Open Mic: Jeffrey Herlings

Open Mic: Jeffrey Herlings

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Jeffrey Herlings could well be the fastest teenager on the planet. A double world champion and owner of 30 Grands Prix two months before his 19th birthday, the Red Bull KTM rider is already the most successful motocrosser from his native Holland and a peerless sand racer. Herlings has just three rounds remaining from the seventeen in the FIM Motocross World Championship to mark an unparalleled perfect GP season. Here are some of his comments after wrapping-up his second crown on the bounce with win number fourteen at Loket on Sunday.

On his title winning weekend…
It has been really crazy with so many press, friends and close people to me who came here to support. It was like I was in Holland! There were so many Dutch fans and without them it would have felt pretty lonely, so it is really good all those guys were here. It was a fun weekend. I had a good first moto and almost had the holeshot but I was in the lead quickly and managed to win with about 35 seconds or so. In the second moto my start was so-so but I worked my way up to the front. After about ten minutes I had control and then just cruised around. Winning both motos and a second championship is something I’m obviously really pleased about today. It’s wonderful.

On the second crown compared to his first in 2012…
It is totally different. Last year I had to work my butt off to win that championship. Tommy [Searle] was really good and I really had to fight for it. 2012 was tough with so many ups and downs. It was an emotional title whereas this year was way easier. Winning all fourteen GPs up to now meant it was not so difficult. I lost only two motos because of crashes at the start. There are a lot of good riders in MX2 but I managed to have a better pace. This year was less emotional but I did the best that I could and I’m really pumped to win again. Red Bull KTM have supported me all the way and it is an amazing feeling.

On comparisons to former GP teammate Ken Roczen and Pit Beirer saying Herlings is the outstanding young talent GP racing has seen…
Ken Roczen … the kid is on another level but if I raced him now I believe I could really fight with him. Two years ago he dominated here but not like I did this season. I also won five GPs that year [2011]. He was better that season but I’m head and shoulders above anyone else this time around and I work really hard to be so. The competition is strong in MX2 but this year I was able to be better. That Pit says that on the TV is really nice.

Herlings continues his run at a perfect season in Belgium August 18.
Ray Archer photo

On the level of attention from national press and mainstream media coverage…
It is good for the sport, for my image and just everything! It will be really nice to go home tomorrow with two championships but first we’ll have a good party tonight at KTM and celebrate what we have worked for all year.

On work still to do in 2013…
I hope to win the last three MX2 GPs and go undefeated. That has never happened in the history of the sport over here. It would be amazing. There is still some pressure. Last year when I won the championship I pretty much did nothing for two weeks afterwards and was just enjoying it and celebrating. This time we still have three rounds to go and I want to keep in good shape and win those and think ahead to the Nations. Teutschenthal is a difficult track for me and we haven’t decided which bike we’ll race yet. It will be nice to battle with some Americans and of course Tony [Cairoli, teammate and MX1 World Champion].

On awareness of his achievements so far…
It has not gone that far into my mind yet. Everything is going so fast. I only started in GPs four years ago and to have arrived to this point with thirty wins and two titles and being on the podium so many times is such a good feeling. Maybe when I’m older I’ll realise what I accomplished at this age.

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