Monday
Jul162018

Ryan Sipes Wins Pennsylvania Sprint Enduro Nail-biter

Ryan Sipes won a dramatic LL Raceway Sprint Enduro in Fairmount, Pennsylvania at teh weekend, coming from behind in the final test to edge out Steward Baylor and Josh Strang – who crashed in the final corner. 

 

After struggling with the conditions on Saturday, Ryan Sipes entered Sunday’s round 22 seconds out of the lead but the Rockstar Energy/Leatt/Maxxis Husqvarna rider turned things around for an incredible cliff hanger finish to Sunday’s race. 

Winning all three of Sunday’s Cross tests and finishing with two seconds and a third in the Enduro tests, Sipes cut Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Strang lead right back. A crash by Strang within sight of the finish in the last test of the weekend sealed the win for Sipes and dropped him to third overall behind Tely Racing’s Baylor in the final results. 

“I was a little bit too cautious on Saturday and that put me down in the start order, which meant I was riding in the dust,” said Sipes. “I had kind of given up on winning the overall, but then when I won that first Cross test this morning it put me in a good spot and I was able to overcome the deficit.”

 

Ryan sipes Sprint Enduro llr 038 1 Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: Shan Moore

 

On Saturday, Strang came out on top of a tight battle with former motocross star Broc Hepler to lead the event after day one. The Aussie off-road star finished Saturday with a 12-second advantage over Hepler who had to pull out of day two after twisting a knee. Sipes, on the other hand, was way back in fifth, 22-seconds behind.  

On Sunday, Sipes cut five seconds from Strang’s lead in the first test. Baylor won the next test, an Enduro test, with Sipes in second and Strang down in sixth. Sipes won the next Cross test with Strang in second and Baylor in third.

Sipes went on to win the final Cross test and finish second in one of the remaining Enduro tests, leaving him 0.4s ahead of Strang going into the final Enduro test. After two days of racing and 11 tests, the overall came down to the final test.

 

Sipes was first to ride and turned in a strong time before waiting at the finish line. Strang also had a good test but lost his front end in a soft berm within sight of the finish: “Going into that last Enduro test I figured I could go faster than Sipes. I was feeling good and I think I was on a good run but I just buried the front wheel in a soft berm and the front tucked and that was it.”

Baylor moved into second with the help of Strang’s crash, finishing three seconds faster than the Husqvarna rider. “I just never could get a break to get up front,” said Baylor. “It was really tight racing and whoever was up front and out of the dust had the advantage. Strang and I went back and forth all weekend.”

 

steward Baylor Sprint Enduro llr 019 1 Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: Shan Moore

 

Grant Baylor, riding the momentum of a big win at last weekend’s national enduro in Georgia, finished fourth, eight seconds off of Strang’s time. Layne Michael capitalized on a win in the final Enduro test to take fifth, 17 seconds behind Grant Baylor. 

Monday
Jul162018

Dissected: MXGP Pro

Diving into the new MXGP game

Monday, 16th July 2018 

Milestone have released many motocross games now, as the title that was released two weeks ago was their fourth MXGP game. It is incredible that a developer is so dedicated to the FIM Motocross World Championship but now, a little less than four years on from their first go, players demand excellence. Most are well aware that this is not their first rodeo.

Giving the fourth title in their franchise that name was supposed to indicate that Milestone were taking another step towards providing a realistic experience. The third edition was enjoyable for different reasons, but there were many quirks and faults that it was mediocre as a whole. It was possible to hit insane speeds and do flips down flat straights so, yeah, it was far from realistic. There was a lot of work to be done to this new game, hence why some were more sceptical than ever before. It seems the necessary steps were taken in order to produce a well-rounded game that really is realistic though.

It is normal to start a game with a stock bike and no additional parts, but that is never much of a problem. Throwing a game into a console for the first time and immediately taking a win against the hardest Ai, with pro physics and no practice laps, is quite normal, but this game is different. Although it is possible to do that on this, the physics ensure that getting lazy is just not an option. There have been a few comments online that the Ai are much improved and, although they have been refined slightly, it seems as though the physics are what really make the difference to players.

