Catching Up With Stefan Everts

_s2f47321By Geoff Meyer

Stefan Everts interview – My USGP Experiences
Ten-time World Motocross Champion Stefan Everts was one of the riders who was always capable of beating the best American riders, and while his record against Ricky Carmichael was 2-2 they never really raced on enough occasions to give a clear cut decision on who was the best.

Everts took the first win at the 1998 MXoN when RC was making his MXdN debut on a 125cc machine. Everts totally dominated at the muddy Foxhills event, while RC struggled. Then again in 1999 they met, again it was the MXoN and RC was again on the smaller bike, and Everts scored the better results. A year later in 2000 Everts didn’t race the MXoN due to injury and RC dominated the European riders.

The two wouldn’t face each other again until 2003 at the MXoN in Zolder, this time RC on a two-stroke 250cc machine beat Everts on the 450cc 4-stroke after a short battle for the lead when Everts had led early. They met again in 2005 at the Ernee MXoN and RC was again brilliant, while Everts had his worst MXoN ever finishing well down the field. A year later Everts signed out with his stunning victory over James Stewart at the Matterly Basin MXoN, although this time RC didn’t ride because of injury.

That America versus Europe fight has always been fought in the combat of the Motocross of Nations, and a true fight between the best from each side of the Atlantic hasn’t really been decided since the 1994 USGP in Budds Creek when Yves Demaria beat all the leading AMA and FIM riders.

So it’s nearly 20 years that the best of the best have come head to head, and now word is leaking out that many of the leading AMA riders might be racing at Glen Helen on May 30 for the 2010 USGP.

We decided to talk to Stefan Everts and ask him about his experience in what is looking like the greatest GP of the decade.

MXlarge: Stefan, can you tell me about your experiences in the USGP?

Everts: Actually in 1993 I won in Budds Creek and it was 10 years after Kees Van Der Ven won in Unadilla in 1982. An American had won every year prior to 1993, so it was nice to be the first Grand Prix rider to win it again. 1994 I got second to Yves Demaria and rode with a broken collarbone. We had a false start and I was so tired from the operation and the hurt shoulder that I nearly didn’t finish the second race, I got passed by Demaria with a couple of laps before the end and until that moment I was still leading the GP.

MXlarge
: We had a break from the USGP for a while didn’t we?

Everts: After that we did Budds Creek in 1999 and I also raced an AMA National at Unadilla in 1997. First race I got third and then in the second race I crashed with John Dowd going down the steep section. Of course Budds Creek in 1999 I finished second to Kevin Windham, it was a good race, but little interest from the public. Windham was also not happy because I had said something about American’s being cowards before the race, just to get them excited about coming. It works as he came, but he won. I don’t think any of our riders need to talk like that this time around.

Stefan speaks with Rui Goncalves following the muddy 2009 Italian MXGP.

Stefan speaks with Rui Goncalves following the muddy 2009 Italian MXGP.

MXlarge: What does the USGP mean for you? Do you think the American public looks at the Grand Prix riders differently now?

Everts: It was always nice to go there, unfortunately we didn’t go there anymore when I was really at my best, but it was always great to go there back in the 1990s. For sure to see guys like Cairoli, Musquin and Roczen at Glen Helen will be a highlight. A lot has changed since 1999 and the Motocross of Nations at Budds Creek was a huge success and for sure people are starting to look different at the Grand Prix scene. I think it’s going to be really good to see the Grand Prix in Glen Helen.

MXlarge
: Glen Helen is like a practice circuit for many of the leading AMA riders and the temperature will be much warmer than in Europe. They will have an advantage for sure.

Everts
: Of course, they have an advantage, but I wouldn’t be bothered by that if I was still riding. You need to be fit be it hot, cold or whatever, you need to be at your best and it doesn’t mean that when a rider has an advantage that you can’t beat him. There is always a way to win.