Dutch delight for Swindon’s Cook as he wins race of the year

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Swindon rider Max Cook showed plenty of Dutch courage as he stormed to a sensational victory at Assen in round five of the British Talent Cup.

In what was dubbed the “race of the season”, the 15-year-old pulled off a gutsy last lap as he pulled off a brave move around Rory Skinner on the long left hander which gave him the inside line going into the final chicane.

On the exit, Skinner looked to have the run in to the line but Cook held him off at the line with a photo finish declaring the Swindon rider the winning by just 0.005 seconds.

The victory capped off a fantastic weekend for Cook, who grabbed third place the day before in race one at the Dutch circuit.

Starting from the inside of row one Cook initially got a bad launch off the line and momentarily dropped to fifth place.

Howwever, a brave move at turn one quickly led to him getting back into third by turn three.

The trio of Cook, Skinner and Thomas Strudwick quickly moved away from the chasing pack and on lap two, the Swindon rider made his move for second place.

During this time Skinner had made a break out front and broken the tow making Cook’s task of catching him even tougher.

However, after setting the fastest lap Cook caught the Scotsman by lap five and still had 11 laps remaining to try and pass him.

As Cook piled on the pressure he forced a mistake from Skinner at the end of lap six which saw him get the run and take the lead going into turn one on lap seven.

Unfortunately that lead didn’t last long with Skinner regaining the lead a few corners later.

It wasn’t long before Strudwick was back into the mix too as he passed Cook on lap 10 with the top three split by just 0.3 seconds.

As the top two went toe-to-toe on lap e11, Cook was gifted second place but almost high sided into the chicane which then saw him drop back down to third.

Storm Stacey then passed Cook with just three laps remaining as the race became a four-rider battle for victory.

A brilliant move through Ramshoek saw Cook move into third and going onto the last lap, he was in a close fight with Stacey.

However, Cook seemed to lack power out of Strubben and briefly lost third but dug deep to quickly get back on the podium.

Heading into the final corner Cook thought about a look down the inside for second but, with no room, he was forced to settle for third place.

 

Starting from the middle of the front row for race two once again Cook didn’t get the best start but was able to slot into third place through turn one.

That became second just a lap later after a fantastic run out of the last corner and now the Swindon rider found himself chasing Skinner once again.

The pair then began to trade positions which kept the pack behind close with everyone eager to take victory in front of the big crowd that was filling the grandstands.

Cook hit the front for the second time in the race on lap five as Skinner and Strudwick continued to battle for the lead.

Skinner retook the lead though with Cook hot on his heels as the pair created a gap from the rest of the field.

Heading onto the penultimate lap, Cook began to experiment with possible places to make his move on the final lap as he prepared to steal the race right at the death.

Halfway around the last lap it looked like Cook’s plan had backfired with Skinner stretching an advantage, but the Swindon rider rode an inch perfect second half of the lap as pulled off a brave move around the final left hander.

The move gave him the inside line going into the final chicane and took him side by side Skinner with the pair almost touching as they raced to the line.

Incredibly, Cook held on to claim victory by the smallest of margins.

The weekend’s results mean Cook is still in with a chance of claiming the British Talent Cup title with one round remaining.

Cook will likely require two race wins in Valencia in November though with Skinner currently leading him by 29 points and Strudwick ahead of the Swindon rider by 17 points.

Meanwhile, Cook has been invited back to race in next season’s Red Bull Rookies Cup after impressing during his debut season this year.

His maiden Red Bull Rookies Cup campaign came to a close at an eventful weekend at Aragon in Spain where Cook secured a 12th and 14th place in both races.

Click on the video below to watch the fantastic finish to race two of the British Talent Cup at Assen.

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