This is the first blog entry in a while, but I’m keen to report on the 2012 Danish Open Blokart Championships that took place last weekend.
The drive from Antwerpen to Rømø on Monday was pretty smooth. The most difficult thing on the German Autobahn was to keep my inner racing pilot from bursting out
On Tuesday, there was sunshine all over, but no wind (literally, 1-3 kts).
Wednesday the wind picked up nicely (20 kts), but the beach had completely flooded due to a combination of tide, rain and seawater blown onto the sand.
By Thursday afternoon, the wind was still blowing hard and while the beach was still very wet, there was a large area that was sailalbe. I was so happy that I could finally get going!
On Friday, most pilots had arrived (Buhls, Bruhns, Torstens, Alex VDL, …). The wet spots on the beach had disappeared, but you can guess it: so had the wind.
Small clip from Friday
With all the pilots present, the transponder system set and the volunteers in place, we were ready to get racing! It had been raining for a while, so the beach was pretty wet and quite limited, so it would promise to be a very tactical. Add some pretty strong wind (17 kts) and you have the perfect conditions for a good blokart race. Because of the limited number of participants (21), we all raced together.
The start was dead downwind with one side of entry blocked. I was a bit afraid that this would create conflicts, especially since we were with 21 pilots. Most racers however did a very conservative start, meaning that they had already set in their final approach at least 20 meters from the beginning of the startbox. This gave me a perfect oppertunity to force myself into the startbox at full speed, while being able so see the other pilots (with right-way priority) coming and anticipating on their course.
Combined performance results
Overall, I won races 1 – 2 and 4.
In race 3, the wind had dropped a bit, which meant I could only keep up with the lighter guys, rather than building up a lead. I came in third behind Torsten and Olaf.
The fifth race started pretty well, with the wind unchanged. However Heimi had decided to quickly change to a 5.5 sail (everyone was sailing 4m all day). While it made absolutely no sense while he was doing it (the wind did not show a downward trend at all), he profited greatly from it. A couple of minutes into the race, the wind had shifted and dropped a little. This meant he – as the only pilot – was able to get downwind from mark 2, through the gate up to mark 1 in just one leg. The other competitors – myself included had to work our way downwind zigzagging. Upwind I was clearly catching up, but in the end it turns out that Heimi had made a gamble that worked out well!
After heat 5, the water was standing at around 2cm on the entire track, which meant we had to bring the cars to safety and races were cancelled for the day. The afternoon brought some sun but the beach was still a no-go zone.
We’ve all met again at the local restaurant for a nice pilots dinner, but then it was straight to bed to be able to race freshly on Sunday!
Sunday morning however, it was pretty clear that things were not looking to good. It had rained all night, puddles were spread all over the camping site. Around 8.00 I got the news from Torsten – our race officer: races would be cancelled.
The award ceremony was at 10.00 at the camping site, with some surprises: some classes had been combined, others had been kept apart without a clear reason (see Afterthoughts). The proudest of them all however was cleary Karin, who finally put a win on her palmares
Once I said my goodbyes, I cleaned up all my gear. It is so nice to not have to clean your blokart when you come home!
Finally, I would like to share some quick opinions about this event and their bid for 2014. Some of this may be complete BS, other might be helpful, decide for yourself
It was a very casual and friendly racing environment, which always creates good spirits with both the pilots and the organizers.
However, things might have been run a bit too casual on those points:
- scruteneering: there was no scruteneering throughout the event. When everyone knows the rules and is honest, this should not pose any problems. I did however pick out a serious infriction (full carbon mast in production), which was quickly resolved. I am afraid though that there will probably have been similar – unintentional – violations of the rules.
- communication: there was no Notice of Race issued and therefor it was not made clear by which rules we had to abide. On a more practical note: the lack of rules meant there was no flag system to indicate the start procedure, which lead me to miss the countdown 4 out of 5 times.
- classes: 7 different classes were run, which resulted in 19 out of 21 pilots getting a trophy. Stating the obvious: this is an insanly high number. I understand that trophies are made on beforehand, and letting them go to waste is not good either, but one of the only things that gives a trophy glory is its exclusitivity!
I have only been able to list three negative issues, which demonstrates that this event was organized well in all the other ways: friendly environment, good races, delicious catering… The Dansk Blokart Forening has once again proven to be well oiled organizing team!
The Danes have also put in their bid to host the 2014 Blokart World Championships. Having participed in three events on Rømø (2009 European, 2011 and 2012 Danish), I would like to do a very quick review about this place to host the Worlds.
Accomodation-wise, Rømø is a perfect fit. During low season, there should be a plenty of room to house all the participants. There are a number of restaurants and other facilities.
For organizing a big event, the Danes also have a great team that will with no doubt be able to host races for 150+ people.
The only problem however, seem to be the sailing conditions. It is just too common that the beach is completely flooded and cannot be sailed upon. If the Worlds take place for 5 days, it would not be too big a surpise if the beach were only dry for 2 or 3 days.It seems imperative to have an alternate sailing venue, which could be a parking lot (maybe the Lakolk Campingsite), a closed down street or the harder beach at Lakolk.
I wish them all them best with their bid and would like to thank all the volunteers and participants for making the races as exciting as they were!
Next stop are the 2012 Belgian Championships (BOBCO12) in October.