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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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European Championship & British Open 2013 - Race report

The biggest Blokart Racing event and by far the largest landsailing event in the UK this year, the European Open and British Championships kicked off on Thursday 19th September. Competitors coming from as far as New Zealand and Australia turned up from 10am at Weston Windzone to get some sailing in on what was the official practise and sponsor day. The winds were blowing a solid 14-17kts and the Spanish were out in force getting in a good 8hrs of practise before racing commenced! Us Brits were in dire need of the practise and after seeing the Spanish sailing, we were pretty sure the ‘home advantage’ had been obliterated.

Day 1: Competitors rolled up to the beach from 10am and with the wind blowing 5-6Kts, Fly and Light Production were the first out on the course in the light winds and got in their first race of the Championship. The RO made a good call to reverse the course and get them racing again in the light wind conditions so they could have enough races for a championship. In the light breeze it was all about maintaining momentum and racing consistently! Of the 5 in Flyweight Production it was Brit Junior Tom Hollingsworth (flying the Welsh flag) who was the most consistent and took all three races despite being pushed at times by Lachlan Wright (now aged sufficiently to be able to buy you a pint) and Victor Bejarano Pons (another great Junior racer). Light Production saw close battles between Tim Seed, Maaike Sjoerdsma, Miguel Polo and Maria Pons Freixas.

Performance class had no racers in Flyweight and the 8 Lightweights were blighted by fickle winds at times. Jan Meijer was pushed by Brits Pete Newlands and David Hare who put in some strong performances, by Jan really was flying. The Middle Performance class was dominated by Nico Boel who romped off into the fresh air putting in a great demonstration of how to set a sail (so much so that a certain Paul Beckett was later seen borrowing his mast and sail). There were a few ‘hairy’ moments and the odd shout of ‘PROTEST’ from this class, but none of them were followed through and were left as ‘race incidents’. There was a fair amount of place-swapping in this class which was clearly being very hotly contended.

Middle Production was the largest fleet with 22 pilots and the varying winds meant that races were shared amongst the top racers. This class was dominated by the French pilots Stephane Howe, Herve Perrot and Guillermo Sagasti who were showing great form.

The race officials made the wise and selfless decision not to stop for lunch but keep the races rolling and the rest of the classes got at least 3 races in order to ensure that there were enough to make a championship. The breeze strengthened in the late afternoon to 7-11Kts allowing ‘those of more generous proportions’ to get up to speed.

Heavy and Superheavy Production saw the benefits of patience as the wind speeds rose later in the day. The first race saw a capsize in the start box which cause a bit of mayhem. The racing was good and pilots who took a tight line towards the first mark soon found the advantage paying off as they romped off on the downwind leg. The first race saw a close battle between Richard Hollingsworth and Chris Selway (including a fair bit of banter being thrown about) which ended with Richard making the finish line first (and then realising that they were in different classes anyway!). The British dominance continued; Richard jumped the start of the next race but still managed second and Chris took wins in both of the other races. Local man Matthew Edwards surprised himself and put in consistent performances to secure second overall in Heavyweight class and Pablo Ibarrondo did likewise in the Supers.

Next up was the spectacle of the Heavy and Superheavy Performance races; the starts were very closely fought with people jostling very closely and inevitable collisions and raised voices at times. As the fleet came through the start box like some kind of wind-powered freight train; the roaring sound from the sails was very apparent (when I mentioned this to Paul Beckett he put it down to the sound of the earth complaining about the load they were placing on it!). They were carrying good speed and must have been close to the point where dropping to a 4m sail could have given an advantage (if you had clean air). Javier Estarellas, Bruce Hales, Santi Oliver and Paul Vernon fought very hard, but Javier had the consistency to win with 0 points. The Superheavy fleet was smaller in number but saw similar battles with Jan Marques, Paul (the Guru) Beckett and Ed Delahaye.

Over 100 of us packed into Tutto’s Restaurant in the evening for the welcome dinner and enjoyed a great social evening and meal, with a few of us trying to make the most of the free wifi and catch the Americas cup races!

Day 2: The wind was forecast to be less than Day 1’s and racing was postponed till 1pm due to the lack of it, but the breeze picked up slightly so fly and light production were sent out but the race was pulled due to variable wind speed.

Performance Light and Middle were out having a practise sail and the wind picked up enough for them to get a race in before strengthening to around 7-8kts.

The Pilots’ Dinner took place at the Grand Pier and with the Regency Suite packed out we enjoyed another fantastic meal and catch-up with friends from the world-wide Blokart community; we might race hard but that’s all left on course side at the end of the day! The event coordinators Nick Glynn and Chris Moore said a few words, as did BLSA chairman John Gillborn and Paul Beckett summed up what a great event it was by reminding us that the kinship that exists in the Blokart world makes every international event more like a family reunion. There was a big bundle of prizes to be raffled by our generous sponsors with the boomerangs and Frisbees soon to make a reappearance the next day.

Day 3: Even less wind, with anemometers only registering about 1-4Kts we hoped the wind might pick up with the pushing tide, but no such luck. The words of the day were ‘see you in an hour’ and the RO called it at about 2pm due to lack of wind with Prize giving at 3.00.

