Young Dutch teenager Jeffrey Herlings rode like the devil throughout two motos on Easter Monday at home on Valkenswaard to be the dominant MX2 rider of the day and repeat his 2010 victory in the sands of this track. With Germany’s Ken Roczen in second overall, the Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing Team had plenty to celebrate.
Dutch fans give Jeffrey Herlings wings at home race. Photo R. Archer
Jeffrey rode a superb and seamless first moto. He got away to a good start and the only rider to challenge him was Roczen who moved up to within a half a second of the Dutch teenager before making several small mistakes. Herlings needed no excuse to seize the moment and went on to take the victory by a massive 37.4 seconds to the collective joy of thousands of wildly cheering Dutch fans.
But it was in the second moto that the young Dutch teenager genuinely thrilled the crowds. This time it was championship leader Roczen who flew out of the start gates and immediately took the lead. Knowing that a good start and a commanding lead gave him victory in the first moto Herlings then proceeded to systematically hunt down his German rival with everything he had. Then half way through the second lap he came off the bike after losing momentary control during an overtake maneuver and ended up in the sand. Jeffrey was back on his KTM 250 in a flash, turned up both the gas and the adrenalin and set off in furious pursuit.
Herling’s chance to retake the lead came when the riders were about two thirds through the second moto and from that moment on, he poured on the pressure until he had built a commanding advantage. Jeffrey then enjoyed cruising home in the final two laps to win by a margin of 11 seconds. It was a masterly ride by Herlings and levels the overall GP wins to 1 each for him and Roczen, not only the two most talented riders in MX2 but also the greatest rivals. The stage is now set for some stunning races between these two, especially when they next meet on the track at Glen Helen for the USGP, where it will be Roczen who will enjoy the crowd support. The young German has been racing the AMA SX West Lites competition and has already attracted plenty of attention and a considerable fan base in the USA.
Jeffrey van Horebeek, the third member of the Red Bull Teka KTM MX2 Factory Racing Team is currently sidelined after injuring his shoulder in the Belgian national championship.
Jeffrey Herlings: “I am very happy I felt very comfortable on the bike and today I was the fastest guy out there on the track. And I’m pretty satisfied that I came away with two wins and it’s also good for the championship. Now I’m only eight points behind my teammate Kenny.” The Dutch fans gave Jeffrey the star treatment and the young rider was mobbed wherever he went over the weekend.
While teammate Ken Roczen was clearly disappointed not to take the win he said he could still be satisfied with two second places and he was happy to be going to the next GP in Glen Helen in the USA as the holder of the red number plate. “I did expect a bit more today but Jeffrey was going really fast and it was okay, also for the championship points,” he said. Ken now goes back to the USA where he will race again in the AMA SX Lites for several races in the run up to the USGP at Glen Helen.
Ken Roczen on the attack in Valkenswaard. Photo R. Archer
Red Bull Teka KTM team boss Stefan Everts said he was “super satisfied” with the MX2 results. “Coming into this GP we expected a great result today. This time there was a lot of pressure on Jeffrey because he won here last year and he showed something really great today, especially when he came off the bike and got on and back in the race so quickly. Now we are 1 and 2 in the championship and in the next GPs we will see more fights between Ken and Jeffrey.”
First EMX2 GP to KTM rider Michael van Wesel of Netherlands
Michael van Wesel performed well on the Valkenswaard sand to take the first EMX2 GP in front of his enthusiastic home crowd finishing with a 2-1 result to become the first to hold the red plate as championship leader. “I had a bad start in the second moto and was back at 5 or 6 and the track is very rough. But I got back into it and had a good race. Now it’s a dream to have the red plate,” he said.
EMX2 Round 1
1, Michael van Wezel, Netherlands, KTM points 25-22Ã¯Â¿Â½47 (also leads standings)
2, Jens Getterman, Belgium, Yamaha, 20- 25Ã¯Â¿Â½45
3, Alexandr Desprey, France, Yamaha, 11-18Ã¯Â¿Â½29
4, Maxime Desprey, France, Yamaha, 11-18-29
5, Even Heibye Norway, KTM, 14-15Ã¯Â¿Â½29
6, Romain Febvre, France, KTM, 15-9–24