Monday, 30 May 2016

Bank Holiday Blitz at Mettet

Peter Lindén and Stéphane Mertens scored a convincing win at the Mettet 4 hrs last weekend. For the first time the race had a classic and a hybrid post-classic class, attracting 34 starters. Sweatshop Phase One won the classic class and the race overall. On Saturday, leg one of the race went exactly to plan. Fastest man Mertens ( pole 1.11.7 secs) started and finished, with Lindén completing the long mid-stint. The team led the race from start to finish. The 118 Senechal Suzuki pushed hard but were still four laps behind at the flag. Michel Siméon/Fred Tacheny won the post classic class (5th overall) and Team Force (Greg Fastré/Richard Hubin) went out early with a big oil mess on their new post classic Harris Suzuki.

The Sunday afternoon leg was not quite so straightforward. Mertens again started , this time in wet and raining conditions. Stop one went to plan, but as Mertens relaxed he noticed oil on his left boot.
Consequently the team pulled Peter Linden in early and changed to a three stop strategy. Stop two meant losing over half of the teams race one winning margin of four laps, by bringing the bike into the pitbox for a clean up and initial diagnosis. Nothing was obvious, so the team used instant-seal on all left side gasketted joints and pushed on with Mertens aboard. Post stop discussion and analysis revealed more. Team members had spotted the starter motor move when the start button was pushed. All was clear. the starter had either come loose or broken. The next stop proved the latter to be true, a palliative repair was applied and Lindén cruised gingerly to the flag for the overall and class win with a two lap margin.

Britain's Steve Clark and Steve Boam scored an excellent 3rd place, in class, on their SCERT Harris Suzuki 1230 after a trouble free race - albeit after changing engines on the Saturday after a crankshaft failure.

Roger Ruiz, one of the five world champions present at Mettet, had a fantastic weekend, coming back from a light crash on lap two of leg one and then going on to finish second on Sunday - and all from a guy who is 70 in September.

Fastest lap; Stéphane Mertens 1.10.9 secs

Top Ten Results Overall

1  Peter Lindén /Stéphane Mertens.  
    Sweatshop Phase One Suzuki      171 laps   Classic
2  Nicholas Senechal / Lionel Frerad
    Baugy Motos Suzuki                   169 laps    Classic
3  Michel Simeon  / Fred Tacheny    
    Tacheny Suzuki                           164 laps   Post Classic          
4  Steve Clark / Steve Boam              
    Team SCERT Suzuki                   162 laps    Classic
5  Rob Morlon / Pedro Hernandez    
    BMW R1000RS                           161 laps   Classic
6  Bernard and Gaspard Demelenne  
    Yamaha FZR 1000                       160  laps   Post Classic
7  Bruno Weyland / Jerome Feyen    
    Moto-Martin Suzuki                    159 laps   Classic
8  Bert Goorts / Roland Lissens        
    BMW R1000 RS                          159 laps   Classic
9  Jean and Ronan Le Folch              
    Suzuki GSXR 750 Suzuki            158 Laps  Post Classic
10 Oliver Delagneau / Freddy Font    
     Kawasaki ZXR 750                      156 laps   Post Classic

It was great to be at the top of the podium again. Thanks to all team and sponsors for making that possible.

The seasons highlight, the Spa 4hrs, will be held over the weekend of 2nd/3rd July. We hope to see you all there, newly freed from the shackles of the European Superstate.  RB

Photographs by Kick47

Monday, 23 May 2016

Mettet 4 hrs: Mertens and Lindén

It's always lovely to get those two riding with each other again!
That 2000 WEC winning year was really something special; teamed with Warwick Nowland they scored six finishes from six starts and were rarely off the rostrum. Great memories.
Mertens and Haynes (Mettet 2015)

The Mettet 4 hrs will be run in two legs of 2 hrs, one on Saturday afternoon (not into the night) and the other on Sunday afternoon,
28/29 May.

This year, for the first time, the organisers have elected to run a class for later machines. It seems the later class is a "catch all" to enable anyone, with anything up to 1991 to ride.
It should be interesting, but effectively ends this race as a classic endurance event, which is a real pity as it was a useful race to keep the ECS honest. €550 entry fee at Mettet, €1450 entry fee at Spa!!

My feeling is that if a "post classic", 750cc up to 1991 had been adopted, it would have been true to the endurance classes at the time and would have been a great venue to bring out genuine endurance machines from the period.
Anyway, we shall do our best; despite being in the "support race". Sour grapes? A little.

In 2015 we were beaten into 2nd place by Team Force, and we really don't want that to happen again.

See you there!


Mettet 2013 (archive picture made by Jacco Dijkhuizen)