Interview: Dani Heitink – 85cc Junior World Champion
Last weekend the Junior World Championships took place in Romania and it turned out to be a special weekend for young Dutch rider, Dani Heitink who became 85cc Junior World Champion.
Heitink will now be racing in Loket this weekend to try and do the double by also clinching the EMX85 title!
We caught up with Heitink to discuss his Junior world title, goals for Loket, his future and more.
GateDrop: Dani, an amazing weekend for you, probably the best weekend of your life so far. Can you talk me through your weekend and both your moto’s?
Heitink: Yes, it was a great weekend for me. I enjoyed and had a lot of fun. The first moto I had a reasonable start but had to pass a number of riders to get to P1. The second moto I had a bad start but I fought my way back to second place and knew that it was enough to become champion so I finished in second – it was really amazing.
GateDrop: After the second moto knowing you’d just won the Junior World title, how did you feel? I am sure very proud and emotional for you and the family…
Heitink: Yes, a really great feeling. I knew halfway through the moto that third was enough for the world title but I wanted to go to second so then I got there and yes, really great. It was great to have my family next to me. My uncle Marcel is my trainer so he is always with me. I also had uncle Gert and aunt Mareen come here with the kids and my grandfather as well as some friends to support me. It was great to be able to do this with my family.
GateDrop: Coming into the weekend, what where your expectations? Did you expect to win?
Heitink: I just went to the race with the feeling it would be nice to win a world title but if it didn’t work out we were happy too.
GateDrop: You were battling with fellow Dutch talent, Dean Gregoire in the second moto, what was it like battling with him? The future of the Dutch talents is looking good!
Heitink: Yes, I had a bad start and then I had to overtake a lot and then I got behind Dean. We had a good fight and yes so far the future for the Dutch is good.
GateDrop: The track was hard pack in Romania and not Dutch conditions, back when I was a kid, Dutch riders might have struggled but the new Dutch generation don’t mind hard pack. Why do you think that is and you must be happy being able to ride hard pack as well as sand?
Heitink: We have trained a lot on the hard pack, that we are good almost everywhere and yes that has paid off in Romania. We also hope to show it in the upcoming competitions.
GateDrop: You will race the EMX85 series at Loket this weekend, what is your goal for that? Double the double would be amazing…
Heitink: Yes, this weekend I’m ridign in Loket. We will do our best again to make it a beautiful and successful weekend and especially to enjoy it. If I win then my season can not go wrong.
GateDrop: After Loket what’s your plans for the rest of the season, any plans to do an EMX125 wildcard before the end of the year if you can?
Heitink: Yes, after Loket there are still a number of ADAC Masters on the program and when we are ready we want to switch to the 125cc.
GateDrop: I think you’ll race the EMX125 series next year, are you looking forward to that and being in the GP paddock on a regular basis?
Heitink: Yeah, that seems really great. I’m really excited to go on the 125cc and then we’ll see how it goes and then next year we’ll ride EMX125 and really excited for that.
GateDrop: When you look at the sport today, what riders do you look up to and why?
Heitink: I think Glenn (Coldenhoff) is a very nice guy and a good rider. When I go to the GP’s next year I can see him riding even more and learn a lot from him.
GateDrop: Long term, what’s your dream to achieve in the sport?
Heitink: My dream is to be able to ride in the MXGP and compete well at the front for the title.
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Images: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing