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View Full Version : World Superbikes - Assen - Visit Report ( LONG!!)



Leskerr
September 10th, 2002, 08:47 AM
Where: Assen, The Netherlands (Holland).

When: 7-8th September 2002

How: We flew in to Amsterdam on Friday 6th September and decided to stay in the city for the weekend and to travel up to the track each day. This meant a bit more travelling but it also gave us Friday and Saturday nights in Amsterdam. Hotels in Amsterdam are plentiful and vary in price from the $50-60 to $150-250 per night.

We travelled to the track by train each day. The cost for this was $30 for a 2nd class ticket and $50 for a first class ticket – both fares are for day return tickets.

The train ride takes about 2 hours which meant an early start on both mornings, suddenly staying in Amsterdam didn’t seem such a good idea, but the trains ran on time and we were soon in Assen.

The racetrack runs a shuttle bus from the train station to the track. This costs $3.50 for a return ticket and is very quick.

On the Saturday we were at the track by 10.00 and the circuit was quite quiet. The cost to get in was $15.00 with an additional $10.00 for a paddock pass and $10.00 for the pit walk.

The circuit is big and you have access to almost all of it, comfortable walking shoes are an absolute must. The bus drops you at the gate closest to the end of the main straight and unfortunately, after walking round the whole circuit, it seemed to me that this was about the furthest from the best corners.

Saturday was spent watching the practices for the superbikes, the supersports, the European superstocks and the European sidecars. In the afternoon there was also the superpole and a sidecar race.

We also walked through the paddock which I found to be quite disappointing.
There was a display of some Suzuki and Ducati bikes, including the GSX1400 which is a retro looking sports bike, and the new Ducati 999, which is not quite as ugly in real life as it was in the pictures that I had seen to this point. I also got a close look at the Benelli Tornado which is definitely different with its radiator mounted up under what would have been the pillion seat. In my opinion the paddock pass was not really worth the money.

During between the practice sessions they hold what is called a pit walk. What this basically means is that they open the pit lane and let people in.
We did the pit walk on Saturday and I would recommend it to anyone going to the races. All the garage doors are left open with barriers about 10ft in front of them. You can walk the pits and see who is doing what to their bikes before the next practice. This is also the time that some of the riders emerge and sign autographs. On Saturday in the pit lane there was Colin Edwards, Neil Hodgson, Chris Walker, Andrew Pitt, Frankie Chilli and several lesser known riders. It does get crowded but it is still worth the effort. On the Saturday the pits were open for 35 Minutes and given that the track was reasonably quiet this was not too bad for crowding. We did consider getting passes for the Sunday pit walk but decided not to. In retrospect I think this was a good idea, given that there were about 20 times as many people at the track and that the pits were only going to be open for 20 minutes.

Saturday’s session at the track finished with Colin Edwards winning superpole and setting a time that was with 0.2 of a second of Rossi’s pole time from the GP meeting.

Sunday started dull and grey, amidst weather forecasts of showers and rain at the track and a thick head from Saturday night on the town.

We were at the track by about the same time but due to the crowds it took a bit longer, due to security, to get in. The cost for the Sunday tickets was $35.00 each.

We went straight down to the far end of the track and got settled in for the racing, the weather by now had taken a change for the better and the sun was shining.

The first race was a European Superstock race. This is bikes up to 1000cc on street tires and with very little modification. It was a fairly open race with some good passing and very few crashes.

Next up was the first Superbike race. Edwards hit the front early and basically that was it. There was some fun and games behind him with Bayliss seeming to be very nervous and almost crashing twice before recovering to finish second with Haga in third.

The third race was the Superstocks. This race had everything, great passes, very very late braking, a win or bust attitude and eventually a red flag. The red flag was caused by a rider Christoph Kellner, blowing the engine on his 748 Ducati, just at the start of the braking area for the last corner. What ensued was carnage, with at least 7 bikes going down in very rapid succession, one corner working getting his leg seriously broken and Kellner missing being either severely hurt or even killed when another bike missed him by about 2 inches.
Foret won the race with Iain MacPherson in second place.

The forth race was the second Superbike race of the day and this was the one that changed everything. The format was initially the same with Edwards hitting the front and everyone else fighting for second. Bayliss had second initially before he went off, getting back on in 5th. Haga, Chilli and Hodgson were left contesting the second thru forth spots. Haga and Hodgson had a coming together, from which they both recovered, which left Chilli in 2nd and Bayliss in 3rd. Bayliss for some unknown reason, he still hasn’t given an interview since the weekend, then punted his bike into the gravel and that was about it. The result of the race was that Edwards was 1st, Chilli 2nd and Toseland 3rd.

In the big picture, what this means is that Edwards has now won the last seven races and is now one point in front of Bayliss with just the last round at Imola to go.

The final race of the day was a Dutch Superstock race. There were about forty very enthusiastic riders in the field but not quite the same level of talent as we had witnessed earlier. Good racing all the same.
My overall impression of the whole experience was very favourable, I would definitely go to Assen again and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to visit a European Race meeting. The track is easy to get to and from by public transport and the ticket prices are very good. Everyone in Holland speaks English and the beer is good and reasonably priced, even at the track (this is another advantage of taking the train to the track).

I should have some pictures which I hope to get posted in the few days.

Pete
September 11th, 2002, 07:05 AM
Great write up! It sounds like you had one awesome weekend. I'd love to attend one of those races some day. I'm amazed Colin came out of there with a one point lead. Can you imagine if Bayliss, after breaking the record for most consecutive wins in a row at the start of the season, ends up not winning the WSB championship. Talk about a disappointment! You gotta give the Texas Tornado alot of credit for never giving up and the final race should be extremely cut throat.

TXFZ1
September 11th, 2002, 11:21 AM
Thanks for the write-up. Amsterdam also has that great museum district for another attraction with lots of window displays. :D

[ September 11, 2002, 12:21 PM: Message edited by: TXFZ1 ]

Oskar_Z28
September 11th, 2002, 06:16 PM
David, I think that I have been there. I got some pics, but I don't think that I should be posting them on this family oriented forum. smile.gif

Les, great writeup. Maybe next year for me.

Inlaw1
September 11th, 2002, 07:46 PM
Hey Les, your not the only TSBA'er on that side of the pond! David Eller and his wife Michelle are in Italy and Kerstan Marquez is in Germany. David and Michelle went to the races at OSCHERSLEBEN, GERMANY. You can read about those races here. (http://www.tsba.org/UBB/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=000576)