It is harder to win consistently, mainly because of the fact that throttle control and body positioning are so important. Coming out of a turn aggressively can be a recipe for disaster, depending on bike settings, and running it in hot can be as well. There is a chance that may sound familiar to the previous titles, as the second game punished those who attempted to force something. It was ridiculous on that title though and took away from the gameplay; it was just impossible to battle. This is different though and crashes only happen when required. It is important to stress that players can have close battles and get aggressive.

It has always been possible to change bike settings on motocross games from different developers, but doing that has never made much of a difference to the gameplay. One must get rid of that thought process now, however, as it is important to make tweaks before every race. It really does change the way that the physics work and how sluggish the bikes feel out of the corners. Going the wrong way with settings, which is easy to do, also makes it harder to ride and keep up with players online. Take note of the little hints and tips at the bottom of the settings page in the pit area. Those will alter your experience.

Expanding on the bike settings, a player must make changes to their set-up on every single track in order to be good at the game. Every change makes a massive difference to the way that bikes respond. It just keeps you on your toes, which adds to the longevity of the game. Every single race is different. Using the aggressive mapping whilst doing a mud race at Ernee is not a good idea at all, for instance, so things like that must be considered. It is also possible to make changes to suspension, the wheelbase, brake response and gearing. It is an in-depth experience and one that fans have just been crying out for.

The weather was mentioned there and is certainly worth expanding on. Milestone introduced muddy races on the previous game and, well, it was not good at all. It did not necessarily impact the way that bikes performed, but just slowed everything down and made it feel like you were stuck in second gear for a race. This is different though and more focus is put on throttle control, along with line choice. The popular lines do actually become slicker than other parts of the track. It is peculiar that does not happen on all of the circuits though; Ernee turns into an ice rink, but Villars sous Ecot just feels dry when it rains.

The greatest gripe that I have with the game is that the random weather option is really not random at all. If you start an online series, then it is almost guaranteed that eighty percent of the races will be run in the rain or on a wet track. It was the same on the last game, but it was possible to remove the random option on that one. However, for some reason, it is not possible to alter the weather online anymore. It really does take away from the racing and drive some players away. It is a minor thing, as a far as complaints go, but something that is really irritating.

What else stands out on the game? The previous FIM Motocross World Championship season featured a lot of different tracks (Pangkal Pinang, Ernee, Orlyonok, Ottobiano, Agueda, WW Motocross Park, Uddevalla and Villars sous Ecot), so all of those are new to MXGP Pro. Four of those were featured on the first two Milestone games, sure, but it is still nice to have some tracks that were not available on the previous game. It helps keep things fresh. Agueda is undoubtedly the best track on the game, as it is built perfectly and has so many different lines. WW Motocross Park was a little disappointing, on the other hand, as one part of the track is so narrow that it feels like you are trail riding.

All of those tracks are visited in the career mode, of course, which resembles the real series more than ever before. There are two options in the career mode; standard and extreme. The former allows players to alter settings as they wish, whilst the latter has all of the hardest options locked in. The only problem with the extreme version is that a player must run the races at full length and, really, who has the time for that? There are more credits on the line though, which would come in handy. All of the bikes, parts and gear are much more expensive than they have been on past games.

A final point to consider is that the Motocross of Nations mode has been removed. This is not too much of a loss, as it really did not add much to the previous titles. It is disappointing that Matterley Basin is not on the game though, because playing the new layout would have been very exciting. It would not be surprising at all if the British Grand Prix pops up as DLC in a couple of weeks though. Perhaps the Motocross of Nations will return in the next game? There will be an MXGP Pro 2 next year, as Milestone were scanning riders for that at Ottobiano a couple of weeks ago and confirmed the name.

Motocross fans have learnt to settle for mediocre games in the past. MX vs. ATV Reflex is used as the benchmark for games, mainly because of its gameplay, but most forget that it did not have a career mode and only had a couple of tracks. MXGP Pro is the complete package and a sign of just how far the industry has progressed. Forget what you thought of the previous Milestone games, as this appears to be a fresh start and is worth exploring.

