Wednesday, 15 November 2017

2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Calendar

The 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series calendar was unveiled on 10/11 and features 12 rounds in six American-themed NASCAR GP on the best European tracks cementing Euro NASCAR’s position among the best touring car series outside North America.

Built in continuity with a very successful 2017 season, which saw more than 60 top level drivers representing 21 countries on the grid to battle door to door for the NWES crown and delight hundreds of thousands of fans with the best racing in Europe, the 2018 Euro NASCAR schedule will include 6 different countries: Spain, Italy, Great Britain, France, Germany and Benelux.

A key change is the creation of a new international event that will take place in Tours, France where drivers from all over the world will compete to measure their skills against American guest-stars in the Oval World Challenge. The second major evolution is a new venue for the Semi Finals that will be hosted by the legendary Hockenheimring in Germany, building on the success of the first American Fan Fest.

“We are really proud to offer European fans, teams, drivers and partners this very well-balanced calendar, a great mix between some of the most iconic names in Motorsports – Hockenheim, Brands Hatch, Valencia and Zolder – and emerging high-action short tracks such as Tours and Franciacorta. We all share a common vision to make every NASCAR GP a unique fan experience and provide great family fun on and around the track. In just a few years, the NWES events have emerged as some of the best and most attractive in Europe. Pure racing and great fun are in our DNA and we will keep pushing this way!” said NWES President / CEO Jerome Galpin.

Spain and the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo will once again open the season on April 14-15 with the fourth edition of the Valencia NASCAR Fest, an event that has quickly become a classic in the NWES calendar.

On May 19-20 the Euro NASCAR will head to Brescia for the second event of the season at the Autodromo di Franciacorta. The Italian track’s compact layout provides the fans with a spectacular view and action-packed races.

A new King Of Brands Hatch will be crowned at the historic Indy Circuit in the context of the hugely popular American SpeedFest on June 9-10. One of the most coveted events in the calendar, the British festival is the longest running NWES event and will reach the sixth edition in 2018.

On June 30 and July 1 the city of Tours in France will host the new Oval World Challenge. The sole NASCAR oval race outside of North America will bring tons of excitement to the European fans. A unique prize and a special format for the event will be presented in the upcoming weeks.

For the first time in the Series history, Germany will host the Semi Finals on September 15-16 at Hockenheimring and represent a turning point in the season for the drivers chasing the European NASCAR title by awarding double points.

On October 20-21 the NWES season will once again reach its culmination in Belgium at Circuit Zolder, with the challenging 4 Km track hosting the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals for the fourth consecutive year in front a huge crowd.

Well spread on the map, the 2018 NWES calendar will offer every race fan an opportunity to enjoy the unrivalled atmosphere of a NASCAR GP and grant drivers a variety of racing experiences: from the high speeds of Hockenheim or Zolder to the bumper-to-bumper action of Brands Hatch and  Oval Tours. Only the best of the best will be the 2018 Euro NASCAR champion. Save the dates race fans!

Click here for more info! 

Red Bull Hardline

Red Bull Hardline 


Sunday dawned bright – to the massive relief of course creator Dan and all of the riders!

The initial field was slightly reduced by injuries, illness and riders making the call not to ride so Darren Berrecloth, Bruce Klein, Charlie Hatton, Gareth Brewin, Yoann Barelli, Sam Reynolds and Gee were all watching from the comfort of the Red Bull teepee.

Gee said:“ I’m so gutted not to be able to race, if there was anyway that I could ride I’d do it – but I came down hard on my shoulder during practice yesterday and its going to need some time off the bike.”

So 13 riders lined up for the qualifying run, a bigger Finals field than ever before. Because the course is mega open at the top and the winds were increasingly strong the decision was taken  to start just before the cannon. This cuts out a very wet technical section and gives a long straight run to the cannon with a flag to help the riders judge the wind. –but it does mean that the riders are straight into one of the gnarliest jumps on the course.  

