The curtain has finally fallen for the Molenaar Racing team, the Dutch 125cc team that was scheduled to field Dutch rider Jasper Iwema and Spaniard Luis Salom for the 2011 season, but as we reported last week, the failure of a Dutch TV deal saw several key sponsors pull out, leaving the team desperately short of funds. A decision had been expected at the end of last week, but the media coverage of the team's plight generated more interest from sponsors.
Not enough, though, as on Wednesday, team owner Arie Molenaar announced that the team would not be taking part in the 2011 season. Several potential sponsors had come forward, from both inside and outside of the Netherlands, but in the end, it was not enough to secure the future of the team. Jan Abbink, who manages Iwema, is working on a transfer for the young Dutchman to a non-Dutch team. Iwema is currently at the combined 125cc/Moto2 test, in talks with an unnamed team about a ride for 2011, though the Dutchman is still looking for extra funding to help pay for the ride. The fate of Salom - who would have taken the title as best newcomer in the 125cc class, if he hadn't been ruled ineligible - is unknown at this time.
The loss of the Molenaar team is not just the loss of a small team from a small country. The Molenaar squad had a proud history in racing, having spent 17 years in the world championship. The high point for the team were the two 125cc titles for Haru Aoki in 1995 and 1996, but the team also had a wealth of experience. Former 125cc championship runner up Hans Spaan was the team's chief engineer, and the Dutch veteran was highly respected within the paddock for his preparation of small two-stroke racing machines. The demise of the team sees Spaan and the rest of the team also looking for work.