago. How was that and how different is Ben compared to your Dad?
It is a few years ago now already. It was a really nice time in my life and my Mum and Dad were having trouble with Suzuki and the team was getting shut down and they were having a tough time. I learned a lot in that period. I went from a top 10 guy—I was so small I couldn’t even handle the bike—and I came back after going to New Zealand and I was winning, I caught them in one winter.
Did that mature you quickly? Because you were like 12 or something and a long way from your parents.
It is hard to say. I was on my own and it taught me a lot about life and I never got homesick. I even surprised myself with that.
Do you have guys you look up to, racers?
I really like Cooper Webb and Jorge Prado. Webb is cool to watch. He is so small, but he still does it, and Jorge isn’t big and strong, but he rides with his technique and that shows that anyone can have a shot at the title.
Can you describe who you are as a 15-year-old?
It is hard to say. I think more relaxed at the moment than last year—getting more confident—but not overconfident. I am excited to race again. I am not sure how to answer your question.
May 4th the tracks were opened in Belgium. How excited are you to get back riding on the tracks like Lommel again?
I haven’t ridden there yet. Lommel won’t open until the 14th, because they didn’t get permission from the hospitals yet that if something happens they can go to the hospital. That is what they are waiting on. Of course, hopefully, we get the green light. I am very excited to race again and in Belgium, it won’t start until September. I think we have to wait until September to race and if we can’t leave the country, there won’t be races for anyone. It is nice to train again, but we want to race.
You just won an EMX overall, you are 15, but what are the short-term goals? Do you want to go through the classes quickly, or are you happy to take your time?
Of course, I want to be in MX2 as soon as possible in a top team. I don’t know when it will happen, but I need to focus and I want to win. I am not a fifth-place guy, I want to win. Also, in the EMX250, I don’t know what the plans are, and maybe they don’t do the European rounds or not.