Dutch teenager Jeffrey Herlings on Sunday wrote himself into the record books at the Serpentine circuit at Loket in the Czech Republic when he took a now familiar 1-1 victory in the fourteenth MX2 GP of the season to seal his second MX2 World title.
Just 18 years old, the Dutch rider that KTM’s Head of Motorsport Pit Beirer described as possibly the biggest MX talent that has come out of Europe, has won every GP in the current season. And now he has wrapped up the title with three rounds to go.
The figures speak for themselves: 54 career race wins, 29 career GP wins, 14 GP straight wins in 2013 (every GP so far this season – 26 race wins, one second and one third.)
The remarkable performance by the young rider who has matured considerably this season was rewarded by a massive finish line celebration by the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team and the many Dutch fans that had made the journey to share in his achievement.
In a jubulant mood, 18-year-old Jeffrey Herlings said: ‘I came out good. I won my qualifying heat and won both motos to wrap up the championship. Right now I’m the happiest guy on earth. I’m so motivated, I’m looking forward to the next three GPs and I want to go on and stay undefeated. But most important is that I won the championship.”
Once considered the most talented sand rider in the paddock, Herlings has proved beyond doubt that he can deliver outstanding performances on all terrain. Never satisfied to just win, he consistently wins his races by large margins. Sunday was no different. He won the opening moto by 37 seconds and even though he slowed to enjoy the final lap in the second moto, he still crossed the line 20.6 seconds ahead of the second placed rider. Herlings won the Czech GP ahead of Christophe Charlier of France and Russian Alex Tonkov. Herlings factory teammate Jordi Tixier of France finished fifth to remain in a comfortable second position in the championship.
Red Bull factory riders Tony Cairoli and Ken de Dycker had a mixed day at the Czech track finishing 4-5 in the GP, an uncharacteristic placing for multi World Champion Cairoli, who does not favor this particular track. Both were well in the points with De Dycker finishing 3-6 and Cairoli 6-7 and Cairoli continues to hold the red plate with a 90-point lead in the championship standings with three GPs and 150 points still up for grabs.
Cairoli said he was disappointed not to be on the podium – his first time this season but said he didn’t feel that comfortable with his riding and didn’t want to take any risks and possibly get injured. “ The first race was perfect for me. I was in third place and my plan was to be better in the second race and make it into the top three for a podium place. But then I made contact with (Jeremy) van Horebeek and I went down and dropped back to twelfth. I managed to get back to seventh but couldn’t improve on that in the time that was left.”
De Dycker was the fastest qualifier and was running in second in the opening moto before he had problems with his goggles when rains tarted to fall and finished third. “I was riding okay in the second moto but then I made two of three mistakes and then I lost the focus and was too nervous to hit the gas. This is a fast track and there are not many lines so you really have to push or ride into someone if you want to pass. We like to ride clean.”
Cairoli will be back on familiar territory at the next GP in two week’s time in Belgium, where the Italian has been a long time resident. De Dycker will also be racing in front of his home crowd. EMX125 and EMX 250 KTM riders were also up with the best in round five of the EMX 125 Championships taking places 2-5 with Anton Lundgren of Sweden and Calvin Vlaanderen both on the podium. Fourth placed Pauls Jonass continues to lead the championship points table. In the EMX 250 round six, Swiss rider Valentin Guillod took another win and he also leads the championship.
Guillod said it was a perfect weekend for him. “I was a very good weekend for me. I won everything and I like the track. It is hard pack and slippery and like the tracks I practice on.” He said he hopes to take the title in Matterley Basin in the next round, on a track that is one of his favorites.