News

Bad luck, but a good ending

The last race weekend of 2019 is behind us. Race 11 and 12 of this season in Frohburg were all but kind to me. Besides the IRRC superbike we joined the Open 1000 class as well. During the open 1000 I felt comfortable on the bike and felt good physically after finally being able to train properly again since all the injuries I had. Sadly during the first qualifying session of the IRRC superbike all things went south. My lap times were getting better and better and I was sure I could put in a top time once I got a clear track in front of me. But just when I thought I had a clear track in front of me I went down hard. Apparently just before I came around a corner another rider dropped oil on the track and the marshals did not yet show the oil flags when I arrived. Sliding off of the oil I had a big off and wrote off the bike. It was totally destroyed and I had taken some damage as well.
The medical staff took good care of me and after giving me a check-up let me go. I had some bruises all over my body and my right leg was stiff, swollen and hurting.
Together with the team we decided not to ride the rest of the day.
Come Sunday morning my leg actually felt worse, but I still wanted to give it a go. The team prepared the second bike for me and we went to the start of the IRRC superbike race 1. Sadly out bad luck wasn’t over yet as while we were on the grid my mechanic Arno saw the bike was leaking petrol. After a quick check they found a crack in the tank and that was the end of the race for me. My mechanics Arno and Gerard quickly got to work and repaired the tank so I could join the second race of the Open 1000 class.
Because the bike wasn’t totally ready when we should have joined the sighting lap I had to start the warmup lap from the pits and the race from the back of the field. I had a slow start but slowly got into a rhythm and started to pass other riders and finished the race in 7th position. My leg was hurting after the race, but I was happy that I was able to complete the 10 laps. This gave me confidence I could do well in the IRRC Superbike race.
I had a bad start to the race but half a lap in the red flag came out. Another rider had a big crash and needed to be taken care of. After waiting in the pit lane for a while the race was ready to be restarted but there was one problem, the bike did not want to start. We tried to push start the bike and after three tries we got it going. This time I got a good start and was able to keep my qualifying position which was 9th. Half way the race I was in 8th place and doing way better lap times then I thought I could do with my physical condition. I was following the ride in front of me and felt I had a little more to give. During the last lap I closed the gap to him completely and was positioning myself to pass him in the last corner. I made a mistake going through the second to last corner and lost a bit of ground but I was determined to have a go. Breaking extra late I managed to position myself next to de rider in front and make a pass for the 7th position!!
It’s a shame we did not manage to start the first IRRC race and couldn’t get points in that race. In the championship I dropped to 7th. But since our goal was to try and finish in the top 10 this season we can’t complain.
I want to thank all my sponsors, fans and the whole team for a great season. We had our fair share of bad luck but had some great times as well.

 

Horice

We had a good weekend in Horice. Saturday started with a 10min free practice session followed by the first qualifying session. I managed to better my time from last May immediately and set the 12th time. After the team made some changes to the bike I was able to take another two seconds off my time and finished the second qualifying session in ninth overall with a time of 2:17.925. Due to another rider getting a penalty I would start both races from p8.


After a good start in race one I was able to keep up with the riders in front of me, and improve my best lap time to a 2:17.215. But sadly I started to notice that I was not able to keep the pace due to my physical state. Not being able to train properly due to my crash in Imatra which left me with some injuries and later on breaking my hand in Terlicko had a big impact on my strength and stamina. I started to go slower and lost a position but then a lap later the red flag came out due to a car that managed to get on track. At the end I finished in ninth position.


For race two in the afternoon I knew it would be even harder with the temperature going up to around 27°. Again I had a good start and could stay with the guys in front of me for the first couple of laps. Then my times dropped a bit and one rider came by. The last lap another rider was right behind me trying to find a way past me. I closed the door on him in every corner so he couldn’t pass me and I made it to the finish in 8th place.


After this weekend we are still in fifth place in the championship with one point lead over sixth. The next race in Frohburg (DE) we will give it our all to defend the fifth place.

 

Chimay – Better than expected

I left for Chimay (Belgium) not expecting too much of the weekend because my hand was still damaged from the crash in Terlicko (CZ).
Friday started with a free practice session. Sadly the bikes quick shifter was not functioning properly but I was slightly positive because my hand was not hindering me as much as  I thought it would.
Saturday morning started with the first qualifying session for the IRRC. Sadly the shifting problem was not totally fixed and I ended up needing to use my hand to operate the clutch. This brought me some extra pain and troubles to get the needed lap times. By the end of the session I only managed a 18th time.
We decided to sign in for the Open Superbike class as well to get the bike sorted. Sadly it began to rain and my time from the first qualifying session would stand as is. For the Open class my wet time in the second qualifying session was good enough for the 15th place on the grid. Starting 18th in the IRRC and 15th in the Open class was not ideal but that’s what we got. At least the bike were functioning properly.
Sunday morning started with the first race for the Open class. On a wet track I felt I could make up some ground. What I did not expect was fighting for the podium. Finishing in third was more then what I expected, but it was a great result for me and the team.
Hoping for it to stay wet after the first Open race it sadly started to dry up and out first IRRC race would be held in dry conditions.
Starting in 18th on a dry track was going to be tough for me, but again the result was better than expected. With a decent start I managed to stay with the group in front of me and start picking them off one by one. By the time the finish flag was shown I was in 6th position. This was by far more than I expected before the weekend started.
Race 2 for the Open class. After the podium finish in race one I was sure I could do another good race. But it being dry, I thought a top 5 would be the maximum I could reach. After a good start and another nice race passing people I found myself in fourth place heading into the final lap with a small gap to the rider in third. Halfway the lap I managed to close the gap and I was preparing to make a pass on him in the last corner. But before we reached there he made a small mistake in the last chicane and I used the opportunity to overtake him and finish third!!
That last race of the day was IRRC race 2, and I could feel my hand having more trouble coping with the pressure on braking. After a decent start I was able to pass a couple of riders and got into the top 10. During the race I got all the way up to seventh and started to pull away from the group behind me. I started to struggle with my hand more and more and made a couple of mistakes which let the group behind me catch up. We had a nice battle till the end, and a seventh position is again some solid points for the championship.
Next up is Horice (CZ). Hopefully my hand will be healed by then and it won’t bother me too much. Not being able to train it in the weeks heading to Horice will make it a bit tougher.

 

Terlicko Ups-and-downs

Some weekends just don’t go the way you hoped they would. This weekend in Terlicko (CZ) was one of those. Saturday started off with a dry free practice session. I did not like the track too much but thought I could do well on it. During Q1 for the IRRC I started building my speed slowly and ended the session in 10th position. I was building my confidence in the wet Q1 session for the Open Superbike class when all shit hit the fan. While passing slower riders I made a mistake going into a corner too fast and went straight on onto the grass, wanting to re-join the track on the other side. Sadly there was a pothole which I struck with my front wheel and I went down. I manage to pick up the bike and bring it back to the paddock, but I noticed that I was not feeling so well body wise. My left hand started to hurt more and more and swell up.


With some discomfort I set out for Q2. While not being able to ride the way I wanted, the 11th time was all I could manage. We decided to skip all the Open sessions to give my body less stress and some needed rest.


Sunday started out dry. My start for race 1 was once again not the best of starts. I got bullied a bit in the first corners and I had no answer for my opponents because I did not have the body strength. I managed to find a rhythm and stay behind the group fighting for 10th place. Sadly 3 laps before the end more bad luck struck. I already saw my petrol light blink but thought nothing of it, but 3 laps before the end I felt my bike sometimes cutting out on acceleration. Heading into the second to last lap it was getting worse and worse and I lost another position. The last lap I had to cruise to make it to the finish in 14th. Even with the pain and discomfort I was in, this was not the result we wanted.


Race 2  started dry, but during the warmup lap another rider crashed and caused a delay. While waiting for the restart it started to rain. Needing less physical strength to ride in the rain this was a welcome surprise for me. I finally had a good start and could go with the group in front of me. By the end of lap one I found myself in 7th. Overtaking the rider in 6th a little later I started closing the gap to the riders in 4th and 5th. Sadly just when I arrived on the back wheel of the rider in 5th the race was red flagged with 4 laps to go. None the less a 6th place was a good result for us with the condition I was in.

 

Back In Holland I went for a medical check and the doctors were surprised I raced at all. Now it’s time for some rest and hope I’m in shape to ride the next races in Belgium (Chimay). Fingers crossed!

 

Imatra (Finland)

Tuesday night, March 11th, the team truck left for Imatra in Finland with a couple of team members. On Thursday 13th of March the rest of the team left for Imatra by plane. Arriving in Finland for the first time and driving out of the city we were welcomed by the beautiful nature that Finland has to offer. Arriving at the track we did a lap with the car and also then the beautiful nature was wat popped out. The track layout seemed like it could suit me, and I had a good feeling about it.
Friday started with a session for all newcomers followed by free practice for IRRC and Open Superbike. For this weekend we decided to join the Open class for some extra training. By the end of Friday I managed a time within the top 10.
Q1 on Friday for IRRC was wet. Not having ridden in the rain for years I had my doubts on how I would perform. At the end of the session I set the fourth fastest time and all my doubts were washed away. The bike felt great in the rain and gave me allot of confidence.
For Q2 the track started to dry slowly. Part of the track was still wet but the other part started to show dry lines. We went out on soft rain tires but sadly these lasted for only 2 laps and were totally shredded. My mechanics fitted a new harder rain tire so I could go out again and hopefully set a decent lap time. I didn’t have much time left and in my fastest lap I got held up by a slower rider. My time put me on P9 which would be my starting place for both IRRC races.
Just before race one it started to rain hard again. The track was fully wet and luckily that made the choice for tires easier. My start wasn’t the best but I could go with the group. I felt good in the rain and started picking off riders one by one. Arriving in sixth place I was placing myself to pass the rider in fifth. Unlucky for me the race was stopped prematurely and that meant I finished sixth. We were all very happy with the result and were hungry for more the next day.
Sunday started with a race for the Open Superbike followed by the IRRC race later on. The weather was dry and hot. During the Open Superbike race I went in to a chicane too hot and decided to go straight and re-join the group. Sadly I got surprised by concrete blocks in the second part of the chicane runoff area and lost control over the bike. My right leg got caught under the bike during the crash and damaged my knee and foot a bit. Once I picked up the bike it was sadly too damaged to continue.
The team did an awesome job to fix the bike and prepare it for the second IRRC race! The doctor cleared me to race and so I did my best to be ready for the second race. I lost a couple of places in the first lap but I managed to get back to my starting place in ninth. Halfway to the race my knee and foot started to bother me and made it harder to ride. During the second half of the race I was fighting with three other riders for the ninth place. In the last lap I lost the place and found myself in 10th. Staying close to the rider in front of me I got a good drive out of the last corner and managed to slipstream past him before the start/finish line. P9 was a good result considering the circumstances.
I want to thank the team for their great work and giving me a bike that gave me confidence.

 

Horice training/race

As a preparation to our IRRC race in Horice later on in the season we joined the Czech championship race on the 18th and 19th of May. A hard track to learn with some blind corners and different corner chambers it was bound to be an interesting first meeting of the track. In the first qualification session I set an surprising 12th lap time. In a group of 30 riders, where most knew the track and were home riders, I was not expecting to be so close to the top 10 after my first session. Making some improvements on the bike and getting to know the track a bit better I was able to improve on my time and qualified in 8th position.
I had a bad start to race 1 and lost some positions. Managing to get a couple back I was riding in 9th position. After I managed to pass another ride and another rider in front of me crashed I was in 7th position. Hoping to go one better, bad luck struck. The bike started shaking allot going out of corners and going over bumps. Having trouble holding on to the bike my lap times started dropping and so did my positions. Ending up in 11th race was somewhat of an disappointment after the good qualifying sessions.
For race two I finally had a decent start! Avoiding a crash in the third corner and managing to pass a rider during the opening stages of the race I found myself in 6th. Towards the end of the race I saw on my pit board that another rider was closing in on me. In the last lap the other rider out broke me into a downhill corner. Not wanting to lose a spot in the last lap I managed to directly counter his attack and get my position back. I managed to hold him off the rest of the race and thus finish the race in 6th position.

The team gave me a great bike and good support during the whole weekend. We have a good idea of the track now and a good setup direction to go in. Hopefully with the knowledge we have now we can put in a good fight during the IRRC races here in August.

 

Hengelo Race 1 and 2

The first races are behind us. On 11th  and 12th  May we had our first races in The Netherlands at the Varsselring race track. Since this was a home race for the team, there were allot of fans and sponsors in attendance. The Saturday started off with two qualifying sessions in which I managed to qualify in 5th. As extra training we also joined the BeNeLux Trophy Superbike, where I qualified in 3rd position.
The Sunday started with race 1 for the IRRC Superbike class. I had a bad start and was too cramped on the bike. This combining with non-optimal brakes made me loose strength in my forearm during the race. After holding my 5th staring position in the early laps I started to drop positions and ended in a disappointing 12th place.
For race 1 in the BeNeLux Trophy I was feeling motivated to get a good result after the disaster in the IRRC race 1. Sadly it was not to be. After a couple of laps I started to have troubles going into the corners and almost crashed on two occasions. After entering the pits it appeared that my steering damper was broken and was hindering the steering movement. It was a shame because the breaking issues were solved and I felt a good result was possible.
For race 2 of the IRRC I had another bad start but managed to make up on the lost positions quickly. Holding on to the fifth position I started from was a positive result for me and the whole team. The target is to finish all the races in the top 10 this season, and with this result we showed that this is an achievable goal.
As an bonus for the weekend I had a good race in the second BeNeLux race which I finished on the podium in second place! A great way to end the weekend on the podium in front of the home crowed!

 

Preseason France and The Netherlands.

Our next stop was Croix-en-Ternois in France. We had two practice session on Friday in cold and windy conditions. On Saturday we had two qualification sessions with the same weather conditions as on Friday. In the first qualifying session I managed to put in a 12th time. I managed to make a good improvement in my time during the second qualifying session and managed a 6th time.
My start in race 1 on Saturday was bad and I lost some positions. Going in to the first corner as 11th was not ideal. I managed to put in some decent laps and started passing riders one by one. At the finish I was back in 6th and happy with the result. For the second race I wanted to get a better start and I did, but I made a mistake in the second corner and almost high-sided. Managing to stay on the bike I continued my race with a broken windscreen and again finished the race in 6th.
Out next and last top for preseason was Assen in The Netherlands. This time on the new 2019 ZX10R, with new suspension from YSS. Again we did not have ideal weather conditions. Nonetheless we had some good sessions figuring out some small bike issues and tweaking the suspension a little.
I am happy with how our preseason has gone and looking forward to our first race weekend in Hengelo gld. (The Netherlands). The bike feels good, and I feel ready for the challenge ahead. I hope to see everyone in Hengelo gld. to show me and the team support. 11 and 12th of May, BE THERE!

 

Preseason Alcarras, Spain

From the 22nd to 24th of March we were in Alcarras Spain, for preseason training. We would have 6 sessions a day, each about 20 minutes long. On Friday and Saturday I rode on the older 2014 Kawasaki ZX10R. Session by session I started to get used to the speeds again and getting my lap times down. After 5 years of not being on a race track and barely riding motorcycles, I was quite surprised with the progress I was making. On Sunday I got to ride the 2017 model ZX10R and I kept improving on my lap times. Overall I`m quite happy with how the whole weekend went and with the progress we made day by day.
A big thanks to the team for preparing the bike and the great atmosphere. They made me feel comfortable within the team from the first day.
Next stop will be in Croix-en-Ternois in France. We will be there for some more testing from the 12th to 14th of April.
For pictures from the training in Alcarras you can visit the 2019 gallery page.

 

 

Team presentation and preseason training

The presentation of the Performance Racing Achterhoek team will be held on Friday 15th of March 2019. It will be held in Hengelo (gld.), Nijverheidsweg 3 at 20:30.
After the team presentation we will be leaving to Alcarras in Spain for our first preseason test from 22 to 24 of March.

LINK

 

Performance Racing Achterhoek in 2019 with Virgil-Amber Bloemhard in IRRC SBK

Performance Racing Achterhoek will start in 2019 with Virgil-Amber Bloemhard in the IRRC Superbikes. This news has officially announced the road racing team from Gelderse Hengelo today. With the arrival of Bloemhard, the team has another Dutch driver at the start in the IRRC Superbikes for the new season. LINK

 
 
 
 
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