IRRC Chimay // 21-23 July

Coming off an incredible high from living the dream at Imatra, IRRC round 3 at Chimay was, let's say, a slight culture shock. I really enjoyed the track itself though, and as a team we've decided to no longer speak of the off track ongoings, which'll leave this report somewhat short and sweet.

As it seemed to work well in Finland, we'd decided to enter the extra superbike class this weekend as well.. meaning double tracktime! I made the most of free practice for both BeNeCup (open SBK) and IRRC, learning another new track, and ended the day happy in P22.

 Looking good, yet holding up fast guy Kamil Holan. Photo by Damon Teerink.

Looking good, yet holding up fast guy Kamil Holan. Photo by Damon Teerink.

For Saturday there were 2 qualifying sessions for each class on schedule, however due to events we will not discuss, we'd concluded that skipping the early morning session to get some extra sleep was better for everyone. In the following two sessions I managed to shave 3.5 seconds off my best from Friday. I felt I could do a bit better still, but for our last session the heavens opened right as we got out on track. On the bright side, after some truly hard work in the pouring rain by my amazing team, I was able to run the first couple wet laps on my ZX10R. I qualified 24th in both classes.

Raceday was a lot. 4 races in a day, on top of changeable weather conditions, sprinkled with some extra off (and on) track drama we won't delve into... let's just say we all had a well deserved beer after the last race. Most deserved beer was for Luit Tinke, mechanic for the weekend, and brolly dolly extraordinaire.

Luit stealing the show in the pre grid area!

First on the program was BeNeCup race 1. The track was drying with some damp patches left, ideal conditions for myself. However soon after the start, I found out that riders in this series definitely have a little less respect for each other than in IRRC. I let myself get pushed around and finished 21st, whereas I should've been around P15. After some angry soul searching I realised I'd have to get my elbows out for race 2 that afternoon.

Next came IRRC race 1, during which I had a ton of fun, and fair/respectful battles. From 24th on the grid I fought myself up to 17th, AND, due to the amount of wildcards, actually earned a 10th position (6 points!) for the championship. Just the high I needed after the frustrating first race of the day.

 Close battles in IRRC Superbike! Photo by Karl Heinz Kalkhake.

Close battles in IRRC Superbike! Photo by Karl Heinz Kalkhake.

After a quick nap it was time for BeNeCup race 2, and I've never been more ready to, pardon my French, fuck shit up. I will forever wonder how I pulled off some of the aggressive passes, and forever wish we'd mounted the camera on my bike. Still, it was a great time, and my team and I were proud of the P16 finish in dry conditions.

Last race that Sunday was IRRC #2, and it was another special one. We all thought the rain on Saturday afternoon was bad... then along came Sunday afternoon. Considering I literally only had 2 wet laps on the superbike under my belt, after discussing it with the team, I decided to ride my own race. Chimay has a couple spots where you definitely do not want to crash, so the plan was to start out safe and improve a little each lap. I did exactly that, however also accidentally passed 2 full rows at the start. Apologies to everyone who got stuck behind me (FYI though, a wet track doesn't mean you have to come off the line any slower than usual). In the end I finished in 25th, just stoked to not have crashed and killed myself.

 It seems the clouds also adopted the "go big or go home" motto. Photo by Henk Teerink.

It seems the clouds also adopted the "go big or go home" motto. Photo by Henk Teerink.

Overall a positive weekend in terms of results, but full disclosure - at this point none of my team think we'll ever return to Chimay. Unless we can win the championship.