Six years ago a 15-year-old Jeffrey Herlings won his first MX2 Grand Prix for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team at home in Valkenswaard in the Netherlands. On Easter Monday the Dutch rider, now 21 and who in the meantime has two world championship titles to his name, won his 50th GP in a style that has marked him as one of the best motocross riders of his generation.
Jeffrey Herlings has never been beaten at Valkenswaard and Monday’s race was his seventh GP win on that circuit. He took a clean 1-1 moto victory and in both races finished with impressive margins to retain his perfect scorecard for the 2016 season. After just three of 18 rounds he has won all the motos and already has a 38-point lead in the MX2 World Championship.
Herlings started on pole and while conceding the holeshot in his opening moto to teammate Jonass, he quickly took control of the race in only the second lap. He went on to build an impressive lead on a track that had been deluged with rain only 30 minutes beforehand. When he took the checkered flag Herlings had a 36-second lead and Jonass, second behind Herlings, had also laid the foundation stone for a solid end result.
Buoyed by his first race win, and riding in front of his army of loyal Dutch fans, Herlings went out strong in his second moto, grabbed the holeshot and had already taken a six-second lead by the end of the opening lap. Meanwhile Jonass quickly advanced into second past Alexandr Tonkov and the two Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammates went on to dominate the rest of the race. At the end of the 30-minutes plus two laps race, Herlings had such an impressive lead, he had lapped riders up to tenth position and backed off in the final lap to enjoy his victory.
Herlings: “It was a really good weekend. We were fast in each practice and I had three good starts. That was important on this track especially with the heavy rain we had before the first moto. I took my time in the first moto to get into the lead and once I was there I rode my own race. The second moto I took the holeshot and checked out. I’m really pleased with my riding and happy and grateful that I won. Now I’m looking forward to the next GP.”