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Husqvarna/J.P Acevedo

Thursday
Jul052018

Rewind: Price’s fifth-career Hattah win

As the 2018 Penrite Hattah Desert Race looms this weekend, we take a look back at Australian off-road hero Toby Price’s last time at the popular event, which saw him chalk up victory number five in the deep sands of Victoria.

Just months after finishing on the podium at the prestigious Dakar Rally, which essentially launched his career on the world stage, Price piloted KTM’s off-road weapon, the 500 EXC, under KTM’s Enduro Racing outfit.

Donning the number one, Price set the tone for the weekend during Saturday’s Prologue, which saw him emerge fastest over a highly-competitive field.

The now Dakar champion demonstrated why he’s earned the King of the Desert moniker, blitzing the field from flag to flag to capture a stunning three-minute victory over then teammate Tye Simmonds and Yamaha’s Josh Green.

Source: Supplied.

“Another win today and I’m stoked,” expressed an ecstatic Price post-race. “It was a good run, after winning the Prologue yesterday we started off from the front and I think that definitely helped, the dust was thicker in the first part of the race before the track chewed and exposed a little bit of moisture in the sandy parts.”

The New South Wales native attributed a charge in the opening laps of the gruelling affair to allow him to bridge a gap over the field, ultimately seeing him settle into position and crossing the line in P1.

“In the first couple of laps I put on a really good charge and pulled a bit of a gap,” he continued. “And after that I settled into a comfortable pace in and felt really good. The whole team worked really well once again and gave us the equipment that we needed to get a 1-2, as well as a fourth place position and Louis in eighth.”

In typical Price fashion, he credited the tireless work of the crew who ensured he flawlessly made his way through the four-hour journey, including the preparation in the lead up to the event.

“It’s unreal,” he said. “The whole crew did a really good job on our pitstops, Mick Carusi did a really good job prepping all our bikes and Grabbo has done an amazing job is always. The whole team, Mick and Trav and Blizzard, those guys have done in a real job.”

A member of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team and a regular in the FIM World Rallies Championship, Price unfortunately won’t be making an appearance at the 2018 edition, which will be left the hands of his former rivals in the Australian off-road scene.

 

Wednesday
Jul042018

Celebrate the 4th!

Take a Vet riding.

See the source image

Tuesday
Jul032018

Roczen continues to Struggle

 

 

In hot, humid conditions at what is arguably the roughest circuit of the AMA Pro Motocross series, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen continued his positive return from injuries, tallying 5-5 moto finishes for fifth overall in Southwick, Massachusetts, home of The Wick 338.

Racing at a circuit he hadn’t been to since 2016, the German kicked off the racing with a convincing moto-one holeshot aboard his CRF450R and held the lead for four laps before being overtaken by a battle involving the three riders who would eventually occupy the podium. Lap 13 saw him lose an additional spot, and he completed the final three laps in fifth. The second moto was steadier for the German, who started in fourth place before quickly advancing to third. Lap six saw him slip back a place, and he relinquished another spot three laps later to assume fifth, the position in which he would finish the moto.

Morning practice saw Ken Roczen post a best lap time of 2’11.033”. The time, which came in the second session, earned him the sixth gate pick.

The second-best Red Rider in the 450MX class was Lorenzo Locurcio, whose 7-7 moto finishes secured a commendable seventh overall. It was the Venezuelan’s best-ever AMA Pro Motocross result.

While Roczen continues to make gains with his fitness, he’s also experiencing progress with the aftereffects of his injuries. One small-but-appreciated step was the fact that he was able to switch from taping his right arm to using a wrist brace at Southwick. “Getting everything ready for the tape takes a lot of time, so I’m glad I was able to practice and race without tape this week,” he said.

As The Wick 338 is the sandiest track of the year, Team Honda HRC used a unique setup compared to the other rounds, with changes to the suspension and gearing, and of course Roczen’s CRF450R had Dunlop sand tires mounted.

