Last updated: August 10th, 2023
Catching up with: Glenn Van Straalen
We had the opportunity to sit down with talented Dutch WorldSSP rider Glenn Van Straalen. The discussion delved into various topics, including his beginnings in racing, his perspectives on the ongoing season, and his aspirations for the future.
Unlike most riders who develop a passion for riding through familial influences, often stemming from childhood memories of watching their father, uncle, or grandfather racing motorcycles during family vacations, Glenn Van Straalen's journey has a unique twist. His love for the sport is entirely self-forged, making his story stand out from the norm.
Glenn's upbringing was not immersed in the world of motorcycle racing, he didn't have a renowned motorcycling relative to guide his path. Instead, it was his brother bringing home a minibike one day, which ignited a profound transformation within Glenn, and started him on his two-wheeled journey.
The Early Days
When asked about his earliest memories of riding, the evidence would suggest that he wasn't necessarily a natural first time:
"When I was 6 I jumped on a minibike and hit the gas, the bike did a wheelie, threw me off the back and the bike went into the mechanic's toolbox, the guy was p*ssed, and my dad had to buy him a new toolbox"
Glenn may not have been a great rider aged 6, but now aged 22 the young dutchman is one of the most promising riders in WorldSSP, regularly pushing his Yamaha R6 to top-5 finishes.
Despite the talent, his path to this point has not been a straight-line, but rather a slalom through various classes and national championships. Taking to the 'big circuits' in 2014 - Glenn has competed in the KTM RC Cup, been a 3-time Dutch Champion, finished 3rd in the German Supersport Championship in 2021 and claimed 3 podiums in WorldSSP (and 65+ starts).
If you speak with Glenn, you can immediately see why he has achieved so much at a young age. He just gets on with racing, there's no thrills, he wants to get on the bike and go as fast as possible. When asked why he races with the number 28 - there's not some big story, not some meaningful homage to an idol, it's simple; "It's just a nice number".
It's this kind of no-nonsense attitude that comes across, it's a focus, a driven mindset, which separates the necessary from the superfluous. This mental determination is also what will likely see Glenn reach even greater heights.
The 2023 WorldSSP Season
Glenn's return to the World superbike paddock came in 2022 when he joined the Swedish-backed EAB Racing Team in the WorldSSP class, and following a promising first year with the outfit he remained on their bike for the 2023 season.
This consistency off-track may well be a factor in the improved consistency that Glenn has been able to show on-track, after showing his speed during the 2022 season, he has been able to build on that during the first half of the 2023 campaign - demonstrating a dependability and maturity in his riding.
"Last year for me, I was fast but not really consistent, and this year I'm really stable and we are achieving top-5, which is pretty good."
Despite the improvement, and the fact that in a Ducati-dominated championship Glenn is the one of the top Yamaha riders, he isn't yet satisfied. In the 2022 championship Glenn finished 11th, at this point, he sits 6th in the 2023 championship, but his goal is very clear.
"We are now 6th, I want to be top 5 and I want to have one race win this year."
The question that often confronts us all is, "Where do you envision yourself in five years?" Typically, the answer tends to be somewhat uncertain. However, for Glenn, his response is resolute, encapsulating a meticulously crafted aspiration. His clear vision is to emerge as a bona fide contender in WorldSSP, before ultimately realising his dream of becoming a World Superbike rider:
"Next year, I want to be fighting for the WorldSSP championship and hopefully, if we do that - I can go onto WorldSBK in 2025"
The presence of talent and ambition in Glenn is evident; it takes exceptional ability to reach the forefront of the WorldSSP grid before turning 22. Last year, at the age of 21, Glenn secured his inaugural podium finish—a remarkable 2nd place at Assen.
Such an accomplishment is not easily attained, and only a select few riders can proudly boast of such a feat.
2023 represents Glenn's second season riding with RST, and with all our riders we aim to ensure that our suits meet all of their needs, providing them with the highest levels of comfort and protection - enabling them to perform at the optimum levels.
When asked how he feels in his RST gear, Glenn's response:
"If you put on a suit and the feeling is good, you go fast - I think that is the most important thing. This suit, the feeling is good."
All of our rider suits consist of materials that achieve the highest CE rating standard for motorcycle protection. In Europe this rating is AAA, you can read more about CE rating in our dedicated article: What is CE Certification?
RST offers a full range of AAA rated products, enabling all riders to have access to the same level of protection as our elite riders.
This season Glenn will be riding his Yamaha R6 wearing a fully customised v4.1 EVO Airbag suit. If you would like to get your own suit you can contact the RST race department or head over to the v4.1 suit page for more details on our standard race suit. We wish Glenn the best for the season. Want to find out more about Glenn? View his rider page here.