Interview: Mikkel Haarup on his first MX2 podium

18 year old, Mikkel Haarup looks to have came of age this year. In the past he’s put too much pressure on himself but this year he came to the first round of the MX2 World Championship with his new F&H Kawasaki with no expectations – just to go out and have fun. The young Dane talent was superb on his debut MX2 race with the F&H Racing team as he went 3-3 for third overall and secured his first podium in the MX2 World Championship.

Haarup has a tonne of talent and if he continues to ride like he did at Matterley Basin it could be the first podium of many – he typically performs better at the sand tracks as well so to podium at a rough, technical track of Matterley Basin is impressive.

Marc de Reuver deserves a shout out as well as he’s been working with Haarup and looks to be doing wonders yet again!

We caught up with Haarup to discuss his podium and much more.

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Gatedrop: Mikkel, your first MX2 GP podium on your debut GP with the F&H Racing team, it doesn’t get much better than that! You must be pleased with how round went for you?

Haarup: Yeah, I am happy. It already started yesterday (Saturday), when I qualified first. The speed has been there and even last year as well but I just haven’t managed to stay calm and focused. Today, I didn’t even get the best starts but managed to ride well and got two third place finishes. It was very important for me and also mentally to feel that I can do it. I am looking forward to next weekend already. I’ve had a good start to the season I would say.

Gatedrop: The way you done it most give you more confidence, the starts weren’t amazing and you had to pass some top riders. Also, at a track like that even in EMX, if it was sand you’d be thinking Haarup will win but at a hard pack track like today, you weren’t always sure. Have you been putting in the work at these kind of tracks?

Haarup: Of course, we have been trying to improve. Also, often when I’ve been struggling a little bit I’d be making a lot more mistakes at tracks like this or compared to a Lommel or somewhere more sandy. With F&H we’ve been to France many times to make sure everything is good. Let’s see this weekend what’s going to happen.

Gatedrop: With the two decent starts, you managed to stay calm out there? Being the first round and not getting the start you want, some guys can panic which can lead to crashes but you didn’t do that which shows you’ve matured!

Haarup: You can see many guys crashing. It’s not easy but I think it’s because I didn’t put my expectations too high. Anything can happen and there’s so many good riders, I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I rode and passed the guys I felt I could pass without taking too many risks. I came out with a podium which was nice, I even made a charge for the lead in the second moto, I wasn’t quite close enough but anyway I enjoyed it a lot.

Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop: How did you find the track? I thought it was pretty rough and technical out there.

Haarup: I’m a person that enjoys the track when it’s at it’s worst. I found a good rhythm and my lap times were good, you can see at the end they were pretty good. I’m usually good at the end of the races and especially when the track is very rough, you usually see a bigger difference between the riders then which I enjoy.

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Gatedrop: What’s your plans before Valkenswaard? A few days in the Dutch sand I guess?

Haarup: We go back to Holland for some sand riding, two days probably – Lommel or somewhere I guess. Then we will prepare for the weekend, I’ll take it easy on Thursday and Friday, then it’ll be another weekend of racing.

Gatedrop: Valkenswaard is a track you’re pretty good at, after the result this weekend, what’s your expectations for that one?

Haarup: Previously when I’ve been to Valkenswaard, I’ve always had pretty good results so I am looking forward to it. Anything can happen, I’m just trying not to put too much pressure on myself, it’s the most important thing. We will see where it takes me.

Interview: Andy McKinstry