Courtesy of Youthstream
The young Dutchman, who started the year with the Vamo Racing Honda Team, then switched to the HRC Factory effort, before finally ending up in the the HSF Logistics Motorsport Team.
We caught up with him and asked him about the musical chair season.
Q: You have had a very interesting season so far, with a lot of team changes. Can you explain how your current team came about?
Van Berkel: After Trento, I filled in for HRC for two races. For myself it wasn’t like I was riding with my full potential, and I had problems with my health. Things didn’t work with my current team and I thought about doing some EMX rounds. But then Calvin (Vlaanderen) got injured and the HSF Logistics Motorsport team called me and within an hour I was already in the team. First, I had to stop with my current team and I was free. I did two days practice before Germany, and it was two positive days.
Q: You have ridden for three teams already this year, how difficult is that to ride for three different teams?
Van Berkel: Of course, your best solution is to ride for one team all year, to start with that team and finish with it. Normally that is the purpose for two or three years. But I went from Honda to KTM. But I changed to a Dutch team, so I know everyone in the team. I have ridden with Brian (Bogers) and trained with him, and I fitted in straight away.
Q: What was it like when HRC Honda called you to fill in for them?
Van Berkel: I was asking a few weeks could I fill in for them. I needed a switch from the team I was in. Of course, it was factory, so you want to go there. After Arco, they said I could fill in for them. I was still working, so training and testing was difficult and it was my home Grand Prix, so a lot of pressure. I finished 11th on the Saturday and I was happy with that. I had my health issues in Latvia, and I couldn’t understand. I had something wrong with my blood. I didn’t ride after Latvia, just rested. I was a bit over trained.
Q: You went to Argentina and were working a full-time job at the time, or not?
Van Berkel: Yes, I worked up until the Thursday. The owner said to me, the owner of the team is a client from my boss at work, so it was easier to get an unpaid holiday. I was working 33 hours in the week as a salesman. I sold truck parts in France, Germany and Holland. I was really busy with training and riding. I didn’t get enough rest, and that got my over trained a bit. I work like a professional now.
Q: How long is the contract with your current team, with HSF Logistics Motorsport team?
Van Berkel: It is finished with the other riders are back, but maybe they put a fourth bike in. We have to wait and see when the other riders are back and how I am doing and how I fit into the group. It is looking into the unknown, but if I give 100% at the races, maybe I can stay until the end of the season.