Koningho(oik)t: phew what a scorcher

Not the biggest entry, as with changing the date it couldn’t be a round of the Belgian championship, so a lot of people decided to do something else. Given the weather, that probably meant water, beach or something similar.

The Koningshooikt track is actually inside Fort Koningshooikt, a pre First World War fort, which though not on the scale of Liege or Namur, is pretty impressive, as modern forts go.

Fort Koningshooikt in the sunshine

Forecast for the day was hot, 34 C and higher and left Lier for the short 10 minute drive at 07h30 and it was already 22. The usual array of large campers surrounded by marking tape were already outside on the road, so decamped to a field about 0.5km along the road, where the more old timer array of vans, cars and trailers were parked. Walked down to the fort, signed on and had a quick look at the track. Quick it’s not, a tight, sandy track, with some interesting bumps and jumps. Technical would be the phrase.

Evo race start

The MX250 had had a brief service in a Lier carpark during the week after the trip to Combe Martin the week before after the impromptu piston change in the paddoclk. Fired up second kick and selected all the gears I headed down the road to the fort. Engines off as you walk through the tunnel into the fort, and then up the ramp to the start. Certainly a different place to ride. I’d had a brief sighter of the track but practice was interesting. Off the gate and then down a great bombhole under a bridge handily placed to view the start.

Did about 4 laps (and it was a relatively long lap), before the bike started missing and pissing petrol from the carb overflow. End of practice and a push back to the paddock. Non-trivial as it was now feeling warm. Even though its not a quick track its one of of those places that engine capacity would be good. You could do the whole track in 2nd on the SC500, as long as you could keep your front wheel from washing out in the sand. It was going to be dusty day.

Pintje and racing

Changed back to the VM34 stock carb I’d bought from Allens Performance earlier in the year, though I changed over the main and pilot after the problems I’d had at Scherpenheuvel two weeks before. Bike fired up and seemed pretty okay. All going to plan this time.

Tim's Royal Enfield

Now very warm and headed back down on the road to the fort. Tim (work colleague) had arrived and said hi, before going to look for the transponder and choose my peg for the start.

 Dusty !

Bike happy and starting okay from warm (well hardly surprising, it was now over 30 celsius). The gate goes down and not a bad start from the 20 or so on the line, though loose a couple of places through the first couple of turns. Keeping the line (and there is really only one) is pretty critical, as the sand is packed. Over the berm and you loose the front end. Jumps were good fun and after 3 laps, I’d managed to keep a BSA and a Husky behind me and things were settling down a bit. Spoke to soon and hit a fence post that loomed up in the dust, and stalled the bike. I’m roasting and getting the thing start wasn’t easy as I’d knocked the fuel pipe off the tank. Anyway, lost a couple of minutes (and a lot of places) whilst trying to start the bugger and then took it easy to the finishing line. Wow, hot wasn’t the word and Tim found me a few minutes later mainly naked in the shade of the van (sorry Tim).

Jumps a plenty

Went to watch a couple of races, and entries were relatively small, though not surprising given the weather and that it wasn’t a championship round. A cool pepsi from the beer tent (een pintje not a good idea). Then Sophie and Nele turned up with lunch (and more liquid) so headed out to the paddock. Sitting in the shade and good conversation meant that it was a quick fettle and off for the second race at 13h20. Now roasting as headed back through the tunnel to the start (thinking about it, how cool is that, using a tunnel to get to the start). Quick chat to Jef Bens in the pit box, with more than a sideways glance at the top end death rattle coming off the MX250 (the new Wossner piston has been ordered) .

Another good start (for me anyway) saw me around 7th into the bomb hole and managed to keep a few faster guys behind for the first three laps, where once again I lost the front end on a tight left hander, where again I’d lost the line. Pace better over all and I finished not near the back of the pack, though lost out to guy on the husky again, which was a shame. Had to hide in the tunnel for 10 minutes to cool off, before riding the bike back down to the van and the field. More liquid and then back to the track to watch the last two races and return the transponder. 36 degrees celsius now and very warm. We’re just not used to it in Bwlch.

Werner Castelyns coming out through the fort tunnel

The twinshock and evo fields were not big, but the main guys were going for it and pretty impressive in keeping it smooth over the sand and the jumps.

Headed over to Emblem to clean the bike, the van and my helmet, which was all pretty dusty, stopping via Drankenpalais Plus to pick up some more beer. Still warm, still drinking (water, not beer).

Another good reason to be in Belgium

Still cooling down at 21h00, including [ cold water baths in a paddling pool. ->
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150974927776315 ]. Today was a little crazy in hindsight, but as Sophie has mentioned this evening, but bike likes it.

It dipped below 36 C, but was still hot

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