Graeme Mudd was the first to go up for his qualifying run, he said: “That was pretty chilled, I just tried to be consistent, didn’t push too hard and did the jumps as fast as I could. “

2nd rider Oscar Harnstrom went over the bars when he landed on a root just after the step up but 3rd rider Bernard Kerr went into the hotseat in 2.29.66. Craig Evans put in a stylish ride to go into 2nd 2.33 – enough for an eventual 4th.

Then Dan was on course, Dan’s riding is always super smooth but even he was forced to dab a foot and pick his way through several sections crossing into 3rd.

Dan said “ I was scared at the top ,  everyone is scared. This is definitely the hardest year – the fact that we had to move the start proves that.

This year there would just be 10 qualifiers out of 13 riders so tension mounted as the last 4 riders came on track.

Al Bond crossed into 8th place, would it be enough? Brage Vestavik stalled on the rocks losing valuable time and crossed into 10th, but Kaos Seagrave bettered him by 9 seconds, Dave McMillan couldn’t do enough finishing a heartbreaking 11th and then final rider Alexander Fayolle roared into 3rd

Finals

First off was Kaos Seagrave – he looked very comfortable and stylish all the way down to the road gap, the course had clearly dried out since the morning’s qualifications. The bottom section saw him make a few minor mistakes, he landed nose heavy over the Final jump but stayed on board for 2.45.40. 

Al Bond was next, he rode smoothly until he made a big mistake just before the road gap. Unsettled, he pulled up in the next rocks to regain his composure before the road gap  - nevertheless he was less than 5 seconds back – 2.49.99 – enough for 9th today.

Laurie Greenland had the start of light rain on his run, he had a big stall but recovered well 2.36.26.
Then came the first of our Trek Factory Racing riders, Muddy started fast, 1.55 at the split, he looked relative smooth all the way – 2.36.73  and crossed into 2nd!

Our former team mate Taylor Vernon was next, he was caught out a little bit on the slippery ricks but still pushed on looking super quick and active on the bike, he went down in the technical section crossing the line 10 seconds back 2.45.96. 

And then the creator of Hardline was on course. Dan was super smooth all the way, he was up at the split, flowing down the mountain to take the hotseat by 2 seconds, but he said himself as he crossed the line that in this fast company it wouldn’t be enough.

Alexandre Fayolle crashed out here in practice last year – he has been fearless this year but he lost the front on a slippery root and went down, his concentration broken he went down again, finishing the race just for the enjoyment of the crowd.

Then there were two – 2016 Hardline winner Bernard Kerr started big but soon got into trouble in the technical section, he became unseated and had to run after his bike.  He regained his composure, and  started to make amends, looking fast, but another mistake a couple of feet down before the road gap cost him some time eventually crossing into 2nd place.

After his run Bernard said: “ It was like ice up there, the difference from even half an hour ago was ridiculous.”

Would Dan be able to hold onto 3rd place for the second time in the history of the race? Adam Brayton lost a foot through the first  technical section, the crowd gasped as he made another mistake before the split but he was still 0.6 up at the split  - he went down just before the road gap. Craig Evans took the win.

Results

1 Craig Evans 2.31.29
2 Bernard Kerr 2.33.30
3 Dan Atherton 2.33.73
6 Graeme Mudd 2.36.73

Monday, 6 November 2017

Jerry De Weerdt To Make American NASCAR Debut

Fresh off his second Legend Trophy title in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Jerry De Weerdt will become the 16th NWES driver to compete in NASCAR in the US today by making his debut in the final race of the K&N Pro Series West at Kern County Raceway Park, California. 

Success in the European NASCAR series translates into the best opportunities to race in the United States and racing on Bakerfield's half-mile oval will represent De Weerdt another step towards fulfilling his dream of competing at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. 


