Dream start to the season for the Grizzly Yamaha Junior Team with Damien Knuiman going unbeaten in the big-wheel 65cc class to claim a maiden win for the team and the all-new YZ65 at the opening round of the ONK Dutch Championship. Talented young teammates Charlie van Nieuwland and Jayson van Drunen were also all smiles with their fifth and twelfth place performances.
The opening round of the Open Dutch Championship kicked off at the sandy circuit of Oldebroek, The Netherlands on Monday 2nd April. In front of a passionate Dutch crowd, Damien Knuiman proved just how exciting the all-new YZ65 is. The 11-year-old Dutch sensation lined up in the Open 65cc Big-Wheel class – a class that sees the big-wheel 65cc and small-wheel 85cc’s race against each other. The results of the two categories are not combined. Knuiman, onboard a stock big-wheel YZ65, was a show-stopper as he went bar-to-bar with the typically faster 85cc riders for an impressive 1-1 victory and an emphatic round win for Yamaha’s first officially supported 65cc team, the Grizzly Yamaha Junior Team. Fellow 11-year-old teammate, Charlie van Nieuwland put in an inspiring ride to round out the top-5 with a pair of fifth place finishes.
The natural progression of talented young riders is to go from a PW50cc, to a Small-Wheel 65cc, Big-Wheel 65cc, Small-Wheel 85cc, Big-Wheel 85cc and then up to the 125cc, and from there the wheel sizing remains the same. At the tender age of 9-years-old, Jayson van Drunen lined up against the smaller riders in the Small-Wheel 65cc class. It was the first race back for the little racer since he broke his femur in October last year, and he instantly impressed with a seventh place finish in the opening race. If it wasn’t for a couple of small crashes in the final race of the day, his end result – twelfth – would have been a lot better. Nonetheless, it was encouraging for the youngster to blow the dust off of his little boots.
The Grizzly Yamaha Junior Team’s incredible start to the season has established how competitive and technologically advanced the all-new YZ65 is. Not only does the bike look the part with its YZ450F inspired cosmetics, but it is also the perfect machine for young riders to win races – as demonstrated by Damien Knuiman with his domination in the Big-Wheel 65cc class.
The team looks forward to more fun and success over the 12 round Open Dutch Championship with the next round taking place on the weekend of April 8th at Rosmalen, The Netherlands.