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  • Vanden Eynde Roland
    Hello colleagues, One of the many differences between trackchasing American and European style is that while in the USA and Canada the months of July and
    Message 1 of 15 , Aug 3, 2009
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      Hello colleagues,

      One of the many differences between trackchasing American and European
      style is that while in the USA and Canada the months of July and August
      are the most appropriate for seeing races every day of the week, these
      two months are lean ones in Europe when it comes to trackchasing. The
      last weekend of July, I found no new track racing within 550 miles from
      home. And anyway, going south was out of the question, due to enormous
      traffic jams as a result of holiday traffic. Last Saturday, France broke
      its traffic jam record on motorways, establishing a new mark of 866 km
      (or 542 miles) of tailbacks.

      This weekend seemed hardly any better, for my prime objective, a Belgian
      autocross at Deerlijk, was cancelled 10 days ago. This left me with only
      one 'nearby' choice, a Dutch autocross on the island of Texel. I was all
      set for a Sunday in the Netherlands, when I woke up to a heavy shower at
      3.30AM. Lucky I did, because the drain evacuating the water from the
      canopy was blocked by debris. I had to go outside and free it. As I was
      wide awake from venturing out into the pouring rain, I took a look at
      the Viamichelin printout for my backup race. It was a German race on the
      Sollingring at the hamlet of Heinade. It was a less than 5 hour's drive
      and the meeting started at 10.00AM. Moreover, it was in a direction (to
      Berlin) not much affected by holiday traffic and where the weather would
      be less humid than in the Netherlands. It was nice driving on the almost
      deserted motorways and at 7.30AM, I took ample time to have a nice
      German breakfast at a motorway restaurant. The weather in Niedersachsen
      was dull but dry when I turned into the parking lot at 9.45AM.

      The Sollingring is a flat permanent dirt course in very rural
      surroundings. The paddock was large, and so was the track. However, the
      track lay-out was a little basic, with a long straight and a few slow
      corners. They had three races for each of the six car classes and three
      heats for quads, which had their premiere on this track. I've been used
      to seeing huge car counts on German autocross tracks, but this time they
      were somewhat small: 7 and 8 in the two modified saloon classes, 10 in
      the youth class, 11 in the buggy class, 16 in the small saloon class and
      22 in the large saloon class. In those last two classes, cars raced in
      two heats. Points were awarded based upon race placings (10-8-6-4-2-1
      for the first 6) and race time (5 points for the winner and .1 point
      less for every second a car was behind the winner). It's a little
      complicated and results in some event wins with scores between 33.2 and
      23.5. The racing was more than decent and there were a lot more position
      changes than in Belgian autocrosses. Germany also has a fair number of
      women drivers and there are more to come, for the youth class had 4
      girls among the 10 starters and was convincingly won by Anna-Lena
      Kietzmann, who had also won 3 out of 4 previous rounds of her
      championship.

      By mid afternoon, the Belgian rain had reached Heinade, which I took as
      a sign to start the journey home. Next week, I intend to have a Dutch
      programme and in two weeks time Aline has persuaded me to go back to
      England for some plants and a bit of shopping in London. Being a good
      sport, she agreed to me booking an early ferry on the Sunday morning, to
      get in a Belgian autocross on the way home.

      Last but not least, I've noticed a lot of you have been extremely busy
      during the last 10 weeks. Will can add another name to the 2009
      trackchaser list, non other than the most eastern based of all listed
      trackchasers: Hans Joachim Stuck. On July 5, 2009 he and his oldest son
      Johannes flew in by helicopter to see his other son Ferdinand race in
      the ADAC Formel Masters on the road course of the Euroring Lausitz. Some
      do it more in style than others.


