MX Vice managed to grab a quick interview with a busy Joel Smets to talk about his selection for the Belgian Motocross Des Nations team.
We asked Joel about the controversial decision to choose De Dycker ahead of Strijbos and the five time world champion gave some honest answers and admitted that Belgium are already motivated to beat the Americans!
Was it a tough choice to choose between De Dycker and Strijbos for the Nations?
Yeah it was a bit of a choice because I am working on a daily basis with Kevin. You have to remain honest and I think Ken has shown a little bit more speed this year so far. But now it becomes more complicated because Ken is struggling with his health a little bit, he has a sore ankle and is struggling with his breath. Kevin is still riding on a good level but I gave my trust to Ken and I am convinced that he is going to do well and try as hard as he can.
As far as winning the event, individually the Belgian riders have the ability to do it, but do they have the self belief? The American riders seem to have the arrogance they need to win.
The Americans always have that little bit of arrogance and say they are bigger and better. But we are working toward that already. Ken is a little bit struggling so he is mentally a little bit more down but Clement and Jeremy are ready to hit back. Jeremy is always very motivated for the Des Nations and a good team player. He is riding really well and is keen to jump on the 250. I think he is even going to ride it this week.
After last year you were unlucky with Jeremy’s bike breaking does that give you all more motivation this time?
Yeah, Germany did a great job but I think if we didn’t have that bike failure then we could have come close and I think we could have even won it. In the last moto our riders were maybe not at their best but for sure if we would have been closer after the second it would have given the riders an extra boost for the third moto but that wasn’t the case. I think they were already a bit disappointed but that is not going to happen this year!
After this interview Kevin Strijbos rode two great motos on Sunday for second overall and Strijbos admitted to being disappointed that he was not in the team. “It’s difficult, they have to choose three riders and I’m not part of it,” explained Kevin. “I think a can be part of it so I am pretty disappointed with the outcome. I think I proved I can be there, I have beaten Ken in every moto in the last two roundsbut he is third in the championships so I wish them all the best.”
Will Joel stick with De Dycker or will Strijbos form and De Dyckers health issues mean a last minute change of plan?
Article by Jonathan McCready
Photo by Eric Sandra