Assen TT: The history of the most historic GP

4 minutes

Assen is the only ever-present venue on the World Championship calendar since the series began in 1949.

Marc Márquez rodando frente a las gradas
Assen TT: The history of the most historic GP

From its beginnings until 2015, the race was celebrated on a Saturday

The MotoGP World Championship event in the Netherlands is known as the Dutch TT or TT Assen, with TT standing for ‘Tourist Trophy,’ a nomenclature inherited from the famous Isle of Man race.

Over the years, the term ‘Grand Prix’ has become favoured over ‘Tourist Trophy,’ and the Dutch TT is the only World Championship round that still retains this acronym.

Spain also had its “Spanish TT,” held in Bilbao in the early 1930’s.

The first Dutch TT was held in 1925 and since then the race has been celebrated every year, except for during World War II (between 1940 and 1945).

It is the only circuit that has hosted a race in World Championship season since 1949.

The original layout for Assen was 28 kilometres long and used the roads that link the towns of Borger, Schoonloo and Grolloo.

In 1955 a permanent, 7.7km circuit was built in the current location and was specifically designed to host motorcycle races.

Marc Márquez vuelta triunfal
Marc Márquez vuelta triunfal

In 2006 the layout was modified, reducing its length to 4.75km, and in 2010 a further change was made. The track now measures 4.55km.

Every class that has ever been part of the World Championship (50cc, 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, 500cc and sidecars) has competed at the Assen.

From its beginnings until 2015, the race was celebrated on a Saturday. There are different versions that explain this exception to the normal schedule, and one of the most widespread is that the old circuit was next to the local church. When using the streets for competition, so as to not prevent the citizens from going to mass, it was decided to celebrate the race one day early.

Another version of the story says that originally, Sundays were dedicated to cattle fairs and therefore a race could not be run that day.

The first circuit in Holland was in the city of Rolde, 7 kilometres away from the current track.

The country’s anthem is called Wilhelmus and is the oldest in the world. The last time a Dutch rider won a World Championship race was Hans Spaan, after taking victory in the 125cc Czechoslovakian GP at Brno in 1990.

Marc Márquez hace wheelie al acelerar
Marc Márquez hace wheelie al acelerar

The words to the Dutch national anthem have their origin in the period between 1568 and 1572, in the rebellion of the provinces of the Netherlands against the Spanish crown -at that time occupied by Philip II.

Heavy metal band Iron Maiden held a massive concert at the circuit on August 16, 2008, as part of their ‘Somewhere Back In Time’ world tour.

The track hosted the first stage of the Tour of Spain in 2009, the second time in the history of the competition that it had begun outside Spain.

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