Five years ago, Sraar van Rens started a racing team with the name of Benro Racing to help young talented riders move up the ranks. The Dutch team has competed in the IDM, CIV, BSB and World Championship, all on Yamaha motorbikes. Due to financial reasons Van Rens decided to quit with his team.
After competing in the IDM for several years, Benro Racing decided to start with two rider during the European races of the World Supersport in 2020. Things changed because of Covid-19. Thanks to some help from the UK, the Dutch team rode with Tom Toparis in the British Supersport championship in the second part of 2020, where the team and the Australian showed good impressions. In recent months, the team has been looking at several options for 2021, with a primary focus on a full BSB season. Unfortunately, this appears to be unfeasible, mainly for financial reasons.
Racing is an expensive sport and good riders, bikes, equipment and staff aren’t enough. There is a lot of budget involved and without sufficient sponsors all this is simply not possible. It’s a pitty to see that mainly because of this the decision has been made that Benro Racing has come to an end. All bikes, tools, pitbox equipment and the trailer are on sale, leaving only the beautiful memories of five seasons Benro Racing.
Sraar van Rens: "After 5 years of racing with lots of ups and also downs my (racing)wallet is empty which impacts motivation and so I have decided to quit my own racing team. Covid-19 didn't make it any easier for the team and continuing with this extreme hobby is no longer responsible. I would like to thank our great team members, fans, partners and sponsors very much for five wonderful years!”
After a hard weekend Tom Toparis ended ninth and tenth during the British Supersport races at Brands Hatch. The Benro Racing rider was making steps forward during the final round of the season on this exciting and new track for the Aussie.
It was a very cold final round of the BSB championship on the Brands Hatch rollercoaster. Tom Toparis had a decent first day. Brands Hatch was a new circuit for the Him this weekend, and he improved his lap time by two seconds in FP2 and he ended 14th on the timing sheets. Toparis had a difficult qualifying on a drying track during Saturday morning. Unfortunately he couldn’t get the most out of the bike and the Benro Racing rider ended in P20 (P13 Supersport) on the grid. It was again a learning day for the Aussie, because it’s hard to make big steps during the limited sessions on race weekends, also in combination with the cold and wet conditions. During the sprint race, Toparis improved his pace as the race went on. The 20-year old rider was able to finish ninth in race one. He had also some good fights during the second race on Sunday, where was also ended with a top-ten position.
Tom Toparis: It was such a cool experience to be at a very famous track like Brands Hatch. It’s a wild layout with plenty of blind/undulating corners. Considering it was a another hard weekend, I think we ended today on a positive note. For a circuit like Brands Hatch, experience is everything. In race two I did my fastest lap of the weekend on my second last lap of the the race, after dropping almost another second from my race 1 lap time. So this just goes to show that laps around these types of tracks are what is needed to improve. Of course you want to be racing at the front, but under the circumstances and everything we’ve been through in the past 10 weeks, after missing all pre-season testing due to the virus, showing up to round 1 on a completely new bike and track, and also breaking my wrist and missing the majority of the season. I’m glad we got the call up from Jimmy and that I was able to come and get a taste of the British championship. I cannot thank my Benro Racing team enough for everything they have done for me on and off track this year. Sraar, Michelle, Jimmy, Willem, Karl, Jeroen and everyone involved have been absolutely awesome. I love racing here and especially with this great bunch of people.”
Sraar van Rens (team manager) “That was season 2020... The start of the season was delayed due to Covid-19 and it unfortunately ended our World Supersport step-up before the first race. I am very happy that we found a new challenge in the BSB. The first race on this very competitive level was great and we were just unlucky to miss half the season due to an injury. The last round at the highly characteristic track Brands Hatch was challenging, but we ended it with decent lap times on a new track for us. I am happy about the way we finished this strange and short season and I am looking forward what next year will bring!”
After a difficult weekend in mixed conditions, Tom Toparis ended with a tenth place in the second British Supersport race at Donington Park. The Aussie crashed in the first lap of the wet first race. After his first ride back since his wrist injury, the Benro Racing rider was looking to find his rhythm and confidence again, and the weather didn’t make it any easier.
