Swindon’s Max Cook recorded a career-best finish in the latest round of the Red Bull Rookies Cup and believes a first podium place in the championship is just a whisker away.
Cook stormed to a superb fourth place at Assen and now believes that an elusive top-three finish is on the horizon for him.
“It’s the race I’ve been waiting for this year and I’m so pleased I’ve finally been able to show what I’m capable of,” said Cook.
“It was an amazing race and I’m happy with how I rode and raced in the front group.
“I was pushing hard for the win and I thought on the last lap I could do it, but the move I tried on the last lap didn’t quite work out so I had to settle for fourth.
“The podium is my next goal and hopefully I’m a step closer to doing this for Germany which is a circuit I love.”
Following a series of misfortunes so far this season, Cook’s luck finally changed in race two in Holland.
An electrical fault stopped Cook in his tracks in race one but he fought back in style to fight for the win in race two.
Cook ran as high as second place before setting the fastest lap and coming home fourth.
From the start of the weekend it seemed Cook’s luck was finally changing after he finished an impressive seventh in qualifying.
Cook got off to a good start in race one and although he dropped to as low as 10th in the opening couple of laps he stayed with the lead group and stayed out of trouble.
It wasn’t long before Cook was back to where he started in the second group which had slightly dropped back from the lead five.
With 11 laps to go Cook had got into the lead of the chasing group and still had more than enough time to lead a chase to the five leaders or get a career best sixth.
But coming out of the chicane to start the final 10 laps Cook came to a halt after suffering an electrical fault which put him out of the race.
Race two saw Cook keep a clean pair of heels once again on the opening lap leaving him ninth by the time the field crossed the line for the first time. But with heavy battles just ahead the lead, seven were allowed to escape all bearing lots of resemblances to race one.
Going on to lap three Cook jumped from 10th to eighth and made his intentions clear to the riders behind that he was going to chase the leaders.
French rider Lorenzo Fellon, decided to tag along and work with Cook, who began to take huge chunks out of the lead seven.
With 11 laps to go Cook had completed the chase as he and Fellon joined the party for the lead. Just making it to the leaders was an impressive effort but Cook’s hard work had only just begun as he started to pick off riders ahead.
Within a couple of laps Cook was up to fourth and right in the middle of what was a fierce battle for the lead, with the order changing almost every single corner.
With Assen being such a fast circuit, it was hard to know where you wanted to be going onto the last lap with no signs that the lead group was going to separate.
Heading into the final three laps Cook sat in fifth with the group as close as ever.
After Noguchi went down ahead Cook was able to capitalise and jump up to third place.
The top two had a gap which put Cook back into chase mode and along with championship leader, Carlos Tatay, they made it eight for the lead on the penultimate lap.
It seemed Cook had timed his race to perfection after he pulled off a bold move to go from fourth to second through turn 17 before quickly dropping to third through the final chicane.
It allowed the top two to just edge away but once again Cook dropped in behind Tatay and with half a lap to go he was fighting for the race win.
It all came down to the fast run through turns 15, 16 and 17 and down to the final chicane. Cook decided to play his card after a fantastic run through 16 and dived up the inside of second going into the left hander at 17 but unfortunately he didn’t quite have enough of a run to do it on the brakes and in the end had to back out and settle for fourth place.
Across the line Cook would take a career best fourth place right in the middle of the lead group which smashed his previous career best of eighth place.
The result comes at a perfect time with the Red Bull Rookies at Sachsenring this weekend for round four, a track which saw Cook record his best finish of the season last year, in the form of an eighth place slot.