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Race 3: Assen, TT Junior Track, 21 May

Buchser the strongest in Assen

Once again a full Puchshop Racing Cup field came to the start of the third day of racing at Assen. On the TT Junior Track the season has started before, but this time the track had a slightly faster layout. The predicted rain showers did not occur, the track remained dry and the drivers could sit down and relax from the start.

Qualifications

As is often the case, there were several dropouts in qualifying. Standard class champion Pascal Mussche had worked hard to be able to start with a completely new machine in Assen but in both qualifications a defective pull starter threw a spanner in the works. With his 'old' machine he did set the fastest time in the Standard Class, over a second ahead of Jordi Minnen. Jannick Vos set the third fastest time. For Paul Hendriks, usually good for a place in the first three on the grid, the first qualification was over after one lap when a piece of his cylinder broke. After a lot of tinkering, he was in time for the second qualification, but he was out of the race within a lap. Unfortunately, he did not set a time, but the race committee was going to let him start anyway. In the first qualification Robert van Steenis was the fastest, in the second qualification Kenny Buchser, Rienk van der Weide, Henk Minnen and Bart Dijkhof all came in under his time. Buchser was the only one to drive under 56 seconds and would start from pole position.

Race 1 

Van der Weide had a good start and together with Minnen and Buchser the three drove away from the rest. Buchser seemed to be taking a wait and see approach but soon passed Minnen and a few laps later Van der Weide had to go as well. This time, everything was right for Buchser and he would win the first race with a 10-second lead. Minnen did keep up with Van der Weide, but the winner of the first two races was unable to attack him. Minnen would finish third behind Van der Weide. Bart Dijkhof drove a lonely race on the fourth place but behind him there was a nice battle for the fifth place between Robert van Steenis, Sander Mulder, the Swiss Silvan Hofmann and the strong riding newcomer in the Expi-class Jesse van Zante. Van Steenis did most of the leading work and would also finish fifth. Mulder seemed to claim sixth place but towards the end of the race the power of his Puch decreased and he had to watch Van Zante and Hofmann pass him. Van Zante did a short bottom out in the penultimate lap, so Hofmann finished sixth and Mulder seventh. In the Standard Class Mussche rode on his old but familiar machine to victory before Minnen, Vos and Hendriks.

Race 2 

Again Buchser showed that when everything is right he and his Puch form a combination which is hard to beat. After Minnen retired with an engine that had lost compression, Van der Weide was the only one who could still offer resistance to the fast Swiss. His last chance to do so disappeared with more than a lap to go, when his machine stopped. The fuel filter turned out to be the culprit, but the fuel supply only stopped when the Puch was at an angle in a bend. Thanks to his big lead on third man Dijkhof, Van der Weide still managed to finish second, by taking the corners slowly and almost upright. Behind Dijkhof, Van Steenis came fourth and Mulder, whose machine was falling back at the end of the race, fifth. Mussche was again the fastest in his class, ahead of Jordi Minnen, who were the only Standard riders to clock a lap time under a minute. Vos was again third, and the result was the same as the result of the day. In the Expi class, Buchser took the day's win ahead of Van der Weide and Dijkhof.

Also in this race the battle on the track was often hard, but the atmosphere off the track was as always very good: Sander Mulder helped Robert Fidder with the welding of his exhaust, Mark Dijkhof even helped Mussche during the qualification with the unwilling pull starter, and those are just a few examples. After the race we all drank one (or two) together on another successful day of racing.

Results Assen 21 May

Expi class

  1. Kenny Buchser
  2. Rienk van der Weide
  3. Bart Dijkhof

Standard class

  1. Pascal Mussche
  2. Jordi Minnen
  3. Jannick Vos

Championship ranking

Expi class

  1. Henk Minnen
  2. Kenny Buchser
  3. Bart Dijkhof

Standaard class

  1. Pascal Mussche
  2. Jordi Minnen
  3. Jannick Vos

Photos and text by Mariska Grob from Motografie.nl

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