Benro Racing returned to the British Supersport Championship during the fifth round of the season at Donington Park. Tom Toparis was recovered from his broken wrist after a crash in the first round of the season. Even though Toparis hadn’t been on the bike for a long time, the pace wasn’t bad in the first free practice session. The Aussie set the eleventh quickest time in FP1. In the second session Toparis stayed in the box, as it rained last minute before the session and the team decided to sit it out.
The timetable for Saturday and Sunday had changed because of the bad weather forecast, so qualifying was cancelled. The starting grid was based on the lap times in the free practice sessions. Toparis was to start from the fifth row. It was a completely soaked circuit, and unfortunately the race ended very early for the Benro Racing rider. On the slippery track Toparis crashed in the first lap. So the Aussie was very motivated to end the weekend with a good result in the second race.
This forced Toparis to start from the sixth row on a dry track. The Benro Racing rider had a good start and managed to gain eight places on the first lap. Toparis ended up in a group of riders who were fighting for eighth place. During the race it became clear that the 20-year old rider lacked some rhythm. Toparis finished the race as fifteenth overall and tenth in the British Supersport class.
In two weeks (16-18 October) is the final round of the BSB championship. This event will be held at Brands Hatch.
Tom Toparis: I was honestly just happy to see the end of this weekend. It was definitely one of the most difficult weekends I’ve ever had. It’s good to be back on the bike after the long break with my broken wrist. The weather wasn’t at all good during the weekend. It was freezing cold with a lot of wet sessions. I want apologise to my team for the crash in Race 1. Unfortunately I’m just struggling a lot with feeling at this point in time, after not riding at all lately, and still trying to push towards the front, I keep finding myself on the ground which is the worst possible scenario. Although to be fair, in these terrible race 1 weather conditions, more people crashed than finished it seemed. It was good to see the finish flag in Race 2, although it was a difficult race. My wrist is still causing me a bit of grief, so we’ll try to sort it for the next round at Brands Hatch. As always, thanks to my team for doing everything possible to get me going good again, hopefully we can end the season on a positive note in a position towards the front where the team and the bike belongs.”
Unfortunately Tom Toparis hasn’t recovered enough from his injury to compete in Round 4 of the British Supersport Championship at Oulton Park this weekend. The Aussie of Benro Racing talks about the BSB, his recovery and his goals for the last races of the season.
Tom, Donington was going very well. Did you expect that you’d compete at the front from Round 1?
“I honestly didn’t know what to expect heading into the weekend, having never ridden on any of the notoriously hard BSB circuits, and without any pre-season testing. I knew it wouldn’t be as smooth sailing like Assen was last year. I aimed to be in the Top 10 regardless, so after qualifying fourth, I was over the moon.”
It was a nasty crash in Race 2. What do you remember of it?
“It was nasty, but I was lucky not to be more badly injured. It just happened so quickly, and after watching it over about a hundred times, it’s a corner where you either need to be on the kerb, or completely on the tar itself, and my wheels were in the middle on the line. It definitely caught me by surprise! I didn’t feel like I was doing anything erratic either. It was early in the race and I was just settling in.”
After that you started to recover. First initial plan was to start again at Silverstone, but you will also miss the Oulton Park Round. Did you expect that the recovery time would take this long?
“Yes, of course you want to get back racing as soon as possible. From day 1 we set a goal for Silverstone, but that just wasn’t realistic. In a condensed season, returning prematurely is something that we’ve been careful to avoid. I’d rather be fit for the start of next season than to come back and further delay my wrist’s recovery.”
After a long wait because of COVID-19 and the news that the team won’t compete in the WorldSBK this year, there was some good news of starting in BSB. Now you have to wait again for a long period. It must be a difficult year for you.
“This year has been crazy for all of us. At the end of the day, I’m grateful even to be given the opportunity to be over here in Europe racing, even if I am watching from the sidelines for now.”
