Is Harry Everts the best motocross coach ever?

Take a look at the 2023 world championship and the AMA MX series and Harry Everts has worked, at some point, with the current 250 MX points leader, Hunter Lawrence, 450 MX points leader, Jett Lawrence, MXGP points leader, Jorge Prado and last weekend’s MX2 GP winner, grandson Liam!

It is quite the record and that’s before you look at the riders he has worked with in the past, from son Stefan to Grant Langston, to more recently Pauls Jonass, Harry is the Aldon Baker of MXGP.

“I know Jett when he was coming to Belgium,” Harry told us at Red Bud. “I saw Jett riding for the first time in Lommel with his brother I go direct to Lommel and watch and go, ‘wow, he will be the new one.’ Same with Prado. He was coming to my school when he was 12 years old, and I went direct to KTM because I worked for KTM, and said, ‘we need this guy.’ And we take him and today he’s still here (with KTM group).”

Image: JPA

Always with a stop watch, last year at Lommel we were in the same areas of the pitlane as Harry, who didn’t take his eyes of Liam for one corner, stopwatch in hand, going from side to side of pitlane, clenching his fist when Liam made a couple of great passes. He still loves it despite all the years.

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At a coaching day at Desertmartin before the Irish GP in 2005, Harry had the answer to riding in cold, snowy weather – roll around in the snow with only your underwear on so your body gets used it! The man is tough, unsurprisingly when you think he won four world titles despite surrfering from polio and pronounced limp as a result. You do what it takes and Harry has gave the structure for success to many riders since then.

Here is what Harry told us on making Stefan tough: “When I started riding I had nothing, I had to do everything by myself, not much help, I was born with Polio, people made jokes with me when I was in school because I had a very bad leg. Everything from my grandfather, my uncle, my family I wanted to be a champion and I did everything myself. With Stefan coming it was easier but I wanted him to do it like I had to do it, that was not the talent. He had the talent for himself but to make him hard was a different thing.

“You can have talent and be nothing. You can be the best rider here and if you are not training you will never be a champion. Some people say yeah, give me a factory bike and I will be a champion, no, you have to be ready for that, that is the difference for me.”

We asked Hunter during the supercross season about those GP days at Suzuki with Harry and Stefan and the greaful Aussie said: “The Suzuki times in Europe, man I miss them so much, with Jeremy and Harry, Stefan and little Liam. Obviously he is racing MX2 and just got his first podium in Arco, that was crazy. Those are the years of my life that, you have certain years of your life that you just never forget and you can’t ever really recreate and that year with Suzuki was one of them. It was awesome, I loved working with them. I miss those cold winter days at 0 degrees out, it’s mizzling rain and we are riding a rough rutted sand track, it’s cool.

“We got to catch up with Harry last year at Red Bud MXoN, it was awesome because it’s like , same thing, for him to see where Jett and I are know from when we where there and obviously with Jorge and Liam now, a factory Red Bull KTM guy. He was on a, jeez, just got off a 65 when I was at Suzuki with him!”

Hunter image: Feld

We also asked Stefan about Harry and his coaching record – so is he the best coach ever? “I would say that for me personally yes, he taught me the basics to become a multi-champion. Every career starts with 2 people, and that’s mam & dad! Kelly & myself realize now what efforts parents have to do to bring their kids to the top. My dads CV is impressive and has experience on and off the track. “Mr. Stopwatch,” he has worked with a lot of riders and always gave his open & honest advice possible (and stories 😊) but every personality is different and with some riders it has helped a lot.”

Harry is the foundation for everything the Everts family have achieved, three generations of GP winners and it all began with Harry – and he is still very much involved! With Stefan telling us in our interview this week, that things changed for Liam after the three generations had a meeting: “After Sardinia we had a big meeting with the 3 generations (Stefan, Harry, Liam), made some big changes and from there we could immediately see some big changes. The first podium came unexpected but we could see on his training sessions (in the week)  that it would not take very long before he would take his first win.

“I have always seen the potential that Liam has, but for a long time he could not put the circle together. I believe that we haven’t seen all of him yet, he still has marching left in his riding, but needs to slowly learn to push to limits even further.”

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Image: Ray Archer

Harry Everts is the unsung behind the scenes hero for so many but with Liam winning, he is back in the spotlight and his influence not just on Stefan and Liam, including the latest superstars of the sport, should never be underestimated.

His fundamental methods still work to this day 50 years after he was racing himself, just look at the results.

Get our interview with Harry back at the MXoN here on his career and coaching. Or listen to Spotify or Youtube:

Cover image: Ray Archer

Article: Jonathan McCready