Last weekend, the fourth round of 2019 German IDM Championship took place in Most. The most important motorcycle racing series in Germany provided some great action on the famous Czech track and one of the most significant events happened was the return of Walid Khan.
A Dutch rider of Moroccan origin, last year Walid Khan competed in Supersport 300 World Championship with Nutec Benjan Kawasaki Team and scored some remarkable results, including a nice 2nd-place finish in Brno. Khan wanted to race in WorldSSP300 also in 2019, but his life changed a lot in the weeks following the last 2018 round and, moreover, he experienced budget issues. So, Khan had to stop his racing career temporarily.
Despite all the trouble experienced, Walid Khan and Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki (the new name of the above-mentioned team, following some changes in its structure) had always hoped to work together again. Little time before the round scheduled in Most, the goal came true. Micky Winkler, one of the team’s four riders in IDM Supersport 300, suffered an important leg injury during the previous round held in Schleiz. Due to this, and after a positive test in Assen, team manager Rob Vennegoor announced Walid Khan as replacement rider. Furthermore, in a press release issued by the team, he defined him as “one of the best riders we have in the Netherlands“.
Khan has never forgotten how to ride fast on a bike and he proved this already in the Free Practice sessions, where he constantly was in the front part of the field. Later on, the two Qualifying sessions were affected by rain and Khan finally ranked 8th, meaning a third-row start in the two races scheduled in Most.
Race 1 took place on Saturday 10th August, in the afternoon. Khan immediately gained positions from where he started and then, he ended up fighting for 2nd place with former WorldSSP300 rider Angelo Licciardi and fellow Dutchman Rick Dunnik. At the end, Khan won the fight on the finish line and so, he finished second behind “special guest” Victor Steeman (currently a podium contender in WorldSSP300). Wildcard riders score no points, according to the IDM regulation and so, even if he finished second, Walid Khan WON THE RACE…
Sunday 11th August, Khan hit the track once again for Race 2. It didn’t go as great as the day before, but it was a successful one anyway. Khan fought for third position with Licciardi until the last lap, but finally the duel was won by the Belgian. Victory went once again to Victor Steeman, but for the reason I spoke before the “real” winner was German Toni Erhard, who crossed the finish line in second place in front of Licciardi and Khan.
To sum up, Khan left Most with a fourth and second position, but without considering wildcard entry Steeman, he won the first race and finish 3rd in the second one. And remember, he hadn’t raced for nearly 11 months…
Welkom terug, Walid!
It’s not easy to come back from a long break and be that competitive immediately, but Walid Khan made it happen and so he proved once again the skills he had shown last year in World Supersport 300. The three years he had spent in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup (where he was known as Walid Soppe) hadn’t been that positive, but Khan managed to stand out at international level by switching to SSP300.
Personally, I met Walid last year in World Championship and I can say that he’s not just a good rider, but also a nice, extroverted and “crazy” guy, appreciated for his great character (and also for the tricks he performed on a bicycle or a scooter…). He certainly made some mistakes during his career, but Walid definitely deserves a new, great opportunity. Walid and Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki Team have already been working ahead of next season and meanwhile, the rider from Assen will replace Micky Winkler until his return (whose date is still unknown).
Palmen in Motorradsport wishes Walid “Veel succes!” and hopes to see him back in the World Championship in the future.