Gooik delivers home double for Vanluchene/Van Den Bogaart
After strong winds towards the close of play on Saturday, the oppressive heat had been blown away, and there was actually a much cooler temperature for race day. The thirty one crews all made it through qualifying successfully, so we were to be treated to a full grid of two rows. The potential for dust was high, although the water bowsers were on hand to minimise the risk.
Race One – It was a short uphill dash to the first left-handed turn, so a good gate was vital. No-one gated better than Marvin Vanluchene and Ben Van Den Bogaart, who shot into the lead and were home and dry from the word go.
The same cannot be said of the rest of the field, many of which tangled at the second turn, causing a huge traffic jam. Several of the top crews were affected in this, including Hermans, Varik, Brown and Wilkinson. They would have to work hard all race long to fight through, and Koen Hermans was further affected by a broken steering damper some five laps later.
Meanwhile, Vanluchene was making the best of his hole-shot, and was steadily pulling away from the chasing pack.
Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis were ninth on the opener, and spent the entire race battling through the traffic comprising Zeno Compalati/Bastien Chopin, Gert Van Werven/Kenny Van Gaalen, the Cuche cousins, Arne Dierckens and Robbie Bax and a very determined Jake Brown/Joe Millard.
The left-handed sidecars appeared to work well on this deeply rutted track, and Brown almost wound in Van Werven and Compalati. However, as Bax sailed past, the Italian dug deep and brought it home to record the first-ever race podium for his country. He fought off a stern challenge from Gert Van Werven in the process.
Try as he might, Etienne Bax could not catch the race leaders, although he was within five seconds at the flag of a jubilant Marvin Vanluchene.
Gary Moulds and Brian Anthony got the better of a recovering Stuart Brown, to follow Brett Wilkinson and Ryan Humphrey home.
Christophe and Maxime Cuche had another solid ride and made the most of a thunderingly good start on their KTM four-stroke.
Result – 1/ Vanluchene/Van Den Bogaart, 2/ Bax/Stupelis, 3/ Compalati/Chopin,
4/ Van Werven/Van Gaalen, 5/ Brown/Millard, 6/ Veldman/Janssens, 7/ Cuche/Cuche,
8/ Dierckens/Bax, 9/ Varik/Daiders, 10/ Wilkinson/Humphrey
Race Two – Another frantic rush saw Arne Dierckens and Robbie Bax fight to the front from the gate. The hole-shot kids had done it again, although Robbie Bax was suffering from an arm injury. This would take its toll later into the race.
It was yet another tangle at turn two with several of the crews lower down the order. This time though, Jake Brown and Joe Millard were in the hunt, with Compalati once again getting an amazing start.
Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis were better placed, although they struggled to get past Brown Junior and Compalati for a lap or two.
Gert Van Werven was also fighting with this group along with Julian Veldman and Glenn Janssens. This pair soon made it through to fourth behind Jake Brown and Joe Millard.
Van Werven went out with a mechanical problem, as Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset fought up from a bad start, taking place after place,
They became embroiled with Brett Wilkinson and Ryan Humphrey in a tough struggle behind Veldman/Janssens for fifth place.
Stuart Brown was another playing catch-up, and eventually got his way up the field to a respectable finish, as the Hermans/Wilkinson battle raged in front of him.
Meanwhile at the front, Marvin Vanluchene and Ben Van Den Bogaart were riding incredibly well and in control by sixteen seconds from Bax.
These two crews were assured of first and second overall, but what of the third spot??
Jake Brown and Joe Millard were in the pound seats for that coveted position, and so it transpired.
Result – 1/ Vanluchene/Van Den Bogaart, 2/ Bax/Stupelis, 3/ Brown/Millard,
4/ Veldman/Janssens, 5/ Wilkinson/Humphrey, 6/ Hermans/Musset, 7/ Brown/Chamberlain
8/ Dierckens/Bax, 9/ Compalati/Chopin, 10/ Varik/Daiders
Standings – Bax/Stupelis 533, Vanluchene/Van den Bogaart 468, Hermans/Musset 387,
Dierckens/Bax 356, Brown/Chamberlain 343, Varik/Daiders 280, Sanders/Kunnas 252
Compalati/Chopin 251, Brown/Millard 218.
We head for France and the Geugnon track next weekend, where things are bound to be exciting going into the season closer the following week.
That comes from Rudersberg in Germany where we are once again live on-site
Make sure you have your video pass to catch all the action as it happens, plus the highlights shows later in the week on www.fimsidecarcross.com
From Barry Nutley