The Belgian will count on the experience he gained in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series to quickly adapt to the #14 Braxx Motors Ford Fusion fielded by Patriot Motorsports and owned by Jesse Iwuji. The goal for the weekend is to log miles and learn as much as possible in the highly competitive K&N Pro Series West. 

"I've been thinking about racing in the US for a while and finally here we are thanks to NASCAR, NWES and Joe Balash (NASCAR International Liaison)," said De Weerdt, who earned 3 top-10 finishes in four races this year in the Euro NASCAR oval racing weekend at Raceway Venray. 

"The track looks a little bit like Venray but has less banking and is wider so I think I can find a good feeling. The race also fits well with our schedule because we closed the European season last month. It will take some time to adjust to a new car, but it's great to be able to enter such a competitive race already knowing what to expect thanks to our experience in NWES and I would be happy to stay out of trouble, finish the race and try to move forward."


De Weerdt's 2017 season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series has been extremely positive. Braxx Racing's team owner won his second consecutive Legend Trophy title in the Elite 2 Division with the 10th place in the final points standings and finished 14th in points in Elite 1. His Braxx Racing team also grabbed its first NASCAR win in the Elite 1 Division with Marc Goossens and the #90 Ford Mustang in the Circuit Zolder Finals, testifying the team's continuous progress.

"It's been such a great year and with a fantastic Finals weekend we proved we're a winning team, so this race in the US is the perfect ending for our season," concluded De Weerdt. "We are building our new headquarters in Belgium and we'll also put together a new car for Marc so we'll have a lot of work ahead of us in the offseason but we can't wait to be back on track. I hope Marc can be with us for the full season in 2018 and battle for the NWES title and we are also looking for an ELITE 2 driver to race alongside him."

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Red Bull Foxhunt

Gee smashes through the ranks into 9th place at Red Bull Foxhunt, Rostrevor Ireland

450 riders descended on Rostrevor in the Mourne Mountains over the weekend for one of the craziest mass start races ever seen – this year riders had to avoid not one Fox but three Foxes! Fast ones at that with double World Champion Gee leading out the fox-pack joined by current World Champ Loic Bruni and last year’s winner Colin Ross!

At 3.5 miles long it was also plenty physical! Gee said: "The level of testosterone at the top of that hill was immense, everyone was roaring! We even had the Dire Wolves from Game of Thrones up there!"

Gee placed 9th, ahead of 395 other riders. Colin Ross placed 17th and Loic Bruni, the third Fox, was 18th. Kelan Grant the 24 year old Irish Enduro champion from Omagh clinched the win after opening up a gap in the top climb.

Results

I Kelan Grant 6.47.57

2 James McFerron 7.10.76 +23.19

3 Conor Bate 7.20.75 +33.18

9 Gee Atherton 7.44.81 +57.245

17 Colin Ross 8.31.247 1.43.67

18 Loic Bruni      8.31.247 + 1.44.00

The Fourth Female Red Bull Foxhunt

The 2017 Red Bull Foxhunt was seriously muddy!  250 women flocked to Machynlleth in Wales for an awesome weekend that felt more like a festival than a race. The atmosphere at Foxhunt is famously supportive, never more needed than at this year’s event where conditions made the riding difficult.

Katy Winton did an absolutely top job as the fox while Rachel was on hand with loads of tips and encouragement and Trek Factory Racing mechanics Sam and Joe fixed, tweaked and advised for hundreds of riders who dropped by for a chat and a helping hand.  

Practice was hilarious, queues for the B lines erupting into laughter and qualifying was tough with some riders choosing not to ride again after the arduous morning, about 170 riders took the uplift to the top. 

Rachel said: “ Everybody here can do this, even in the mud, its just having the confidence to have a go.”  

So in the final reckoning 190 women took to the mass start grid, Fox Katy was wild, overtaking all but 20 of the riders in some impossible situations, Atherton Academy’s Mille smashed it into 1st and Atherton Racing’s Gill was happy to survive in 163rd – despite some serious heckling and several crashes!

