Assen - The Dutch TT
Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
71Trip End Jul 10, 2011
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We also decided to stop at the track at Assen to get our bearings and hopefully to pick up our tickets that we had bought on the net weeks ago. We reached the Assen TT Circuit OK but no tickets were ready for pick up we were told so come back in the morning. Bugger!
We finally arrived in Stadskanaal late afternoon and couldn't find our hotel; the Best Western. We stopped at the post office to ask and they pointed out the white building 500 metres away that we had ridden past already. As we pulled up out front Fabulous Phil and Dangerous Darren were sitting on the balcony on the first floor drinking beer. When asked how long they had been there Darren replied, "Two beers!"
They had ridden from Aragon in Spain where they had attended the World Superbike round having left there two days earlier. Not bad - 2000 odd kays in two days! Those Honda Blackbirds sure cover the miles on freeways travelling at 180 to 200 kays per hour! Their room was right next to ours and easy to spot from ground because they had the Australian flag flying from the balcony. The 'temporary Australian Embassy' had relocated from the IOM to Stadskanaal, The Netherlands!
We booked in and joined Phil and Darren at the bar where we downed two or more beers and then went to the restaurant where we had a fine meal served by two exceptional staff members - Kevin and Richard, who provided us great service with humour and a smile for the next three days. Thanks guys. We also met and had a drink with Mannie and his son Julian who had come from Germany to watch the race on Manny's BMW 1000RR. Manny said he was happy at 200 kph with Julian on the back! Bugger that!
Thursday, Friday & Saturday. Stadskanaal is about 35 kms west of Assen and took us about 25 minutes by bike through pleasant countryside before we reached the track. Thursday & Friday were quiet days with small crowds both days which we appreciated because we could wander around and get the lay of the land, especially from where the best place was to watch the big race on Saturday.
Darren and Phil found a great spot on the mound and set up the Australian flag which soon lured Ian GIRVEN, Frankie his girlfriend and Chris aka 'Lightning', all of whom we had met at the IOM TT. We had bumped in these three when wandering around Assen after day 2.
The Dutch TT at Assen is unique because historically the race has always been held on the last Saturday of June. It is the only MotoGP held on Saturday with all the others on Sunday.
Assen is a regular winner of the best organised MotoGP award and deservedly so. Everything runs so smoothly from the narrow concrete strips in the bike parking paddock so your bike had a firm surface for the foot stand, to the many mens' freestanding plastic urinals that have four small cubicles all facing inwards and with no back coverage. No room for modesty here! This means 4 guys at a time can have a pee leaving the "throne room" toilets for the gShareEmailirls and those guys who need to do number 2's. They even serve lollies at Assen, but no meat pies!
The racing was great made especially so by the intermittent rain that forced riders to vary their tyres from slicks to wets. The free practice session on Thursday was curtailed when oil was leaked onto the track and couldn't be cleaned off in time so Friday's sessions were doubled to 90 minutes to make up.
Prior to the big race the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup was run and won by Australian Arthur SISSIS. The Rookies Cup is for 14 and 15 year old wannabies who have already shown potential. Good one Artie!
Marco SIMONCELLI was the quickest rider throughout practice and deservedly qualified on pole. Casey STONER was not far off, being third on the grid but he never looked like matching the speed of SIMONCELLI. American Ben SPIES was very quick and qualified second on the grid.
The MotoGP race was of course won by SPIES who cleared out from the beginning and left everyone else in his dust. Casey STONER settled for second, probably realising that 20 points for second was better than chasing 25 for the win. Poor SIMONCELLI fell on the first lap taking Jorge LORENZO with him. Bugger but good for STONER who stretched his champioship lead over LORENZO by 28 points.
Rain fell throughout the day of the race but luckily stopped for the MOTOGP long enough for it to be declared a dry race. As soon as it was over it started to drizzle and got heavier as the afternoon wore on. It took up about 2 hours to clear the carpark and by the time we were on the freeway on the way home it was pouring down.
To compound our misery, we missed our exit and were forced to travel 10 km up and then back to take the right way home. More bugger! Never mind, our spirits were high as STONER did well and we had had a great three days racing at the Dutch TT!
My Review Of The Place I Stayed