You’re staying in the Netherlands at the moment. How do you spend your days?
“Yes, this nice summer weather has made the recovery time much more pleasant. I’ve just been helping out Sraar and Michelle where I can through the week, and the weekends have been filled with non-stop MotoGP, BSB, WorldSBK, F1 viewing. It’s frustrating to be watching from the longue. I can’t wait to get back and be part of it.”
Can you do some training or fitness again? What do you do?
“I’ve been doing rehab exercises for the past few weeks. And Sraar has just organised me a cycle bike, so it’s been good to get the legs spinning again on these nice Dutch bike paths.”
But we still have two BSB rounds to go after Oulton Park. Are we going to see you at Donington Park (Round 5) and Brands Hatch (Round 6)? What can we expect from you in those events? “Yes, we will 100% be returning for the last 2 races of the season. Hopefully I’m in a condition again where we can be challenging like we were at round 1. It’s hard to say, I’m still yet to get back on the bike. We have a ride day booked for next week, so hopefully these injuries don’t hinder me too much and we can continue back where we left off.
A great performance of Tom Toparis on his first experience at Donington Park. The Australian managed to score a top-five finish in the first British Supersport race of the season, although unfortunately the Benro Racing rider was injured in race 2 with a broken wrist after early crash.
Benro Racing made their official British Supersport championship debut at Donington Park this weekend. For Tom Toparis, the track was also new. Friday's free practice sessions were all about getting to know the track and making quick steps forward. This worked out very well, because the Aussie managed to improve his lap times constantly during the day. Toparis ended in twelfth position at the completion of Friday. The Benro Racing rider showed an impressive performance in qualifying, he improved another second faster than Friday and he was fourth on the grid for the first race of the season.
Before the first race the team made some changes on the bike, but in the end, not all of them worked out as planned. After a difficult first few laps, Toparis lost the connection with the riders in the front positions. The Benro Racing rider worked his way back and in the end of the race he finished in fifth position. A great result on a completely new circuit for the team.
The grid for the second race was determined by the fastest lap times of each rider in the first race. Toparis had to start from twelve on the fourth row on the grid. The start and the first round was great, after a lot of overtaking, Toparis was already in fourth position by lap 2. Unfortunately it went wrong in the last chicane when he crashed off his bike with a nasty highside. Toparis has suffered a broken wrist and several bruises. Early next week the Australian will be further examined in a Dutch hospital.
Tom Toparis: "We were getting stronger and stronger during as the weekend went on. Together with the team we worked very hard to learn the Donington Park circuit as quickly as possible, and that went very well with a fourth place in qualifying, and a fifth place in the first race. I knew I had some work to do in race 2, coming from 12th on the grid. I had a very good start in the second race and gained a lot of positions. Unfortunately, I made a mistake on the second lap and this resulted in putting a bad ending on an otherwise great weekend for us. I'm gutted for the team, especially after all the effort they’ve put in these past 2 weeks to make it to the races. We will do everything we can to be back racing as soon as we can! Thanks to all the team and as well as our great sponsors.”
After the cancellation of the WorldSBK plans, Benro Racing is pleased to announce that they’ve been given the opportunity to start in 2020 season. With the help of several parties Tom Toparis will compete for the Dutch team in the British Supersport. The opening round of the BSB championship will take place from 7 to 9 August at Donington Park.
A few weeks ago, Benro Racing unfortunately had to announce that they wouldn’t be able to start in the World Supersport championship. Financial reasons, caused by the corona situation, were the reason of a sad decision. After sharing the news there was a lot of response, also from James Redman. Benro Racing met the British manager last year at the IDM in Hockenheim. Redman made it possible for Benro Racing, together with the help of several other parties, to compete in the BSB 2020 season.