As has been the case at the last few rounds, mechanic Rich Simmons was on hand at Southwick to lend a hand, and he reported that his rider Cole Seely is making progress with his recovery. “He just had a doctor’s appointment, and everything’s looking good,” Simmons said. “He’s riding his mountain bike on a paved path, his spirits are good, and everything is on track. Hopefully I’ll do some mountain biking with him this week, although I’m still pretty out of shape compared to him!”

With Jeremy Martin now out for the remainder of the season, RJ Hampshire, Chase Sexton, and Cameron Mcadoo were left to fly the GEICO Honda flag in the 250MX class at Southwick, and Hampshire put in a 7-3 moto tally for a respectable fourth overall. Sexton went 5-14 for eighth, while Mcadoo notched 9-13 results for 11th.

Team Honda HRC and Ken Roczen were pleased to work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to host Jaiden Britt and his family at Southwick. After traveling from their Texas home on Friday, the Britts headed to The Wick 338 on Saturday morning by limousine, with a police escort organized by Make-A-Wish volunteer Tom Convery. Once at the track, they had the chance to meet Roczen, who gifted Jaiden with a signed jersey, to tour the Honda tech truck, and to enjoy lunch with the team. For the actual racing, MX Sports set up the Britts with passes to a trackside VIP hospitality tent.

Next up for the AMA Pro Motocross series is the popular RedBud round in Buchanan, Michigan, which will host the teams and riders on July 7.

Ken Roczen: “It was a little bit of a struggle. We made some changes to the bike to help me out a little bit, but you don’t want to make too many changes on race day. It’s still a learning curve after so much time off the bike. I’m trying everything at home to get back, but I feel like race shape is just going to take a little time. Today was brutal—super-hot and the track was pretty beat—plus I haven’t been here in a couple years. I fought it out, and I’m just going to continue working with the team and working on myself to get better. I’m healthy and got good starts again, so I’m pretty happy from that side. I’ve been going quite hard throughout the week, trying to put in more and more work, but I think sometimes it's good to take it a notch down and fully recover. RedBud could be another hot one, so we’ll recover and hopefully have a good race next weekend.”

Erik Kehoe - Team Manager: “This was probably the toughest track and toughest conditions of the year, and definitely the sandiest race. I think getting out of here with a fifth place is good, especially because Kenny learned some more this week about the bike, about his fitness, and about this track. Every week, we’re learning more and getting stronger and stronger.”

Oscar Wirdeman - Mechanic (Ken Roczen): “It was kind of a rough one for Kenny I think. This track is pretty brutal, but he got a holeshot and rode a good pace for a bit. After that he didn't really have it in him. Even in ’16 he struggled here a little bit, when he was on top of the world, and now he’s coming back from injuries and hasn't been here for two years. It’s not really where we wanted to be, but we’re building.”

 

Tuesday
Jul032018

Thomas Covington on Pangkal Pinang

Viewpoint: Thomas Covington

 

Thomas Covington has ended second overall at the last three FIM Motocross World Championship rounds, but has deserved more than that. Poor starts have hindered him at points, mainly in the second motos, and it seems that figuring that out is the secret to standing atop the box. Covington dissects that in this exclusive MX Vice interview from the Grand Prix of Indonesia.

MX Vice: Same story as the last few weeks, really. You were really fast and then won the first moto, but did not get the overall. It was a solid weekend, but obviously you want that top step.

Thomas Covington: Yeah, for sure. When you go out and win the first moto it puts you in such a good position, also just mentally you know you can win. I just have not been getting the starts that I need in the second race. I do not know if it was mental. I just keep screwing up the starts in the second race and making it really hard for myself. I think it was still possible to pull off the overall win today, even after the bad start. I just took too long to get around [Davy] Pootjes. Then by the end I was too tired to go run down Ben [Watson] and Jorge [Prado].

They were riding really well at the end and I just did not have the energy in me to run them down. Considering all things, I am pretty happy with another podium this weekend. Friday night I did not get any sleep at all. I was going back and forth from bed to the bathroom and was feeling pretty rough… Just hoping that I could get a decent result. Saturday night I was able to recover pretty well. I actually felt decent today out there, better than I expected to feel for sure.

Thomas Covington has won three of the last six motos in MX2 (Husqvarna/J.P Acevedo)

I guess after that anyway, even though you felt decent today, winning the first moto in the way that you did, which was dominant, you could not have expected that?

