The iconic setting of Assen was the latest stop for Team ILR as the British Superbike paddock and Hel British Motostar Championship paid a visit to the Netherlands at the weekend. 

Assen is of course familiar territory forVasco van der Valk and despite not racing there for over a year, the young Dutch rider was soon right at home in Free Practice, leading the session for a while and eventually finishing 4th quickest and in the top five in each sector, with his team-mate Joe Thomasdown in 29th after a crash in the early stages of the session. 

Qualifying threw up changeable weather conditions with van der Valk lapping in the 1.48's in the first session to stay in contention in 7th, Thomas meanwhile was up to 22nd with a big improvement in his lap times. 

The second session was held in wet conditions, the conclusion of which saw Vasco heading the third row of the grid for Race 1, with Joe back on Row 7. 

The first race later that afternoon produced a great dice between van der Valk and his friend and fellow countryman Mike Brouwers. 

The two were well clear in 7th and 8th and about two seconds behind Jorel Boerboom in 6th as they went on to their last lap. However a backmarker at Turn 15 the Ramshoek put paid to Vasco's challenge, but nevertheless it was another fine performance. Joe meanwhile was involved with his own battle for 16th with Cameron Horsman which he lost out on to finish in 17th. 

There was a bit of chaos in Sunday's second race when a combination of a sudden shower and riders on slicks resulted in a red flag. The team calmly and efficiently changed the tyres on both rider's bikes and soon they were ready for the reduced to six laps re-start. 

Vasco got a good start, but a bit of a moment at Strubben cost him some time, but he quickly composed himself and it wasn't long before he was on the back wheel of Brouwers in a repeat of the first race. This time however there was no backmarker to worry about as Vasco carried out his plan to perfection, lining up Mike at the Ramshoek and taking him on the brakes at the final chicane, a nice moment for the young rider in front of the large home support. With Taz Taylor crashing out from 2nd on the last lap, Vasco secured an excellent 6th place finish. 

Further back, Joe was determined to get into the Top 15 and this he did after a real scrap with Dutch riders Walid Soppe and Denis Koopman. Van der Valk's efforts elevated him two places to 8th in the championship which now moves on to Silverstone in two weeks time, and where Fraser Rogers also returns on the Team ILR Ninja ZX-10R in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 series. 

Ian Lougher. Team ILR owner/manager: 

"We arrived at Assen knowing that both riders would be in for a tough weekend with a big influx of Dutch riders competing at their home circuit. And although Vasco van der Valk is a local lad he has only had a couple of outings on the Van Drenthe circuit, so it was fantastic to watch him achieve a 6th and 8th place finish in the two races, especially with him having the extra pressure of having sponsors and family turning up to watch him. Joe had a lot better pace in the races than his qualifying position which was encouraging and he managed to bag 3 points in the second race on his Team ILR Honda Moto 3 machine. We move on to Silverstone next month with Vasco looking to improve on his 8th place in the championship and Joe looking to qualify better which should lead to him getting away with the front bunch." 

Vasco van der Valk: 

"Wow, that was a nice weekend! Difficult circumstances after red flag with rain, but with a 6th place super result and a beautiful action in last turn. Thank-you everyone for coming, and your encouragement was really super! Also thanks to Team ILR for a great job and my sponsors. Now then back to school..." 

Joe Thomas: 

"Had a good weekend, great battles and two good starts. Well done to Vasco, and thank-you to my team and all my sponsors."


Vasco on song on home soil

Posted Sept 2015