      Roland

      -----------------------------------------
      Visit our website! http://www.nbb.be

      "DISCLAIMER: The content of this e-mail message should not be
      construed as binding on the part of the National Bank of Belgium
      (NBB) unless otherwise and previously stated. The opinions
      expressed in this message are solely those of the author and do not
      necessarily reflect NBB viewpoints, particularly when the content
      of this message, or part thereof, is private by nature or does not
      fall within the professional scope of its author."
    • RPMGORDY@aol.com
      Roland, I m reminded of those nice, German breakfasts. The memories remain as strong as ever. I watched the Formula 1 race from the Nurburgring with a much
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 3, 2009
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        Roland,

        I'm reminded of those nice, German breakfasts. The memories remain as
        strong as ever. I watched the Formula 1 race from the Nurburgring with a
        much different perspective. The one camera must have been stationed near
        where we stood. The sights on tv had a much better meaning, even that hotel
        along the track itself. It looked as if they had completed the construction
        we saw in progress. Thanks again for an unforgettable weekend.

        Gordy


        In a message dated 8/3/2009 9:55:12 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
        roland.vandeneynde@... writes:

        Hello colleagues,

        One of the many differences between trackchasing American and European
        style is that while in the USA and Canada the months of July and August
        are the most appropriate for seeing races every day of the week, these
        two months are lean ones in Europe when it comes to trackchasing. The
        last weekend of July, I found no new track racing within 550 miles from
        home. And anyway, going south was out of the question, due to enormous
        traffic jams as a result of holiday traffic. Last Saturday, France broke
        its traffic jam record on motorways, establishing a new mark of 866 km
        (or 542 miles) of tailbacks.

        This weekend seemed hardly any better, for my prime objective, a Belgian
        autocross at Deerlijk, was cancelled 10 days ago. This left me with only
        one 'nearby' choice, a Dutch autocross on the island of Texel. I was all
        set for a Sunday in the Netherlands, when I woke up to a heavy shower at
        3.30AM. Lucky I did, because the drain evacuating the water from the
        canopy was blocked by debris. I had to go outside and free it. As I was
        wide awake from venturing out into the pouring rain, I took a look at
        the Viamichelin printout for my backup race. It was a German race on the
        Sollingring at the hamlet of Heinade. It was a less than 5 hour's drive
        and the meeting started at 10.00AM. Moreover, it was in a direction (to
        Berlin) not much affected by holiday traffic and where the weather would
        be less humid than in the Netherlands. It was nice driving on the almost
        deserted motorways and at 7.30AM, I took ample time to have a nice
        German breakfast at a motorway restaurant. The weather in Niedersachsen
        was dull but dry when I turned into the parking lot at 9.45AM.

        The Sollingring is a flat permanent dirt course in very rural
        surroundings. The paddock was large, and so was the track. However, the
        track lay-out was a little basic, with a long straight and a few slow
        corners. They had three races for each of the six car classes and three
        heats for quads, which had their premiere on this track. I've been used
        to seeing huge car counts on German autocross tracks, but this time they
        were somewhat small: 7 and 8 in the two modified saloon classes, 10 in
        the youth class, 11 in the buggy class, 16 in the small saloon class and
        22 in the large saloon class. In those last two classes, cars raced in
        two heats. Points were awarded based upon race placings (10-8-6-4-2-1
        for the first 6) and race time (5 points for the winner and .1 point
        less for every second a car was behind the winner). It's a little
        complicated and results in some event wins with scores between 33.2 and
        23.5. The racing was more than decent and there were a lot more position
        changes than in Belgian autocrosses. Germany also has a fair number of
        women drivers and there are more to come, for the youth class had 4
        girls among the 10 starters and was convincingly won by Anna-Lena
        Kietzmann, who had also won 3 out of 4 previous rounds of her
        championship.

        By mid afternoon, the Belgian rain had reached Heinade, which I took as
        a sign to start the journey home. Next week, I intend to have a Dutch
        programme and in two weeks time Aline has persuaded me to go back to
        England for some plants and a bit of shopping in London. Being a good
        sport, she agreed to me booking an early ferry on the Sunday morning, to
        get in a Belgian autocross on the way home.

        Last but not least, I've noticed a lot of you have been extremely busy
        during the last 10 weeks. Will can add another name to the 2009
        trackchaser list, non other than the most eastern based of all listed
        trackchasers: Hans Joachim Stuck. On July 5, 2009 he and his oldest son
        Johannes flew in by helicopter to see his other son Ferdinand race in
        the ADAC Formel Masters on the road course of the Euroring Lausitz. Some
        do it more in style than others.


