Glenn Coldenhoff is a Dutch MXGP rider that placed seventh in the 2016 450 GP standings. As a class sophomore, Coldenhoff is still getting used to the workings of the powerhouse Red Bull KTM team. His two teammates are Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli. His career best is a fifth overall in the 2012 250 Championship, and is an up-and-coming rider in the 450 class.
How long have you been racing the GP series? I started in 2010. I have been in the MX2 class, but I had to step up to the 450 class because of my age. I turned 23 in 2014, and the age rule in Europe puts me in a position to step up. From that point forward I have been racing the 450 class.
You are on the same team with Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli. Do you learn stuff from them? I train more with Tony (Cairoli), especially because I am in the MXGP class. I did a lot more training with Herlings when we were in the same class. I feel that if you train together you’ll step it up. It is better for both him and me.
What is the biggest thing you have learned or picked up from Tony Cairoli? While training I don’t think he gives everything all of the time. You know, he keeps that little extra for the races. And for him doing races, he is very consistent. He is a hard worker on the bike. We train a lot, especially in the winter together, because of the bad weather up in Holland. The team is based in Italy, close to his house. I stay there all winter long. There are those days we are training together on the track. The team has one private track. Just riding together you always see something you can learn from. It is pretty good to train together with him.
What are your thoughts on the 2016 season? I struggled in the beginning big time. I had bad luck, especially at Thailand. I bounced into the gate and rolled over. From then on the race went badly. A few months age we changed a few things on the bike, which made me much more comfortable. From there on the season started rolling a bit. I finally got a podium at my own GP in Assen a few weeks ago.
What is your favorite track on the circuit? I like Assen because it is my own GP. You know, it is really special on the race circuit. They just build it for one weekend and it is really deep sand, so I always enjoy riding there.
Where did you grow up? The South of Holland actually. Holland isn’t that big. I live close to the border of Belgium. Belgian and Holland are like the California/Florida relationship here. We are all based there and mostly practice in the sand. In comparison, Italy, France or Spain only have hard-pack tracks. We are really popular for the sand tracks and everybody wants to come and train in the sand. That is why it is so busy there.
Were there any favorite riders you looked up to growing up? Not really in Europe, but I have always looked up to James Stewart and Malcolm Stewart. I like the family. When I was growing up, James was the man. I am still a big fan of his and I still believe in him. I met them last week in Charlotte, which was pretty nice. Those guys are my heroes in a way.
Are you racing the MXDN this year? I’m racing for Holland. I think we have a pretty good team. Herlings will be on the 450. So will I. We have Brian Bogers in the MX2 class. He has had some podiums this year already. Three or four podiums. Our team is pretty strong this year.
How often did you get to ride before going Pro? The wintertime is bad in Holland. It is freezing and we have snow and a lot of rain. That is why I moved to Italy. The elevation is 1500K and the weather is pretty good all year around. When it rains, it does only a little bit and the tracks are even better.
If you had the choice, would you race a two-stroke? I really like the 250 two-stroke. I really enjoy riding it. Nowadays you can’t make it anymore in the MXGP class on a two-stroke. You have to ride a 450 because otherwise you can’t compete. If they made a rule where we would all have to race a 250 two-strokes that would be nice.
Tony Cairoli bounced around on the KTM 350SXF and 450SXF. What are your thoughts on the 350? When we started testing, I only tested on the 450. During the winter, Tony was also only riding a 450. He had already switched last year from a 350 to 450. I never thought about going to a 350. When he switched, I only rode it for two laps. It was nice, but I stuck with the 450 because I hadn’t done any testing on it. For me it has been a few months, but the bike has been improved a lot. I am feeling really good on the 450, so there is no reason to change.
Do you plan to come to the USA to race? I was pretty worried about the 23-year-old age rule back in 2014. The 450 seemed a little bit scary and I didn’t know if I could get good results on it. I’m not the biggest or strongest guy out there. I had considered going to the U.S. then and riding Nationals. In the end I stayed in Europe. The step to the 450 was difficult in the beginning, but now I never want to go back to 250’s. I am enjoying it.