Hermans/Musset and Sanders/Van Gaalen ride high in Markelo qualifying
After three weeks away, it was back to a sandy track for part two of the season. Julian Veldman and Glen Janssens were back in action, Brett Wilkinson and Ryan Humphrey were making a cautious return, and Lari Kunnas was out injured from a domestic race. Kenny van Gaalen was filling the vacant spot with Davy Sanders, so they would still be a force in the sand.
Free practice saw both the contenders for top spot in good shape, with Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis lapping well as they searched out the best lines, and reigning champions Vanluchene/Van Den Bogaart doing equally well in Group “B”.
The hot, humid and dusty conditions were challenging from the word go, but these racers take whatever life throws at them in their stride.
Pre-Qualifying – Thirty minutes to find one quick lap is plenty of time, and it is also the opportunity to learn more about the circuit. That does not take into account the ever-changing nature of the track, so the sensible thing to do would be to go for early fast laps.
Hermans and Musset upped their game and overshadowed Bax and Stupelis in group “A”, whilst group “B” showed the speed of Vanluchene and Van den Bogaart.
Qualifying Race “A”- It was a holeshot by Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset, followed by a flying Valentin Giraud/Andres Haller. Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis were in there too fighting with Arne Dierckens/Robbie Bax, with Jake Brown/Joe Millard charging hard in fifth.
A returning Julian Veldman/Glen Janssens were also up front, but had a temporary problem knocking them back down the order.
Another crew making a return after serious injury, was the Brett Wilkinson/Ryan Humphrey pairing, and that was very good to see. The popular British crew were up to a staggering eighth after three laps. This was one tough cookie, and it was such a huge relief to see him going so well.
Lap five, Hermans still led, Bax was closing in second, and Giraud, after a scrap with Dierckens, sat third.
As the race unfolded, Bax closed on Hermans, Giraud and Dierckens continued their fight, and Jake Brown stayed a safe fifth ahead of a spirited charge by Brett Wilkinson.
After twenty minutes, the front group had settled into that pattern, with Veldman up to fourteenth behind Kelly Debruyne/Jens Mans.
Closing stages, and Jake Brown had a brilliant push, which took him not only past Dierckens, but Giraud too, and he and Joe Millard ended up a fantastic third. His sand training had really paid off. Veldman eventually made eleventh, whilst Kelly Debruyne dropped into last chance.
Race Result – 1/ Herman/Musset, 2/ Bax/Stupelis, 3/ Brown/Millard, 4/ Dierckens/Bax,
5/ Giraud/Haller, 6/ Wilkinson/Humphrey, 7/ Santermans/Van Gaalen, 8/ Compalati/Chopin
Qualifying Race “B” - Marco Heinzer and Ruedi Betschart stunned the paddock by absolutely demolishing the field with their left-hand sidecar when the gate dropped.
Marvin Vanluchene and Ben Van Den bogaart on the other hand, were left on the line with a huge challenge ahead of them.
Heinzer and Betschart, once they were in front, just kept the wick turned up, and opened a healthy lead which they were to maintain right to the very last two laps, when it became clear they had a problem. Challenging them all the way was Davy Sanders with replacement passenger Kenny Van Gaalen doing a brilliant job standing in for injured Lari Kunnas, who broke his hand last weekend.
Kert Varik and Lauris Daiders were getting faster as the race wore on, but were unable to fend off a frantically fast Marvin Vanluchene charging through the field. His progress was meteoric, and he was claiming one or two positions each lap, eventually getting to within two seconds of the leaders.
Stuart Brown and Josh Chamberlain rode well throughout, and were rewarded with sixth place behind the ailing Heinzer, and Gert Van Werven/Peter Beunk in fourth.
Last chance ran with just six crews, so all six went through, including Kelly Debruyne.
Race Result – 1/ Sanders/Van Gaalen, 2/ Vanluchene/Van Den Bogaart, 3/ Varik/Daiders,
4/ Van Werven.Beunk, 5/ Heinzer/Betschart, 6/ Brown/Chamberlain,
7/ Mike Keuben/Lars de Laat, 8/ Justin Keuben/Dion Rietman
Stay with us here on www.fimsidecarcross.com tomorrow for the two Grand Prix races from Markelo
From Barry Nutley