Jeffrey Herlings: Latvian Success

It isn’t hard to look at the last three years of the Latvian Grand Prix and have a feeling Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings loves the place. In the last three years in the MXGP class Herlings has gone 1-1-1-1-1-DNS, with two Grand Prix victories and some bad luck last year.

Herlings had already won twice in Latvia as a youngster, back in 2010 in his rookie season in GP motocross, Herlings went 3-1 and rival Ken Roczen scored 2-3. In 2013 Herlings went 1-1 for his second MX2 overall at Kegums, but then the Dutchman had to wait four years before his move to the MXGP class saw him have more success in Latvia.

In 2017 in his MXGP rookie season Herlings scored 1-1 to win the Latvian Grand Prix, after starting the year with some injuries it was a nice return for the multiple MX2 champion. The Dutchman proved he was the king of the sand winning ahead of the MXGP points leader Antonio Cairoli and the then HRC rider Evgeny Bobryshev.

“We were fastest all weekend long and it was the cherry on the cake (to go 1-1). We have more confidence with this result, and it means a lot; it felt like a long time since my last win. I just want to continue to improve after my time out of racing.”

A year later and Herlings again 1-1, this time ahead of Cairoli and Gautier Paulin and his love of Kegums grew. The rough and tumble of Kegums never troubled the KTM rider, and his confidence was over the moon in the white sand.

“I think it was a good weekend, you know yesterday was obviously perfect, I was able to get the holeshot and do my own thing. It was a little more demanding than I was expecting today especially after the result of yesterday, but we did good things for the championship.”

As mentioned, last year was a sad affair for Herlings as he won the opening race, his return to racing after a long injury, but then crashed in the warm-up lap for the first race and was hit by a rider, causing an ankle injury. Still, his 1-DNS showed that despite his injury, it’s hard to beat the Dutchman in the sand.

“Very sorry to say I have broken my ankle,” Herlings would say after the accident. “I had a small crash in sighting lap and another rider rode over my bad foot and broke my ankle. I decided after the sighting lap to still line up for the race and even won the race with a broken ankle. I just cannot believe it anymore. Of course, I will be out for second race. Feeling so sorry for my team and sponsors.”

So, what will we get in 2020? With this record from the last three years, it’s going to be hard to beat the sand master, but no doubt, riders like HRC’s Tim Gajser and Red Bull KTM Factory rider Antonio Cairoli, the competition will want to make their own history around the Kegums circuit.

Author: 
Geoff Meyer

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