Assen (Holland), July 2019 - The two consecutive race weekends at the Assen TT circuit were rife with satisfaction for Belgian Sander Claessen and his Aprilia RSV4 RR. First, it was the Assen Tourist Trophy, or Cup of Nations, at the end of June, during which 5 riders per nation went head to head in a 16-lap race with a “Le Mans style” start, coinciding with the MotoGP races.
And one week later, the Benelux Trophy Superbike race was held during the Dutch Classic weekend (5-7 July 2019). And here are the photos, reports and results.
ASSEN TOURIST TROPHY. The Tourist Trophy race was held on Saturday in suffocating heat after the MotoGP Q2 session. This is a project by K.N.M.V., the Dutch motorsports federation. Various countries select their best Superbike and Supersport riders who compete in a background racing programme during the famous TT, where no less than 100,000 spectators are in attendance.
This year, only the federations of Holland, Belgium and Denmark sent their teams, but in the future, the Dutch federation aims to have at least 10 nations on the starting grid, and the race will need to undergo a few improvement tweaks. Sander Claessen astride Aprilia finished fourth, behind the three strong “Flying Dutchmen”: on the podium were the winner, Pepijn Bijsterbosch (in the German IDM SuperBiKe for many years), Danny Van der Sluis (one of the two best in ONK) and Nigel Walraven (EWC for Team Bolliger). Claessen started in second place and battled for third for most of the race, but in the end he finished fourth, just off the podium.
BENELUX TROPHY. It was sweet payback a week later, during the fourth round of the Superbike Benelux Trophy, with a double win on the same circuit in Assen. From winning pole position on Saturday to the two races on Sunday, Claessen was exceptional, in a competition where 25 riders participated.
His rivals managed to maintain the pace of the Aprilia rider only in the early laps and, in the end, Sander Claessen took home two wins ahead of the likes of Belgian BMW rider Yan Ancia and Dutchman Mike Cleutjens, his main rivals in the championship - which includes seven races on the calendar in Belgium, France, Holland and Luxembourg. Claessen (in the photo below at Assen) battled with these same riders down to the final race in 2018, when he won the two titles.
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