The Junior World Championship takes place in Australia this weekend and one of the young talents to watch in the 85cc class is Kay Karssemakers. He already has a Junior World Championship to his name as he won the 65cc class in 2015 but he will be looking to add the 85cc title this weekend.
He might be young but already he wants to be the best he can be and he puts a lot of pressure on himself to win.
At the EMX85 Championship in Loket a crash in the first moto when he was leading cost him his place on the podium as he ended up fourth overall. That will give him more motivation for the 85cc Junior World Championship taking place this weekend.
We caught up with Karssemakers before the Junior World Championship takes place this weekend.
Gatedrop: Kay, the Junior World Championship event is taking place in Australia this weekend, do you feel ready and excited for the event?
Kay Karssemakers: Yes, I’m very excited and feel ready. I was training these days for the first time in Australia. The track where we practised had nice jumps and I had a good feeling on the bike!
Gatedrop: Is this your first race outside Europe and how are you dealing it hall the travelling?
Kay Karssemakers: It’s not the first time outside Europe. In 2016 we had the Junior Worlds in Russia, that’s half Europe and half Asian. We have also raced in Finland, Slovakia, Estonia and Spain etc. They’re in Europe but also not close to home.
These flights (to Australia) were long, but good. First we went from Amsterdam to Dubai and then from Dubai to Bali. There we had a little holiday. Last Sunday we went from Bali to Melbourne in Australia.
Gatedrop: Obviously it’s a team event as well as an individual event but on a personal level, what are your goals for the JWC this weekend?
Kay Karssemakers: I hope to finish first on the podium.
Gatedrop: After missing out on the podium in the EMX85 Championship in Loket does this make you even more motivated to get at least a podium this weekend?
Kay Karssemakers: Yes, of course but I want to be on the podium every time that I am racing! But I’m 200% motivated!
Gatedrop: What’s the atmosphere like between all the Dutch riders, is there a good atmosphere?
Kay Karssemakers: I don’t know yet. We are travelling with Bradley Mesters and his family. He is racing in the 65cc class. They are our friends and last year I was riding with him in a team. For this trip they help me again with the bike and training.
Gatedrop: You’ve obviously rode the JWC before, have you some nice memories from the event in the past?
Kay Karssemakers: Yes, I was FIM Junior World Champion 65cc in 2015 in El Molar, Spain. I had one holeshot and won both motos. Last year I was 3rd in the World on the 85cc in Estonia. It was one of my best races ever!
Gatedrop: Overall, would you say you’ve been happy with your season or would you have liked to do better?
Kay Karssemakers: I wish that I didn’t have some bad luck, then I could have been the Dutch Masters Champion. I was the leader in the Dutch Masters 85cc, but in Oldebroek I had a 0 score. There’s only 4 races so it was difficult to win the points back.
But I had also some really good races. I had three EMX heat wins in a row, won one round and I was standing in all the EMX races on the podium!
Gatedrop: Have you any plans for 2019 yet – I’m guessing you’ll move up the 125cc and race the EMX125 Championship? Will you be a privateer, or could you possibly secure a team?
Kay Karssemakers: I don’t know yet. I’m free to go but also I can stay with Youth Pro MX in the 125cc!
Gatedrop: You must be looking forward to racing in the GP paddock on a regular basis in the EMX125 class, what’s your goals for that championship in 2019?
Kay Karssemakers: I hope that I can compete the races but I don’t know yet how fast it goes. There will come a lot of riders to the EMX125 races. After the big races we will start to practice on the 125. 2019 will be a learning year on the 125cc, so we will see how far we come.
Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?
Kay Karssemakers: I will thank my team Youth Pro MX, my sponsors Aalster Tentenbedrijf, Rijders Bedrijfswagens, Voss Oss Motoren, KTM Nederland, Alpinestars, my family and also HMX racing and William Saris who helping me here in Australia!
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Niek Kamper