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Elias shines through the rain clouds to take first 125 win

Elias shines through the rain clouds to take first 125 win

Toni Elias, the 18 year old from Catalunya took his first GP win in soggy conditions in Assen, with a magnificent coming of age ride. He becomes the youngest Spaniard to win a Grand Prix, and heralds the future for a country with a proud racing background. He won from Frenchman Arnaud Vincent and German rider Steve Jenkner, which made for a rather unfamiliar looking podium ceremony.

Having broken away from a chaotic pack, in a damp race which saw a total of 16 crashes including two for Poggiali and Nieto Jr., Elias battled with Borsoi and Vincent for control. Gino Borsoi seemingly had a comfortable lead at one stage, but as the French Honda rider tracked him he slid out, leaving it to the other two riders to have a fight to the end. The Telefonica Movistar Honda rider kept his cool as he first passed Vincent, and then let the lead slip as he made the mistake of glancing over his shoulder. He re-took the lead on the penultimate lap, and apart from a couple of hairy moments in the final chicane, he finished comfortably first, with Vincent 0.6 seconds behind and Jenkner a further 23 seconds off the front, picking up his first ever podium slot.

The championship race has been thrown open by this result, with Poggiali still leading the way despite crashing out, but the gap to him having been closed up. Borsoi, who rejoined the race, finished a respectable sixth and is second by 3 points, Elias moves into third with Nobby Ueda, who despite a 20th placed grid position managed to finish fourth, a point behind him.

Elias, however, took the spoils and will have delighted team boss Alberto Puig and the rest of his Telefonica Movistar Honda team. Big things certainly lay ahead for this most pleasant of characters and bravest of young riders.

125cc, 2001, Gauloises Dutch TT, RAC

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