Mille said: “Woohoo that was super mega fun! So stoked to take the win at the Red Bull Foxhunt and to hang out with all these awesome women!” 


Results

1 Mille Johnset Atherton Academy 3.50
2 Rosy Monagahan  4.23 +33s
3 Claire Bennett 4.25 +35s
21 Katy Winton 5.41 + 1.51 

Photo credits: Red Bull Content Pool / Olaf Pignataro / Romina Amato 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

British Sailing Team News: Saxton and Dabson win first foiling Nacra 17 world title

Saxton and Dabson win first foiling Nacra 17 world title

Ben Saxton and Katie Dabson have claimed gold at the first ever foiling Nacra 17 World Championship which grew to a close in dramatic fashion at La Grande Mote, France on Sunday (10th September). 

The mixed multihull duo are the second British Sailing Team crew to be crowned World Champions in the space of a week, with Dylan Fletcher-Stuart Bithell winning the 49er world title in Portugal last weekend. 

And Saxton and Dabson are the only second set of names ever to grace the Nacra 17 World Champions roll of honour, with France's Billy Besson - Marie Riou the only previous titleholders in four previous editions since the class's introduction in 2013 in its pre-foiling era.

"It's unbelievable. It;s every dream come true!" said Rio Olympian Saxton after the medal race.

"I've never been an Olympic classes World Champion before. Well done to Katie, and thanks to our coaches Hugh and Derek and to National Lottery funding from back at home. It's awesome!"

Saxton and Dabson went in to the final day of competition wearing the yellow leaders' jerseys, but with two fleet races still to go to determine qualifiers for the top ten medal race positions, there could be no let up, with Saxton admitting that successes of his British 49er colleagues last week spurring him on. 

He laughed: "I thought if Dylan and Stu can do it and James and Fynn got a medal as well then I thought I'd better buck my ideas up!" 

Saxton and Dabson picked up 10,11 from their two final fleet races to book their place in the medal showdown in second place, but with the top three crews from Italy, Britain and Spain effectively all level-pegging in the chase for gold.

After a short delay, the medal race got underway in gusty and shifty 20 knot conditions, with drama unfolding as early as the first mark with a collision between the series-leading Italian crew of Ruggero Tita-Caterina Banti and the second Spanish boat of Iker Martinez-Olga Maslivets resulting in the Spaniard’s rig collapsing and neither boat able to finish the race.

The Italian crew were out of contention for gold, but it was far from over for Saxton and Dabson, who had Spain’s Fernando Echavarri-Tara Pacheco breathing down their necks in the Championship chase.

Saxton and Dabson crossed the finish line in second place behind Germany’s Paul Kohlhoff-Alica Stuhlemmer but narrowly ahead of the Spanish team, and it was enough to hand them the victory in what was only their third regatta together.

“We had two races this morning and they didn’t go completely as we’d have liked them,” Dabson explained.

“We’d have quite liked to have a bit more of a gap but we went into the medal race pretty much with whoever won the medal race out of the top three would have won, so we had a little bit on, but we kept our cool and raced our boat. We knew what we had to do and we went out and did it.”

“We had about every emotion going,” Saxton added. “We didn’t have a great start so we were playing catch up and got back in to it down the first run. Fernando and Tara then overtook us going up the second beat and we went for it down the last run and we got them."

John Gimson and Anna Burnet also made the cut for the final medal race, finishing sixth overall, with Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface finishing 16th, Chris Rashley-Laura Marimon 18th and Rupert White-Kirstie Urwin 25th.


At Hungary's Lake Balaton earlier on Sunday, however, there was disappointment for Ed Wright in his quest for a second World Championship title at the Finn Gold Cup.

Bournemouth's Wright sailed a solid week amid testing conditions and two days lost to lack of wind, to qualify for the medal race in the silver medal position.


But a sixth place in the ten-boat medal final race meant Wright narrowly missed out on the podium spots, finishing on equal points with the Netherlands’ Nick Heiner but missing out on the bronze on count back.


