American Dream of Jeffrey Herlings over: “We had to protect him against himself”

When it came to an end, Herlings was alone in his dream of going to America when he was at KTM last week to present his plan. Not because KTM did not want it for him, but really because there were too many “ifs,” “ands” and “buts” on the plan, explains KTM trainer Joël Smets.

Initially, Smets also liked the adventure. “Of course I have stopped racing a while ago, but from the inside I’m still a bit of a racer”, Smets says. “I also saw how beautiful the challenge and this opportunity was. That was really something for Jeffrey to look forward to and a reason to want to return to racing as soon as possible. ”

And that immediately presented itself as one of the major pitfalls, KTM identified. This is certainly not the first major injury of Jeffrey Herlings and it would not be the first time that he wants to return a little too quickly and too eagerly.

Last season this was another item when Herlings returned within two weeks after breaking his collarbone. Even then he took a lot of risk and won his first match right away. Afterwards he would admit that he had not kept his promises.

“We really have the feeling that we had to protect him against himself,” Smets admits. “We have seen what happened earlier if Jeffrey wants to come back soon. I, too, ultimately agreed with this. I myself am 25 years older than Jeffrey and then you think differently about it.”

“Herlings prepared for KTM opinion”
As a trainer, Smets was in between KTM and Herlings, which enabled him to prepare the driven Dutchman for the decision of KTM. “In the end we all agreed, except for one of course. But Jeffrey is also realistic. He listened to the arguments and was able to accept the decision, but that of course does not immediately remove the disappointment. I also prepared him in advance that it might not turn out to be positive. ”

In addition to the fact that people did not want to increase the pressure at Herlings, according to Smets, the question was whether the injury was healed in time to appear fit at the start. “With such an injury, you will really only find out when you are on the bike.

No in-house fight
Finally, there was the logistics story. “It’s not like you’re just going to race there. You are really going to live there for half a year. That is quite a move if you want to do well. ”In addition, there was no commercial reason for KTM to transfer Herlings.

Although KTM has not been able to win anything in the Outdoor season in recent years, there is hope for that. Transferring the world champion from Europe to the US would send a wrong signal, according to Smets. “They currently have two top drivers in Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin who are at the top of the Supercross championship. He would have to compete with them and you just don’t want a fight in your own house.”

  • Source: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
  • Photocredit: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

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