After the season opened on April 2nd at the TT Junior Track in Assen, the drivers of the Puchshop Racing Cup returned to Assen on Saturday May 13th for the second competition day of the season. In April the rain still came pouring down from the sky, this time the weather gods were in a better mood for the Puch drivers and it would remain sunny all day.
The turnout was moderate with 13 drivers, partly because the winner of the season opening Rienk van der Weide was missing. He had suffered an unfortunate fall with his mountain bike a few days earlier and suffered bruised ribs. Also missing reigning champion in the Standard class Pascal Mussche, although his machine was present. It was manned by guest driver Joost Overzee, motorcycle journalist, always enthusiastic about everything that is just a little bit different and an avid Puch driver in his younger years. Mussche exchanged his helmet for a video camera for the occasion.
Surprising winner of the Standard class at the opening race of the season was the only 12-year-old Thimo Minnen, and he showed in qualifying that he had once again set his sights on the podium. He was fastest in the first qualifying but was just overtaken by Mark Dijkhof in the second. Bart Dijkhof was the fastest in the Expi class, ahead of Robert van Steenis and Sander Mulder. Jordi Minnen had problems with the clutch but managed to fix it before the start of the first race.
The Dijkhof brothers did the best business in qualifying but in the first race their chances would soon turn, because after three laps Mark had to pull over because his chain had come off while Bart retired one lap later with a blown battery. He wouldn’t see any action for the rest of the day, while Mark was able to continue on his way after a quick repair, but soon after he had other problems. Because his machine produced too much noise, he was disqualified afterwards, and Robert van Steenis suffered the same fate. Hugo Satter and Luuk van Riet would also not reach the finish. Sander Mulder was the one who rode to victory in the Expi class without any problems. He drove his new machine for the first time on a dry Assen and on a different type of tyres, but where he was regularly chased by the bad luck devil in the past, everything was now good. He won ahead of Jordi Minnen and Jesse van Zante. But the overall winner of the first race was Standard class driver Thimo Minnen. He cleverly managed to keep Mulder and Minnen behind him. Jannick Vos was second in the Standard Class, Chris Weenen was third.
After Mulder had welded the necessary exhausts during the break, it was already time for the second race. The battle for the overall win was between two Standard Class drivers. Mark Dijkhof had a firm lead after a good start, but Thimo Minnen quickly made up for his mediocre start and in the final phase he attacked Dijkhof. Dijkhof managed to stay just ahead of Minnen on the finish line, but would have to take a time penalty of 5 seconds for a jump start, even though it didn’t seem to be proven on the many videos made along the track. Due to the time penalty, the victory again went to Thimo Minnen, ahead of Dijkhof and Vos. Sander Mulder was again the fastest in the Expi class ahead of Jordi Minnen and Robert van Steenis.
In the daily classification, Sander Mulder was the winner of the Expi class and received the cups together with Jordi Minnen and Jesse van Zante. In the Standard class Thimo Minnen again did the best business and was allowed to go to the podium with Jannick Vos and Chris Weenen.
Useful links NK Junior Moto Racing Assen 2023 (2):
Timetable and full results