Italian version here.
After racing in the Supersport 300 World Championship during the 2018 season, Walid Khan was absent from international championships for five years, and in between he experienced some trouble on track and especially outside racing. However, now the young Dutch rider has managed to combine his participation in the IDM Supersport 300 (where he attended a few races in 2019, more details here, and has competed regularly since 2021) with his return to the World Championship, as he took part in the WorldSSP300 round in Most with a wildcard.
The weekend experienced by the Freudenberg KTM-Paligo Racing rider on the Czech circuit was full of ups and downs. After qualifying seventh, in Race 1 Khan ended up crashing after also making a mistake in the first corner, which led to the crash of Matteo Vannucci. As a result, Khan was given a double penalty: Long Lap Penalty during the same race and start from the back of the grid in Race 2. However, the rider from Groningen did not give up and in the last race of the weekend he made a good comeback on the wet track, which took him from 31st to tenth place and proved how competitive he can still be in a world championship.
The experience lived by Walid Khan is a beautiful story of personal redemption. Palmen in Motorradsport had already talked about it previously, but now a new chapter comes and we are glad to share it through an interview with Walid Khan himself.
Walid, how does it feel to come back to the WorldSBK paddock after five years?
For me it was great to be back. After the 2018 season I had to interrupt my career, but then I came back thanks to the people who believe in me. Now I have the chance to race in the IDM German Championship and I had the opportunity to race as a wildcard in WorldSSP330 in Most, which was possible thanks to the KTM Freudenberg Team and their main sponsor Paligo. For me it’s a reward for what I’m doing and a great gift after difficult years, both on and especially off the track. I’m in a good moment now and I want to enjoy any opportunity.
What can you say about your season in the IDM Supersport 300?
It’s going very well and I’m really happy to be able to fight for the title with a rider like Iñigo Iglesias, who raced in the World Championship from 2020 to 2022. Moreover, the presence of several world-class riders has contributed to raising the level of the championship. Me and Iñigo are fighting hard for the title and now I’m first by a few points. I live it race by race and I hope to keep the momentum going.
A great way to redeem yourself after complicated years.
After 2018 I was let down by some people who supported me when everything was going well, but then disappeared in the difficult moments. Few persons really wanted to believe in me and I even thought about giving it up. However, thanks to those who remained by my side and to my current team, I’m back.
And now, are you focused only on racing?
I worked for a while, but now I focus fully on the races also thanks to the people surrounding me (including former rider Scott Deroue as his coach, ed). Furthermore now I live in Barcelona, where I could further improve my training plan for this season. I have dedicated many years of my life to racing, but I could never concentrate solely on it due to work and some family matters (we won’t go into details for clear privacy-related reasons, ed). Therefore, it makes me happy that I can finally focus on racing.
In conclusion, what is your goal for the future?
To be happy.
And for your career?
I want to move to Supersport. I raced in Moto3 in the past and as a category it suited my riding style perfectly. I honestly think the 600cc is closer to the Moto3 in terms of riding style, while I always need to adapt any time I jump on a 300cc bike. I want to get to Supersport and grow, hoping that I can race in the World Championship again.
Palmen in Motorradsport is grateful to Walid Khan for his kindness and wishes him the best for the next races.