Talking Point: Jeffrey Herlings – legacy secured
Jeffrey Herlings finally has the GP win record secured, albeit one year after it was expected he would overtake Stefan Everts 101 GP wins that has been the standard since 2006. Injury delayed the inevitable but Herlings is now there, a record breaker.
Everts was there in Spain to see his record beaten by the rider he was team manager for when Jeffrey Herlings began his GP winning collection at 15 and is again around the awning, this time as Liam’s father, the symmetry is there and Herlings joked the next goal was to break Everts ten titles, before conceding he wouldn’t be racing long enough to do it!
Herlings would need to win every title for the next five years, including 2023 to just equal those ten titles, and says he only wants to race for another three years or so, plus maybe a year in America. Those lost years to injury have cost Herlings the world title record that Everts may now always hold. But Herlings has his place in history and like Everts ten titles, Herlings win record may never be broken. It might be a fair way to split it too, Everts himself had injuries that cost him titles but that technical perfection and measured approach got him the ten world titles while Herlings blazing speed got him the GP win record.
There is an argument that Herlings is the fastest rider that has ever lived, certainly in terms of versatility. With blazing fast Americans like Stewart and Carmichael doing their winning in their own country, Herlings has won all around the world, including US GPs and an AMA National, his sand speed is unparelled but his win in Spain on the hard pack in his title rival Prado’s homeland shows that on he can win on any terrain when it matters and championships are on the line.
And when it comes to the 2023 championship, Herlings is finding the form again that has made him the fastest man on the planet. That smart start to the year is being overtaken by the killer instinct to win. That win in Spain was a game changer for momentum in Herlings favour. Prado really wanted to win there and it was Herlings that got it done. His late race charges are like Cairoli in his prime and he might just have found the perfect compromise of being careful early before pouring on the speed at the end.
Herlings is back and it’s about who can keep up. History suggests very few can. And his legacy will be in the record books with more wins than anyone else ever, and counting…
Article: Jonathan McCready
Image: Ray Archer