Results 125/250 Race at Dutch TT

Colin MacKellar
by Colin MacKellar
Rain, rain and rain. The 125 race was soaked and 13 riders crashed, including many of the championship leaders. In the end a new star was born and we may be looking at a new Rossi or Melandri. The 250 was dry, but everyone thought it would rain. Everyone that is except one very wise veteran of the sport and a couple of relative rookies. It resulted in an unusual group of faces on the winners rostrum....

2001 Dutch TTTRACK: AssenDATE: 30 June 2001WEATHER: Heavy showers, cool 250cc Race Results (18 laps)------------------Pos No. Rider Nat Bike Time/Diff--- --- ----- --- ---- ---------1 99 McWilliams Gbr Apr 39'28.5162 7 Alzamora Spa Hon 16.3573 22 de Gea Spa Yam 38.4094 50 Guintoli Fra Apr 39.2145 21 Battaini Ita Apr 1'09.4616 5 Melandri Ita Apr 1'29.4687 37 Boscoscuro Ita Apr 1'37.4638 11 Chiarello Ita Apr 1'41.9599 20 Vidal Spa Apr 1'42.28710 16 Tomas Spa Hon 1'44.71811 74 Katoh Jpn Hon 2'08.64112 66 Hofmann Ger Apr 1 lap13 81 de Puniet Fra Apr 1 lap14 9 Porto Arg Yam 1 lap15 61 Boesveld Ned Yam 1 lapWorld Championship==================JPN RSA SPA FRA ITA CAT NED1 Katoh 136 25 25 25 25 6 25 52 Harada 121 20 16 20 20 25 20 -3 Melandri 88 10 20 16 16 16 - 104 Locatelli 73 16 13 8 10 13 13 -5 Rolfo 71 11 8 9 7 20 16 -6 McWilliams 68 8 10 6 9 - 10 257 Alzamora 62 13 10 9 208 Nieto 60 5 11 11 11 11 11 -9 Matsudo 34 13 7 4 - 4 6 -10 Hofmann 31 4 6 5 5 - 7 4

Jeremy McWilliams.

Bit miserable for the first British GP winner since 1983

McWilliams by 16 seconds!!!Tire gamble pays off

It's hard to imagine(for us Brits) that it has been almost 20 years since the Union Jack flew over the top step of a GP podium (ok, sidecars not counted, or Ian McConnachie on the 80cc Krauser), but Jeremy McWilliams performance brought this home to us. He made exactly the right tire choice in drying conditions, with threats of rain showers ever present and benefited accordingly. He didn't lead on the first lap, but led every other one, setting lap times that were 10 seconds or more quicker than some riders who had opted for wet tires. If any rider had gone for full slicks he would have won the race, and that literally is anyone. As it was those choosing intermediates were the ones to benefit and the leaderboard had some unfamiliar names on it during the race. Emilio Alzamora (Telefonica Movistar Honda) was smart enough to fit intermediates as was compatriot David de Gea (Antenna 3 D'Antin Yamaha) and they took second and third place as a result. Most of the other fast guys were not so fortunate and after leading for the first lap, championship leader Dajiroh Katoh (Telefonica Movistar Honda) dropped back to finally come home in 11th.place. He's not a rain man. Tetsuya Harada (MS Aprilia Racing) had an even more dramatic race, deciding to pit to change to slick tires as he circulated in 17th place. He lost a whole lap before getting back out on the track again and there was no way he could claw back the lost time, so he ended dead last.

It was anybody's guess how the weather would develop as the grid assembled for the race. Most of the field chose wet tires, but a couple went for the make-or-break option of intermediates. It was immediately apparent that this was the option to take as McWilliams streaked away, initially accompanied by Marco Melandri (MS Aprilia Racing). As McWilliams disappeared into the distance, Melandri was caught by Alzamora and de Gea, who were also setting lap times 5 seconds quicker than the wet-tire bikes. The excitement had largely gone from the race, main interest being to see how many riders McWilliams would manage to lap before the flag fell. Staring the last lap, he had everyone from 12th. place and with Katoh running in 11th. it looked like he might suffer the indignity of being lapped by the Aprilia rider. Katoh was spared this humiliation by McWilliams celebrations that started halfway round the last lap, as he pulled wheelies, waved and pounded the air with his fist. After so long in GP racing, there was no-one in the paddock that begrudged McWilliams his moment of glory.

