Moto Media

Harry Everts - Legend

Alan H: Born in Maaseik, Belgium, Harry Everts won the 1975 F.I.M. 250cc world championship as a member of the Puch factory racing team. After a period with Bultaco he signed with the Suzuki factory team and won three consecutive 125cc Motocross World Championships between 1979 and 1981.  Harry was a member of the Belgian teams which won the Motocross des Nations in 1976 and 1979. He is the father of former ten-time motocross world champion, Stefan Everts, who is now Director of Motocross at KTM.

FIM President Vito Ippolito presents Harry Everts at the FIM Awards in Monte Carlo.  Image courtesy of the FIM.

The father of Stefan and Grandfather of Liam, Harry is very much in a good place in life.

Harry is one of the most popular people in the Grand Prix paddock; always happy with a big smile and a joke, the former 125cc and 250cc Motocross Champion can sit back and be very happy with his family life and experiences from the past.

Still very much interested in helping young riders he is also excited that his grandson Liam is enjoying riding Motocross and improving at an alarming rate. Everts also conducts riding schools in Spain, for not only young kids, but also GP riders.

We caught up to Harry Everts and asked him about the recent success of Team Belgium, and also about why the GP riders now seem stronger than their American rivals.

"At the moment for me Belgium is the strongest,” Everts said. "But at the MXoN this year America had some bad luck, although so did Belgium. But it seems like the European riders are now stronger than the last few years. I mean look at Ryan Dungey, he was so disappointed in Lommel last year and I am sure again this year he was disappointed. I think at the moment the GP riders are stronger (than the American riders).”

Everyone is looking for answers to why the European riders once again dominated the American riders, for the second year running at the Motocross of Nations, although Everts feels he knows why.

"Why is that? good question, and it is difficult to say. When the tracks are getting more and more difficult, with a lot of rough sections, it seems easier for the European riders. When I spoke to Ken Roczen’s father he said in America the tracks are wide open, also in practice during the week, then they go to the races and again the tracks are wide open. Then they (American riders) come to Europe and the tracks are not wide open. A guy like Roczen, after two or three days he knows how to do it again, and the tracks are more difficult than the American tracks. In Germany this year I was at the back of the track, and there were deep, deep lines, big holes and you could see the AMA guys had big problems.”

Harry Everts will always be a proud Belgian rider, a rider who won at every level of the sport, his desire to see his fellow Belgians improve and continue to help his proud nations to more MXoN success. It was after all Harry Everts who had the misfortune of crashing in the 1981 Motocross of Nations in Lommel that cost his country victory and handed Team USA their first ever win in the MXoN.

Postscript from Alan H: 
Harry conducted a 2-day training school in NZ on the 7th and 8th of November 2006 - after Taupo's Labour weekend International Extravaganza - well remembered because Stefan Everts and Joel Smets both wernt down in the holeshot of the first race. 

Harry's training was 'underwritten' by Russell Burling who was then Mr SsangYong and MNZ. 

The training was a two day affair - one day at Taupo's Digger McEwen and the next at Rotorua.   At Rotorua it was on steep ground and by the end of the day Harry was limping noticeably.

I innocently said to him; "Have you hurt your foot?'  

To which he replied; "No I had Polio!" and lifted his trouser to show a withered lower leg.   "That is why I always stand on the motorcycle and if it was good enough for me to win then that's why Stefan always stood."

Cringe moment and to cover my embarrassment I said; "There was lots of Polio     around when I was a kid, in fact our neighbour could only walk with crutches!"                        A mud roosted Harry at Rot.
                                                                                                                                                             Photo - Alan H.

A conversation ensued and he expressed surprise that Polio had found it's way to NZ as in those days there was no aviation to help the rapid spread the disease.  I said that during the polio epidemic of 1948 children were kept home from school to prevent the disease spreading.  Harry was born in 1952.

Polio is/was a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease caused by a virus that spreads from person to person invading the brain and spinal cord and causing paralysis. Because polio had no cure, vaccination is the best way to protect oneself and the only way to stop the disease from spreading. In the late 1940s to the early 1950s people died. In the United States alone, polio crippled around 35,000 people each year making it one of the most feared diseases of the twentieth century.