At the Cathedral of motorcycling, Assen, the race always takes place on the last Saturday of June. Although that tradition is about to change, Speed could not help but follow the elite of Moto GP in a weekend where once again Valentino Rossi made history.
The race went down to the wire as Rossi dueled to the last corner with a resurgent Marc Marquez.
The Doctor started from pole and led the race until seven laps from the end when he ran wide giving Marquez a chance to pass into the first corner.
Rossi then sat behind the Repsol Honda prodigy waiting to strike when the time was right.
The moment came with three laps to go.
The Italian nine-time world champion put a move on Marquez, but he stayed close to the Yamaha’s rear wheel.
Going in to the last corner the pair touched and Rossi went wide skipping over the gravel to take the chequered flag.
It is the first time since Misano 2009 that Rossi has taken a win from pole position.
It is an important victory as team-mate Jorge Lorenzo could only finish in third place putting him 10 points behind the championship leader.
First home victory 1977
The Dutch Grand Prix was run for the first time in 1925 and it has been a part of the world championship calendar since the inaugural season in 1949. Opening their event to the best drivers in the planet made things extremely hard for local talent, and Dutch fans had to wait until 1977 for a home driver to win.
Wil Hartog became the first Dutch racer to win his home 500cc GP almost 40-years-ago.
Then aged 29 the Suzuki rider’s first victory, after four years in the sport, could not have come at a better venue.
Standing at more than 1 metre 80, he was at a disadvantage against his jockey-sized competitors, and his penchant for wearing all white apparel saw him nicknamed the white giant.
Hartog started from 10th on the grid and managed to win by six seconds from British pole sitter Barry Sheene who was also on a Suzuki like all but one of the top 10.
It was to be the Dutch rider’s only victory of 1977 however and he finished 10th in the drivers standings, with Barry Sheene crowned world champion that year.
Auto GP suspended
Auto GP, formerly known as Euro Formula 3000, was never the most glamorous of events but it nevertheless revealed drivers such as Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean. Sadly, new talents won’t be coming to light any time soon.
The Auto GP season has been suspended because of the low number of entries going into this weekend’s Paul Ricard GP in Southern France.
The single-seater series had a field of nine cars at the opening round at the Hungaroring, but this shrunk to seven for the races at Silverstone last month.
The organisers have stressed that the season must not be considered ‘over’ and the races will resume if the competition attracts an ‘adequate’ number of entries which are ‘appropriate to its heritage.’
Auto GP traces its roots back to 1999 and the Italian Formula 3000 series. It has been known by its current name and format since 2010.
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