Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings might not have won last weekend’s Axel International race—that honor went to Romain Febvre, while Jeffrey was 2nd overall—but you can be sure he isn’t going into this week’s Grand Prix in Latvia concerned. After easily winning the opening moto, he then got stuck behind some riders in a first-lap crash and came around in last place. After fighting his way through the field, on a track that wasn’t easy to pass, he cruised to a top-five finish.
There was a rumor running through Holland last week that the Dutchman had a minor head injury, and as it turns out, he did knock his head a little and that was why he missed the Arnhem International last week. Our friend Tim Gerth had a quick chat with “The Bullet” yesterday and was kind enough to let us run the interview. I did translate from Dutch, so excuses to Tim or Jeffrey if it’s a little out of context, although I am pretty sure it’s okay.
How was the day for you?
Solid day back racing. I holeshot moto one, but after one lap there was red flag. They restarted the race and I holeshot again and got a decent win. Second moto a few riders crashed going into the first turn, even though I didn’t crash I rode into them and my front wheel was stuck in someone else his bike. Due to that I restart the race in last place and worked my way up to the front guys again. Got close to the leading group and managed to finish 5th with around five seconds behind the leader.
Why didn’t you do the Arnhem event?
I had a small injury and KTM said take some rest.
You had a concussion or something?
I was just a bit dizzy and with your brain, you can better take it easy, not take any risk with it. I didn’t have any problem with it, but just took it easy and didn’t race Arnhem because of that.
You going to Latvia to win?
That is the goal, with the coronavirus thing you don’t know what will happen, maybe in two or three months we are all back in lockdown.
Axel was a nice event to do?
Apart from the two KTM guys and Gasjer, nearly everyone else was here. Thanks to the KNMV for organizing these races for us
The second race was tough with the start you had.
The first race I just did my thing, and then second, I started a long way back and to pass 35 guys before I got to the fifth place. The track was really busy, and a lot of different speeds and I have had enough things happen in my career, so I didn’t take any risks.
So, the goal is to keep that red plate because you don’t know when this championship will end?
The goal is to keep the red plate and do my best. We do our best and we are leading by nine points and third is even further behind.
Are you keeping away from people because you still have to do your coronavirus test before heading to Latvia?
Yes. If you have a cold you still race and if you have coronavirus most young people are okay with it, so it is difficult for the riders. I wear a face mask of course.
What is the goal for the future?
If I can get more than 100 GP wins, I have 88 and I need 13 to catch Stefan (Everts) and one to catch Antonio (Cairoli) to have the most, so that is a goal. I have no ambition to race until I am 35. I have had injuries, I have a three-year contract with KTM, so we will see what happens after that.
Bavo Swijgers images