This season of racing was filled with nail-biting races and multiple title contenders. MXGP reports that the top riders were Herlings, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre, and Team HRC’s Tim Gajser. The championship went down to the very final race, and Herlings crossed the line in first place, clinching the title just 5 points ahead of Febvre, who crossed the line second.
Herlings has been a KTM racer since he started his career in 2010 as a 15-year-old. Entering the final two rounds at Mantova, Herlings, Febvre, and Gasjer were separated by just 3 points. Aboard his KTM 450 SX-F, he fended off pressure from the competition and claimed his fifth Motocross World Championship title and second in the MXGP division.
In 2021, he also put together 14 podiums, 9 wins, and 13 pole positions from 17 rounds. That puts him just two victories away from the all-time record of 101. With another two years left on his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing contract, it looks like there’s going to be no stopping him from breaking this record.
Strong finishes from the other KTM riders — Tony Cairoli and Jorge Prado — also meant KTM took home the 2021 Manufacturers’ Championship.
Jeffrey Herlings was a true champ following his victory and said, “I’m super happy, but at the same time, I feel bad for the other two guys. I want to thank both of them for a great championship. The bad thing about our sport is that only one can win, but they have been great, and I have such respect for both of them. To go 1-1 today was special. I haven’t slept for a week thinking about what could happen, what might happen, and this-and-that. This wasn’t an easy championship. All three of us kept charging until the last moto, especially me and Romain in these last two races, and the pressure was on. I didn’t break, and I made the championship happen. It was the most difficult one ever, so many ups-and-downs, and I’ve needed nerves of steel these last weeks, but we made it.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director, also commented on the victory: “This was not a normal season. It was a difficult and special title to win. The competition was incredible so big compliments to them: Tim and Romain produced an incredible year, and any one of the guys would have deserved a title, but we also worked really hard for this. Jeffrey was amazing. He had ups-and-downs but was always fighting and coming back for more. It is always an emotional ride with him but, in the end, I feel that he deserved this title the most.“
“I have to thank the whole team because they have made so much effort, but in our motocross ‘world’ the rider is the superstar, and we have great ones in our team. Tony, Jorge, Mattia, Rene, and Tom: the relationship we have is also amazing and makes our work so much fun. We will go home tomorrow to work hard and continue to be strong next year.”