Quotes

David de Gea: This is incredible. I was waiting for this moment since I was 16 and it finally came. Before the race we decided to mount intermediate and at the end it has proved to be the best choice as McWilliams won on them. I wish to thank all the team because it is also their success.

McWilliams: I came back from the warm-up lap and the team said "I guess it's wets?" and I said, "No, it's intermediates". The sky was fairly clear so I though I'd go for it, although it could have started raining mid-race. The tires went well for about 12 laps and then they were moving around quite a bit. I thought there were a couple of guys out on slicks and I wanted to make a good break early on. It didn't feel like I was fast, so I was watching the pitboard for the times and as they went to 14 seconds and held, I eased the pace. This is a great moment for me and I'm grateful to Aprilia for giving me a bike that makes it possible for me to win races.

125cc Race Results (17 laps)------------------Pos No. Rider Nat Bike Time/Diff--- --- ----- --- ---- ---------1 24 Elias Spa Hon 41'34.7382 21 Vincent Fra Hon 0.6073 17 Jenkner Ger Apr 23.2534 5 Ueda Jpn Hon 33.9795 18 Smrz Cze Hon 40.1966 23 Borsoi Ita Hon 48.5567 6 Giansanti Ita Hon 48.8928 39 Hules Cze Hon 57.9989 19 Brannetti Ita Apr 1'14.06310 10 Müller Ger Hon 1'15.06011 16 Sanna Ita Apr 1'26.16812 7 Perugini Ita Ita 1'44.15013 77 Araujo Spa Hon 1'49.27014 12 Jara Spa Apr 1'51.77315 11 Sabbatani Ita Apr 1'52.151World Championship==================JPN RSA SPA FRA ITA CAT NED1 Poggiali 88 11 20 - 25 16 16 -2 Borsoi 85 13 13 16 13 20 - 103 Elias 77 - - 3 16 13 20 254 Ueda 76 - 16 13 9 25 - 135 Azuma 72 25 6 25 8 8 - -6 Cecchinello 66 10 - 20 11 - 25 -7 Vincent 63 7 10 5 10 9 2 208 Ui 61 20 25 - 5 - 11 -9 Jenkner 54 9 8 - 4 4 13 1610 Nieto A 47 5 11 11 6 6 10 - Elias survives the carnage for first GP win

It looks like a new 125 genius on 2-wheels has been discovered and unlike his two predecessors he does not come from Italy. Tony Elias (Telefonica Movistar Honda) has been getting better and better all season and at Assen the 17-year old proved that he had a level of maturity that far exceeds his years on earth. In a race that saw a dozen riders crash on a wet, but slowly drying track, Elias and Arnaud Vincent (Fomma Honda) rode faultless races that saw them fighting for the win right to the line.

Still wet from the rain-soaked race. The 125 winners

Initially it seemed as if pole-sitter Gino Borsoi (LAE UGT3000) was set to dominate the race, as he led away from the line and started to build a couple of second advantage. The track was soaking wet and it started raining again on the second lap. With the rain stopping again after a couple of laps, a number of riders had already tumbled into the gravel trap. These included Manuel Poggiali (Gilera Racing Team), who remounted and started to pull back on the leaders, only to crash again on lap 12. Borsoi had a 3 second advantage by lap 7, but he blew it by sliding off, passing the lead to Vincent. Elias was 2 seconds down on the Frenchman, with Steve Jenkner (LAE UGT3000) another 2 seconds behind. Elias took 2 laps to close on Vincent and for the rest of the race, the pair of them were never more than 20 meters apart. On lap 10 Elias took the lead, but 2 laps later Vincent was ahead again. On the penultimate lap, Elias passed once more and was able to defend the position to the flag.

Next race British GP 8 July

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Colin MacKellar
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