Hats off as Ukawa Comes Home Alone in 250cc

Published June 24th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Tohru Ukawa of Japan won the Dutch 250cc motorcycling Grand Prix Saturday to follow up compatriot Youichi Ui's success in the 125cc race earlier. 

The normally reserved 27-year-old promptly celebrated his fourth career win by flinging his helmet into the crowd, a signal that he ranked this the best performance of his career. 

Ukawa, with Honda, had nearly six seconds to spare from second-placed Olivier Jacque of France on a Yamaha with championship leader and Jacque's teammate Shinya Nakano third. 

The race was run in difficult conditions with intermittent rain making the right tire choice essential. 

One rider who made the wrong call was German Ralf Waldmann. He started from pole but with his Aprilia equipped with dry tires, the German veteran suffered the ignominy of being lapped. 

Ukawa fought out a close battle with Anthony West of Australia, who was eventually placed fourth before pulling clear for an unchallenged win. 

He said: "At the start there was so much rain it made things difficult, but with a good tire choice, it came good and I'm very, very happy." 

London-based Jacque, following up his win in the Catalunya race two weeks ago, was thanking his good fortune in managing to keep company with his bike after a couple of scary slides. 

"God was with me and I managed to stay on my seat," he said. 

"It was tricky out there, there was a lot of water on the track in the middle of the race. I judged it was too dangerous at that stage and slowed down, coming back when it got drier." 

Nakano leads the title race on 144 points, four ahead of Jacque and 12 clear of Ukawa (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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