The Dutch team will work with a small crew and one rider; Tom Toparis. The Australian will compete in the British Supersport, the class in which he scored a podium in Assen last year. Redman will act as Toparis manager to help the 20-year old rider in his motorsport career. Benro Racing has a short preparation time, because the first BSB round is already from 7 to 9 August. The event will take place at Donington Park and it’s the first one of in total six BSB rounds in 2020. The British Supersport riders will have three races each event.
Team manager Sraar van Rens: "It was a huge disappointment for us that we couldn’t start in the WorldSBK. Partly thanks to the help of James Redman we can now share the news that we’re going to ride in 2020 anyway. I’m very happy about that. I want to thank our partners and specially Stuart Higgs for his help and to make it all possible in such a short time. For Tom [Toparis] it’s a great opportunity to measure himself in this strong competition and this gives us the chance to grow as a team. Last year Tom was very strong in Assen with a BSB wildcard. We’re curious how it will work out this season. It will be a busy week to prepare ourselves, but we are very motivated to make it a great BSB season!”
2020 BSB calendar
Round 1 | 7-9 August | Donington Park
Round 2 | 21-23 August | Snetterton
Round 3 | 4-6 September | Silverstone
Round 4 | 18-20 September | Oulton Park
Round 5 | 2-4 October | Donington Park
Round 6 | 16-18 October | Brands Hatch
After long consideration Benro Racing unfortunately has decided not to start in the 2020 season. The Dutch team would compete in the World Supersport 600 Championship with Tom Toparis and Gianluca Sconza. The current Covid-19 situation in combination with the financial consequences has forced to this difficult decision.
After four seasons in the IDM championship Benro Racing could proudly make the step to the WorldSBK paddock. Last winter the team worked hard to get all the equipment ready for the start of the season. Australian Tom Toparis and Italian Gianluca Sconza were presented as riders. The team planned to compete in the European races of the World Supersport 600 championship.
The unexpected pop-up of Covid-19 delayed the start of the season. At the end of June the organisation of the championship came up with the news that the season would start in the second part of the year. In the meantime the Covid-19 situation has created a lot of damage, as well health wise as financially. It was clear that this also affected the Benro Racing riders. After many conversations in the past weeks the team unfortunately had to decide not to start this year. Later this year Benro Racing will make a choice about the options for the 2021 season.
Team manager Sraar van Rens: “I was happy and proud with our step to the WorldSBK paddock after four IDM seasons. With confidence in the qualities of our crew and riders, we were ready for the start of the 2020 season at the beginning of March. With pain in my heart we recently had to decide not to start. Health always comes first and talent itself is not enough in this sport. The financial aspect that comes largely through sponsorship is essential to move forward. I hope that 2021 will be a better year for every individual and every business.”
Gianluca Sconza is second rider that Benro Racing can announce for the 2020 World Supersport championship. The 16-year-old Italian will compete together with this teammate Tom Toparis in the FIM Europe Supersport Cup.
With Gianlunca Sconza, Benro Racing has completed the riders line-up for the 2020 season. Last year the young Italian gained experience in the Supersport 300 and Supersport 600 class. Sconza also rode six World Supersport races in 2019. Developing and showing an upward trend on a world stage level are the most important goals for Sconza in 2020.
Sconza and his teammate Tom Toparis will test the Benro Racing Supersport bikes at Motorland Aragon on the 15th and 16th of March. Directly after these two test days, the team will head to Valencia for another two days of testing. Benro Racing will compete in the FIM Europe Supersport Cup during all the European rounds of the World Supersport championship. The first event of the season is at the Jerez circuit in Spain. The race will be held on March 29.
Gianluca Sconza: “I’m happy to continue to be part of the WorldSBK in the FIM Europe Supersport Cup with Team Benro Racing. I would like to thank Sraar van Rens for the opportunity and trust he has given me. My goals are to continue to experience and working with commitment, supported by a team of qualified and competent people and with a competitive Yamaha YZF-R6. I’m sure that the results will come. I’m also happy to have Tom Toparis as my teammate. He is a young talent and I hope to work well with him to help us improve and help the team recover useful data for the development of the bikes.”
