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Prominent road racer Joey den Besten killed in IRRC accident at Imatra

Joey den Besten, IRRC, Kawasaki [credit - gp_photo.de]

Joey den Besten, one of the leading contenders in the International Road Racing Championship, has died following an accident during the latest round of the season held at Imatra, Finland.

The 30-year old Dutchman is understood to have lost control of his Kawasaki ZX-10RR in wet conditions during the warm-up lap for Sunday’s main event, being held at the former GP venue, now known as the Jarno Saarinen Circuit.  

According to the Newsletter newspaper, den Besten sustained fatal injuries after striking a pole.


“Joey den Besten was a well-experienced and known roadracer and started in 2014 in Supersport class and participated for many years in our competition,” read a statement from the organisers. 

“He became champion in our Supersport class in 2014 and 2017 and the years between as a vice-champion. 

“In 2018 he participated in our Superbike class, and continued as a Superbike-rider in 2021 until now. 

“In 2021 and 2022 he achieved a 3rd and respectively 7th place in the Superbike-championship.

“IRRC management wishes to pass their deepest sympathy to his partner, family, friends and beloved ones.”

Already a podium winner in the IRRC Superbike ranks this season, den Besten had emerged as one of Europe’s most promising up-and-coming road racers in recent years. 

Establishing himself as a title contender during opening rounds of the seven-event calendar, den Besten was also IRRC Supersport Champion in 2014 and 2017.

Joey den Besten, 2017 North West 200, [credit - Tim Keeton, Impact Images]

In addition to his success in IRRC, den Besten had also previously made starts at the North West 200 [above].

The Imatra event, round three of the 2023 IRRC Championship, was taking place at the same venue that hosted the Finnish round of the Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship in 1964 to 1982. 


After falling into disrepair in the ensuing years, upgrades over the last decade has Imatra re-emerge as a prominent international road racing venue, one that retains its unique section that runs across train tracks.

This weekend’s round also saw 14-time Isle of Man TT winner and BSB front runner Peter Hickman make his IRRC debut on his FHO Racing BMW M 1000 RR and PHR Triumph STR765 RS in the Superbike and Supersport classes respectively. He’d go on to finish second in the Superbike class.

On a black weekend for motorsport in the Netherlands, den Besten's death came just 24 hours after another Dutchman, Dilano van 't Hoff, was killed in an accident while competing in the single-seater Formula Regional European Championship at Spa-Francorchamps.

The 18-year old died after being caught up in an accident at the high-speed Eau Rouge corner.

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