After a weather-driven dramatic start to the series Adrian Pasek of Poland emerged the historic winner of the first round of the inaugural KTM European Junior Cup on the traditional Assen circuit in Netherlands on Sunday.
The KTM-sponsored series is being held as part of the World Superbike Championship program.
Second place went to Dutch rider Rob Hartog, who also won the pole position and Artur Wielebski of Poland took the minor podium place. The series, where aspiring young riders from the age of 14 years all ride KTM 690 Duke bikes, is designed to groom and encourage the future generation of top class road racing riders.
The first round proved challenging for both riders and organizers where the circuit was pounded with rain and hail with bursts of occasional sunshine. Indeed both free practice and qualifying took place in daunting wet and slippery conditions in what transpired as a class battle for the coveted first ever pole position. This eventually went to local hero and wild card rider Hartog who was joined in the first row by Latvian Garix Rozkalns, Pasek and Northern Ireland’s Jamie Patterson.
Race day saw the conditions worsen causing a delayed start, which in the end proved to be to the Junior riders advantage as the rain clouds cleared to allow a dry start. Pole man Hartog roared away from the start and pushed hard on his KTM 690 Duke to claim a two second gap. As the race progressed he was caught by the chasing trio of Austria’s Lukas Wimmer, Australian Giuseppe Scarcella and Pasek.
A fantastic four-man battle for the lead ended when first Scarcella then Wimmer crashed out. The young Austrian was particularly unlucky as he ran only slightly wide and went down on the wet artificial grass border. Pasek and Hartog were left to fight it out for the win and swapped positions constantly for several laps in a duel that thrilled the thousands of Dutch fans at the circuit. Then with three laps to go it was the young Polish rider who was able to break Hartog’s tow and go on to take the inaugural KTM European Junior Cup win. Wielebski of Poland’s Bogdanka Junior team completed the podium after a race long battle with French rider Jean Francois Demoulin.
Following the spectacular first round the young riders now prepare for another titanic battle at the legendary Monza circuit in two weeks time (May 6) when the KTM European Junior Cup heads to the first of two Italian World Superbike rounds.
KTM European Junior Cup at Assen – Round 1 of 8
(All riders on KTM 690 Duke)
1. Adrian Pasek, Poland
2. Rob Hartog, Netherlands
3. Artur Wielebski, Poland
4. Jean-Francois Demoulin, France
5. Jamie Patterson, Northern Ireland