Honda Jtech’s Nick Kouwenberg was crowned the 2015 European 250 Champion today at home in Assen on the CRF250R, marking the first European title for Honda since Gautier Paulin won in 2007.
This season has been one of firsts: the first full EMX250 season for Kouwy, the first for him on the Honda CRF250R, his first European Championship title, and the first season in the European Championship for his mechanic Alberto Forza.
Having held the red plate, marking him as the championship leader, since round five in Germany, the 23 year-old Dutchman from Den Bosch looked dominant for much of the nine-race season. In front of friends, family and fans, he took the title with a third position in the opening race of the MXGP of The Netherlands, with tomorrow’s final race of the season in hand.
Gabriele Rinaldi, Team Principal
“It’s such a fantastic feeling to win the European 250 title, and we are very proud of this. It’s the best thing possible for the team, for Honda and for everybody involved, so I must thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen. I like this feeling a lot! It’s a lot of satisfaction after a lot of years of hard work. It’s fantastic. We have a very good feeling with Nick. He worked so hard this winter with us and has done such a good job this season, and now the result has come for him. Even with the pressure, he was very strong in the head and didn’t put a wheel wrong. We worked so well all year as a team and in this way the result has come. A team means very good cooperation between all components, and we are so satisfied because you can see that everyone worked together so well, and everyone is so happy for this win. Tomorrow now in the last race we are much more relaxed!”
Davy Dousselaere, Honda Motor Europe Off-Road Manager
“It’s been such a fantastic year with the Jtech team and with Nick. We always believed that we could win the European title with this team, and I’m so proud of everyone that we’ve done it in our first year, and with a race still to run tomorrow. We’ve put the CRF250R at the top, and it’s thanks to the fantastic efforts of everyone at Jtech and Nick and all the work and training he’s been doing. Now we look forward to an even stronger season next year.”
Nick Kouwenberg, 2015 EMX250 Champion
“It’s a blessing, this victory. I’m blessed to have this chance and really appreciate all the things the team and Honda Europe have done for me, and the way they believed in me and worked so hard for me. It’s a blessing to do it for this team after we worked so hard together. It’s surreal at the moment and I don’t really realise it, but I think it will come tomorrow.
“Gautier Paulin is a guy I am really looking up to as an idol to me, so to follow his European title for Honda in 2007 with my own is just fantastic. To be honest, coming into this weekend I was so under pressure. I had so much on my shoulders before the moto. I didn’t know how to get along with it, because I’ve never been for a championship before. I even never went for a full season before so it’s totally new for me. But then just a few minutes before the start I grabbed myself together and I said ‘alright, I just do my own laps. I didn’t forget how to ride a bike and I just need to focus on myself’. I’m strong in the mind and I have learned a lot and I really wanted this championship, so I can say when I want to go for the win, ok I can settle for third, and I settled for third and I got the title. It’s really important for me – it’s what I’ve been training for in the last 12 months.
“It’s been such a great journey and I just have such a great team and great guys. I want to thank every single one of them, and congratulate them all on the great job they have done. They’re champions too. My mechanic Alberto was new this season and he learned a lot and I’m just so proud of him that he did so well. It’s his first year to go pro and he got the title, so I’m so proud of him and I hope for him also it’s been a great journey.”