Stefan Everts has had jobs in the MXGP paddock the last few years as he worked with Factory KTM and Suzuki. However, with Suzuki sadly pulling out of the paddock it’s give the ten times world champion a chance to work with his son, Liam to try and get the best out of him.
Stefan did have some offers to remain in the Grand Prix paddock but he decided it was time to switch his focus and concentrate on his son. Liam didn’t even qualify for the EMX85 final last year and got on the podium in Loket so the work with his dad and also spending time in New Zealand with Ben Townley has seemed to work wonders.
We caught up with Everts to discuss Liam, both their futures and whether he’d be open to working in the MXGP paddock again.
Gatedrop: Stefan, before this year, you’ve been working in the MXGP paddock with KTM and Suzuki. This year you haven’t been doing that so you’ve been focusing more on Liam. Has it been nice to help him out more?
Stefan Everts: Yeah, I mean a lot of things happened over the winter and it was a bummer that Suzuki pulled back after such a short period. That was their decision and we just had to accept it. We had to move on and that give me more time for Liam to be busy with him and to enjoy his riding as well as working together. After he came back from New Zealand we started in January, he had a good time and New Zealand and he enjoyed it. He learned a lot with Ben but it was a great time for him and slowly we started to work together. We have a full time mechanic for him, Marc Verpaelen, we also took him from Suzuki. It was important for me that we took a good mechanic who also loves the sport and loves to mechanic. It’s important for me that the material is in the best shape so Liam is safe, we need to reduce the risk as less as possible because it’s a risky sport.
We had a good time over the winter, he’s a very good student, has a lot of motivation and also the passion and ambition is there. He’s got the ingredients you need to become a good racer in the future. He has a good technique, he has a good DNA and we can see also some bits and pieces he’s looking a bit like me on the bike. It’s nice that people can tell me that they can see this and that so it’s cool. This is the first really big race for him and for us to do, it was very stressful. Not only for the rider but also for the parents, for me also and my wife we had a lot of stress. I’m happy we finished off good, we made the podium, I wish he could have won because I’m a winner but looking at the whole picture to think where he’s coming from, he’s made huge steps. It’s only his second year in the 85’s where others done a third year, he’s not the tallest either so he did good, we are really happy.
Gatedrop: Compared to last year as you said he’s made big steps. What did you and Liam work on during the winter to help build for this year?
Stefan Everts: Mainly we did a lot of laps and hours on the bike but he needs to enjoy it, you know. He has to find a way that he likes to do it, if you don’t like to ride your bike it’s going to be tough to become a good racer in the future. You need to put in a lot of bike time and besides that also, he started to do some work outs. I mean it’s only fun, it’s nothing serious yet but he’s still a kid, he’s only 13 years old so we have to be careful we don’t go too far with it.
I mean we’ve been riding more and when I see him ride we work on some details. We try to focus on this, focus on that, this year is the first year that we’ve done a lot of races so that also gives you a lot of feedback, where to improve and what to work on. Experience is not something you can get in one year, it takes time. So far this year he’s been very consistent, all his races he’s nearly been on the podium. Besides one where he had a silencer problem and in another one he crashed in the second moto. All the others he was on the podium so a consistent year with a couple of wins.
Gatedrop: As you said earlier, he’s still quite small and smaller than the two guys that beat him here in Loket. If you were him would you stay on the 85cc for another year or move up to the 125cc? Will you make the decision or let Liam decide?
Stefan Everts: I will let him decide, already he gave the signal that he wants to move up. He doesn’t want to stay behind Kay de Wolf, Kay Karssemakers, Mc Lellan and Piller. They are all going to move up, it’s like going to school and you have to do again second grade or move up to third grade. It’s something he doesn’t want to do so I said let’s go and change, we’ll go to the 125cc. The beginning of next year we will decide on what we will race, we will see if he will race the European Championship. He needs to be good for that.
Gatedrop: You’ve had a year out of the MXGP paddock now, have you any offers from teams to come back again next year? Would you like to come back or are you more than happy to just focus on Liam for now?
Stefan Everts: Already in the winter I already had a few offers. I’m just not ready for that, I’m not motivated for that, maybe it will never come back. At the moment I’m really not motivated to come back in the paddock, in a couple of years when Liam will continue and come through the field a bit we will be anyway back in the paddock. Not as a team manager or a rider coach, I’m the rider coach of Liam and I just want to stick with him. I don’t want to work anymore at the moment with other riders and especially not doing another team again. I don’t need it, I’ve tried it, we tried our best and put 110% in it – it didn’t work out and that’s it.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Gino Maes