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Home Heroes: A proven winner in Assen

Bo Bendsneyder set the world on fire in Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup and has found his feet ahead of his home round.

Fans in the Netherlands love racing and always fill the banks around the TT Circuit Assen. In 2016 they will again have a rider to throw their full support behind as Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) makes his first appearance at home as a full-time Moto3™ World Championship rider. The last Dutch rider to race full-time in the lightweight class was Scott Deroue in 2014.

Like so many other riders, Bendsneyder began racing minimotos in the Dutch Championship before progressing to various Moriwaki Juniorcups from 2011 onwards. In 2013 he made his first step onto Grand Prix machinery with outings in the British and German championships. He also made a wildcard appearance in the Pata European Junior Cup WSBK race in Assen and the Nürburgring, winning both times despite never riding the bike before.

From here he joined the Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup in 2014. That year Bendsneyder took his first pole in just the third round, his home track of Assen, going on to take his first win in the second race.

In 2015 the young Dutch rider proved to be a step above the rest of the class, winning the first five races of the 2015 Rookies Cup season, including two dominating wins in Assen. His performance earned him the Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup crown and a seat in the prestigious Red Bull KTM Ajo team for 2016.

Bendsneyder was immediately in the points with 14th place in Qatar, but the following five rounds were devoid of points. However Bendsneyder finished all the races, gaining experience with every lap. His diligent and calm approach would pay off in Barcelona when he returned to the points with 11th place. He’s hit his stride at a perfect point, just ahead of his home race where he is a proven winner on KTM machinery.

GoPro™ Hang out: Bo Bendsneyder

The last Dutch rider to win in the lightweight class was Hans Spaan at the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix in 1990. Spaan took a total of nine Grand Prix wins in the lightweight class across the 1989 and 1990 seasons, finishing second overall twice behind Criville and Capirossi. He currently helps in the RW Racing GP team in Moto3™ World Championship, part of the team that pushed Belgian Livio Loi to victory in Indianapolis.

In the late 70s and early 80s Dutch riders experienced some of their best moments in the 500cc class. Boet van Dulem on a Suzuki achieved a win and three additional podiums with Jack Middelburg winning twice during the same period.

Wil Hartog took five wins between 1977 and 1980, cementing himself as one of the quickest Dutch riders in the 500cc class. He took the fight to the likes of American superstars Kenny Roberts and Randy Mamola who were at their best during a golden age of American racing.