In what will make for a huge additional storyline in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450MX finale (that features three riders in contention for the title), Red Bull KTM's MXGP contender Jeffrey Herlings has apparently contacted the AMA and has entered this weekend's Indiana National at Ironman Raceway. We hear he has been given the number 784 to use this weekend.
Neither Herlings nor KTM have made an official announcement, but Herlings did tell our Grand Prix scribe Adam Wheeler he planned to fly to the U.S. a week early to prepare for the upcoming MXGP of the Americas at the WW Ranch in Florida. Herlings said he would go to Aldon Baker's "Baker's Factory" to see how that operation works, but it appears now that he's also decided to take on an extra race while he's here.
In his rookie season on a 450, Herlings is currently second in MXGP points, but down 101 to Antonio Cairoli. That means that racing at Ironman is probably not going to risk a championship.
Herlings was scheduled to come race a Lucas Oil Pro Motocross round once before, as he planned to race the 250 Class at Unadilla in 2014, but he suffered a broken femur a few weeks before the race.
With the 450 National Championship still up for grabs between Eli Tomac, Blake Baggett, and Marvin Musquin, Herlings' entry makes an even wilder weekend that much more intriguing. Folks in Europe might want to subscribe to NBC Sports Gold right now!
[Update: 8/22 @ 4 p.m. EST]
We've heard from a source that Herlings will need to do some testing this week on an AMA-spec (production) bike before making the final decision on racing. He's entered, so if he likes the bike, he'll be ready to go.
[Update: 8/23 @ 7:30 P.M. EST]
Herlings and Red Bull KTM have now confirmed that he will race this Saturday.
Says Herlings in a KTM press release: “Since I was already coming to the U.S. to prepare for the hot and humid conditions that we’re going to face in Florida, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to race against the best riders in America while I am already here. I’m looking forward to a fun weekend with the team.”