Not at all. It just goes to show how big the start is. When you pull a holeshot like that, and especially with the track being so technical, the line choice was so important. When you get out front you can kind of see the whole track and use all of the best lines. That just made all the difference in the world. If I could have pulled a holeshot again the second race I think I could have won again. Starting back in… I guess there are only fifteen guys out here, but I was thirteenth or something, which is pretty far back. It just made it difficult for me out there.

It seemed like there were a ton of lines and everyone was using different lines, but even so it seemed like it was tough to pass. It seemed like there were a lot of options but they all kind of did exactly the same thing, if that makes sense.

There were a lot of different lines, but usually in a lot of the corners it was only one good line. If you went out of that then you were kind of taking a risk and risking going into a deep hole somewhere. Even though it is not as deep as it was last year, it is still one line that could be really good at the beginning of the race and after a few laps it just gets too deep and you have to change lines again. For sure it was challenging. Everybody was pretty close in speed actually, so it was hard to make a huge difference out there and make passes.

Mediocre starts have hindered Thomas Covington at points (Husqvarna/J.P Acevedo)

Going back to the poor starts you have been getting in the second races, do you think you are putting a lot of emphasis on that? Obviously you know that it is going to be important to win the overall. So have you sat there telling yourself to get a good start and then, because you are putting so much pressure on yourself, it is not happening?

Yeah, for sure. There is nothing else it could be, really. I am one of the lightest guys on the gate and I think I have got the fastest bike out there. There is no reason why I should not get good starts in both races. It is just maybe me and myself putting a little bit too much pressure on that start in the second race, because I have screwed it up so many times already. So just try to relax a bit more next weekend and get it done in the second race as well.

This was like our first proper Indonesian GP. Dry track, full schedule and everything. What did you make of it all?

It was actually not bad. Other than me getting sick, it has been a good event. I think there are quite a few fans out here. The hotel, and everybody there, take care of us pretty well. It is a good event. I think next weekend is supposed to be even better with the track and stuff like that. I am going to miss doing stuff like this next year. We are flying out tomorrow morning and going to go spend a few days in Bali, just because there is nothing else to do. You might as well. I am sitting here thinking, "Why am I going to supercross again next year?" Sitting there in Bali, but that is how it is.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Husqvarna/J.P Acevedo

Tuesday
Jul032018

Gavin Trippe 1940—2018

 

Gavin Trippe 1940—2018

 

Racer X learned of the tragic news that pioneering racing promoter Gavin Trippe Sr.—the creator of the United States Motocross Grand Prix at Carslbad Raceway and a member of the AMA Hall of Fame—passed away yesterday. He was 78.

Trippe’s son, Gavin Jr, posted this on Facebook:

On behalf of the Trippe Family, I regret to inform you that my father Gavin Trippe Sr tragically passed away yesterday July 2nd, 2018. For all that knew him personally, words can not describe what this man has accomplished. We are shocked and feeling great pain so please respect our privacy at this time.

We love you OG, thank you for all the good you did for this world.

I hope you are enjoying a nice glass of wine with Mom.

Love you 
Gavin Jr

Trippe was a guiding force in the growth of motocross in the United States in the seventies, as well as the Southern California culture that surrounded it. The Carlsbad USGP and its annual spot on ABC’s Wide World of Sports TV calendar—it was often the only motocross race shown on TV all year—led to an explosion in off-road motorcycling, and also made international heroes like Roger DeCoster into superstars in America.

Trippe was also instrumental in the growth of AMA Superbike racing and American road racing in general. When he began sending American dirt track and road racers to England to compete in international match races, he ignited the flame for American talent on the global stage, which led to eventual dominance by Americans in 500cc GP road racing (MotoGP today) including Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey, and more.

Under the request of the ABC TV network executive Robert Iger, now CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation, Trippe dreamed up a fusion of flat track, road racing, and motocross, dubbed the Superbikers. Those races birthed the spot of supermoto. For a detailed look at his incredible accomplishments in motorcycling, check out his AMA Hall of Fame biography.

