World MXGP Champion Jeffrey Herlings is finally back on the bike, not his motocross bike, but at present his mountain-bike, and in a day or so, he will be riding Enduro. With his bones healing well, there is a chance of seeing the Dutchman racing at the next GP at Mantova.
With two weeks to train and prepare, Herlings told us in Valkenswaard that he wants to be back for the next round of the MXGP Championship and some of the KTM team members are excited for that moment, including his mechanic Wayne Banks.
“Of course,” Banks said. “I mean when you see the fight in Arco with Tony and Tim, and you imagine if Jeffrey was in the mix. I am pretty sure every race fan can’t wait to see him battling with those guys. I get a bit bored at the races and I much prefer going about my own routine and working on the bike. Injuries are part of motocross, nothing I can do about it, we want him back as soon as possible of course, but he needs to recover from the injury and there is no point in rushing back. Dirk and Val keep in contact with him, I send him some text messages to see how he is feeling. There are heaps of people checking up on him day to day. I don’t keep in that close a contact with him.”
Dirk Gruebel, the team manager of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team isn’t in too much of a hurry to see his rider back, but he does want to leave it up to Herlings to make the decision on his return.
“We told him”, Gruebel said, “First go to the doctor and he gives the green light, then we see how his foot feels in the boot and see how he is riding. If he feels good for Mantova, then he can come back, but he shouldn’t push too go for a top spot, because I don’t think he is able to do that yet. In our opinion, we think maybe one or two races after that. He shouldn’t rush anything. Yes, it is a big question mark. Not training for three months, coming back from a big injury. I know his level of speed is high anyhow, but these two guys, they are also in a good level, like Tony and Jeffrey are last year. It will be the wrong approach to try and battle with them in his first race back but knowing Jeffrey how quickly he recovers from injury and how quickly he gets his speed back, I wouldn’t be surprised if by the second or third race he is already battling with them.”
So with Herlings back on the bike this week, and the motocross world waiting for his return, it will now be a waiting game to see if the Flying Dutchman will return in two weeks’ time, or take the safety first mode and wait until Portugal a week later, or maybe even France on the 25th and 26th of May.