Michael van der Mark Bio
Twenty-one year old Michael van der Mark lends new meaning to the phrase “Flying Dutchman.”
His ascent to the top of the World Supersport series began at the tender age of 12 when he entered his first motorcycle road race, the Dutch Junior Cup on an Aprilia RS125, only a week after his very first motorcycle ride.
By the end of that first season, he had rolled up enough points to place fourth overall in the 2005 season. Needless to say, he is a fast study on going fast.
In 2006, he finished second overall before joining the Dutch Open championship on a Honda RS125. He finished as runner-up in the series in 2007 and was proclaimed Rookie of the Year.
Van der Mark’s first championship title came in 2008, winning the Dutch Open championship while gaining invaluable international experience by racing in select races in 125cc championships in Germany and Spain, and competing in the 125cc GP race at the famous Dutch TT in Assen, finishing in 26th place.
In 2009 he repeated winning the Dutch 125 cc title, fifth place in the IDM series in Germany and an improved 18th at his home GP.
However, poor funding in 2010 led to van der Mark’s team pulling out of GPs before the end of the season and a hurried conversation with Holland’s famous Ten Kate Racing organization gave young Michael a ride with its Junior team in the European Superstock 600 championship.
Van der Mark finished in seventh place in his series debut at Magny-Cours in France, securing a full-time ride for the 2011 season when he was third overall, with four wins from the 10 races, finishing just 11 points behind the championship winner. That season also saw him ride as a wildcard in the Moto2 GP at Assen.
On Oct. 7, 2012, Michael van der Mark won that year’s Superstock 600 UEM European championship in only his second season on the Ten Kate Honda Junior Team’s Honda CBR600RR.
It was an outstandingly mature performance from the then 19-year old from Gouda near Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Needing only to finish ahead of his nearest rival, van der Mark rode an incredibly mature race for one so young in a “winner-takes-all” final race at Magny-Cours in France in the face of some less-than-subtle intimidation.
In 2013, he went to the top again, earning himself a promotion to the World Supersport championship on a Pata Honda CBR600RR for the following year.
He was on the podium in his first race at Phillip Island in Australia and, with two further visits to the rostrum in 2013, in spite of a broken foot sustained mid-season that affected results in at least three rounds, he ended his debut world championship year in fourth place.
Also in 2013, van der Mark became the first Dutch rider to win the prestigious Suzuka 8-hours race in Japan on the MuSashi Harc-Pro Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade with teammates Leon Haslam (also a Pata Honda colleague) and Japanese ace Takumi Takahashi.
In his second season in the series, Michael van der Mark is the 2014 FIM World Supersport champion with five victories and three further podiums to date this year with two rounds remaining.
Despite his success on the track van der Mark has not lost touch with his beginnings. Having obtained his HGV truck-driving license at the age of 18, van der Mark went into the family business in order to earn a living and worked for his father – an accomplished endurance racer in his own right who is currently contesting the European Classic series on a 1980 Suzuki GSX-R1100 – who runs a transport company in Rotterdam.
Despite the time devoted to racing and his work in transportation, he has been able to dedicate much of his time to fitness and conditioning this season, spending a lot of time with his personal trainer, an 80-year-old former boxing coach who, according to his young charge, can still deliver a devastating right hook!
During an extended two-month summer break from this year’s championship, van der Mark continued to train hard and won his second Suzuka 8-hours race with the same team as in 2013, displaying improved endurance abilities, as well as outright speed.
His hard work has paid off with his domination of this season’s World Supersport title race; he has finished no lower than second during the 2014 campaign to date – the only blip being a DNF in a foreshortened five-lap ‘sprint’ race in the opening round at Phillip Island in Australia.
Van der Mark is the only third solo motorcycling world champion from the Netherlands and the first in 40 years – the other two being Jan der Vries and Henk van Kessel, who shared three 50cc world titles between them from 1971 to 1974.
Van der Mark has already secured his own place in Holland’s motorcycling Hall of Fame by winning the 2014 World Supersport title at just 21 years and 316 days age, second in age only to Ten Kate Honda’s 2003 championship winner, Chris Vermeulen.
Michael van der Mark Biography:
- Date of birth: 26 October 1992
- Place of birth: Gouda, Netherlands
- Home town: Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Race number: 60
- Race machine: Pata Honda CBR600RR
- First race: 2005 – Assen, Netherlands, Dutch Jr. Cup
- World Supersport debut: 2012 – Moscow, Russia (wildcard)
- World Supersport races: 20
- First World Supersport podium: 2013 – Phillip Island, Australia
- Total World Supersport podiums: 11
- First World Supersport win: 2014 – Assen, the Netherlands
- Total World Supersport wins: 5
- 2005 4th, Dutch Junior Cup – Aprilia
- 2006 2nd, Dutch Junior Cup – Aprilia
- 2007 2nd, ONK Dutch 125cc championship – Honda
- 2008 ONK Dutch 125cc champion – Honda; 3rd, IDM 125cc championship – Honda; Selected CEV Spanish championship – Honda; 26th, Dutch 125cc GP – Honda
- 2009 ONK Dutch 125cc champion – Honda; Selected CEV Spanish championship – Honda; 18th, Dutch 125cc GP – Honda
- 2010 125cc Grands Prix – Lambretta; 7th, Dutch 125cc GP; Debut, European Superstock 600 championship – Honda
- 2011 3rd, European STK 600 championship – Honda; Wildcard – Moto2 GP, Assen
- 2012 European Superstock 600 champion – Honda
- 2013 4th, World Supersport championship – Honda; Winner, Suzuka 8-hours – Honda
- 2014 Winner, Suzuka 8-hours – Honda; WORLD SUPERSPORT CHAMPION – Pata Honda CBR600RR