Last year was Liam Everts first year on the 85cc and he didn’t qualify for Loket which was a bit of a blow. However, the young Belgian decided this year would be different and he’s started to put in the required work to get to the top.
During winter, Everts went to New Zealand to spend some time with an ex World Champion in Ben Townley and clearly they did some good work together. Everts came back a stronger rider and then went to work with his dad, Stefan.
Before this year, Liam hadn’t contested too much racing but he’s done a lot more racing this year and it’s clearly paying off. During the EMX85 series in Loket, Liam ended up third overall which was a good result.
You have to remember it’s only Liam’s second year on the 85cc and to make such a big jump from last year is impressive. If he continues to put in the hard work then he might just have a bright future, seeing him ride you can certainly see some of his Dad’s technique in there which is exciting.
We caught up with Liam after his impressive performance in Loket.
Gatedrop: Liam, a good weekend for you here in Loket, can you just talk me through your motos?
Liam Everts: The first moto was pretty good. I got a decent start, I think I was around fourth or something and I worked my way up to second. We swapped around for first a few times then third, then second a few times. I eventually finished second, it was a pretty solid race, I was pretty happy with that.
In the second moto I just got an awful start, I don’t know what happened, maybe a little stress came into play. Eventually it got to me, my arms started to hurt and I was a bit sore. I don’t know, things weren’t clicking as much but I still managed to get through and still managed to get fourth. I’m pretty happy with that, last year I didn’t even qualify during my first season. This was my second one so I’m really pumped on the podium so thanks to everyone, I’m happy.
Gatedrop: What where your expectations for you coming into this event, was it to podium, top five or even a top ten considering you didn’t qualify last year?
Liam Everts: Pfft last year I didn’t even qualify and I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I just wanted to finish both moto’s top five, that was my main goal. Yeah, I did it and I got on the podium so it worked out really well for me.
Gatedrop: Mc Lellan and de Wolf are quite a bit taller than you, do you think that was a bit of a disadvantage for you?
Liam Everts: No, I think they have more experience than me. They’re in their third years I think and I’m in my second so yeah. I’m small, I’m a little kid. Sometimes you do good stuff and sometimes you do bad, in the whoops they have a better advantage on me but sometimes in the tight corners I’ve got the advantage. But in the end, he won and it’s a fair race, he was faster. I respect that he’s a friend of mine and I really congrats him.
Gatedrop: What did you work on during the winter to really improve from this year? Has Stefan being away from the GP’s helped bring you on more coming into this season?
Liam Everts: Yeah and in the winter, I went to Ben Townley, he helped me a lot with my corner speed, my technique and my starts. We’ve made such big steps this year, last year like tenth was my best result maybe in the Europeans. Now we’ve won some, it’s been a tough trip but it’s been a good one. Thanks to my dad helping me through the season as well, I am really thankful for these two men for helping me out and I’m really pumped.
Gatedrop: As you mentioned you were in New Zealand with Ben Townley. What was the trip like and being away from Mum and Dad – has that helped you grow up a little?
Liam Everts: Pft, yeah, Mum and dad were really busy with the Suzuki team, they had to get rid of all the stuff so it was perfect timing for me to move out of the house. It paid off, once I got back all the stuff was out so my dad could focus on me. I’m really happy.
Gatedrop: You’re still quite small, do you think you’ll stay on the 85cc again next year or will you move up to the 125cc?
Liam Everts: Personally, I want to go to the 125cc but yeah, if I hit a kicker on the 125cc because I’m still small it could go wrong. But I mean, Prado done it as well, so why can’t I?
Gatedrop: Are you looking forward to going to Australia later in the year to contest the Junior World Championship and what are your goals for that?
Liam Everts: I am really looking forward to Australia and seeing some Kiwi friends again. My goals, top seven! That’s the main goal, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. Maybe some other good riders coming like the Americans. I think the trip itself will be nice.
Gatedrop: How long will you spend out there? Just there for the race or will you do some sightseeing too?
Liam Everts: No, we are just going Monday to Monday so we will come out of Melbourne and then just focus on the race. For the rest we will have some time to enjoy it a little bit. We will see Ben and some Kiwi friends and then going back home.
Interview: Scott Leaney
Pic: Niek Kamper