The Red Bull Rookies championship headed to the Cathedral of Speed- Assen last weekend. A track that is guaranteed to produce dramatic, enthralling and edge-of-your-seat racing from its flat, twisting corners and curves. Can Öncu triumphed to victory in both races over the course of the weekend as he ran away at the front, leaving a bunch of determined, point and podium hungry riders to scrap for the remaining two rostrum places.
In Race One, Can Öncu emerged at the front and pulled away from the rest of the pack, leaving a group of five. The quintet had second in their sights, chopping and changing positions from lap one onwards, leaving the gap to first almost too impossible to overcome. The battle for second involved the younger brother- Deniz Öncu as well as Sean Kelly, Xavier Artigas, Filip Salac and fastest lap holder Ryusei Yamanaka.
Many different position and point swapping’s saw the quintet split into a trio and a duo with D.Öncu, Yamanaka and Artigas still in the mix for a runner up spot, and Salac and Kelly trying to bridge the gap behind. However, a few laps later the group of five were to reunite meaning that it was anyone’s game to step up onto the rostrum and take a trophy home. A last lap dual at the famous chicane followed by the minimal yet beneficial slipstream meant that the experience of the rider would outweigh their talent. Therefore, the 15 year-old Artigas and 17 year-old Yamanaka would rob 15 year-old Deniz Öncu from his trophy and being able to gain an Öncu top two.
The Sunday brought Race Two, and although there was a repeat of the winner, overall results were anything but identical with much closer racing. A group of five in the previous race quickly became a group of nine; Adrian Carrasco, Adrian Huertas and Carlos Tatay being the new additions to the pack. However, a few members of the pack were unfortunate to be dropped as Yamanaka and Kelly added a DNF to their list of results.
The group of seven showed both maturity and talent as they weaved through each other a mass amount of times, nearly always exchanging positions at every corner. Predictably, with such a big group there is only certain space on the track for a set amount of bikes and unfortunately for some, the last lap chicane would bring some heartbreak, some injury but some joy. A three way bash up would see all three newcomers- Carrasco, Huertas and Tatay- twist and tumble through the gravels traps, leaving Barry Baltus and Deniz Öncu (after his 1.3 second penalty for cutting the chicane) with a few extra joyous points for their title campaign. After many extensive laps for Can Öncu, he would finally stand up on the top step twice in a weekend, yet, this time with Salac and Artigas by either side, rounding out the top three.
Leaving the Cathedral of Speed, Can Öncu dominates the series with an advantage of 49 points above of Spaniard, Carlos Tatay, with just five out of twelve races complete.