‘Cows crossed the road as we roared past at 90mph’ Van den Goor­bergh

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jor­dan Gib­bons SE­NIOR RE­PORTER

Q1. What are you rid­ing?

At this year’s Dakar, I de­cided not to go for a Fac­tory Rally bike, in­stead opt­ing for a 450 EXC that I built up to ride in the Malle Moto class [in which rid­ers are al­lowed no as­sis­tance at all]. I think the Dakar KTM is too heavy, around 144kg without fuel, and it’s pow­er­ful too so it’s a real hand­ful. Even adding on the 15kg of the nav tower and the ex­tra tank, my EXC only weighed 119kg.

Q2. Which liv­ing mo­tor­cy­clist do you most ad­mire?

In my early days Fred­die Spencer was al­ways my hero and in the last cou­ple of years I’ve been very lucky to do some events with him, in­clud­ing rid­ing some fac­tory Suzukis at the Sach­sen­ring.

Q3. What’s your worst habit?

Back in the Nether­lands we some­times go off-road in places that we shouldn’t. We some­times see the po­lice and have to turn around and es­cape.

Q4. If you could have one rid­ing su­per skill, what would it be?

Ah you know I’m pretty happy with my rid­ing. I guess it would be nice to come in the top 10 at the Dakar, as that’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent skill that I haven’t to­tally mas­tered.

Q5. What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?

That was on the Honda RCV1000; that thing was a rock­et­ship. In Shang­hai we were eas­ily do­ing 350kph [217mph]. The power was im­mense.

Q6. When were you last scared?

There was a lot of dust in this Dakar and I found that scary. You can be do­ing 100mph and then there’s a thick dust cloud and you can’t see for two or three sec­onds. Yeah, that’s scary.

Q7. How many miles have you done in the last year?

I did around 8000km [5000 miles] of­froad to pre­pare for the Dakar.

Q8. What’s the high­est mileage you’ve cov­ered in one day?

Def­i­nitely a Dakar day – around 850km [528 miles] I think. Such a long day.

Q9. What ir­ri­tates you most?

An­i­mals! This year there were cows cross­ing the road while we were do­ing 90mph.

Q10. You’ve got two weeks off: where are you go­ing?

I’d re­ally like to dis­cover a new coun­try – to travel a full cir­cle around Aus­tralia one day.

Q11. Got one pearl of wis­dom for new rid­ers?

Get a good teacher. My first rid­ing teacher made me do tri­als rid­ing and I think that re­ally helped my skills later on.

Q12. Ever fallen off in a car park (or some­where equally em­bar­rass­ing?)

No, but I re­mem­ber watch­ing a fel­low racer drop a GP bike in a pa­rade lap around a town be­cause he ran out of steer­ing lock. I was ac­tu­ally a lit­tle em­bar­rassed for him.

Q13. Do you have one in­dis­pens­able item of kit?

My road book.

Q14. Which four peo­ple would you in­vite on a Sun­day morn­ing blast?

I just love rid­ing with my lo­cal friends, as fun­nily enough they in­clude some for­mer Dakar rid­ers. I love go­ing out with them be­cause we all know what we can do.

Q15. Do you have a tool you couldn’t live without?

My sur­vival knife. I take it ev­ery­where, just in case.

Q16. Do you ad­just your sus­pen­sion?

Yes, I tune it quite a lot on new bikes, the first day es­pe­cially. I know a bit from my road rac­ing ca­reer, so nor­mally by day three I’m happy with my set­ting.

Q17. If you could have one of your old bikes back, which would it be?

I would love to have the Pro­ton KR3. I loved how it was made by Kenny Roberts. It was nice and fast, although it still broke down a lit­tle too much.

Q18. What would you never buy?

I had a Su­per­sport Du­cati from 2004 and I didn’t like it. It never rode right.

Q19. Which road would you have built on your desert is­land?

I’d love to have a dirt track like Rossi has now, up in the moun­tains.

Q20. If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?

That we can ride mo­tor­bikes any­where without be­ing stopped.

‘We some­times go off-road in places that we shouldn’t’

Jur­gen pre­par­ing for the tough­est class of all in the Dakar Light and unique: Jur­gen loved his old KR3 GP bike He’s rid­den ev­ery Dakar since 2009 but this year’s event ended with a rib-crunch­ing crash

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