Racer X checked in with Trippe last November for a Where Are They Now piece. He had long since left the motorcycle racing business but was still intimately involved with motorcycles on another level, helping arrange motorcycle auctions for the popular Mecum Auction shows.

Trippe’s innovation, vision, and enthusiasm helped shape motorcycling for thousands of people during the most critical time of growth in the sport—literally the time in which motocross was taking hold in America.

Godspeed, Gavin Trippe.

 

Monday
Jul022018

MX in Jamaica?

Motocross: Fast Growing Sports in Jamaica

 

It's becoming more and more evident that the culture of Jamaica is changing a bit to accommodate the spurt of new sports on the island.

More and more we are seeing a lot of these niche sports emerging and gaining traction as the new generation is becoming more enthused about these type of sporting events. We were able to see first hand some brilliant two-wheel action in the form of Motocross at DaCosta Farms in St Catherine, Jamaica.

This race maybe for the swift.
Thirty riders showed up for the event, ranging in ages five years old to 50, every race was packed with action across the near-one-kilometre dirt track featuring high-banked corners and ramps for riders to catch air. It was an event filled day with riders showing out. 

These bikers certainly put on a good show.

Everybody need wings to fly.
We can look forward to seeing more of these events popping up in Jamaica as much talk is emerging from them. 
These bikers certainly put on a good show.
Monday
Jul022018

Trentino Italy

Runner-up Result for Beta's Steve Holcombe at EnduroGP World Championship round 5

 


Click to view larger image of Steve Holcombe leads the Enduro3 class and sits eight points of the lead in EnduroGP with three rounds remaining. Photo: Future7Media Steve Holcombe leads the Enduro3 class and sits eight points of the lead in EnduroGP with three rounds remaining. Photo: Future7Media



Beta factory rider Steve Holcombe has claimed a strong runner-up EnduroGP class result at round five of the 2018 EnduroGP World Championship – The Wall in Trentino, Italy.

Comfortably winning the Enduro 3 class, with three rounds of the series remaining Holcombe holds firm in second in the overall EnduroGP standings, eight points behind class leader Alex Salvini and 20 points ahead of third placed Eero Remes.

A very different kind of EnduroGP event, The Wall featured three short motocross races, four enduro special tests and four extreme special tests.

Crashing in the first motocross race, the defending champion lost precious time before performing well in the second and third races. Bringing himself back into contention for the overall event win with four winning rides in each of the enduro tests, Holcombe then also topped the opening extreme test. Frustratingly, mistakes on his second and third runs through the extreme test prevented Steve from challenging for the win, claiming a well-deserved overall runner-up result.

 


Click to view larger image of Holcombe during Friday Nights Prologue. Photo: Future7Media Holcombe during Friday Nights Prologue. Photo: Future7Media



"I can’t say that I’m not disappointed I wasn’t able to get the win here because I really am," Holcombe said. "Crashing in the first motocross race lost me a lot of time.

"It was difficult to get out of the start gate like the 450s but falling in that first race was just a frustrating way to begin the event. The last two races went ok, I just did the best I could and tried to put myself in as good a position as possible ahead of the enduro special tests, which I knew would suit me better. I felt like I rode consistently in the enduro test, and made back a lot of the time that I’d lost in the motocross races. I felt good going into the final extreme tests. But I made two stupid mistakes that cost me some time. They were my mistakes - I think I pushed a little bit too hard wanting to get ahead and take the win and the team’s home round of the series.

"I’m really pleased that I pushed for the win, and that my speed was good. I only lost two points in the EnduroGP championship, and extended my lead in the Enduro 3 championship. Without those two crashes I feel the win would have been mine, but it can happen in racing. I’m really motivated going into the final three rounds of the series now, it’s game on for the championship.”

Steve will return to EnduroGP World Championship competition at round six in Edolo, Italy on August 31 / September 1.

