TT Assen’s unique status as only round to host Saturday racing

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Iveco Daily TT Assen is unique on the MotoGP™ calendar in that it is the only Grand Prix at which races take place on a Saturday, as opposed to the usual Sunday. The reason for this stems back to midway through the first half of the 20th century.

Also, Assen is the only venue on the calendar to have hosted a Grand Prix every single season since the World Championship was inaugurated in 1949. Furthermore, the Dutch Grand Prix event itself was first hosted on a Saturday, in 1925.

 
"In 1925 was the first Dutch TT, but not at Assen," explains Egbert Braakman, who was the Race Secretary at Assen between 1970 and 2006. "It was in a village called Rolde, seven kilometres east of Assen."
 
"The reason why it was on the Saturday is that the church was near to the start/finish area. The town council didn’t want to have a situation in which people who wanted to go to church on a Sunday could not, as all of the roads were closed for the race. That is the reason the race was staged on the Saturday. That proved a success, so we continued to do it on the Saturday. It is now a real tradition to have the Grand Prix on the Saturday, but all other races at the circuit on a Sunday."
 
However, this tradition would continue to benefit fans for decades to come.
 
"In the 1970s and 80s, we had a lot of spectators from Scandinavia and the northern part of Germany," Braakman continues. "At that time we also had the so-called ‘Speed Week’, starting with the European Championship on Monday and Tuesday followed by the Grand Prix for the rest of the week. Many spectators would therefore stay here for a week, at campsites and so on. Most arrived on Sunday and would stay for the whole week. They would then go back home on the following Sunday, allowing them a full day to travel in order to go back to work on Monday morning!"
 
Assen has hosted a Grand Prix every year since 1925, with the exception of the six from 1940 to 1945 because of the Second World War.
 
In 2013, the legendary TT Assen was won by Valentino Rossi: an 80th premier class victory for ‘The Doctor’.
 

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