Jeremy Van Horebeek has undoubtedly been one of the greatest stories in the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship. even though there was a significant bump in the road at the beginning of April. Van Horebeek had shoulder surgery and therefore did not ride for a month, so is currently working through the rebuilding process, but he has no doubt that he will be at the front again in the not-so-distant future. Everything is covered in detail in this exclusive MX Vice interview.
MX Vice: Another quiet weekend for you, but then I guess that is to be expected considering you had shoulder surgery six weeks ago. This is just a building process now.
Jeremy Van Horebeek: Yeah, because normally I was not allowed to ride before six weeks. It is a building process, a tough process and a bummer on the perfect start of the season. It is what it is. You have to take it step-by-step and keep fighting back. Today was a solid day. Two times twelfth is not really good, but considering the circumstances of the track with those sketchy bumps and stuff with the shoulder [it was] not easy. We are on the way back. Top ten is just there. From there on we will keep building. I hope to survive France pretty good, then I will have a week off to rest and to try some things. From day one we did not have one day of testing.
Obviously the shoulder injury was kept really quiet, so run us through the whole process. It happened in Trentino, but how soon after that did you have an operation? When was your first day back on the bike? All of that.
I broke the engine on the second moto in Trentino, so I went over the bars because of that. I knew straight away that something was wrong, because I saw the bone up. I went on Monday to see the specialist and on Tuesday I got surgery. From day three I started to do physical training again, but on the bicycle and rower. We made some ropes to the roof so that I could be in a comfortable position, because the first two weeks I was actually not allowed to do anything. It is a complicated surgery. It is not like when you break a collarbone.
It is the AC ligament, so from day three we started to go ahead already and work quicker than we should. Then four weeks in, the week before Mantova, I rode two times. The pain was okay, but I went on flat tracks. The pain was okay. I was working really hard on the strength during the week. Actually that was not so bad, but Mantova was a disaster with start crashes and the mud. It was a tough one this week. I went on the bike two times again. If you see what happens in the week time I am pretty stoked about it. Soon top ten, normally next week already, but top five will maybe take a few more weeks.
Are you running the risk of making the shoulder worse? Is that a possibility or not a worry?
Normally the first six weeks you should not ride with it. It is my own risk. I went to the physio and it is strong enough. I have been pretty lucky, because with the start crashes and yesterday again… It is dangerous, because those are the moments you can hurt it. At the moment it is not getting worse, because nothing is wrong, but the last lap from the first moto I felt a little thing. I felt it during the second moto, so my strength was less than normal, but at the moment it is just a sore shoulder and nothing serious. I think the shoulder is strong enough to bounce back really soon.
I have not spoken to you since we got back to Europe. Obviously this team is now in full flow and six rounds in. Talk about some of the problems or one big problem that you have had to overcome with such a small team, something that maybe you did not expect, just to give an example of how this team makes stuff happen.
It is a wonderful team. It is tough, because we do not have so much budget. If you know that we have maybe €150,000 to do a whole MXGP season and some other teams, they need a few million. It is tough, but I enjoy racing. I enjoy this family. It is like a brother to me. The only thing that is going wrong at the moment is that since day one we did not test. We tried some things, some small things, but like today also, every heat I had something else. I am trying things in the race and it is tough.
The plan was those five weeks to really finally put the bike together, but it did not happen because of the injury. The bike is really good. Like you saw, the results in the beginning were really good but what people do not know is that I struggled. They see a podium or a top five, but I struggled big time. At the moment I still struggle. I have the shoulder, but I still struggle, so that is the only thing that makes it difficult. A little bit more budget maybe from Honda next year and I am good to stay here for another year. I am happy.
I guess that is one of the problems. You could come here with Yamaha and they would be like, "Two years ago here you tried this setting and this worked, so let's bolt that back on." Obviously you have never ridden a Honda before, so you cannot refer to past data. It is just, like you said, try as you ride.
Yeah. The big problem is the budget, because we cannot bring our engines to a tuner. We can buy some Pro Circuit parts and just put them in. Those parts are just like a random guy can buy. We have a piston, a cam shaft and that is about it. A pipe and that is it. Luckily I have a kit of KYB suspension. That is more important to me than the engine. Soon we will do some testing. We will get there. I hope to be back in the top five as soon as possible. What I am doing right now is good, because of all the circumstances.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX