A magnificent seventh on Hopkins return to Assen
Sittingbourne racer Luke Hopkins was back on track this weekend as a wildcard in the Dutch Supersport 300 championship. The only British rider in the event was racing on the famous TT circuit at Assen Hopkins finished seventh
It was his first time back at the circuit since breaking his collar bone here back in May in the World Supersport 300 championship. However, there were no nerves as he went out on track in the free practice session on Friday morning. He lapped a 1:59.253 finishing 13th fastest in overcast conditions.
In the afternoon the field of 32 riders took to circuit also known as The Cathedral of Speed for qualifying. Hopkins was unable to quite match his morning pace. He found himself caught up in traffic and despite taking a detour through the pits to try and find some clear track he clocked 1:59.526 and would line up 17th on the grid.
The Dutch Supersport 300 championship race took place in the early evening of Saturday. It had rained throughout the day at the track but the track was dry for the start of the 14 lap race. With 29 riders on the grid Hopkins was moved up to 15th and made a great start. He was battling with five other riders for tenth spot in a close opening few laps. However, as he went through turn eleven on the fifth lap he hit a false neutral and lost touch with the group. By the time he regrouped he was some 3.4 seconds behind them with two other riders on his tail.
Undaunted Hopkins then set about catching the group ahead again. Within a lap he had taken back half a second. The following lap seven tenths. By lap nine he was up to 12th and racing for ninth position. The following lap he managed to pass three riders and move into ninth place overall. He was now heading a six rider group.
Keeping calm and lapping consistent times he managed to maintain the train of rider behind him to the finish line. With a couple of riders ahead having a coming together Hopkins crossed the line in a fantastic seventh position. His best lap time came in the race which was a 1:57.402 on the ninth lap.
Luke Hopkins said,”That was amazing! I loved every minute of that. When I hit the false neutral and lost around three seconds I didn’t panic. I knew I had the pace. I just got my head down and rode back to the group ahead. My lap time was so much better than I achieved in the World Supersport race here. It’s also been great being involved in a weekend that includes the MotoGP riders. It has been an awesome experience. I would like to thank everyone in the team for a superb bike this weekend and of course all my sponsors.”