Glenn Coldenhoff: “Now is time to win a GP on Fantic”

coldenhoff hawkstone 2

Fresh off his first victory on the XXF 450 at the Hawkstone International, Fantic Factory MXGP rider Glenn Coldenhoff talks his mindset and goals going into the FIM Motocross World Championship 2024 kicking off with the first of 20 rounds this upcoming weekend in Villa La Angostura (Argentina).

Words: Press release | Images: Ray Archer

Glenn, on just your second outing on the Fantic, you clinched your first overall victory in the new colours at Hawkstone Park – making history for the Italian brand with its first 450 win on international level. A promising start to the new season.

Yes, we did a lot of work this winter to get the bike ready for the season. We spent most of the time in Spain and went to Italy as well later. We did the first pre-season race in Riola and we showed some good things, the starts were really good straight away. The last few weeks we kept on working and I must say I feel really comfortable on the bike at the moment, with the suspension as well as on the engine side, and I think you could see that at Hawkstone Park. The speed was good, my fitness was good and I think all is falling into place.

A lot of work went into it the last few weeks and Hawkstone was good, even though I did not win a single moto. I did three times second, which was a little disappointing because I felt like I was the fastest out there at least in the second and third moto. I was able to put quite a lot of pressure on Jeffrey Herlings in these two motos which is not too bad. I was on his back all the time and I was pushing hard to get a win. It did not work out in the end but speed-wise it was really good and I took the overall victory – the first win for Fantic and the first win of the season against some big names as well. Hawkstone Park always fits me well, I always feel good there, there was a big crowd and a lot of fans and it was good racing.

Of course, you know the Wilvo squad very well, you have already won together in the past but you switched colours and start a new chapter with Fantic in 2024. Does it take a bit of pressure off to get that first win already in the pre-season and to know that you can be up there fighting for the top spots right from the start?

Yeah, I am quite confident but at the same time I am not going to put too much pressure on myself. The most important thing for me is that I feel good myself and I feel good with the bike. And when I feel good and when I am happy, I believe that the results will come. I know that we did a really good job over the winter. I feel more than ready to go.

You also have a new teammate with Roan van de Moosdijk, a rookie in the MXGP class. Does that make you feel more responsibility, do you feel like the team leader with all your experience?

I think so, yes. Roan is a rookie in the class, of course I know him as he is also Dutch. We get along really well and have a lot of fun together. I hope he will be good to go for Argentina. It is good to have him around. I also have new mechanics this year and I am very happy with them as well. There are some new things but I feel like we are all in a good spot for the moment.

“I won GPs on Suzuki, GasGas, KTM and Yamaha – so now it is time to get a win on the Fantic. “

You turned 33 recently and you have basically spent half of your life competing on the highest level of arguably one of the toughest sports in the world. 2024 marks your tenth season in the premier class and, through GP wins and setbacks, you have seen it all. Can you describe your love for the sport and what keeps you motivated to continually challenge yourself and push your limits day after day?

You know, I still think this is the best thing in life. I still love racing, I still love to ride my bike and push myself. Even though I am getting older now I am still pushing hard. The drive is coming from great results and it is especially about winning. I am still very motivated to win and I still believe I can do it which is very important as well. I believe with the right people and the right bike, if everything falls into place, I am still able to win. For example, in the beginning of last year I was struggling a bit and not having great results, then I have to admit I don’t enjoy it. But when you get the results and step on the podium, that really makes it fun.

Does it also bring fresh motivation to start a new season in new colours?

It sure does. I think it is quite nice because I won GPs on Suzuki, GasGas, KTM and Yamaha – so now it is time to get a win on the Fantic. I can be part of the Fantic history and I am really looking forward to doing that and giving them some nice results this year.

With the new MXGP season only a few days away, do you still feel that special excitement going into the first round in Argentina?

I am still very excited going into the first round and also a little nervous, I would say. It is the first time again; everybody is healthy and fit and ready to do good. The first one is also kind of crazy, they go wild. I think it is important to just ‘survive’ the first one, to be around the top 5 would be good.

We are expecting a very long, demanding and highly competitive season with a stacked MXGP field. How do you approach the first GP and do you think that changes a bit with experience?

Sure. It is important to be there, to be fit for the first one and have decent speed but you don’t win it on the first GP. I had years when I was coming back from injury and finished 18th or 19th at the first round in Argentina – but still finished third over the season. You don’t have to worry too much about the first one but, of course, I prefer to be up there with the guys, get a good feeling and some confidence for the rest of the season.

I have got some experience over the years. I know what I need to do to stay healthy while still pushing at the same time. That is important too, to be there on every weekend. The amount of risk in our class is quite high and I believe you need to find a good balance for that.

“The goal is definitely to get a medal at the end of the season”

Is there something you want to improve on yourself this season, do you still find something to work on year after year?

Yes, sure, we always look on the past years, we evaluate things and make new plans. We have changed small things already, with the goal to get as many wins as possible. We also have Kevin Strijbos as our new team trainer. We are good friends and at the same time, we think in a similar way about how I should train as a motocross athlete. I believe it is working well so far. Being just days away from the season opener, I feel really strong physically and when you feel strong physically it reflects straight away on the mental side as well. It is good to have him around, he has a lot of experience after 20 years in MXGP and I think it is good to have this experience in our team.

Talking about mental aspects, you also became a father last year. Did that change the way you look at racing and bring a different perspective on life in general?

I am a very, very structured guy. I like to follow a plan. Last year around this time, actually my daughter was born one and a half days before I left for Argentina, that was also kind of tough to manage. But yes, it definitely changed me a little bit, because sometimes I am over-focused. That also doesn’t work, if I want it too much. I believe now I have a good match between still following the plan and being a bit more relaxed at the same time. I think it is positive for me.

In one year from now, what would make you proud looking back on your first season as a Fantic Factory rider? What is your goal for the MXGP season 2024?

I think to get a medal, so top 3 overall, that is always the goal. Obviously, the goal is to be world champion but we need to be realistic as well. It is very, very tough. My goal will always be to have a medal and it is crazy what you need to do for that. I work hard every single day, we are trying to get better every day, with the team and myself. I am doing everything right so I don’t have to blame myself or anyone afterwards. I feel like we all have the same spirit at the moment. The goal is definitely to get a medal at the end of the season and to do that, I believe a lot of podiums and hopefully many wins are needed.

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