        Roland

        -----------------------------------------
        Visit our website! http://www.nbb.be

        "DISCLAIMER: The content of this e-mail message should not be
        construed as binding on the part of the National Bank of Belgium
        (NBB) unless otherwise and previously stated. The opinions
        expressed in this message are solely those of the author and do not
        necessarily reflect NBB viewpoints, particularly when the content
        of this message, or part thereof, is private by nature or does not
        fall within the professional scope of its author."


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      • Vanden Eynde Roland
        Hello colleagues, My initial idea was to spend the Easter weekend in England, like I did so many times in the past. However, I ve seen so many tracks active
        Message 3 of 15 , Apr 6, 2010
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          Hello colleagues,

          My initial idea was to spend the Easter weekend in England, like I did
          so many times in the past. However, I've seen so many tracks active
          during the Easter time that I could only find three new ones. When,
          about a month ago, my Monday track cancelled his race, I decided to save
          a bit of money and stay closer to home.

          Instead of England, it was two trips to the Northeast of the Netherlands
          again. However, the weather would render one of my journeys useless.

          Saturday morning, I braved the rain and the low temperatures and went to
          the little hamlet of Marle, a part of the town of Hellendoorn. There was
          a non sanctioned autocross as part of much larger festivities. On the
          Friday evening there had been an enduro bike race on the greasy and
          heavy clay oval. When I arrived for the 10 a.m. start, the track
          attendants were still busy ironing the ruts and draining the track. It
          was raining heavily and the clay was very slippery. It was not at all
          easy to stay on one's feat in the spectator enclosures. But the track
          attendants did a fine job and with a delay of about 45 minutes, the
          event got on its way. There were three classes and, although this was
          autocross heartland, the fields were small. They drove three heats and a
          final for which the first three in every group qualified. In between
          heats, I ate the tuna and green salad dish, I bought in a Dutch
          supermarket on the way to the races. I also visited the large collection
          of vintage tractors on display in a large tent. Many of them came over
          from nearby Germany, where gatherings of vintage tractors are common.
          The heats were short, although the running was so heavy many a car got
          stuck in the mud. The final was girl power as local driver Sabine van
          der Steen not only won her class, but the final as well. By 3 p.m. the
          whole event was over. It had been cold and rainy all day, so I was happy
          to warm up a bit in the car.

          Monday, I headed in the same direction, but a bit more westerly, to the
          small town of Makkinga. This time the weather was dry, but the rains of
          the previous days had left the field in which the event was scheduled
          looking like a swamp. Therefore the race had been cancelled on Sunday
          evening. I got home again in the early afternoon and had a long walk in
          by now nice sunshine.

          Next week, it's the Northeast of the Netherlands again (hopefully with
          less damp weather), but in two weeks time the new track at Mettet will
          have its inaugural car meeting. A new paved track in Belgium and my
          third countable one in the friendly town of Mettet, is something to look
          out for with much eagerness.

          Roland

          -----------------------------------------
          Visit our website! http://www.nbb.be

          "DISCLAIMER: The content of this e-mail message should not be
          construed as binding on the part of the National Bank of Belgium
          (NBB) unless otherwise and previously stated. The opinions
          expressed in this message are solely those of the author and do not
          necessarily reflect NBB viewpoints, particularly when the content
          of this message, or part thereof, is private by nature or does not
          fall within the professional scope of its author."
        • Vanden Eynde Roland
          Hello colleagues, On the forum, I regularly read posts about the not always fine communication with track or race promoters. When trackchasing in Europe, I
          Message 4 of 15 , Oct 18, 2010
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            Hello colleagues,

            On the forum, I regularly read posts about the not always fine communication with track or race promoters. When trackchasing in Europe, I almost never contact promoters, because in the vast majority of the cases, they never answer a mail. When I look for programmes for my guests, I do contact them, to be sure they really can see the events I promise to take them to. When the Smiths came over I contacted two promoters, one for an event in France and one for an event in Belgium. The French promoter did write back, unfortunately only to tell his event had been cancelled through lack of sponsorship. The Belgian promoter, Robin Van Hoovels, never wrote back, but last Tuesday, I received a mail from him, alerting me to an event I was totally unaware of. During the supermoto event at Namur (capital of the Wallonie region), there would be a Saturday devoted to crosskart races on the supermoto track (this is a competition with cross bikes on road tyres driving on a course half paved and half dirt). In this case the dirt would be shale, according to the message.

