"It’s a dream come true" – van Straalen and Ten Kate Racing react to home win

Whilst WorldSBK may have taken many of the headlines during the Pirelli Dutch Round, the FIM Supersport World Championship was also full of major stories and emotions as for the first time in ten years, a Dutch rider won with a Dutch team at Assen, the stuff of childhood dreams. Glenn van Straalen (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) rode a magnificent flag-to-flag race to come surging through the field, taking a career-first win to the delight of over 56,000 Dutch fans.

After a promising weekend right the way through and narrowly missing out on the podium in Race 1, van Straalen pitted a lap later than Race 1 winner Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team). He was sixth by the time the field had shaken itself out before picking his way through the field. Long-time race leader Nikki Tuuli (EAB Racing Team) was out front and enjoying his best showing aboard Ducati machinery before van Straalen came though on Lap 15 and began to break clear. Huertas was likewise charging through the order and with a lap and a half to go, got into P2, demoting Finnish star Tuuli to the final place on the rostrum. Heading onto the final lap, 1.796s split van Straalen and Huertas and despite closing in, the #28 held on for a memorable career-first win, much to the appreciation of a noisy home crowd, his home team and the media centre.

NERVOUS THOUGHTS: “I started to think about whether or not I would win today!”

Speaking in his post-race interview, the 23-year-old was overwhelmed: “I followed the guys into the pitlane to make a pitstop as I thought the last sector would be dry but, then it was so wet so I thought that the grip in the rain tyre would be really good. I had a good rhythm in the rain and it was just incredible to do good lap times, close the big gap down but in P1, it wasn’t easy! I started to think about whether or not I would win today! I focused on the race and corner by corner, I made it to the finish line. It’s amazing to do it here in these colours and with all the fans is brilliant.”

When all the rain tyre-shod riders were in the leading positions, the #28 was 10.135s back at one stage, a remarkable effort to come back through the field. He spoke of how special it was to win for the team too: “It feels really good and it gave a lot of adrenalin because I was on slicks to start! Then, the public enjoyed it because I was catching up and they wondered if I’d make up the time or not but, in the end, it happened!

Speaking about how important his good friend Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) has been in helping his career, van Straalen was appreciative: “Michael’s been really important and I see him a couple of times a week, training together and for sure, he’s important for this result. It’s for sure a dream to win here.”

DREAMS DO COME TRUE: “I was freaking out basically… the party’s going to be quite big”

After van Straalen’s post-race emotions, we caught up with team manager Kervin Bos outside an absolutely electric Ten Kate Racing hospitality and it’s fair to say he was more than delighted with the result: “It’s really, really unbelievable; when I started in Ten Kate 15 years ago and then joined the team in 2018, I said to Ronald and Gerrit Ten Kate, the owners, ‘the big dream is to win a race with a Dutch guy at Assen.’ Now, we’re in 2024 and we’ve won with Glenn van Straalen, at Assen – in orange, the national colour and the branding of the tulips, the Dutch flower – with all the fans going crazy and our hospitality… it’s a dream coming true like a kid. The young boy was dreaming to win a WorldSSP race at home and Glenn did it.

“That’s why it is even more special; there are some big contenders that also made mistakes but he was there and won the race, it’s just unbelievable. He came into the pits one lap later than Adrian Huertas, so after that, I was quite confident that he would be able to catch up as he was so fast on all the tyres. Then, he put the hammer down in the last five laps and I was really impressed because it wasn’t necessary to go so fast! I was freaking out basically! I can be quite calm normally but this is so special because it’s been quite mixed. The Championship leader, Manzi, chose a different pit window which was completely the wrong choice, so one side of the box was amazing and the other one was disappointed. What a day!”

Speaking about the celebrations prior to the real partying, Bos was in the mood to really enjoy one of the most special moments of his career in the Ten Kate Racing family: “I’ve already been 90 days sober but now I will quit it this evening! The party is going to be quite big, so I hope for a good headache on Monday!” We’ll catch up with Bos next time out at Misano to see how big the party was.

VAN DER MARK ELATED FOR VAN STRAALEN: “I’m very proud of him; It’s magic, they’ll never take away this win”

Meanwhile, Michael van der Mark likewise praised fellow countryman van Straalen, who replicated what the #60 managed to do for Ten Kate ten years ago: “I had to cry! It’s fantastic to see how he managed the race; he’s always very calm but when he’s on the bike he isn’t! He showed he could stay calm and it’s well-deserved. He put a lot of effort in to getting this seat with Ten Kate with his sponsors, so for him to do it at his home race, I’m very proud of him. It’s magic and they’ll never take away this win.”

DOSOLI ON DUTCH PROWESS: “I’m sure this result will give him extra self-confidence and motivation!”

Likewise sharing a moment to congratulate the #28, Yamaha Motor Europe road racing manager said: “The Result of Race 2 almost reset the classification; it’s almost like starting from zero, there are four riders within two points! It was really nice to celebrate in the best possible way the special livery launched by Pata Yamaha Ten Kate for van Straalen for their home race. To see the orange R6 cross the line was a huge boost for the Dutch fans! After a difficult start to the season, I am sure this result will give him extra self-confidence and motivation for the rest of the season.”

YOU CAN’T MISS THIS SEASON! Enjoy the new era of WorldSBK with the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *