News 26 Apr 2016

Herlings unsure over mooted Southwick appearance

Will the dual world champion race Pro Motocross round?

Words: Adam Wheeler

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

A swirl of recent momentum around unbeaten Red Bull KTM rider Jeffrey Herlings to participate in the seventh round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross series at Southwick in the US could be quelled by the 21-year-old’s initial reluctance to take his eye away from his 2016 goal of achieving a third world title.

Herlings was initially set to contest the Unadilla national in 2014 until a broken femur not only wrecked this plan, but also eventually cost him a third straight MX2 crown.

His Red Bull KTM team had already booked travel and confirmed his entry prior to the dramatic injury for the Dutchman.

Herlings’ form this season – five grands prix and 10 motos without defeat – has led to speculation that he will find new challenges on the 250SX-F before a long-awaited move into the MXGP class for 2017.

When asked about the chance of travelling to the sand of Southwick (in Massachusetts and the 9 July weekend after the Grand Prix of Lombardia) Herlings admitted: “I haven’t even discussed that subject with the team yet.”

The 2012 and 2013 world champ stated his desire for 2016 was to return to his previous level of form and dominance on the 250 and scrub away two years of frustration by finally earning a third championship.

Now that he boasts a perfect scorecard and faces little in the way of opposition in the category, talk has intensified about his next plans and where he will ride a Red Bull KTM in 2017.

Herlings’ has a decent chance of a sizeable impact at Southwick. The terrain is similar to the Eurocircuit in Valkenswaard where ‘84’ has won every year since 2010 and he could call on the resources of Roger De Coster’s Red Bull KTM operation to provide very similar equipment and support as his factory MX2 effort in Europe.

Aside from the opportunity to tackle new opponents on the 250SX-F he remains unconvinced that an AMA appearance will hold much worth: “Whatever I’ll do [there] personally, I don’t think I will gain anything. I can only lose I think,” he said.