Big thanks to all our sponsors for supporting the event, to the Race Officers and all the marshals for their dedication and hard work over the whole weekend. It was a lot of work by a lot of people to make it all happen and a roll-call here would be like sitting through the end of a Star Wars movie! You know who you are: thank you so much for giving your time and effort so freely, cheerfully and effectively. It was unanimously felt that, despite the wind, it was a very enjoyable and professionally put-together event.

European Blokart Open Production Results

Flyweight Production

1

Thomas Hollingsworth

 WAL

0

2

Lachlan Wright

 ENG

6

3

Victor Bejarana Pons

 ESP

8

4

Caroline Hart

 ENG

11

5

Annabelle Gillborn

 ENG

14

Lightweight Production

1

Maaike Sjoersma

 NLD

2

2

Tim Seed

ENG

4

3

Miguel Angel Hernaiz Polo

 ESP

6

4

Maria Pons Feixas

 ESP

9

5

David Miller

 ENG

17

6

Ray Dowdney

 ENG

18

7

Matthew Higginbotham

 ENG

19

8

Tom Rimmer

 ENG

21

9

Teresa Gomez Perez

ESP

23

10

Steve Varden

ENG

26

Middleweight Production

1

Stephane Howe

 FRA

9

2

Herve Perrot

 FRA

14

3

Guillermo Sagasti

 FRA

15

4

Pascal Leoty

 FRA

22

5

Chris Adam

DEU

23

6

Richard Dowdney

ENG

23

7

Bruno Berry

FRA

24

8

Steve Bundred

 AUS

25

9

Alban Fenain

FRA

26

10

Martin Letters

NI

27

11

Andreas Berghardt

AUT

31

12

Gary Evans

ENG

35

13

Kees Jonker

NLD

38

14

Karin Buhl

DEU

39

15

Sam Caulkin

ENG

44

16

Duval Bernard

FRA

45

17

Simon Jeffery

ENG

45

18

Gilbert Swennen

BEL

45

19

George Brien

NI

49

20

Rob Burns

WAL

52

21

John Britton

 ENG

59

22

David Everett

 ENG

249

Heavyweight Production

1

Chris Selway

 ENG

0

2

Matthew Edwards

 ENG

8

3

Peter Verbeek

NLD

11

4

Fernando Villaverde Gavina

ESP

15

5

David Purchase

ENG

16

6

Ramon Kolk

NLD

23

7

John Corkhill

ENG

25

8

John Gillborn

ENG

28

9

Peter Buddelmeijer

NLD

29

10

Kevin Meyers

 ENG

30

11

Chris Rigby

 ENG

31

12

Ronald De Bruin

NLD

33

13

Kay Adam

DEU

35

14

Chris Mumford

 ENG

37

15

Graham Dalzell

 ENG

40

16

Mick Caulkin

 ENG

48

17

Remi Vandebroek

BEL

49

18

Richard Bayley

ENG

54

19

Fernando Jordan

ESP

55

Super-heavy Production

1

Richard Hollingsworth

 WAL

2

2

Pablo Ibarrondo

 ESP

4

3

Kim Camberlain

 ENG

9

4

Simon Higginbotham

 ENG

14

5

Nick Trollope

  WAL

16

6

Julian Tugores

 ESP

17

7

Rob Buttress

 ENG

19

European Blokart Open Performance Results

Lightweight Performance

1

Jan Meijer

 NLD

0

2

Pete Newlands

 ENG

5

3

David Hare

 SCO

7

4

Antonio Alvarez-Castro

 ESP

12

5

Alan Gibson

 ENG

13

6

Jose Moleiro

 PRT

16

7

Lorraine Etherington

 ENG

18

8

Bernard Kyzyzaniak

 FRA

24

Middleweight Performance

1

Nicolas Boel

 BEL

0

2

Peter Bresnan

 ESP

6

3

Justin Heap

 ENG

6

4

Olaf Buhl

 DEU

12

5

Manual Cavaller

 ESP

15

6

Lieven Marques

 BEL

16

7

Regis Thouement

 FRA

18

8

Lauren McGavin

 ENG

21

9

Ron Frewin

 ENG

25

10

Jenny Hales

 NZL

29

11

Donny Macfarlane

 SCO

32

12

John Watts

 ENG

34

Heavyweight Performance

1

Javier Estrellas Coll

 ESP

0

2

Bruce Hales

 NZL

8

3

Santi Oliver

 ESP

10

4

Paul Vernon

ENG

10

5

Juan Antonio Bejarano Arbos

ESP

10

6

Thomas Arnaud

FRA

14

7

Erik Wulff

DNK

15

8

Andrew Etherington

ENG

23

9

Pat Letters

IRL

24

10

Etienne Kodeck

BEL

30

11

Graham Bobin

ENG

30

12

Jason Murrell

ESP

31

13

Gareth James

WAL

33

14

Ray Lemin

ENG

37

15

Darren Hall

ENG

43

16

Franck Alicot

FRA

49

17

Bruno Caumartin

FRA

50

18

Jon Middleton

ENG

51

19

Arthur Bosley

ENG

52

20

Bert Vonstalborch

NLD

57

21

Sean Croudace

ENG

58

Super-heavy Performance

1

Paul Beckett

 NZL

3

2

Jan Marques

 BEL

5

3

Edward Delahaye

 WAL

5

4

Frank Wijk

 NLD

9

5

Paul Farrow

 ENG

10

6

Jon Rimmer

 ENG

17

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