Team manager Sraar van Rens: “I’m very happy to announce our second rider of the pack, Gianluca Sconza. From the foundation of Benro Racing one of my goals was to help young talented riders to grow as a professional rider. With a good racing history and already some experience on a 600 at only 16 years old, we are sure that we will have a great experience and development with Gianluca in our team. From the day that we decided to step up to the WorldSBK paddock, the goal was compete with two Supersport riders. I’m proud that together with our sponsors and partners we have the possibility to give Gianluca the opportunity to grow in WorldSSP and keep the team structure as we always had. Thanks to Gianluca and his father Nicola for the trust in us!”
Tom Toparis is the first rider confirmed by Benro Racing for the 2020 season. The Australian competed for the Dutch team last year and made a strong impression in the IDM Supersport 600. Back home Toparis became dominant champion of the 2019 Australian Championship. The 19-year old will ride all of the European rounds of the World Supersport Championship in 2020.
In 2019, Tom Toparis competed in his first season in Europe with Benro Racing in the IDM Supersport 600. The young rider combined his European racing with the Australian Supersport championship. Toparis became ASBK Champion, completely dominating the class. He finished with only one second place and won all other fifteen races. The long-haired Aussie also left a strong impression in the IDM. Despite the fact that all circuits were new for him, he managed to score five podium finishes including a win at Lausitzring. He also achieved a podium in second place in a British Supersport wildcard at the TT Circuit Assen.
Benro Racing believes that Toparis is ready for the next step up and are supporting him to compete with the team in the European races of the World Supersport championship in 2020. The first race of the FIM Europe Supersport Cup will be held on the circuit of Jerez during the weekend of 27 to 29 March. The second event is the team's home race at the TT Circuit Assen. In March the team will have two tests in Valencia and Aragon to prepare for the start of the season. Benro Racing hopes to announce their second rider shortly.
Tom Toparis: "I’m so happy to finally announce that I’ll be with the Benro Racing Team again, but this time on the world stage. I’m so grateful and lucky to get this opportunity. I know what to expect after a number of wildcards, so hopefully I can start out with solid results and build as the season progresses. With the Benro team and our experience last year racing IDM, I’m feeling confident we can learn all the new tracks quickly. I’m looking forward to an exciting step up to the World Supersport class in 2020.”
Team manager Sraar van Rens: "I'm glad we can finally announce that Tom Toparis will stay with Benro Racing in 2020. We have been speaking with Tom for a long time about this step, he is definitely ready for it and so we are proud that we can confirm our cooperation for 2020. Last year Tom did an excellent job and I think that we as Benro Racing have shown that we’re ready for the next step as well. With our experience over the last few years, we enter the WorldSBK paddock with a lot of confidence and I hope we prove it with some surprising results in the coming season!”
Benro Racing will make the switch to the World Superbike paddock. The team from Limburg got two places on the grid for the FIM European Supersport Cup in 2020. This competition will ride during the European rounds of the World Supersport Championship.
In 2016 Benro Racing started as a new team in the German IDM Championship. Every year the team made progress in terms of performance on the track and appearance off the track. Now, before the start of the fifth season, it’s time for Benro Racing to make the next step to the World Superbike paddock.
The Dutch team will come into action with two Yamaha bikes within the World Supersport Championship. Benro Racing will compete in de FIM Europe Supersport Cup. For that reason they will only participate in the European races of the championship. In the near future Benro Racing hopes to announce the riders for the 2020 season.
Team manager Sraar van Rens: “I’m very happy to announce that we will make this great step after six years in motorsports and four years with my own Benro Racing. From the start of this team it has been my goal to make the step to WorldSBK paddock. We will do everything we can to show our potential in this championship and we hope to make a good progress during the season. Besides our sponsors and partners, I would like to thank our team members for all their hard work and that they are still part of Benro Racing from day one.”
*Below the image with the calendar of the 2020 season. The FIM Europe Supersport Cup doesn’t ride in Australia, Qatar and Argentina.
Foto credit: Jarno van Osch – Shot Up Productions