Interview: Harry Everts on Liam

There’s no secret that there’s a lot of talent in the Everts family when it comes to Motocross. Harry and Stefan have fourteen world titles between them which is incredible.

Stefan’s son, Liam is now in the GP paddock trying to make a name for himself in the EMX125 class. Having the Everts name on his back brings extra pressure with it as everyone just expects him to have the talent of his dad and grandad but it doesn’t always work like that.

Liam made his EMX125 debut at Valkenswaard and really impressed by finishing fourteenth overall. Considering he’s still pretty small for the bike that’s a very good ride and he was the second best rookie. When you consider that all winter, Stefan was fighting for his life with malaria it would have been tough mentally for Liam coming into the season but he really didn’t show it.

We caught up with Harry to get his thoughts on his grandson’s performance.

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Gatedrop: Harry, we’ve just had the first round of the EMX125 championship, not only did Liam qualify but he also scored good championship points. Are you happy with his performance?

Harry Everts: Yes, it was his first race not so far from home and for Liam it was a difficult winter for the training with the problems for Stefan.  During qualifying, he was able to qualify on the last lap, I was so happy he qualified, also for his papa, it was very important for him. For the races he had to start outside at the gate which was a very bad place for him but anyway he had a good start. He finished seventeenth in the first moto and twelfth in the second moto. Overall it was a very good weekend for Liam.

Gatedrop: Coming into this weekend, what did you expect from Liam? Did you expect him to be so good so soon on the 125cc?

Harry Everts: Yes and no, because before you aren’t sure about the riders he’s up against. But you always want to be better and better. I am happy he was so good, the first training was a bit disappointing. Now he knows the riders. You have Kay de Wolf who’s a very very good rider and also a good friend of Liam. For the future, at the end of this year Liam will be at the top.

Gatedrop:  Liam is still quite small and could easily still be racing the 85cc. What was the decision to already put him on the 125cc?

Harry Everts: It was a decision you take when you think what can you learn when you win all the time, I think if he stayed on the 85cc he’d be riding for first position, it would have been very nice. But you always have to lose at the beginning for one year and that makes you a great rider in the future.

Pic: Gino Maes

Gatedrop: Mentally are you impressed with Liam? He went through a lot during the winter with Stefan (Liam’s dad) battling with Malaria and he was able to put that to one side and focus on the race.

Harry Everts: Yeah, it wasn’t easy, he was up and down. You have to think that we had the problem all winter. Also for me and all the family. It was not easy for Liam and he was always talking saying he wanted to see papa but it wasn’t possible. For me also it was difficult and it still is.

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Gatedrop:  Liam has the Everts name on the back of his shirt while he tries to follow in your footsteps as well as Stefan’s. That’s a lot of pressure but he seems to be coping well with it?

Harry Everts: Yeah, it’s difficult. Like you said having the Everts name. When Stefan was a young kid he had the same. This race was so big with many people coming and also being near home. I think the first race was difficult for Liam with the Everts name but with more races like this, starting with Italy next week, like France because nobody has saw Liam riding. It should come better and better soon.

Gatedrop: You also work with Pauls Jonass. How’s he dealing with the 450 after making the step to MXGP?

Harry Everts: Yeah, it’s good but its the first races for him on the big bike. He was injured for so long so it’s been difficult but he’s back. It will be at the middle of the season before you see him at his best.

Gatedrop: Do you think Jonass can get on the box this year in MXGP?

Harry Everts: That I don’t know, for that we will have to see.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pic: Gino Maes