One of the stories of the MX2 World Championship this year has to be the improvement of Henry Jacobi. The German has clearly put in the hard work required over the off-season and is getting the rewards for it this year.
Since winning the Junior World Championship back in 2010 ahead of Tim Gajser things haven’t got to plan but it’s nice to see such a talented rider get his career back on track.
After nine rounds of the series Jacobi sits in an impressive seventh in the standings and has also stood on the podium once in Italy which he describes as the best day of his life.
There’s no doubt that the German will want to get on the box again as many times as possible during the rest of the season on his STC Husqvarna.
We caught up with the friendly German to talk about his impressive season and what he thinks it’s down too.
Gatedrop: Henry, it was a pretty good weekend for you. Can you talk me through both of your moto’s?
Henry Jacobi: Yeah, the first start wasn’t that good. I was around about fourteenth and I tried to catch up to the first guys. There was a big group in front of me, I also got passed trying to pass the guys in front of me. It was difficult because if you changed your line then you’d lose some time and also some different guys behind you can pass you. I lost some places but also gained some spots.
I saw they blocked passed each other in front of me, so I was a little bit lucky. Beaton and Larranaga also crashed so I moved up two spots and finished a solid seventh. It was pretty good and in the second moto I just wanted a better start.
I was third after the first lap and I could stay there for I think twenty minutes or something. We got caught up a little bit with Olsen and that’s where I lost some time and allowed Vlaanderen to pass us. I actually got back on his rear wheel and tried to follow but then Watson, he came close and then I lost the focus. He came passed and from that moment, I knew there was only two more laps. My hands were really sore and I was losing it a little. I got a solid fifth which was really good for me.
Gatedrop: I would say you’re probably the story of the MX2 class this year. What did you do in winter to make this step up?
Henry Jacobi: I actually don’t really know what I changed. I was just riding my bike a lot, I was going three or four times a week on the bike during the winter program and also now during the week I go twice even if I race at the weekend. That’s pretty much all I changed, I just rode a lot and put more hours in on the bike.
Gatedrop: This is your second season with the STC Husqvarna team after swapping teams quite a lot. Do you think you’re benefitting from staying with the same team more than one year?
Henry Jacobi: Yeah, I think we have a routine now with the team. Also, because nothing changed within the team, I have the same mechanic and stuff like this. It’s quite good for not too much to change. The engine is still the same from last year but it’s a little bit better which you can see from many of my starts. I’m really good at the starts, I think my reaction and my technique is good but also the bike needs to fit. Both these parts fit good together and that’s why I get good starts. If you get good starts it’s easier to stay out in front.
Gatedrop: You got your first podium in Italy earlier in the season. That’s probably the best day of your career so far, how did it feel to stand on the podium?
Henry Jacobi: Yeah, definitely the best day, of my life I think! After coming Junior World Champ in 2010 this was the best day so far in my career. I’m really looking forward to doing it again and maybe enjoy it a little bit more because there was a lot of feelings, I couldn’t enjoy everything because I couldn’t believe it. Now I think for the second time I’d like to enjoy it a little bit more.
Gatedrop: I mean you ran with Pauls Jonass for 10-15 minutes in the second moto today. Are you even surprising yourself with the speed your showing or did you expect this coming into the season?
Henry Jacobi: Definitely not. During the winter you do so much but I didn’t race pre-season and you don’t really know where you stand and where you are. I’m quite happy now, I’ve known since I think Valkenswaard that I can challenge these guys. Jonass and Prado they are there every weekend and seem to be a little bit better than everyone else. I think with battling with Olsen and stuff that I’m surprising myself with my speed. Also, the first fifteen minutes in the second moto I caught up a little bit with Jonass in some places and some laps. It definitely shows everyone around here that I’m capable of showing the speed to run at the front.
Gatedrop: Last year at times you were good but it would maybe depend on the track. This year it looks like the track doesn’t matter and your there at every track!
Henry Jacobi: Last year I struggled a lot with the technique needed for the hard pack tracks. I just came too fast into the corner, messed up the corner. I was really working on hard pack with my technique and I was riding a lot of sand during the winter too. They’re the only tracks you can ride during the rainy season but I rode both a lot. I worked a lot on my technique and this is why maybe I also got better.
Gatedrop: You’re first full-time ride in the MX2 World Championship was with the JTech Honda team but things didn’t go to plan that year. How would you describe your time with the team?
Henry Jacobi: Yeah, I think it was not the right decision. I think that year the team didn’t step forward, they stepped a little back and also the riders that were there like Graulus and the European riders, they didn’t get the results. Look at Kouwenberg, he won the EMX250 and that year he could win also but didn’t. I think the team stepped back and also with money and stuff. Maybe it was already the beginning of the end (the team isn’t in the paddock anymore). So, it wasn’t the right decision I took to go there.
Gatedrop: Moving on to the rest of this season, I’m sure the goal is to run top five and get yourself on the podium again?
Henry Jacobi: I really want to be on the podium again this year. I think I can do it wherever I go because I’m really good at the sand. I really want to get another podium. Sure, now with the championship I’m in seventh now. I don’t think I can make up much ground to Vlaanderen and Watson because they seem to be always one spot in front of me. If I can finish in the top ten this year in the championship that would be really good.
Gatedrop: Looking at 2019 it looks like Jonass will move up to the MXGP class, if you have another winter like you did last winter then there’s no reason why you can’t challenge every week!
Henry Jacobi: I think next year is going to go pretty well. I will have another great winter I hope. I will work 100% for next year to be the guy that’s challenging the leaders.
Gatedrop: For next year have you got a deal with STC Husqvarna or is it still up in the air?
Henry Jacobi: Yeah, I have another Husqvarna deal for next year.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Nigel McKinstry