Many people call Assen the Cathedral of Motorcycling. Bit of an old cliche that one, but it does produce good racing. There is an extra buzz about race day morning because you just know there is going to be a race even better than usual.
The track is no longer what it was, and that is not going to change, but Assen allowed us to see motorcycle racers return to form. Two of them, in fact: Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden.
Valentino Rossi was nowhere in the rain of qualifying, but he stormed through to win the race form 11th on the grid with his wacky FIAT 500 livery. It was just like the old days. The really old days ... 1997 to be precise.
Rossi was on fire that year, winning eleven races on the little Nastro Azzuro Aprilia 125. It was the first time we had really seen the wacky celebrations on the cooling-down lap and the sun and moon crash helmet began to get embedded in our minds.