From broken down vans to double winners: Mogeda makes history for Team#109 at Assen

Friday, 26 April 2024 05:28 GMT

The Team#109 Retro Traffic Kawasaki outfit won for the first time, with emotions running high for all

It’s been a mega start to the 2024 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship season and the TT Circuit Assen hosted the first double winner of the season with Daniel Mogeda (Team#109 Retro Traffic Kawasaki). The Spaniard, who had never won a race but come close on numerous occasions before Assen, executed two perfect races to lead at crucial moments, becoming the new Championship leader. However, it wasn’t an easy weekend for the team, with Paul Tobin’s outfit suffering mechanical issues of their own on the way to the round, making Mogeda’s victories even sweeter for the Irish team.

In Race 1, it was the usual fight at the front in WorldSSP300 but a red flag for a crash involving Jeffrey Buis (Freudenberg KTM-Paligo Racing) and Julio Garcia (KOVE Racing Team) at the final chicane halted action. On the restart, Mogeda was a key feature inside the leading group and pounced in the final sector of the last lap, having previously led the way halfway through the lap. In the second race, strategy was pivotal and Mogeda went wide at Turn 10 from the lead so he could slipstream into the final corners. He made it into P2 with Kove’s Julio Garcia leading but he went wide and lost speed at the chicane. This allowed Mogeda to come through on the run to the line for a memorable victory.

MOGEDA WINS: “The only thing I have in my mind are my team, family and friends”

Speaking after Race 2 on Sunday afternoon, the #88 said: “It was a very difficult weekend but it’s great to be where we are! I only have happy words and that’s it! On the last lap, it was crazy, like all WorldSSP300 races! This one is crazier because it’s my victory; there were a lot of riders with a lot of fighting but finally, we can win. I don’t have words to explain but the only thing I have in my mind are my team, my family and friends, who all stayed with me in the bad moments. I feel very good but the Championship is long and we have many races to go.”

TEAM MANAGER TOBIN: “All the bad luck was out of the way before we got on track!”

In terms of getting to Assen, drama had already started for the MotorLand Aragon-based outfit as team manager Paul Tobin explained: “When we loaded the truck, it wouldn’t start so I got a mechanic out and then, we needed a part but that was on Saturday and by Monday, the part didn’t arrive. We needed two vans, couldn’t find any big enough in the area, so we had to go Zaragoza! That left there early on Monday morning and the second one on Monday afternoon, which then had a problem, so then we had to get another van, unload the old one on the side of the road and repack again. We got to Assen on Thursday morning; not the greatest start but all the bad luck was out of the way before we got on track!”

Talking about the races themselves, Tobin spoke of Race 1: “In Race 1, the quick shifter was cutting the bike and he actually had his hand up on the main straight on the start. He was going to pull in at the end of Lap 2 but it came good; he was dead last! He’s started to catch the group pretty fast and when the red flag came out, he was on the back of the main group. In the pitlane, he told us what we problem was and changed the quick shifter during the red flag and he was good to go then. I said to him it’s a five lap sprint so he can’t hang about but he was confident with the bike handling really well. He rode an incredible race with incredible courage, knowing it was raining! The way he took Ramshoek and the chicane, we knew he’d be OK. It was really, really emotional when he crossed the line with the history and the team and what not. Myself and Scott Thompson, his crew chief, were crying like babies in pitlane. It was an incredible win and an unbelievable moment for the team.”

In Race 2, it was all about strategy: “He got into Turn 1 first but made a mistake at Turn 11, missing a gear, so then the group caught up with him but it’s almost impossible to breakaway in WorldSSP300! He stayed inside the top four or five for more or less the whole race and you could see him working out where he needed to be in the last three or so laps. On the penultimate lap, he made a mistake at Turn 4 but he did this in Barcelona where he ran wide at Turn 11 so riders could get under him to not get caught on the straight which was amazing race craft from him. Coming down into the last sector, he said he was exactly where he needed to be but surprised that Garcia was leading. However, he could see Julio missed his braking marker by about 10 metres, so all he needed to do was take his proper line through the chicane and he had a chance. He leant on Loris Veneman going through the chicane but Dani got it.

STICKING WITH MOGEDA: “If you give up on a rider then, his career is finished”

Talking about why Mogeda is special for the team, Tobin commented: “He’s grown massively as a rider in the last 12 months. He’s a special rider for us as he filled in for us at Magny-Cours in 2021; he’d never met the team or seen Magny-Cours, the bike and got a P5. At the end of the season, he was involved in the incident with Dean Berta Vinales and in 2022, we’d signed him for the full season and he was nowhere. Starting from the back of the grid, looking over his shoulder, he was very badly affected about what happened to him at Jerez – even if he said to us he wasn’t, we knew he was. The team helped him through that period because if you give up on a rider then, his career is finished. We stuck with him and I think he feels he owes us something back. He’s now 18, so he’s a young man now and not a 16-year-old kid. He’s grown into a very respectful, decent young man as well as a very, very good racer.”

The story of the team is also remarkable: “Sean Hurley got me into racing, he was a good friend of mine and we used to do track days together. He started racing and in his second year, he asked me to go racing and I did. He went on to win the Irish Supersport championship in 2011 but in November that year, he left his house in Cork on a bad, stormy night. His car aquaplaned, spun, hit a tree and he tragically died. Before he passed away, he spoke to his mum and set out life goals for himself, things like run a marathon, do more education, ride trials, win a World Superbike race, mad stuff like run a pub! We did that stuff, set-up a fundraiser for riders in Ireland and we have the #109 award which is still going. Then, instead of funding, we decided to buy a bike and things and have a team!”

“THE WORK STARTS AND WE HAVE TO STAY THERE” – title ambitions for the rest of 2024

Speaking of whether or not they can fight for the title, Tobin said: “We do a video call meeting with the team and I said that we’ve made it to the top with the incredible results this weekend but now the work starts and we need to stay there. We have to push, as much as we can, to try and win this. Dani came to the team knowing that the bike and team were good. He knew us before and feels comfortable; it’s like a family to him and when a rider is like that, it gives so much confidence. I’ve seen a lot of Champions in the class and he’s riding as well as any. We have a chance!”

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