GUIDE TO ASSEN BSB
At a loose end 2830 September? Book a ferry to see Brits race in Holland.
NEVER BEEN TO A BIKE event abroad? Then Assen BSB is a great place to start. The circuit’s modern, with good facilities, and the curving track delivers tight, aggressive races. And because there aren’t the same huge crowds you get at a Motogp round, you’ll end up with an unimpeded view of the action. Practice day – Friday 28 September – is free. That means you can rock up to the circuit, buy your weekend pass and come and go as you please. If you buy your weekend ticket in advance from ttcircuittickets.com it will cost 40 euros (£35) and an extra 15 euros (£13) to post it to you. Alternatively, purchase in the UK for £36 at shop.msv.com.
Bikes, ferries and planes
Assen is in northern Holland, near the town of Groningen. DFDS run overnight ferries from Newcastle to Amsterdam – £208 return including cabin, but you’ll need to stay in Amsterdam on the Sunday night. Alternatively return on Sunday with P&O’S £264 Hull-rotterdam overnighter, but you’ll need to scarper straight after the last race. Stena Line advertise a 10% off BSB deal on their Harwich route, which works out at £180 return. Live in the South? Ride to Dover for a £50 return P&O to Calais, or to Folkestone for a £67 return Eurotunnel short stay saver ticket. Also consider the DFDS to Dunkirk for £75 – it drops you 30 miles closer to Assen. Take a satnav to help you negotiate the motorways around Antwerp – they’ll be busy and junctions come thick and fast. Avoiding motorways means riding through towns and villages, which is a leisurely 350-mile trip if you’re riding up from Calais. Stop for fuel every 120 miles and the journey should take you seven hours. All approaches to Assen have speed cameras. However, if you are staying in Groningen and ride the A6 to avoid Assen the police are thin on the ground. Flying is also an option: Flybe offer a cheap 75-minute flight from Southend to Groningen for £92 return. Stay in Groningen and get a bus to the circuit. A return flight from Manchester via Southend is £116. KLM return flights to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport start at £99. Then Groningen is a train ride away.
Where to stay
Book via the MSV website (shop.msv. com) and camp for only £10 a night on the Asserboys site nearest the circuit. After a night of mayhem you may wish you had paid more and been further away. A safer bet is the friendly Camping Seinen (campingseinen.nl). It’s quieter with good facilities, but a 40-minute walk from the circuit. Great value home-cooked food on sale, too. Three nights camping Thurs/sat costs 120 euros (£106). Hotels in Assen are in demand and the town gets noisy at night. Book early, but double-check your hotel isn’t a long walk from the circuit. Choose somewhere with secure parking for your bike. Hotels further away will be quieter and cheaper. Try the Martini Hotel (martinihotel.nl) in Groningen (three nights for £240). Great bars and restaurants nearby. Good deals are available at ttcircuittickets.com: for 199 euros (£176) you get pit access, a paddock walk and two nights in a four-star Assen hotel. Note that this is a shared twin room and that the circuit is three miles away.
Drop your helmet off at the Riders for Health helmet park by the covered grandstand. Bring change for the toilets – 50 cents a go, but the loos are spotless. Put the helmet receipt in your wallet so you
ASSEN don’t lose it. Then stand in the queue near the grandstand for the free pit walk. You’ll get to meet the racers. Ask a marshal at the event the day before what time is best to line up, but get there early because the walk is restricted to the first 200 people. Crowds on race days will be closer to 10,000-strong rather than Motogp’s 100,000. That means your view of the racing will be unobstructed if you get there early enough to secure your pitch. There is no pre-allocated seating so you are free to roam the circuit. Head for the covered grandstand on the start/finish straight if the weather looks iffy, otherwise go high on the banking so you’re not looking through the wire mesh fencing that makes photos look rubbish. On a sunny day choose the Strubben or Haarbocht Tribunes to get a good view of the bikes.
BSB: damn good racing, but without the huge Motogp crowds