The 26-year-old elected to travel to the UK to compete in the second date of the national series in the absence of other pre-season events and with the FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship delayed twice. Herlings last rolled into a start gate at the Grand Prix of Citta di Faenza, September 2020.
The Dutchman used his factory KTM 450 SX-F to head Timed Qualification by over a second around the shallow hillside course. In the first moto he ran out of time to chase down the figure of native racer Ben Watson after having to stop briefly to dislodge a stone from the rear end of the bike. He collected a solid runner-up finish. In the second outing he hounded his MXGP peer and made the move to lead the field. Less than a second split Herlings and Watson at the flag and thanks to his victory he reached the highest step of the podium even though they tied on points.
The Grand Prix of Russia opens 2021 MXGP in three weeks.
Jeffrey Herlings: “It was a good day of racing. I had a bit of a problem in the first moto and lost around ten seconds while I sorted out the stone. I came back through the pack but the track wasn’t easy for passing and I finished on the leader’s rear wheel. In the second moto I had to come back from 6-7th at the start, although I could reach 1st place this time. I had a few issues with arm-pump but I guess that’s normal after eight months away from a race! We’ll keep working from here and hope to get a bit better each week until we go to Russia.”