Northern Talent Cup:
Levin Phommara claims a double win at the Cathedral of Speed
The TT Assen was the perfect venue for the first seasonal race of the Northern Talent Cup, racing the opening round with the Superbike World Championship.
Swiss rider Levin Phommara (Team Phommara) claimed the first victory of the season in style at the famous TT Circuit Assen, finishing ahead of home hero Jurrien Van Crugten (BB64 Academy) and his brother, Lennox Phommara (Team Phommara), whom he beat by a whopping 25.303s in what proved to be a fascinating first encounter of the 2023 Northern Talent Cup. Conditions were tricky as moments before the race start the rain began to fall, with veterans and front row starters Rocco Sessler (MCA Racing) and Julius Frellsen (MCA Racing) dropping down the running order as the race progressed.
As the lights went out, it was Lenoxx Phommara who managed to grab the holeshot ahead of Dutchman Van Crugten, who had made a great start from fifth on the grid. It wasn’t long though before Levin Phommara, who had started in 11th position, made his way to the front with an incisive overtake on Van Crugten, followed by a sweet move up the inside of Lenoxx Phommara to take the lead. From that point on only a mistake from the Swiss would see him give up first place, such was his confidence and prowess at the front of the chasing riders.
While the race settled down at the front, there was plenty of action elsewhere, with rain specialist Killian Holzer (HK Racing) surprising no one with his finesse in the awkward conditions. Starting in 10th he made his way quickly to fifth position where he had a long battle with a very much on-form Martin Vinzce (VM Racing Team) who defended expertly from the hungry Austrian. A last lap lunge by Holzer wasn’t enough as he was forced off into the green and had to settle for fifth place, behind the Hungarian.
Further back, rookie Antoine Nativi impressed in a three-way battle that saw him claim an impressive seventh ahead of seasoned veterans Maxime Schmid (Team Schmid) and Filip Novotny (DG Corse). Veteran Matteo Masili (Fairium Next Generation Riders Team) had a day to forget finishing in P15, and further kudos to Van Crugten who claimed the Fastest Lap with a 1’59.811s.
Tom Kuil (Beekman Racing) was ruled unfit on Friday following a crash at the famous chicane which saw him pick up an ankle injury. Rookies Luis Rammerstorfer (Heating Factory Youngsters) and Anakin Zelenak (JRP Academy Racing Team) were forced to retire following an incident on the sighting lap, with Zelenak paying a visit to the medical centre; he was declared fit following the check-up. There was also disappointment for home hero Kyano Schoo (KS Racing) who was forced to retire on lap 9 with a technical issue.
Lenoxx Phommara (Team Phommara) made it a weekend to remember after taking a sensational win at the famous TT Circuit Assen, finishing ahead of rivals Rocco Sessler (MCA Racing) and Martin Vincze (VM Racing Team), following a closely fought battle between the three riders in the later stages of the race. Despite forecasts to the contrary, conditions remained dry for the race and provided the riders with a solid platform to showcase their talents.
It was Sessler who claimed the holeshot after getting a great start off the line, but he couldn’t hold the lead for long as the determined Lenoxx Phommara blasted past him before the end of the first lap. On the second lap it was the turn of Jurrien van Crugten (BB64 Academy) to take the lead and for several laps the race continued like this, the lead changing hands as the top three of Sessler, van Crugten and Lenoxx Phommara fought hard and fair for the lead.
Further back, it was Killian Holzer (HK Racing) again who was making his way forward from 10th on the gird, setting the Fastest Lap on Lap 3. As the race progressed the lead group welcomed new riders into the fray, among them was Julius Frellsen (MCA Racing) who proved his worth as he made his way briefly to the front. Van Crugten dropped back to sixth as he was replaced by Holzer who made his way into third position. It was then the turn of a determined Matteo Masili (Fairium Next Generation Riders Team) to get into the mix, getting as a high as fifth. But with 5 laps to go disaster struck! A collision between van Crugten and Masili saw the two riders crash out into the gravel, with an unfortunate Holzer getting caught up in the mix. All three retired from the race.
With four laps to go, it was the lead group composed of Sessler, Lenoxx Phommara and Vincze that caught most of the attention, a trident of young talent battling it out between themselves and swapping positions. As the race neared its end it appeared that Sessler would take the win, but a beautifully timed last-lap overtake from Lenoxx Phommara sealed the deal and saw him lead the three across the line to take a sensational second win in the category. Behind them, it was rookie Antoine Nativi (CTM 83 Junior Team), again impressing, who led duo Filip Novotny and Race 1 winner Levin Phommara (Team Phommara) across the line to claim fourth.
Next up, the Northern Talent Cup field heads to the Sachsenring alongside IDM for Round 2 of the 2023 season from the 12th–14th May.
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