On Friday, May 13, almost the entire team was present at the TT circuit in Assen for a training day organized by CRT Holland. This day would be used by the different riders to get familiar with the track again prior to race day of the OW CUP on Saturday. This was especially important, because the layout was changed after several years by now riding the slow Ruskenhoek corner again. In the morning session it was getting hotter in terms of temperature and lap times went quickly down. Unfortunately, this trend could not be continued in the afternoon because it was colder and a huge wind came up. Nobody improved his time whatsoever, but there was confidence built for qualifying and the races on Saturday.
NK Supercup 600 – Greg Barnes#67 and Mark van Bunnik#77
During the 2nd qualification sessions in the morning it was not too hot. This meant the lap times of the day before were not met, but both riders obviously did their best to qualify as well as possible. This was made even more difficult by the several crashes that occurred during qualifying. Ultimately the qualifications resulted in a 26th and 27th starting position for Mark and Greg, side by side on the 9th row.
Shortly before 14:00, there was a violent hailstorm and rain …. but half an hour later the track was fairly dry, apart from some wet patches before and into the first corner. 14:30 race start and Greg got well off his place and dived in front of Mark into the first corner … on the inside …. there he had to be careful on the brakes due to the wet patches. Mark chose the outside and rode a wide line and was able to pass a number of people. Both riders followed each other in the early stages of the race until a few more drops fell from the sky …. this caused several crashes and the “Code 60” flag came out (this means: reduce speed as quickly as possible to 60 km/h, keep the distance to the rider in front of you the same, do not overtake). Mark tried as much as possible to slow down, but the rider in front of him (which had overtaken him first under a double yellow flag) continued to ride full throttle. Other riders were still on the throttle and Mark was even passed a couple of times. Greg also did not comply with the “code 60” flag and passed Mark eventually. This speeding and overtaking by several riders lead to a dangerous situation, so on lap 5 the race committee decided to wave the red flag and that ended the race.
Afterwards both Greg Barnes # 67 and Mark van Bunnik # 77 were scratched from the resultsheet of the race due to not adhering to the rules. Half of the field had finally been given a DNF to their name and only 15 riders were listed in the final results. When Greg Barnes was asked about how he felt about the “code 60” flag, he answered: I thought Michael vd Mark was on the track for a promotional round …
See underneath for the onboard video:
NK Procup 600 – Luc van Gerven#36
After obtaining the Sportcup 600 title in 2015 this was the first race of Luc in the quicker class, the Procup 600. Everyone was asking themselves how Luc would do in this new class and where he would be on the timesheet after the qualifications. To everyone’s surprise, he claimed a third training time after the 1st qualifying. This of course was a fantastic achievement and looking at his laptime, he could have done even faster. For the 2nd qualifying Luc was eager to better himself and this ultimately resulted in an improvement of his lap time by almost three seconds and pole position for the race!
Also a few moments before the start of his race it began to rain, but fortunately this did not continue for long. Luc got a good start and was also in the lead after the first corner. What followed was a nerve-racking race for the win between Luc and three other riders. Eventually Luc could not hold the 1st position and finished as 2nd and could therefore get on the podium. In addition, his fastest lap of 1: 50.5 was the fastest of all team members this weekend!
NK Procup 1000 – Thorsten Burger#38
After the training sessions on Friday we were looking forward to see how Thorsten Burger would compete against his competitors. After having competed in OW Cup races earlier this year, riding at the changed TT circuit was no surprise for him and he now had to take action. The first qualifying showed Thorsten could run with the front runners … he was on Pole Position! 2nd Qualifying was a different story. When he went out on the track it was still dry, but after just one round there were already large drops down the start finish straight, while on the rest of the circuit it was dry. Thorsten tried, but came into the pits, just to be sure and risk nothing. Fortunately not many riders improved their times, so Thorsten could start the race from the 2nd place.
The last race of the day was the race of Thorsten. Dark clouds packed together again, but only on one side of the circuit. When the red lights went out, Thorsten shot forward like a rocket and dived into the first corner. He could not have had a better start, but it started to rain after half a lap and the track was very slippery. Thorsten wanted to risk nothing and came in. Shame about the excellent training and lightning start, but the weather at Assen always seem to surprise..