Known as “The Cathedral”, Assen is one of the must-sees for all motorcycling fans. And since 1992, it is also a WorldSBK must-see; It is currently one of the most classic Rounds on the calendar. This is also noticeable in the stands, being one of the liveliest events with the most fans in the stands. This is our guide for the Assen WorldSBK.
Old taste: a touch of history for WorldSBK lovers
Assen and motorcycling have been an inseparable love story since 1925, when the Dutch TT was held for the first time. The original route had a length of 16 kilometers of public road between the small rural towns on the outskirts of Assen.
When the current circuit was built in 1955, under the original name of Circuit Van Drethe, its layout became a mixture of roads and permanent circuit sections that started from the same point where we find the finish line today.
The TT Circuit Assen, as it is currently called, has evolved little by little since then and significantly reduced its length from the original 7.7 kilometers to the current 4,542 meters.
Assen still maintains the same character, marked by a succession of fast linked curves, where a mistake at one point can penalize the next section; It doesn't leave much room for error and the driving makes the difference. It is, without a doubt, an 'old school' track and one of the favorites for the drivers.
Epic duels at Assen WorldSBK
WorldSBK has experienced historic moments in 'La Catedral'. And many of them have been lived in the iconic final chicane (Geert Timmer Botch), which has decided so many races. The most veteran fans will remember the titanic duel between Carl Fogarty and Pierfrancesco Chili in 1998. The two Ducati WorldSBK riders had a tense weekend with cross statements that ended with the Italian on the ground losing his title options.
In 2009 we could see another classic duel between Ben Spies with Yamaha and Noriyuki Haga in his days as a Ducati rider. After an intense battle, the American was able to pass the Japanese in the last section of the circuit during the last lap. Haga tried to return the play to him without success and the one from Texas took the final victory.
And in this review, we cannot leave out the 2022 race. The 2022 WorldSBK season was marked by the great duel between Jonathan Rea, Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Álvaro Bautista. In Assen, the rivalry reached a high point, when the Northern Irishman and the Turk collided at the exit of the first corner, while Bautista did what he could to avoid them. The 'Assen clash' tensed the atmosphere in the paddock, but both the Kawasaki Racing Team rider and the Yamaha rider accepted the race incident as inevitable.
Animations at the Assen WorldSBK
- TT Museum: with so much history behind it, Assen could not fail to have a museum that compiled machines and moments from its long motorcycle tradition. However, the museum is not on the circuit itself: we will have to go to the nearby town of Aalden to visit it, but the journey is worth it.
- The TT monument: the obligatory photo for all visitors in front of the two big T's that are at the main entrance of the circuit.
- Tunnel of Fame: the tunnel that leads from the stands to the paddock, crossing under the track, is decorated with photos of the great GGPP world champions. Another photo opportunity for all the fans.
- Legends Club: exclusive café-restaurant located on the finish line. Its walls are decorated with photos and memorabilia of the great champions who have trodden and won on this track.
- Fan Zone: inside the space for fans behind the main finish line, we can find numerous animations. One of the most striking is the simulator, where you can virtually ride a real Superbike. For those who prefer to daydream, there will also be a stand from the Perfect Dream Bikes preparer, specialized in rebuilding motorcycles with daring designs.
- WorldSBK Official Store: we couldn't miss the appointment with history! You can find the official WorldSBK collections in our store located in the paddock. And also, in Assen the ‘35th Anniversary WorldSBK’ collection was premiered to celebrate the 35 years of existence of WorldSBK.
Visiting: Assen and Groningen
The city of Assen is the capital of the Drenthe region. Contrary to most other provinces in the Netherlands, it is a very rural region, with small towns and widely scattered populations, and many forests. This creates a relaxed and postcard landscape to enjoy motorcycle tourism.
It is also an ideal place to enjoy two wheels without a motor: Drenthe also has a passion for cycling and its roads make it easy to enjoy cycling as well.
If we want a more urban environment, just 40 minutes by car from Assen we find the vibrant city of Groningen. Known nationally as 'the capital of the north', with a quarter of a million inhabitants, Groningen is the sixth most populous city in the Netherlands.
In it we will find monuments such as the Mirtinitoren, the tower of San Martin, which dominates the skyline of the city. Around its square (Grote Markt) is the Forum, an open cultural space with a bookstore, cinemas, terrace and information center, as well as theaters, concert halls and bars. And it is that, being a university city, for its size it has a great nightlife, with action until well into the early hours of the morning. No wonder this combination makes the center of Groningen one of the most popular in all of the Netherlands.
From the airport (Schiphol)
The TT Circuit Assen is located about 200 kilometers from the country's main airport, Schiphol, on the outskirts of Amsterdam. That gives us a good opportunity for a nice trip starting from the Dutch capital. With its endless canals and lively cultural and social life, Amsterdam is a well-known metropolis that deserves a visit over several days if we have time.
The most direct route from Schipol to Assen passes through towns like Amersfoort and Zwolle. Both present an interesting and pleasant historical center. In Amersfoort we will find a walled medieval city, where the door over a canal called Koppelpoort stands out. For its part, the center of Zwolle is built on an old citadel and its many canals invite you to take a boat trip. Well worth a stop halfway.