WorldSSP royalty: the story of Ten Kate Racing’s success and their latest title

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 09:20 GMT

From humble beginnings to the dizzying heights of World Championship success, Ten Kate Racing have seen it all, and now they’re on top again as the next chapter in their incredible story begins

The 2021 FIM Supersport World Championship has been wrapped up in style at the Circuito San Juan Villicum, with Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) clinching it in his rookie season. He is the third rookie in four years to achieve this, however the Championship-winning moment also comes as an iconic return to the top as Ten Kate Racing also take their tenth World Supersport crown – their first since 2014 – and are back on top of the World Championship tree. It’s been a long journey back, but the legendary Ten Kate Racing name is on top again, this time with Yamaha.

THE STORY STARTS HERE: contenders from the start

The team made their World Championship debut with Honda at the famous TT Circuit Assen in 1999 in WorldSSP, with Karl Muggeridge finishing less than half a second from the podium in fourth place, having come from 11th on the grid. Impressing many in the paddock, the team were back in 2000 and ‘Muggers’ delivered them a first podium at Monza, before taking the team’s first win in the final race of the year at Brands Hatch. He finished fifth overall, 23 points off the title. In 2001, they won three more races with Pere Riba winning round one in Valencia before Fabien Foret took victory in the third-to-last round at Oschersleben and the last round at Imola.

However, it’d be 2002 when the team really made their name; with four wins prior to the season, the team had Fabien Foret driving them forward. He won the first race of 2002 and despite dropping in the Championship, a win at Misano saw him return to the top of the standings, where he’d stay until he won the title at the final round of at Imola, Ten Kate Racing’s first World Championship. 2003 saw Chris Vermeulen in the team and the Australian took the title, wrapping it up with a round to spare at Magny-Cours. He was replaced by Karl Muggeridge in 2004 who was back with the team, and he’d also dominate as after the first two races, he’d win all but one. He took the title with a race to spare; teammate and fellow countryman Broc Parkes was second, giving the team a first 1-2.

NEW PROJECT: graduating to WorldSBK

This period also saw Ten Kate Racing emerge as a force to be reckoned with in WorldSBK, as 2004 saw them graduate to the premier class with Chris Vermeulen and the all-new Honda Fireblade. Vermeulen was a title contender until the final round and having taken a first win in Race 2 at Silverstone, he would take three more wins on his way to fourth in the standings. A year later and he’d once again be a contender, this time finishing in second with six wins and 14 podiums, whilst reigning WorldSSP Champion Karl Muggeridge stepped up and took two fourth places as a rookie.

GLORY YEARS CONTINUE: new names, same fame

Back in World Supersport, Sebastien Charpentier was now the force behind even more success as he came in and, along with teammate Katsuaki Fujiwara, were right at the front in 2005 WorldSSP. The Frenchman took six wins and won the Championship with a stunning three rounds to spare, whilst Fujiwara was third at the end of the season with two wins. 2006 saw Charpentier take the title in the final round after a mistake from rival Kevin Curtain gave him the title for a second straight season and Ten Kate their fifth consecutive Championship. The achievements that will stand for a long time.

2007 saw 2006 race winner Kenan Sofuoglu rise to the fore and he’d dominate on course to his first of five World Championships – the first of two with Ten Kate Racing. Ten Kate just kept winning as in 2008, it was Andrew Pitt who was back, taking a second WorldSSP Championship. This was an eighth straight title for Ten Kate Racing, undisputed kings of WorldSSP in that time. However, in 2008, they also gave Jonathan Rea the World Championship debut he deserved as he joined them in WorldSSP, winning three races, giving the team a 1-2 in the Championship for an unprecedented second time.

UNDERDOGS SHINE: the WorldSBK title with Toseland and WorldSBK wins

However, in 2006 and 2007, something momentum was building in WorldSBK, as James Toseland switched from Ducati to the Ten Kate Racing outfit and won several races on his way to second in 2006 behind Troy Bayliss. However, in 2007, Toseland was the rider to beat as he stormed to his second WorldSBK title on the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, their first and only title in the premier class. Against an onslaught of factory teams, they’d took the title as an Independent entity, one of the stand-out moments in WorldSBK history. 2008 saw them relinquish the crown but continue to win races with rookies Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari, before an exciting future prospect in 2009.

Stepping up from World Supersport, Jonathan Rea was now in WorldSBK and taking the team to victory. In 2009, he took his first win at Misano and by the time he would come to the end of his spell with the team in 2014, they’d taken 15 wins together. 2015 saw WorldSSP Champion van der Mark step up and take podiums before 2006 MotoGP™ World Champion Nicky Hayden moved to the team and took their most recent WorldSBK victory in Sepang’s Race 2.

IN WorldSSP: the success slows… for now

In 2009, the team welcomed Kenan Sofuoglu back from their WorldSBK team into their WorldSSP set-up, and he finished second in the Championship before taking a second crown with the team in 2010. Only one win would come in the next three seasons as veteran Fabien Foret, the team’s first ever World Champion in 2002, came good again, but 2014 would see the Dutch team return to their position at the top and take their tenth World Championship in all classes. Michael van der Mark took three podiums in 2013 in his rookie WorldSSP season before storming to the 2014 WorldSSP title with two rounds to spare at Jerez. 2015 gave them a win with Kyle Smith at Losail, ultimately their last until Dominique Aegerter in 2021 and their last with Honda.

INNOVATING: new look Ten Kate, the same old success

The team and Honda parted company after 20 seasons of World Championship action together at the end of 2018. 2019 saw them bounce back with Yamaha halfway through the year with Loris Baz and they took podiums together in 2020. The team returned to WorldSSP in 2021, taking the title with a round to go with Dominique Aegerter, winning ten races and taking 14 podiums at the time of the title being clinched. It marked an emotional occasion for team manager Kervin Bos, who said that he “expected a good season, but not as good as this” when Aegerter clinched the title.

The team’s record in World Supersport is unmatched; they’re by far the most successful in the class and not only in terms of numbers, but in terms of talent production. Chris Vermeulen moved on to MotoGP™ after his two years in WorldSBK, as did James Toseland for two years after he clinched the 2007 WorldSBK title. In WorldSSP, Jonathan Rea may have won three races, but they also rewarded him with a chance to make his WorldSBK debut in 2008 at Portimao, where he’d finish fourth. Kenan Sofuoglu’s glistening career started with the team, and whilst his legacy lives on in the record books, he’s also part of bringing next generation Turkish riders to the fore, such as Toprak Razgatlioglu. Ten Kate Racing’s legacy itself is enormous, and with a bright future, it looks set to grow stronger.

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