Championship 2017

It's done. The championship of 2017 had 54 riders from 7 different countries competing for trophees, made available by Gebben Motoren. On Saturday, the meet and greet as well as training day, the weather was excellent and all riders spent most of the day on the various training courses.

On Sunday, the race started at 10:30 with the course exploration. The course was longer than usual, as we saw in the resulting times: all were over two minutes except the fastest three. As the warmup course was right next to the entrance on the left, taking one third of the big square, the course took half of the big square as well as the space behind Kemp's offices. This meant the course was long, enabling Peter to create very fast legs, of course ending in a slalom that was narrower than expected. The track was a tad more difficult than we're used to: eleven riders were disqualified in the first heat. One particular blue cone was the trickster here.

In the first heat, Bob Stöpler had the fastest time with 1:58.73. Kristian Eekhof did 2:00.94, but he hit six pylons, which gave him six penalty seconds and a resulting time of 2:06.94.  

Nikki van der Spek was the fastest woman in the first heat, with 2:20.31, Lieneke van Popta came in second.

The second heat changed all that. Kristian did 1:58.95, first place. Then Richard van Schouwenburg did 1:57.96, second place, pushing Kristian to third. Jan Zapach got very close to the podium, riding 2:02.12. Bob finally managed to regain first place, riding just tenths of a second faster than Richard. 

As for the women, Lieneke took ten seconds off her time in the second heat, putting her firmly on top of the list. Nikki knew she had to push her limits, but as it happens, pushing limits often leads to hitting pylons, or worse, crashing. It's all in the game, it's Moto gymkhana. Marie Geerlings took third place, with 2:23.66. Beth Price Williams of the UK was very unfortunate, ending just four tenth of a seconds behind Marie. A two minute race, being decided on tenths of a second. 

Having the top three riders finishing within two seconds, on a course of two minutes, means the differences between the riders are small. Even number ten (Jiri Schovanec from Czech Republic) came in less than seven seconds after the winner. Our sport is maturing. We don't have a few odd riders riding significantly faster than everyone else, we have a large group of riders who all have a chance of winning. 

We also saw that Moto gymkhana is not just about riding fast or cornering better. It's also riding consistently, and about concentration and accuracy. If Kenneth hadn't hit three pylons in his second try, he'd be third. Still, he was very happy with his 9th place. 

As one of the organizers, I am very happy with how the championship went. We had marshals who were up to their task, we had riders who had sufficient experience to know how a championship goes about and who anticipated, making work for marshals and volunteers so much easier. We had a large number of volunteers, most had experience from previous events. Without them, a championship is not possible. 

This was the third European Championship organized in the Netherlands. It's almost becoming a Dutch event. Fortunately, we were approached by the Czech delegation who volunteer to organize in 2018. There's not 100% certainty, a number of details have to be worked out, but I feel confident to announce the 2018 European Championship of Motogymkhana in the Czech Republic. The Dutch group has offered to help by sending volunteers and equipment and everything that's needed. We appeal to rider groups in other countries to do the same: with just a few people from all parcitipating countries, we can make this work. We will discuss this further on the rider mailing list.

The results are here.

Videos of all riders are here

Finally, a picture of an unfortunate rider who found out he can't fly, in the first heat. He made second place in the second heat. 

12 June 2017 22:44