Racing in the Ardennes with ups & downs
The ups & downs are figurative, because the drivers almost unanimously agreed: this is the most beautiful circuit on the calendar! Nothing but thumbs up for that. If you get to race at the Spa-Francorchamps kart track, the party starts on the way there. Past Liège, you head towards Verviers and drive through the beautiful landscape with considerable height differences. The kart track is located inside the iconic F1 circuit and is also equipped with height differences - ups & downs, in other words - long sweeping bends and the wide asphalt offers excellent grip. It was also brilliant weather on Saturday 2 July, what more could a Puchshop Racing Cup rider want...
...to win the races perhaps? Henk Minnen knows the track well from the time he raced scooters on it. He was fast from the start and set the best time in the first qualifying session. But in the second qualification it was the Swiss Kenny Buchser who managed to steal pole position from him with less than a tenth of a second difference. Rienk van der Weide was also fast and recorded the third fastest time. In the Standard Class, Pascal Mussche was the fastest on his new machine, ahead of Mark Dijkhof and Chris Weenen, who had found his feet on the beautiful track. Robert Fidder's exhaust pipe tore off again, something he is no longer surprised about as the bike has been vibrating since the first race. However, after a thorough inspection he now found the cause: the frame was cracked around the mounting point of the engine.
Van der Weide came onto the track after the entire starting field had completed the warm-up lap. He would therefore have to join the rear of the field. It was Minnen who had the first start and got Buchser and Dijkhof behind him, while Van der Weide had a world start and after 1 turn almost half the field was passed. After one lap, he was fifth behind Robert van Steenis and Sander Mulder, and another lap later he was third again. Minnen and Buchser had already made a gap and Buchser added to it by taking over the lead from Minnen. The trio would also finish in that order. Mussche did the best business in the standard class. In the beginning, he had to allow Mark Dijkhof to pass him, but soon he took over the lead and drove unhindered to victory. Behind Dijkhof, Weenen seemed to be third but in the closing stages of the race he made a small mistake and Jordi Minnen snatched the spot from him. There are always a few machines that fall down with mechanical problems, but Rik van de Steeg, who raced for the first time in ages, had a very unusual cause: the spark plug had shot out of the cylinder head with wire and all. The problem was quickly solved and Van de Steeg was ready in time for the second race.
The start of the second race was messy, with many drivers making a false start. Jesse van Zanten and Jannick Vos would be penalised with a 5 second penalty for it. For Swiss Dominik Rudin, the race was already over at the start, he had to push his Puch back into the paddock. Minnen and Van der Weide went off together, with Van der Weide initially taking the lead but after a few laps Minnen took over and seemed to be making some headway, until he had to contend with a sticking piston in the final phase. He managed to finish the race, but no more than fifth place was possible. The victory went to Van der Weide before Dijkhof, Mulder and Buchser. Also in the Standard Class, the leader had to face problems. Mussche came to a standstill with a broken crankshaft, which even made a hole in the crankcase. The profit went to Mark Dijkhof in front of Paul Hendriks and Chris Weenen who was again riding very strong.
Rienk van der Weide did the best business in the Expi-class. He took the highest step of the podium with Kenny Buchser and Bart Dijkhof next to him. In the Standard class Mark Dijkhof won the day's ranking ahead of Paul Hendriks and Jordi Minnen.
Results Spa 2 July
- Rienk van der Weide
- Kenny Buchser
- Bart Dijkhof
- Mark Dijkhof
- Paul Hendriks
- Jordi Minnen
- Bart Dijkhof - 169 pnt
- Henk Minnen - 162 pnt
- Kenny Buchser - 141 pnt
- Pascal Mussche - 220 pnt
- Jordi Minnen - 161 points
- Jannick Vos - 71 pnt
The Puchshop Racing Cup drivers can put their tools aside for the time being, as the summer break will last until Saturday 24th September. Then they come in action again on the TT Junior Track in Assen for the penultimate race day of the season.
Text and photo's by Mariska Grob of Motografie.nl