Sweden’s Max Salminen took gold, with silver going to France’s Jonathan Lobert.

“It’s been a very eventful regatta,” Wright surmised. “I started off very well but then managed to get myself a bad result in the second race which was kind of a noose around my neck the whole week.  


“It was very difficult to try and be extreme at all, and here it definitely pays to be extreme because sides of the course come in and if you’re not there then you kind of get left behind.”


He continued: “I think I managed pretty well to go into the medal race in silver medal position and actually I thought it might be time for another Gold Cup win.  I felt good and my speed was good as well.  I just got a bit unlucky on the start. I wasn’t really that punchy.” 

“Heiner got away and if he won the race I needed to be pretty high up – fifth and I was sixth so it was pretty close.  It’s impressive that the whole top four finished within three points of each other. It was very good, close racing and it’s just a shame that I was the unlucky one.”

The British Sailing Team’s Henry Wetherell concluded the event in 12th, Ben Cornish was 21st, Pete McCoy 41st and Hector Simpson 46th.


Image: Ben Saxton and Katie Dabson  Credit: Didier Hillaire  


Monday, 11 September 2017

Race Report – World Champs 2017: Top 20 for Gee

World Champs 2017: Top 20 for Gee!

Cairns dealt the most brutal blows to the Trek Factory contingent of the British Cycling Team this weekend with both Rachel Atherton and Kade Edwards injured during Friday's timed training day, Rachel sustained a broken collarbone when she clipped a bank in the top turns and went OTB and Kade went down hard on the big jumps knocking himself unconscious. Both withdrew from the Finals on medical advice. 

Rachel said: "Absolutely devastated doesn't even come close. I was having so much fun on track, attacking, loving the speed. I felt like my old self for the first time in months but a broken collarbone puts an end to me defending my World Champs title. Thanks so much to Mick and Tracey Hannah for getting me up and walking me to safety."

Kade said: "I had a big crash on a fast bit, landed on my head and was out for at least 10 seconds so the doctors say I can't race. I feel pretty bad right now but I'll live to fight another day. Good luck to all the boys."

In the Junior Men's race the British team reigned supreme with 1st, 2nd and 5th places going to Matt Walkers, Joe Breeden and Kaos Seagrave.

In the Junior Women's race, GB's Maya Atkinson was 11th in 4.53.44.

Then then women were on track  - and with the reigning World Champ cruelly sidelined there was everything to play for - and drama levels were high. All of the British hopes were now pinned on Tahnee Seagrave but they were dashed as our remaining female elite rider pushed a little too hard and crashed out - ending up in 10th place. 

Local heroine Tracey Hannah looked sure to take the hot seat until she washed out on a high inside line, she lay stunned for a couple of seconds before scrambling back onto the bike, perhaps long enough to lose her the race. Tracy finished 2nd but a timing complication meant that Myriam Nicole was promoted after the race with Tracey moving into 3rd. Pompon had made no mistakes but was recorded 4.7 seconds off the pace by the first split. A review of the back up timing placed her just 0.097 back from the winner Miranda Miller (Canada) who stepped outside of the general chaos with a fast and consistent run. 

World Champs has a slightly different format in that seeding is dictated by current standings. Gee's 9th place in timed training put him at the forefront of the British squad and he was feeling confident as he headed up the hill. By the time of the Men's race the course was getting even looser with lots of riders stumbling in the corners - the Aussie riders relished the dry, dusty conditions, dominating the results table with 4 out of the top 6 places! Sam Hill was first down the mountain and seemed to take up residence in the hot seat! 

Gee has a solid run and crossed into second place, 3.37 back from Sam, enough for 18th on the day, Gee said: "I'm stoked. After the injury (a hip dislocation at Fort William) I'm delighted to be here and my goal was for top 20 this weekend. Thanks to Trek, Fox, all the sponsors and team GB for the support and of course my right hand man Polish Pete!" 



