Interview: Raivo Dankers
The EMX125 championship kicks off this weekend with round one taking place at Latvia, Kegums. One of the riders to look out for is Dutch sensation, Raivo Dankers. Raivo has won pretty much everything there is too win in the 65 and 85 classes. He needed a learning year in the 85 class but last year he struck gold by winning the European and World titles on his HSF Logistics KTM.
Heading into the 2016 Raivo has a new challenge in the EMX125 class, it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the class and the bigger bike. Some riders jump straight into the class and race at the front straight away – some need a year to figure things out.
We caught up with Raivo to discuss the fast approaching season.
Gatedrop: Last year you won the European and World 85 titles, how did it feel to win those titles?
Raivo Dankers: It always feels amazing winning a title, the first one was in 2013, the European championship. Also, last year the two other ones and it’s just amazing.
Gatedrop: You are moving up to the 125 class this year, how have your pre-season races gone for you and are you happy with your speed heading into Latvia?
Raivo Dankers: During the winter I’ve been training in Spain. But I had a crash there and broke my shoulder blade. I had to start over and we didn’t have the time any more in Spain to test the bike. The first few pre-season races went not that good, I had bad starts. But I have trained on that. I feel that the last few races where good and I think my speed isn’t that bad.
Gatedrop: Heading into Latvia what are your goals for that race and the season?
Raivo Dankers: I don’t really know what to expect from the riders because it’s a new class with new riders. But we are going to make the best of it!
Gatedrop: We have seen in recent years that Mewse needed a year to get used to the 125 whereas Prado was really fast from the first round. Do you think you will need a year to learn or be a contender from the first round?
Raivo Dankers: Yes, I think the first year is a year for me to get used to the bike and gain some good experience. But again I’m going to do my best.
Gatedrop: You are still quite small, do you think you need to grow and get stronger before we see the best off you?
Raivo Dankers: Yes, indeed I’m quite small but I’ve been growing in the last few months. It’s not really annoying on the bike or anything so I don’t think that’s a big issue. But yes I know I have to get stronger.
Gatedrop: Latvia is quite sandy, being from Holland do you prefer sand over hard pack or do you like both conditions?
Raivo Dankers: It doesn’t really matter to me, I like sand and I like hardback.
Gatedrop: Having won everything there is to win in the 65 and 85 classes, do you feel pressure to win the EMX125 title before moving to a 250?
Raivo Dankers: Of course, it’s the dream for every one to get the title. Not really pressure but of course I hope I can grab the EMX125 title, but it’s not going to be easy.
Gatedrop: You are riding for HSF Logistics team, have you been able to learn much from Brian Bogers and Calvin Vlaanderen?
Raivo Dankers: I’m in Dutch selection and when the HSF Logistics team drivers are in Spain for training I’m in Spain with the Dutch selection. So not really that much because I’m getting trained by Dutch selection.
Gatedrop: Growing up who has been your favourite rider, who do you look up to and why?
Raivo Dankers: I always liked to watch to James Stewart. He has a great style.
Gatedrop: Looking into the future, what is your dream that you want to accomplish?
Raivo Dankers: My dream is to be world champion in with the big boys (mx2 – mxgp).
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Relouw MX Pics