 


Click to view larger image of Steve Holcombe celebrates his Enduro3 class win. Photo: Future7Media Steve Holcombe celebrates his Enduro3 class win. Photo: Future7Media



Results - 2018 FIM EnduroGP World Championship, Round 5

EnduroGP class
1. Alex Salvini - 1:12:07.68
2. Steve Holcombe - 1:12:26.19
3. Loic Larrieu - 1:13:36.97


Monday
Jul022018

Insight from the MXGP leader

Discussion: Jeffrey Herlings

 

Jeffrey Herlings defied the odds at the Grand Prix of Indonesia and won it was a ride that will go down in history. There were so many elements to the crazy race, so there was a lot to discuss in our exclusive post-race podcast.

I do not even know where to begin. Crazy weekend. The team told you to do nothing crazy, but that seemed pretty crazy. I guess if you are feeling it and you feel like you can win, why not go for it?

Exactly. It was tough, especially mentally to go here and be so unprepared and unexpected. You do not know what’s going to happen. I was still, last time when I left was on Wednesday morning, after one month I was still sore on the shoulder. I felt like the muscles are weak so I was like, "That is going to be a really long weekend." I did not know what to expect. I was hoping for a top five.

Actually, I was hoping just to be able to ride pain-free or at least be rideable and then hopefully be somewhere in the top five and not lose too much points. But to come out with a GP win, it is absolutely amazing. It was a sketchy second moto. I felt like I was in control all the weekend. The second moto was for the overall. I was like, I am feeling it. I have got to go. But then after four or five laps, I started to get tired on the shoulder, because just the muscles got so weak. It was like riding a horse. It was hard to hold on.

Jeffrey Herlings won seventeen days after undergoing surgery (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Obviously you had that crash in the second moto, but one other sketchy moment I saw was on the tabletop before pit lane. It looked like your back end kind of stepped out. That could have been a big one.

Yeah. I was on a scoop tire and the takeoff was really hard and slick. The MX33 would have more grip than with the scoop tire. It started an unexpected scrub, let’s say, and I got out of balance. I got left, right, but I was able to keep it on two wheels. That was good. One of the lucky moments. I just had one tip-over, but also Tony [Cairoli] had a couple of crashes this weekend so also he was pretty much on the limit. We were going for it.

Was there any point, maybe even then, that you thought that it is time to back it down? I know your team were trying to get you to do that. Did you feel like you had it the whole time and there was no need to back it down and try and accept second?

Mentally I could do the speed and I could go faster than what I was showing, but physically it was so hard to hold on. I felt so tired and normally I never feel that way. I had a surgery two and a half weeks ago, not even. Seventeen days ago or something. Then to be racing here in this heat and this humidity against such top athletes and top riders, it is not easy.

The first moto seemed like a proper strategic thing. Maybe not your pit board, but it looked like you were really watching the hand signals that Ruben was giving to you. Were you relying on that to figure out how to gauge the race?

After yesterday I was so stiff in my legs, because I just have not ridden. A lot of the muscles just go really quick. In the first moto I wanted to save myself for the second one. I felt like [Clement] Desalle and those guys, I felt like had I given some extra push I could pull away. I did not have that feeling with Tony, of course, but with them I was like, "Okay, if I do this speed just come in second, just in front of those guys. It will be good."

Definitely did not expect to go for the win in the second moto. My goal was to just come in second and go 2-2 on the day. It would have been fine. But then Tony was, I do not know exactly, but he was seven or eight seconds down from the beginning and I could keep it that Then with two laps to go obviously I tipped over, but obviously he threw it away a few turns after that.

Jeffrey Herlings leads by twelve points at this point in the year (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Your pit board in the second race was the most entertaining thing to watch by far. There were some proper good messages on there. What did you think as you were watching it? I think on the second lap there was just "Why" in all capitals.

At that moment, after three laps or something, I think it was third lap and then I had a six or seven second lead and they put on the pit board, "Why?" I am like, "Dude, I am leading a GP. I broke my collarbone seventeen days ago. I am leading here by seven seconds. What do you want me to do? Stop and just let everybody get by?" After five or six laps I did understand, because then I got tired. I was sketchy. It was like a wild ride, that moto. I got home safe from this one and looking forward to the next one.

