Interview: Kay de Wolf – rode with a broken back at Lommel!
Just when it looked like Kay de Wolf had climbed the mountain to the top of MX2 with his first GP and red plate, the super talented teenager broke his ankle the next week! It was huge change in momentum at the worst time, but the determined de Wolf refused to give in and still raced in the next GPs until, amazingly, a fractured back just before Lommel halted his year, but only after he tried to race that weekend in the deep Belgian sand!
We caught up with de Wolf at the end of the British GP after he came within a lap and a half of winning the final moto of the year, and doing it on hard pack! De Wolf is now the full package but injury prevented the world seeing what he could do if he was fully healthy all year in 2023. But 2024 could be special.
Watch or read below to hear just how tough and how much pain De Wolf went through in 2023!
Kay de Wolf it has been a tough season for you but you were very good today and almost got that moto win at the end!
It was a rough season. Actually, it went amazing and had the red plate, and then, on that Thursday I broke my ankle so that was a bummer. I still rode six GPs with it, it was unreal, I had so much pain. It is unbelievable to describe how much pain I had.
Then finally got a podium in Loket, still with a lot of pain then had a big crash just before Lommel where I broke my back, T5, on Wednesday. I just went over the bars, not even my fault, just had an issue. A really big crash and had a fracture in my back and tried to race Lommel but yeah, that was unreal. I woke up Sunday morning and couldn’t get out of my bed, my dad had to come help me get up! I still tried on Sunday both motos but yeah, I couldn’t.
And you were fast on Saturday still, despite that – I can’t believe that!
Yeah, I had to pull off because my hand came off the bars onto the start straight. I almost had a high side, my mind just blocked. I went onto the start, and I lost my hand. It was really tough this season. I took my time to come back and came back last weekend. I had a not so good qualifying, but Sunday went better and better.
This weekend was really good, I really enjoy riding here and good to finish off the seaosn like this and really looking forward to the Nations now.
At one point I thought you had the moto win but Jago got you, and then you were right on him again on the last lap, you would have got a podium if you got the moto win, you were giving it everything there!
Yeah, I was. But bummer that some people were trying block each others pit boards. I only knew afterwards, my team put three times that I had to keep that inside closed because on the rest of the track I was alright. Then some people blocked our board. They thought they could take the win from me like this but they didn’t. A bummer I couldn’t make the moto win. That’s the only communication we have, it’s not like F1 that we get something from an ear piece and when other teams are blocking, it’s a shame.
Your hard pack is really good now as well, pretty much on the level of your sand, although your sand is excpetional! That has to give you confidence for next year, but how difficult was it to injure your ankle straight after your first GP win? It’s the worst case scenario!
Yeah, my first GP win and my first red plate. To then come to the track only 15 minutes before the first practice and hide from everyone the whole weekend and try to get through it was really tough. We tried and we made it through, also got back on the podium but then broke my back and had to stop.
How are you feeling for MXoN, you are quite a big guy to get starts on a 250, but the pace is there if you do to try and do something with Holland!
Yeah I am really looking forward to representing Holland. Also Calvin, and Calvin did a great job today, so we will have a few good practice together and we are going to shine there.
I don’t know if you watch the SMX series in America, a lot of people would like to see MXGP have a qualifying format so you guys could go over there and race it , would you like to do something like that?
I don’t think it’s possible, especially when you saw yesterday’s track (LA) that was just a supercross track. I don’t think you can put MXGP riders on a that track because it won’t be fair.
You have been a teenage star for a few years now and a factory rider, you got the GP win but have you felt the pressure? Until you got hurt, it looked like this year you were challenging for the title, does it weigh on your mind?
No, I never felt the pressure. I have been a factory rider since I was 14, I have been a factory rider for a long time so it never felt like a pressure for me. I have a good bike underneath me, that’s the only thing I feel as a factory rider.
Your thoughts on Jett Lawrence? He mentioned in an interview that you were the only rider that could really beat him in Europe, even if you were a bit younger than him on 85s. Seeing what he is doing, does that give you inspiration, because your talent is up there?
Me and Jett had some really sick battles back int he day on the 85. He was racing on the Suzuki at that point. I remember one race, it was the sickest race of my career actually! It was in Holland and we just gapped the other guys by 30 seconds, we were on it and passing each other every single turn! It’s great to see him doing such an amazing season, winnign everything he could. Big shout out to him for the hard work he is doing because people won’t see it, but behind the scenes we are doing a lot of work.
Images: Full Spectrum
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