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Schouten carries Dutch hopes

Schouten carries Dutch hopes

Schouten carries Dutch hopes

Raymond Schouten begins his rookie 125cc World Championship campaign this weekend with modest objectives but an optimistic long term goal. The Dutch teenager, who has two previous wildcard appearances at Assen to his name, recognises that it is a tall order to make an immediate impact at Grand Prix level on a privateer bike and at circuits he has only previously visited on his Playstation, but says he is looking forward to taking a positive first career step at Welkom.

"I am very excited about this weekend but I'm also realistic and I know it will be tough," commented the 19 year old, who is the son of former 250cc rider Mar Schouten and the only Dutch representative in any class. "There are 38 riders out there so to get inside the top half will be a huge challenge in my first season.

"We don't have the most competitive bike but I am happy with what we have and I am prepared to do my best. If I can get a couple of points by the end of the season I will be delighted but for the moment my objective is just to learn as much as possible.

"In the future obviously I have higher goals and I know that as the only Dutch rider in Grand Prix at the moment I have a big chance to make a name for myself. But that will come with time and I don't want to rush anything."

Schouten, known to the team as ‘Stingray', will be backed in his quest by his Team Manager Arie Molenaar, himself a former 125cc rider. "Our plan is for Raymond to score top results in 2005, as he is only familiar with the layout of four GP tracks at the moment - Assen, Barcelona, Valencia and Jerez," explained Molenaar, who also runs Jakub Smrz in the 250cc class.

"We are happy to have a talented young Dutch rider on the grid again. Raymond performed well in last year's championships and we hope to he can have a solid debut year, in which he can learn a lot from Jakub Smrz, who has raced in the 125cc and 250cc class at all the tracks.

"At this moment in time Raymond Schouten is by far the most talented Dutch youngster in racing."

Tags:
125cc, 2004, BETANDWIN.COM AFRICA'S GRAND PRIX

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