Herlings and Valkenswaard
On the back of that brilliant Grand Prix of Trentino last weekend, with that magical performance from Antoni Cairoli, all eyes will be on Valkenswaard, Holland this week, to see if Jeffrey Herlings can come out of his slumber, and put together another stunning performance at his beloved euro circuit.
For seven years in a row the Flying Dutchman has been unstoppable at this facility, but due to a hand injury, and as he has himself admitted, possibly coming into the class over confident has cost him.
Running around mid-pack for most of this season the Red Bull KTM Factory rider did turn it around a little in Trentino last weekend. Finally getting a good start, and finishing a strong fourth place in the second moto of the MXGP class.
Herlings had of course won the second round of the Dutch Masters of Motocross championship a couple of weeks ago, leading home Gautier Paulin and Max Anstie in the process. His victory in the second moto was typical Herlings, getting a good start and just riding away from the competition.
You can be sure this week Herlings and his crew will be working hard on starts, because a good start in Valkenswaard, with his experience around the track, will be critical in him winning his eighth GP at Valkenswaard.
I tipped him to get a podium in Italy last weekend and despite the track not being a circuit he feels comfortable on, that second moto fourth place gives me enough confidence that he can win in Valkenswaard, and turn his season around.
Two weeks later its onto Kegums in Latvia, and another circuit that he will do well.
Herlings has admitted that he didn’t expect the MXGP class to be as tough as it was, and despite his solid performances in previous 450 races, this year it just hasn’t gone to plan.
“I underestimated the MXGP class,” Herlings said. “I underestimated the guys I am racing. That’s why we pay the price (now), but I know I can turn things around. I haven’t lost the talent, there is a reason I have won three world title, and 61 GPs, it just takes time. It will come back to me.”
The good news is, Cairoli and Tim Gajser also love sand, as does 2015 Romain Febvre, who took victory last year after a great battle with Cairoli.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least Cairoli, Gajser and Herlings battling hard for this GP win.
It doesn’t get any better than this.
Ray Archer image