There’s no question that one rider that’s really stepped up his riding this year is South African talent, Calvin Vlaanderen. In Loket the HRC Honda MX2 rider was superb and especially in the first moto when he passed most the top guys to get the moto win, that could very well be the best moto of his career so far.
Vlaanderen had to be happy with finishing third in the second moto to secure the second step on the podium but there’s no doubt that if he continues to ride like he did in Loket then another GP win is coming very soon.
We caught up with Vlaanderen to talk about his impressive performance in Loket.
Gatedrop: Calvin, it was a great weekend for you here in Loket, you must be so happy with that first moto coming behind and passing most the top guys to win!
Calvin Vlaanderen: Yeah, I’m pumped on the whole weekend. I was really fast since free practice, I think I was top three all the time so it was a really good weekend for me. Especially in the first moto coming through the pack like that and passing all the top guys to get the win. It’s good for me, good for the team, good for everyone around me. You know we work for this during the week so it’s motivating for the weeks coming up and also to end the season strongly it’s cool to get a weekend like this behind my belt.
Gatedrop: I’ve been seeing your riding lately and you’re riding really well but you even surprised me in the first moto today. What did it feel like passing those guys and pulling away because you’ve never really done it before?
Calvin Vlaanderen: I’m not really surprised. I kind of wanted this to happen earlier in the season. Passing the guys was a good feeling, I didn’t really think about it during the race but after the race I was like damn, I passed Prado who’s leading the championship and all the guys, Covington rode really well, Olsen and Jonass. They’re such great riders and I look up to them as well so it’s cool to battle with them, to beat them and win the first moto. I’m really happy with how my riding is at the moment, I think it’s just confidence and time on the bike, I’m feeling really good about it.
Gatedrop: You won the overall in Indonesia but your girlfriend wasn’t there, it must have been nice to at least win a moto in front of her?
Calvin Vlaanderen: Yeah, she said to me that I need to get one win with her in Europe. I am trying to do that so hopefully in one of the GP’s coming up I can do it for her.
Gatedrop: There’s been a lot of talk for years now that Honda don’t have the best MX2 bike but your bike looks great, they seem to have it figured out now?
Calvin Vlaanderen: Yeah they’ve put a lot of time and effort into the 250cc. My bike has been awesome this whole weekend, I think my bike really suits this kind of track as its stoney and slippery. Lommel is another weekend coming up and that will be tough, not only for me but for all the riders. The Japanese and just everyone is working so hard with my bike and it’s just awesome.
Gatedrop: This year when I watch you ride, you’re incredibly smooth and in my opinion smoother than before. Would you say you’ve changed your riding style or is it just natural for you?
Calvin Vlaanderen: It’s pretty natural. I mean the years before maybe I was just pushing too hard because I wanted it really badly. The years when I was winning the South African championships I was a really smooth rider and everyone knew me as a smooth, fast rider and I think that’s coming back now with the smoothness. The Calvin that should have been here a few years ago.
Gatedrop: The Netherlands need a good MX2 guy for the Motocross Des Nations and it looks like you might be the guy!
Calvin Vlaanderen: Yeah, there’s a lot of talk about that but it’s still not 100% sure. I’d like too but I think in the next few weeks we will find out what’s going to happen.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Niek Kamper