            It had rained heavily on Friday evening, but Saturday was a bit drier, with just an occasional shower. I arrived early for the 9.30 a.m. start and I seemed to be one of the few spectators not being there as part of a team. The track, called the Circuit Supermoto de la Citadelle de Namur, was indeed half tarmac and half shale. It was rather fast, with two jumps and it was in a natural bowl on this rocky hill overlooking the city of Namur. In the early nineties, I had seen a hill climb at this spot, partly on the same cobblestones that were part of the fifties street track on this citadel. Due to very good contacts with some French drivers there was a vast field of over 30 crosskarts (of which only 8 were driven by locals). They would drive three 20 minute races between 9.30 and noon. The track was splendidly suited to these nimble cars. They were invented for autocross tracks, but the person who had the idea to let them drive on paved tracks must have had a stroke of genius. They are the best category one could see on a paved track: fast, sliding all the time and allowing super close racing. They deserve far better publicity and far more races on tarmac.

            At noon, I got back to my original weekend plan, which called for a rallycross at Dreux and an enduro autocross near Péronne, both in France. Because there is a general strike in France and most oil refineries are blocked, I took on a full thank before crossing into France. The advantage of petrol being scarce was that the usual traffic congestion in the greater Paris area was far less than usual. I was on the N12 to Dreux in no time. The rallycross track is situated in the Boys Guyon complex, but this particular track is called Circuit de l'Ouest Parisien. It's mainly flat and quite fast. Because it had rained in Western France as well, the dirt sections were a little muddy. Rallycross is popular in France and all four divisions had large fields. Therefore, they start their meetings late on Saturday afternoon and I arrived at 4.30 a.m., half an hour after the start. They start with the small cars first, so I didn't miss very much. The races were good, but the wet dirt made passing not very likely, unless someone made a driving error. There were a few of those and by the time the 4WD division was in play, the dirt sections had dried out a bit, making the racing more spectacular.

            I stayed at the local Etap Hotel and had a nice beef dinner at the Courtepaille grill, both being chains I regularly go to. Sunday was bright and sunny, yet very cold. Again, the drive round Paris was easy (French people like to sleep in on Sundays anyway). I arrived at Flaucourt, near the city of Péronne, well ahead of the noon starting time for the 6 Heures de Santerre, an off road enduro for not only standard and modified 4WD cars, but also for real off road prototypes of the Paris-Dakar variety. France is the only country to have such a championship and although the field was not very large at 27 cars, there was a lot of variety in the paddock. In fact, this can best be described as an off road version of the ALMS, with cars being driven by two or three drivers on a rather long track. Picardie being a flat and fertile region, the track was in the fields. It contained a very, very long straight (at least a mile long), a few visible 90% turns and a section in a wooded area, which wasn't visible from the spectator enclosures. The surface was hard sand and considering the recent rains, it was in excellent condition. The track's length wasn't mentioned, but it was several miles long. The straight was also quite large. The entire field had a rolling start, but soon it became a bit strung out. There was a constant ballet in the paddock, for like any long distance autocross track, there wasn't a proper pit lane. I stayed for about three hours, but by then, I was feeling very cold and needed the warmth of my car to get my temperature up again. The drive back home went smoothly.

            Next week, there's absolutely nothing on my programme. I guess it's going to be a weekend off for my trackchasing, before another North American foray the next two weekends.

            Roland


            -----------------------------------------
            Visit our website! http://www.nbb.be

            "DISCLAIMER: The content of this e-mail message should not be
            construed as binding on the part of the National Bank of Belgium
            (NBB) unless otherwise and previously stated. The opinions
            expressed in this message are solely those of the author and do not
            necessarily reflect NBB viewpoints, particularly when the content
            of this message, or part thereof, is private by nature or does not
            fall within the professional scope of its author."
          • Vanden Eynde Roland
            Hello colleagues, For the third weekend in a row I added a new Dutch autocross track to my list. This time it was the very fast and large clay oval at
            Message 5 of 15 , Apr 22, 2013
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              Hello colleagues,

              For the third weekend in a row I added a new Dutch autocross track to my list. This time it was the very fast and large clay oval at Pieterzijl.

