Text: Thalassa van Beek
THE JOURNEY TO THE MOTORSPORT'S TOP: MELVIN VAN DER VOORT
To reach the top of your sport, you need to put in the hard work. Training many hours every day, year in and year out. You need talent and determination. So here at Peakz, we love watching these determined talents making their way up and we provide a platform to put them in the spotlights. So this month, it’s Melvin van der Voort’s turn.
Growing up on two wheels
Melvin is a 15-year-old motorcycle racing talent from The Netherlands. Born in Ede, the love for motorsports started young. ‘I was 2 when I attended the TT [the Dutch round of the MotoGP world championship – red] for the first time. And when I was five years old, I got my first cross motorbike,’ Melvin tells us. ‘After a number of years with many club cross competitions, I was selected for the Molenaar NSF 100 Cup. It’s a competition with small motorbikes with light engines. However, because of my height it was better to switch to the Yamaha R125 Cup the next year.’
‘Straight away this went very well,’ he continues. ‘I immediately won my first race. In total, I won eleven races in 2018 and came in second in the final standings. These results brought me in the picture at SWPN Racing, a professional Dutch team that has been racing at an international level for years. I started riding a Yamaha R3 Cup motorbike in the strong IDM Supersport 300 class. These were my first races on the big race tracks.’
The way to the top
Racing in the IDM was a big step in the right direction. ‘Many riders progress from the IDM championship to the World Championship. In the beginning I finished between the 10th and 15th place. But as the season progressed I got closer and closer to the front. At the end of the year, I competed in the leading group at every race. A fourth place was my best result. And after a year with a lot of progressions, I finished eighth in the championship; a result that I am proud of!’
For this year, it’s Melvin’s goal to consistently finish in the top 5. He’s off to a great start with his first races. ‘I set a tight pole time, where no one could come close. I then won race 1 with a lead of no less than 8 seconds, which is very unusual in the 300 class. Race 2 I finished p3 on only 0.061s behind the winner.’ Check out his website to see all results or follow him on instagram @melvinvandervoort
Racing’s price tag
His big dream is to eventually compete at the world championship level, but it takes more than just talent. It’s an expensive sport. Team costs are about €40,000 and training sessions are between €10,000 and €20,000. This brings the total cost per season up to €50,000-70,000. So you need more than just talent and a lot of determination to make it to the top in this sport. It’s a sport that defintely needs a solution like scoutfunding: READ MORE ABOUT SCOUTFUNDING.
2020 season so far
Of course, just like any other sport, racing has been affected by COVID-19, but the season has recently started for Melvin and his competitors. And how! ‘I set a tight pole time, where no one could come close. I then won race 1 with a lead of no less than 8 seconds, which is very unusual in the 300 class. Race 2 I finished p3 on only 0.061s behind the winner.’
The second round was more unfortunate. ‘I had a good qualifying, which meant I could start from the front row in third place. The first race, I had a great start and riding within the leading group. Unfortunately, I crash in the second-to-last lap. The rider behind me couldn’t avoid crahsing into me, hitting me in the back. It was a red-flag situation. In these situations, the position over the finish line from the last full lap counts, resulting in a 3rd place for me.’
‘In the second race, I had a leading start again and for the first half of the race I was able to stay with the leading group. Unfortunately, throughout the race my back started to hurt more and more. Because of the pain, I lost some focus and dropped down to 9th position. I’m now 2nd in the championship.’