Last Saturday morning I crawled out of bed at 2.30, woke up my 13-year-old son 15 minutes later, made a coffee and left for Belgium at 3am.
We met the Co-Built crew of Anthony, Anna, Geoff, Guy, Karina and Norm, in two other vans at the Eurotunnel for a 6.50 crossing.
The Helzold track is going to host Hells Race, what could be the first ever dirt track race in Belgium, later this summer. Two of the Belgian DTRA riders, Angelo and Bram, have organised the meeting with the assistance of the local speedway club. The idea was to invite one dirt track class to an early-season speedway race for the speedway organisers to see what, if anything, they had to do differently. So this was an invite-only do at the Helzold Stars Speedway international meeting.
Saturday was open practice, Sunday was race day. Above is Belgian David's XT500.
Co-Built Anthony (16), Jan-Willem Dutch Brother (15 - J and M Rotax), Angelo (55 Starracer KTM)
Geoff and Jan-Willem
I've started wearing an Icon AirFrame Pro to race in. It's the first Icon helmet with a flat shield/visor that allows tear-offs. I'm very impressed with the comfort. The lining is light grey, which shows up the dirt, but it is removable. It has carbon composite construction and a quick-release Pro-Lock system (which is similar to the Shoei system for those familiar with that). No tools required to remove it. Icon are so good with the details and I love the anodised gold double D-rings. Mine is an unbranded Rubatone Ghost Carbon and it's not as easy to wash as a gloss would be. Recommended.
Luckily there was a couple of hours between practice and our first heat race. Anthony helped me find the problem with the bike, the CDI ('They never go wrong,' said Anthony). We swapped it, I turned the rear tyre for a better, but still worn edge and got going. I was disappointed with my results at Rye House, but think I know why. I felt pretty good at Helzold and beat both Anthony and Geoff Co-Built in a couple of the five 8-lap heats, which is a very rare occurrence now, so I can away feeling good.
Jan-Willem's brother, Mick, came from the Netherlands (2-hour drive) with a KTM DTX and this J and M Rotax. He chose to race his KTM and came second in the meeting having hardly raced at all for a year. Those Dutch Bros are fast!
They better book this flagman...Sideburn zip hoodies are heavyweight and last for years.
Belgium is not known for its cuisine. I went for the chav pizza.
I was only accepted to race only a few days before the event (thanks Angelo!) and if I could have got out of going on Friday night without screwing people about I would have. Work is busy, I'm trying to build a hooligan bike for the next DTRA race, I could do with saving money, but I'm so glad I went. Good friends, good riding and good spending time with my son. Motorcycle fun times. G
Photos: Stephen Volders, Bart Knops, Carina, Max I, GI
Get along to Hells Race!