Hopefully we can get some riding going into this week. Hopefully Wednesday or Thursday I can ride, because I fly straight to Semarang now for the second race. I need bike time, also mentally because I am used to riding so much. Maybe that is why I get injured more often. I probably ride the most out of everybody. If you work forty hours a week, you sometimes make mistakes. The same with riding. If you ride ten hours a week, you make more mistakes than when you do probably six or seven hours on the bike, so it is a part of the game.

With three laps to go I saw on your board it said, "Keep promises." What was the promise you made to the team?

This morning I was stressing out about my laundry, because I need to carry everything home. Ruben was like, "If you promise me not to go for the win, I will do your laundry tonight." That is why he wrote keep your promise. He said, "If you try to win, I am not doing anything. I am really going to be really, really pissed at you." That is why it said keep promises. I was like, "Yeah, two laps to go, six or seven second lead. I am not going to stop in the middle of the straight and hoping he is going to pass by." Then obviously I tipped over in the turn.

The big question now then, what the hell are you going to do with your laundry? You need someone to do that I guess!

Yeah, but I am feeling stoked so I cannot do anything. My flight is tomorrow morning… I will probably hire someone out here to go and do my laundry. He will do it. Obviously everybody at KTM, I promised to use my brain and not do anything crazy. I felt like I was still, especially until the second moto, I was in control. Second moto… Maybe a little bit out of control, but we got home safe from this one and that is most important.

Everybody said, "Please use your brain." It is understandable. I am hired by KTM. They pay me a lot of money to hopefully win a championship for them. If I try to come back so quick like I did now and then yard sale it again, that is the most stupid thing I can do. I did not do it and even came out with a win for that, so it is great.

The battle between Herlings and Cairoli continues to rage on (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

In the end, this was all worth it. You have got twelve points still now going into the next one, so you have got even more of a cushion to play with. Two thirds next week will be good enough. Not that you need to do that, but it gives you a bit of comfort.

Yeah. I know Tony will not get better than what he was this weekend, I would say. If you look at the first ten GPs, nine out of ten I was in front of Tony. If it was one event or two events, you could say it is a lucky shot, but if nine out of the ten times you beat a guy, then it is not a lucky shot anymore. He was one hundred percent this weekend. I was fifty percent and still then being capable of battling the guy is pretty nice.

I feel like I was sixty percent this weekend and normally I should get better and better. Hopefully by Loket or at the latest Lommel. It will be my dream to go to Lommel with equal points or still be in the plus. Hopefully I’ll be pain-free and one hundred percent again and it can be man-to-man at the last five or six races.

Going back to your injury quickly. It seems like the plan was you were going to get to ride this week before you came here. That did not actually happen, did it? Everyone seems to think that you were riding all week before you even got on a flight?

It was also a mental game like that. I let people think I was riding, but I have not been riding. It was the third time I broke it, so also the collarbone gets more weak and weak each time you break it. This was a brand new break. The first two times it snapped on the same spot. This was a fresh place. There was a big plate on there and everything should be okay now. I wanted to get every single maximum day I could to let the healing do its job.

Jeffrey Herlings has won nine of the twelve rounds this year (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

I did an interview with Dirk about this in Lombardia. Everyone likes to think, "Jeffrey got injured. Standard." That is always going to happen. If you look at your time on a 450F, there have not been that many crashes. There was Ottobiano last year. There was coming down the hill in Russia, which was a bit of a big one. Other than that though, I cannot think of anything. This is, like you said, just something that is going to happen when you are pushing the pace that you are.

Yeah, it is just very unlucky. The crash I had… This year I cannot even remember having a big one or anything. Even this one, I just went into the turn and the front wheel washed. I just landed right on the shoulder. It happened like going forty kilometres an hour. I just ran through the rut, through the berm and with all the force on the shoulder. The collarbone is just a small bone.

Maybe if I would have landed just on my hand everything would have been fine? I would have stood up and would continue the training session. That was just very unfortunate. There are eight rounds to go and three more months and [I am] only twelve points in the lead. It is going to be, as well as MX2, a crazy ending probably. KTM are good, because normally one of us and then MX2 one of those two guys will win the championship. We will see.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer