Interview: Stefan Ekerold
During the 2015 season Stefan Ekerold competed in the EMX250 championship on a Bodo Schmidt KTM, he was team mate to Thomas Kjer Olsen team. However, Ekerold got injured and wasn’t able to show us what he could really do. Bodo Schmidt kept him for the 2016 season but only for the ADAC German Championship.
After leaving the GP paddock it can be quite hard to get back in. Stefan has had a great season in Germany battling for the title, running with Bas Vaessen and Miro Sihvonen. Stefan ended up third in the championship which is still a good result.
A new team in the form of Carglass Honda have signed Stefan for the 2017 season. It will be great to see the young German back competing the EMX250 championship again and after a good year he deserves it.
We decided to catch up with the twenty-one year old to talk about his deal with Honda that gives him another opportunity in the GP paddock.
Gatedrop: Stefan, it’s official, you will race the EMX250 class for Carglass Honda. How did the deal come about?
Stefan Ekerold: I was approached by Patrick (team manager) a few times and I have to say his plans sounded very interesting. So, I decided to gave the bike a try, I liked it and we then agreed to a deal.
Gatedrop: Unfortunately, this year you didn’t compete in the EMX250 class, you must be delighted to have another opportunity in the GP paddock?
Stefan Ekerold: Yes, I will get a chance to prove myself over a complete season, something I have never had the chance to do. I am definitely looking forward to it.
Gatedrop: You had a good year racing the ADAC Championship, where you happy with your third place in the championship?
Stefan Ekerold: No, I was actually really super disappointed with losing that championship but I learnt a lot through the struggles I faced this year and I believe that will help me next year. That is all in the past now and right now all my focus is on next year.
Gatedrop: What are your goals for the EMX250 class next year?
Stefan Ekerold: My goal is definitely to win races and the championship.
Gatedrop: You ran with Bas Vaessen and Miro Sihvonen and beat them at times this year so you know your pace should be pretty good next year!
Stefan Ekerold: Yes, this year that was well the case, we had some nice battles. However, then again next year is next year and I will have to up my pace if I am going to battle at the front. I am confident that I can do this, we will see what I have in Maggiora at the first round I guess.
Gatedrop: You will be switching to a Honda, some fast riders have struggled to adapt to the Honda 250 in the past, is that something you’re worried about?
Stefan Ekerold: I think that the good riders have been able to make it work. I believe in the whole program so all in all, no I am not worried.
Gatedrop: With guys like Miro Sihvonen, Maxime Renaux, Jago Geerts, Jeb Beaton, Tristan Charboneau and Ryan Surratt to name a few racing EMX next year it’s looking like a fast class. Who do you see as a big threat for the championship?
Stefan Ekerold: The field is definitely very strong, that is what makes it so special to win at this level. I will just focus on myself and see where we at come at round one.
Gatedrop: You will also race some MX2 World Championship races; do you know which rounds yet? You must be excited for that opportunity!
Stefan Ekerold: As of right now the plan is to achieve our goals in the EMX250 class and after that we can worry about the MX2 GP rounds. I don’t have the exact dates in mind but I would say some of the later ones in the calendar. Ever since I started to race it’s always been the goal to be in GP’s so yes, I am very excited about the opportunity.
Gatedrop: Carglass are obviously a new team in the paddock, is that something you’re worried about as it might take a few years for everything to click in the team?
Stefan Ekerold: No, I think that we have a solid group of people in the team and with the upcoming winter months to prepare that we should good to go for the first round.
Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?
Stefan Ekerold: First of all, a big thank you to the team for the opportunity and everyone that’s involved in making this happen. My family for the endless support and everyone else that has supported me along the way. Also, thanks to gatedrop for the interview.
Interview: Andy McKinstry