Stefan Everts interview - RC and McGrath
Posted on April 02, 2021
The greatest Grand Prix rider of all time Stefan Everts has always been good to mxlarge and yesterday we gave him a call in the middle of him mowing his rather big lawn in Belgium and he still made time for us.
With winter now behind us the weather is improving and gives many of us in Europe the chance to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun and Everts is no different.
This is a two-part interview with “The King” were we talk about his son Liam, and a little bit about two of the greatest American riders of all time, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael.
MXlarge: Stefan, how are you?
Everts: Good Geoff, just finished cutting the grass here.
MXlarge: It is a great time of the year isn’t it with the weather and trees and grass growing.
Everts: Yes, I really love spring, it is awesome. Like today, everything is coming greener.
MXlarge: I wanted to ask you about the recent photo shoot with Liam. As a Stefan Everts fan I really used to love when you did a photo shoot, because you always put a big effort in your gear and stuff and now, we see Liam and he looks so cool in the bike and his gear. How is that for you, somebody who does find that stuff important?
Everts: Sure, I see a lot of progress and even in corona time, we see progress in him and we just miss some racing experience and he is also growing as a personality and as a rider and I guess that is a bit the nature of being in that period of your life when you go from a child to a young man and that is happening with him and yes, he is going well and nice to see and I am a proud Dad.
MXlarge: I watched his interview in Italy and after the interview Liam thanked the journalist and told him any time, which is a nice touch and the media love to be respected by the riders. I remember you when you were young you were a bit of a difficult guy sometimes, but he seems to be nothing like that.
Everts: I mean, when I was that age, I was still a very shy boy and afterwards I had my moments, but Liam is such a grown-up kid for his age, and you can’t even compare how he is to how I was. When I was 16, I was still a small kid, but kids in general now are just a lot smarter than we were.
MXLarge: True my kids are a lot smarter than me, and I am a pretty smart guy (laughing).
Everts: Yes, you are (laughing).
MXlarge: When I look at the photos from the photo shoot and to me, he looks a bit like Ken Roczen, and obviously many people feel he rides like you. What do you think?
Everts: No, I think he looks like himself. Some people say he has the style like I had, but I don’t see it like other people see it. Like I said, I am maybe thinking at some moments he looks like Prado, with the feet position or something like that, I would say the closest is Prado.
MXLarge: Tell me, I was reading an interview with Jeremy McGrath (You can find it here) on Racerxonline, and Steve Matthes asked McGrath something about the GOAT, which is what they call Ricky Carmichael in America. Jeremy has some trouble with that, when they call RC the GOAT at a supercross race, because obviously the GOAT of supercross was McGrath with his seven titles to the four by RC. What is your opinion of that, because you and he raced four times at the MXdN and it is 2-2 between you both, but would you mind RC being called the GOAT of World motocross, is Ricky the GOAT, or are you the GOAT?
Everts: You mean with McGrath or with Carmichael?
MXlarge: No, with Carmichael.
Everts: You know, (heavy sigh) you know I have great respect for both those guys for what they have achieved. Ricky was great in the US and great at some des Nations and I was great in Europe and great in some des Nations. You know, I don’t see myself as better than Ricky or anyone else. You have champions and when you have the real champions, they are all the same to me, just like Tony (Cairoli) is.
MXlarge: Tell me, that Zolder race at the des Nations, when he pretty much beat you straight up, and it was really the only time you both raced side by side, because in 1998, and 1999 you were unbeatable and he was on the 125 and in 2005 you had a horrible Nations and many people beat you, but in Zolder, you both rode really well and he pipped you for the win after coming from behind. I remember arriving at that track and looking at it and thinking to myself, why do they have big whoops section and big jumps at a Nations in Europe. How did you see that race?
Everts: I mean, the track had a lot of jumps and I wouldn’t say it was supercross style, but it did have supercross sections in there, like big jumps and those whoops, plus we were just moving into the 4-stroke era and Ricky was still on a 2-stroke and I think 2-strokes still had a bit of an advantage on a track like Zolder, with the supercross sections. 4 strokes got better of course, but I don’t want to hide behind excuses for that, he just beat me straight and whatever people think or say, for whatever reason, I am not bothered anymore.
MXLarge: And you also battled Jeremy on a number of occasions. For me, the Fastrcross in 1993 when he beat him, on that Fastcross track that was really very supercross styled, as a Stefan Everts fan for me that was one of your best victories ever. Then you beat him again I think in 1997, what do you remember about those races?
Everts: That 93 race, I remember it like it was yesterday, it was like 35,000 people in that forest and the track was just one big supercross track. The main event was 20 laps and I think I passed Jeremy on the 18th lap or something and I couldn’t hear my bike anymore. The Italian fans were screaming so loud, I was a bit shocked. I am proud of that victory, because we had done some supercross races in England, and some other places, and of course I had no chance, but that race, that Fastcross, that was a nice win for me and one of my biggest wins in my career, I think.
MXlarge: I would guess outside your des Nations or World championship victories it must be your biggest?
Everts: I would select that win, yes especially in supercross. I did some supercross races, especially in Park de Prince in Paris when I got second behind Bayle and my trip to America was a nice one, but I didn’t finish on the podium or get any top five places, so Fastcross was probably my best supercross race.
MXlarge: Any desire to send Liam to race in America?
Everts: No, not at the moment. First, we have to start racing again in Europe. When he was little he talked about the US and that was his dream and he had a lot of riders he liked there, like Villopoto, but lately we don’t talk about it. He follows all the supercross races and knows what is going on over there.
MXLarge: He moves up to the 250 class in EMX250 class, and having seen his progress and growth in the winter, and with the first round I think in England where he took his first big win in the EMX 125 class, how excited are you about going to those races?
Everts: We are very excited, we want to race, and expectations are not too high, because we see a lot of good riders in the class, even some MX2 guys moved back to the EMX class and some top riders are moving up. Still, it will see how it goes. Liam is still making progress and we still have a big way to go before he gets to his best level.
Part II next week