Moto Media

with ... Joel Roelants

Belgian rider Joel Roelants hasn’t started the season, as he would have liked it. Holding down ninth place in the FIM MX2 World Championship points, he is a long way away from the contenders and knows that it is going to be hard work to even reach the top five.

With names like Ken Roczen, Jeffrey Herlings, Tommy Searle, Zach Osborne and Gautier Paulin holding down those places and riders like Max Anstie and Arnaud Tonus waiting in the wings, the MX2 class is super competitive. The problem for Roelants was he didn’t start the season strong enough and it has cost him valuable speed and points.

"In Bulgaria I didn’t get the real fast laps in and if you took a normal start of a bad start, I finished like 12th or something, which
wasn’t good. In Holland I had a pretty bad start in the first heat, but I came out of the first corner good and was 20th in the first lap, but I finished 8th, which was good. In the second heat I had a bad start but on an uphill I went off the track and was 14th or something. I used a lot of energy and finished 5th, which was good. I think my speed was good and I try and build from there.”

Making up time after bad starts is nearly impossible now with so many talented riders ahead of him. Even around the Valkenswaard circuit where he normally rides well, he struggled after messing up his first laps.

"In Holland the first thing that came to my mind was like, no, no, and then a few guys went past me and they all went past me. It’s so hard, and the first lap many people push, but the first three guys are already gone. You need to be up front for the first three laps, if you are not there then you have to be like Roczen to get back on the first position.”

Joel Roelants is aware of the fact that obtaining a Grand Prix victory is going to be difficult, he has a lot of riders ahead of him at the moment.

"Over the last years I was always motivated and I still am, but this year I am a bit frustrated. I know it’s a strong competition, this is why I put my mind in trying to improve and do the best I can. I know guys like Roczen and Herlings are going to be good until they are like 25 or 26, and I think that is the age when I will also be at my best. That is how I try and look at it. I think my career can be really long. I know I didn’t ride a lot when I was like 13 or 14 years old and I know these guys have ridden a lot already. I try and keep remembering that and keep getting better.”

Where Roelants can get some possible victories or podiums is in his National Championship races or the Dutch MX2 Championship, which is a good practice for him for the FIM World Motocross Championship.

"I do the Dutch Championship and the Belgian Championship when I have time. I mean, I have won three Dutch Championships and Herlings hasn’t won one yet, so I am happy about that, but I didn’t ride the last round of the Dutch Championship because I was injured. I am third in the MX2 points, just two points behind place and Jeffrey (Herlings) is first. You know, it’s only me and Herlings, and to be honest Herlings is faster than me, and then I am the next guy and the guys behind me are a long way behind.”