What's Jeffrey doing?

The last two years have been a roller-coaster ride to hell and back for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings. From breaking his femur on the brink of wrapping up his third consecutive MX2 world title in 2014 in a freak crash while racing an 85cc bike for fun, through to his accident riddled season in 2015 which eventually came to an abrupt end at round thirteen of the FIM Motocross World Championship in the Czech Republic, Jeffrey, as one of the fastest ever MX2 riders, has been forced to face the harsh reality of how brutal motocross at an elite level can be.

I bumped into Jeff recently, and as a journalist I naturally felt the urge to ask him a few questions about the complications he has been facing, both physically and mentally, as well as the popular questions such as moving up to MXGP and when we can expect to see him back on the bike.

Dude, how unlucky have you been these last couple of years!

“Yeah, tell me about it! I think in the last 16 months I have been only 5 months on the bike. After I broke my femur in 2014, I got an infection on the bone and I couldn’t ride again until February 2015, and then it was pretty much straight into Qatar.”

You could definitely see how much it meant for you to win in Qatar. 1 -1 for the overall, you were unfit and unprepared but you did it. Another double victory in Thailand, it almost looked as though this was going to be your year of redemption, but by round three it had already started to deteriorate.

"Yeah, I just didn’t have enough time on the bike. I couldn’t test because of my femur through the winter. I wasn’t ready, but I just wanted to race."

How many times did you crash this year? Some of them were so gnarly.

"Man, I had some big crashes this year! It has been crazy. I am so over it. Actually when I crashed in Loket, it was such a small crash, I just clipped the bank and kind of slid out and then when I was getting up Jordi (Tixier) literally took me in the ass” He laughed, “but seriously he hit me and it was all over.”

What went through your head at that point?

“Oh man, I was just over it. I was over everything. On the flight home from the Czech Republic I had pain everywhere, from my broken collarbone in Germany, my finger in Sweden and then my hip. I was seriously over it. I didn’t want to race anymore, I didn’t care about the money, or racing, or anything. Yes, those things are good and are important, but my health is the most important and I was really over it.”

Yeah, I did read some of your rants on Social Media. How are you feeling now?

“It has been hard, but I am good now. I am in a good place. I have learned to listen to the doctors and I will follow their advice. I now know my health is really important. I am also looking forward to being able to ride again. I miss racing. It’s what I want to do.”

So when can you get back on the bike?

"In maybe one month. First I have to see a few doctors and then hopefully I can ride."

Tim Gajser will be making the jump to MXGP, have you considered going up as well?

“I’ve thought about it but I honestly have no idea. I will test the bikes and see, but because I still have a bit of pain in my hip and I am not so strong yet, I will probably stay in MX2 because for me it is easier and with the injuries and everything.”

So if you chose to stay MX2, who do you think your biggest competition will be?

"Probably Dylan Ferrandis, other than that, I think that is it."

 

Photo: J.P Acevedo

Author: 
Nikki Scott

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