OUTSTANDING SECOND PLACE IN THE FINAL 2019 RACE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN ASSEN, THEREBY EARNING THE DOUBLE TITLE OF SBK AND TOURIST TROPHY (CUP OF NATIONS) RUNNER-UP A POSITIVE SEASON FOR DELTA MOTORCYCLE.
Assen (Holland), 22 September 2019 - After 2018 when he won two titles in Superbike with his Aprilia RSV4 Factory, in 2019 Belgian rider Sander Claessen had to “settle” for the runner-up title in the Belgian SBK Inter championship as well as in the Benelux Trophy 2019 (also called the “Cup of Nations”), behind his compatriot, Yan Ancia. With a crash in the Hengelo race (in Holland) early in the Benelux Trophy (SSP+SBK) championship, Claessen missed four races in the next two rounds before getting back in the saddle, so he had to play “catch-up” in the overall standings.
His efforts placed him in second place seven race-weekends later in four different countries - Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Holland. Four times, Aprilia took home the win, finishing on the top step of the podium. It was a great effort rewarded with success, although the championship leader was by then beyond reach.
The final race of the championship is always a special event because it is held during the fantastic three-day event of BSB (Bennetts British Superbikes) in Assen, on the famous TT circuit.
It is the only time that the British Superbikes cross the Channel to visit the ‘Cathedral of Speed’. Claessen had to expect opponents in the form of British Superstock 1000 riders, half a dozen of which had made the crossing from England to the north of Holland. On Friday, Claessen managed to do the fastest lap time and take the pole on the Assen circuit, with ‘the fast Ruskenhoek’, as it is ridden only by MotoGP, WorldSBK and BSB, followed by a 14-lap race on Saturday and one on Sunday in front of a massive crowd, especially in the Main, GT chicane and Winterdijk stands, all soaking up a warm autumn sun.
The Aprilia rider had a good start in the field of 40 riders and engaged in an extensive battle with Tom Ward and Sam Cox, two experienced riders in the STK1000 class in the UK. Multiple position changes and braking manoeuvres later, Claessen broke his personal Assen record, but Ward walked away with the victory and Claessen finished second.
In the second race, the podium positions remained the same: 1st Ward, 2nd Claessen, 3rd Cox. Sander was the only non-British rider in the top five of both races.
2019 can be considered a successful year for the Delta Motorcycle rider and for his Aprilia RSV4, bringing success to the Italian brand in the Netherlands.