Results 

Elite Men

1 Loïc Bruni (FRA) 3:26.656
2 Mick Hannah (AUS) 3:26.995
3 Aaron Gwin (USA) 3:28.623
4 Jack Moir (AUS) 3:29.257
5 Troy Brosnan (AUS) 3:29.649
18 Gee Atherton (GBR) 3.35.715

Elite Women 

1 Miranda Miller (CAN) 4:10.245
2 Myriam Nicole (FRA) 4:10.342
3 Tracey Hannah (AUS) 4:12.230
4 Eleonora Farina (FRA) 4:15.168
5 Danielle Beecroft (AUS) 4:19.361

Junior Men 

1 Matt Walker (GBR) 3:37.788
2 Joe Breeden (GBR) 3:41.244
3 Max Hartenstern (GER) 3:41.774
4 Sylvain Cougoureux (FRA) 3:42.154
5 Kaos Seagrave (GBR) 3:42.758

Junior Women 

1 Melanie Chappaz (FRA) 4:28.617
2 Shania Rawson (NZL) 4:31.318
3 Flora Lesoin (FRA) 4:35.552
4 Beatrice Migliorini (ITA) 4:38.098

5 Ellie Smith (AUS) 4:43.581 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Trek Factory Racing Downhill: Val di Sole The 2017 World Cup Series is in the books

Race Report : World Cup 2017 Round 7- Val di Sole The 2017 World Cup Series is in the books. 

Val di Sole is steep and it's rough, it's super tough on bikes and riders with roots, rocks, bomb holes and loose slippery corners all taking their toll. 

There was the constant threat of storms but this weekend at least the weather was king - all racers had good conditions with the deluge holding off until 30 minutes after the men's race.

In the qualifications run our junior rider Kade Edwards fell foul of one of the Black Snake's slippery corners when he washed out in a turn between the first and seconds splits and went down hard. Unhurt, he went into the finals run fully prepped and confident of a result. 

In his own words, Kade "came out of the start gate a mess". Off the pace from the start, he made up some ground in the mid sections but then a crash put paid to his hopes for a great result. 

Kade finished 10th and sits in 5th place in the overall standings - the highest ranked first year rider and a solid first season on the Factory team.

In the Women's race, Rachel was still riding at less than 100%, unable to fully trust her shoulder on this extraordinarily technical track. Rachel was enjoying her racing as she'd promised, finding lots of chances to chat to fans and hang out with her fellow racers but she couldn't match the top girls for pace with Tahnee Seagrave taking her third World Cup of the season while Rachel was pleased to come down in tact. Finishing in 4th place and sitting 4th place overall in the standings - not bad going with Fort William and Leogang missing from her score sheet. 

In the Men's race Muddy had qualified 48th and was looking forward to improving on that by some margin in the Finals race. He was riding strongly all weekend and hoped to continue his form from Mont St Anne but in another hideous piece of luck he contracted a stomach bug. The team worried he hadn't been able to keep any food down and wouldn't have the reserves required for such a brutal race run but at first it appeared things were going our boy's way, until he got hooked up in a turn after the 3rd split and went over the bars. 


67th today and 59th overall, not where he wanted to be after his first season as a pro rider. Muddy said: the stomach bug struck me hard. I struggled to eat anything today leaving me with no energy. I can't believe the season is over - I'm already thinking about how to prepare for 2018, I know I'll keep striving for the results I know are there for me". 

Next, Gee was on course. It's been a tough season for him following his hip dislocation at Fort William, realistically he's still not at full fitness and was unlikely to feature highly over the weekend. Having won two World Cups previously here, he was determined to push on and enjoy the return of some of his Val di Sole pace. 

Gee finished 24th and 43rd in the overall rankings having missed 3 rounds this season. Gee said "it's not the greatest World Cup Series but  I'm getting stronger every race and there's still everything to play for the at World Champs".