Interview: Nicolai Skovbjerg on showing EMX125 race winning speed at Lommel

If it wasn’t for two very bad starts, things could have been very different for Nicolai Skovbjerg at Lommel in the EMX125 class. He had to come from the back in both moto’s but recovered to eighth and fourth in the moto’s – at times he was the fastest rider on the track despite being in traffic.

We caught up with the likeable young Dane to discuss his impressive speed at the rough Lommel.

GateDrop: Nicolai, here at Lommel, this place is a very good track for you… fifth in a moto last year and I think this year you were even faster, starts let you down but at times you were the fastest rider on the track. Can you talk me through your moto’s and how it felt to be passing guys left, right and centre?

Skovbjerg: Yeah, the starts were really bad. Thirty-seventh yesterday and twenty-seventh today to end up eighth and fourth. I felt really good and had more speed than the other guys, I think if the start was there in the second moto that I could have won.

This article continues below

GateDrop: Agreed, I think you could have won with the start but how did you find the track with the new layout? Rough conditions…

Skovbjerg: Yeah, I like it rough so it was good. The sand was more tight this year and then the waves, they just destroyed the track. Otherwise it was fun.

GateDrop: What is it about Lommel you enjoy so much, are these just conditions you grew up riding on?

Skovbjerg: Yeah, pretty much. I grew up riding something kind of in the middle. A little bit of hard pack and a little bit of sand. But I do prefer the sand over the hard pack.

GateDrop: I know you missed the podium but in terms of speed, this was probably the first time in your career racing this class that you can say that you had the speed to win?

Skovbjerg: Yeah, it is fun. Like I said, the starts let me down but it felt good.

GateDrop: What was it like having to charge through the field both moto’s? It looked quite hard to pass but you made it look easy…

Skovbjerg: Yeah, luckily they didn’t prep the track for today so there were more lines. It was bumpier on the insides and a lot of guys went to the outsides but I could make passes.

This article continues below
Image: Nigel McKinstry

GateDrop: This is your second year racing the EMX125 series, how do you find it racing this class against some of the best young talents in the world – it looks tough!

Skovbjerg: Yeah, the level is really high this year. Last year I think was way easier and when you make bad starts like I do, then it is tough.

GateDrop: There seems to be a lot of guys similar speed as well so that’s why starts are important but Valin and Reisulis, they seem to be a step ahead of everyone else…

Skovbjerg: Yeah, I think it is those two guys and then I think the rest – there’s a lot the similar speed.

GateDrop: You had a great battle with Garcia there towards the end of the second moto, what was going on there?

Skovbjerg: Phew, I don’t know, it was tight. I passed him but then on the last lap I was completely done and then he put the pace up a bit too so he got me back.

GateDrop: You are with the JK Yamaha team this year, what is it like being with them and was it nice to secure a ride?

Skovbjerg: Yeah it is good being with JK Yamaha, it’s going well with them.

This article continues below

GateDrop: You live in Denmark and travel to all the GP’s – that must be quite tough?

Skovbjerg: Yeah, this year I race the Danish championship as well as the ADAC. But now we have one weekend off and then the rest of the season then we will be done.

GateDrop: But even having to travel from Denmark it must be quite tough compared to the guys living in Central Europe?

Skovbjerg: Yeah, but we just drive. It is easier because we have the kitchen, a bad and everything in the truck. I prefer that than the hotel.

GateDrop: Plans for next year? Will you move up to the 250cc?

Skovbjerg: Yeah, I will be racing a 250cc next year because I am 16 years old now and am getting too old for a 125cc next year.

GateDrop: Have you rode a 250cc at the practice track or anything yet and if so how do you feel on it?

Skovbjerg: I have ridden a 250cc four times and actually I think it is even more fun than the 125cc.

GateDrop: You are great in the sand but any plans to spend the winter in hard pack and improve your level with those tracks?

Skovbjerg: Yeah, it would be ideal to do but my Mum and Dad have a job to be at so I don’t really have the opportunity to do too much hard pack. We are mostly in Denmark.

GateDrop: Are you hoping to do the full EMX250 series next year?

Skovbjerg: Of course I want to do EMX250 season so yeah, we’ll see.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Images: Nigel McKinstry