September, 11 2012
Dutch sensation Jeffrey Herlings swept to the MX2 Motocross World Championship on Sunday with a typically assured and composed performance at the GP of Europe in Faenza, Italy.
Herlings put in a superb display on the hard-packed Italian dirt, not only winning both races but finishing well ahead of the field.
The Dutch teenager started the second moto needing only a 50-point margin between him and rival Tommy Searle, and after grabbing the holeshot the result looked inevitable.
Herlings never relented and crossed the line 22 seconds ahead of Searle to the cheers of the crowd and the Red Bull KTM team, who were still on a high after earlier winning the MX1 Championship with Antonio Cairoli.
It was the kind of assured performance we have come to expect from Herlings, who has consistently outclassed the field all season, winning nine GPs and placing second on four other occasions.
“It has been 20 years since a Dutch rider won a world title, so it is an amazing feeling, like I’m really writing history now,” said Herlings, referring to Pedro Tragter’s 125cc championship title in 1993.
“In the last few years I’ve managed to put motocross back on the front covers and TV in the Netherlands, so I hope to do good for my country and put the sport in the place it deserves.”
Herlings, who is still only 17, also paid tribute to his close rival Searle and team-mate Jeremy van Horebeek.
“Tommy was always there and he pushed me a lot, so it was never easy with the pressure he put on me,” he said.
“He's a great rider and competitor and knowing he was always there was a great motivation for me.
“Also my teammate Jeremy was always close by and he supported me right through the season.”
Herlings set up Sunday’s title win with an outstanding showing at the last GP of Benelux in early September. In front of the home crowd, and on his favoured sand surface, Herlings demolished the opposition, lapping almost the entire field in both the races.
The Dutchman now wraps up the title with one GP left at Teutschenthal, Germany, on the 23 September.
Photo courtesy of KTM Racing