This weekend was the 24th running of the annual Belgium GP. The event is very popular, with many people requesting entries, but due to the nature of the event and venue the organisers keep an entry limit of 80 in 2WD and 70 in 4WD, allowing reasonable length days and plenty of track time, with open practice in the days preceding the event. It really is a great event, very relaxed atmosphere and a showcase for RC racing with is location in a public park, where many activities take place over the weekend, drawing in many spectators and drivers from 7 countries.
A few people turn up Wednesday, some more appear Thursday and the majority arrive Friday for the open practice. Everybody gets as much track time as they want, with the track open all day. This allows all the drivers to get to grips with the track and dial in their cars. The club had put in a great effort and the track was immaculately prepared to their usual high standards. Once again a few tweaks had been made to the layout, giving a slightly different circuit to the previous year.
The weather was all sunshine for the days preceding the event, allowing everyone to get some dry practice. However, late Friday the heavens opened and the track would never truly dry out with rain showers coming every so often over the weekend. Qualifying was dominated by Tom Cockerill, taking all 4 rounds in the changeable conditions. However, not far behind him there was some very close racing for the 2-5 spots, with the drivers separated by very little. At the end of the 4 rounds Tom Cockerill was at the top, with Wesley Van Helmond 2nd and Nicolas Risser 3rd.
2WD Top 10 qualifying result:
1. Tom Cockerill – Schumacher
2. Wesley Van Helmond – TLR
3. Nicolas Risser – Team C
4. Ben Jemison – Team Associated
5. Ludovic Valtier – Team Associated
6. Wouter Wynen – Yokomo
7. John Debacquer – Yokomo
8. Olivier De Montfumat – Schumacher
9. Chris Evison – Team C
10.Jesper Rasmussen – Team Associated
The finals were a much closer race compared to qualifying, with all 3 finals been won by less than 1 second. The track provides some great racing, very easy to closely follow the car in front and try to make a pass. Tom Cockerill took the first two legs to seal the win and Wesley took the third leg to take the second step on the podium. Nicolas Risser converted his qualifying into a third place finish.
For the 4WD event on Sunday the track was dry enough from the start for the drivers to be on the favoured yellow Schumacher MiniSpike. The track was still drying throughout the day, with times getting faster each round. Qualifying was again dominated by Tom Cockerill, taking the first three rounds to secure TQ, pushed closely by Ben Jemison, who would go quickest in the 4th round to grid up second on the grid and Wesley third.
Rain came for the finals, so it was back to silver compound MiniSpikes for all the drivers. Tom had it a little easier than 2WD, managing to break away from the chasing pack in leg 1. A broken wire ended his run at the 4:30 mark, creating a 4-car race for the lead, which turned a little scrappy. Jesper Rasmussen made the most of the scrap to come through and take the leg win, from Ben and Nicolas. The rain had stopped and the track was drying, allowing some drivers to take a tyre gamble with yellows. It turned out to be an inspired choice as the track was now dry, allowing Tom to take the leg win, Ben another second and Nicolas another third. Leg three was all to play for with all podium positions up for grabs, Tom drove a flag to flag victory to take the win with his Schumacher K1 Aero. Jesper would come home second to take the second step on the podium and Ben taking the final step.
4wd Top 10:
1. Tom Cockerill – Schumacher
2. Jesper Rasmussen – Team Associated
3. Ben Jemison – Team Associated
4. Nicolas Risser – Team C
5. Wesley Van Helmond – TLR
6. Brent Ausloos – Schumacher
7. Torben Hoejfeld – Team C
8. Antonie Rossetti – Team Durango
9. Ludovic Valtier – Team Associated
10.Chris Evison – Team C