              It was in bright sunshine, but with a chilly wind, that on saturday morning I got on the way to the most northerly province of the Netherlands, Groningen. Traffic was fluid and I arrived at the track early enough to take a tour of the paddock before the first heats. As this was the first meeting for the Dutch autocross championship, there was a huge field. The 8 divisions drew no less than 223 competitors. Even the usually skinny fields for the buggies drew 18 and 21 starters. Funny was that both buggy divisions were dominated by people having driven as far as me to reach this meeting. In fact, with Patrick Claeys and Patrick Mommen two of my compatriots won. The touring cars drew such a large field that they had to divide the cars into 4 groups in every heat. The track was in excellent condition and the racing was fierce. There was also a rather large crowd on hand.

              Being invited at Aline's place for dinner, I only watched the first and second heats. On the drive south, the traffic was a lot denser and it took me almost an hour more than the drive up north.

              Next week, I'll try to get my new 2013 track total into double figures as I hope to watch racing on four new tracks at three different locations.

              Roland

              -----------------------------------------
              Visit our website! http://www.nbb.be

              "DISCLAIMER: The content of this e-mail message should not be
              construed as binding on the part of the National Bank of Belgium
              (NBB) unless otherwise and previously stated. The opinions
              expressed in this message are solely those of the author and do not
              necessarily reflect NBB viewpoints, particularly when the content
              of this message, or part thereof, is private by nature or does not
              fall within the professional scope of its author."
            • Vanden Eynde Roland
              Hello colleagues, We had a very nice summer, and the best thing about it was that it lasted till last Tuesday. However, since then the weather has been really
              Message 6 of 15 , Oct 14, 2013
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                Hello colleagues,

                We had a very nice summer, and the best thing about it was that it lasted till last Tuesday. However, since then the weather has been really autumn like, cold and damp. Because the sun sets rather early this time of the year, the organisers of the autocross I attended yesterday at Malderen (VLG) had set the starting time of their meeting at 10.00 a.m. I was happy they did, for the weather forecast was bleak. Heavy rain was predicted for the early afternoon. However, when I arrived at 9.45 a.m., the weather was dull but dry. The rain from the early hours of morning had made the large and fast clay course very slippery, but it was well prepared and the racing in the 9 different classes was quite good, even though only two of them had more than 10 cars. The organisation was slick and by 1.00 p.m., they had finished the second of three planned heats. That was the time the heavens opened up and within minutes, the track and the paddock looked like a swamp. I was prepared because not only had I parked my car on asphalt a few hundred yards from the track, but I also left in a hurry once the first drops fell. I managed to reach my car before it really became stormy, but when I passed the track on the way back to the main road, I saw people running towards shelter and cars stuck in the parking lot's mud. It brought back memories of my first visit to Knockhill, when the weather was just as bad. I had parked my car on top of a sloping parking lot and before getting out I did a recce on foot and found a path where no other vehicle had driven. I got out without a problem, but those using the beaten path were less lucky and had to get out of their cars and push them out of the ankle deep mud.

                On the motorway, conditions were appalling. The rain was so heavy one couldn't see further than about 50 yards, but still some people drove in the middle lane at only 45 MPH without their light on.

                Last week, I found two additional Dutch autocrosses replacing others that were cancelled earlier this year. Therefore, weather permitting, I will have two more weekends in which I hope to add another track to my list.

                Roland

                -----------------------------------------
                Visit our website! http://www.nbb.be

                "DISCLAIMER: The content of this e-mail message should not be
                construed as binding on the part of the National Bank of Belgium
                (NBB) unless otherwise and previously stated. The opinions
                expressed in this message are solely those of the author and do not
                necessarily reflect NBB viewpoints, particularly when the content
                of this message, or part thereof, is private by nature or does not
                fall within the professional scope of its author."
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