Last week the NemoRacing team joined the rest of Europe in Eskilstuna, Sweden for the European A Championships.
All of the best and brightest were in attendance and every practice run and heat; you could feel the tension and excitement in the air. The weather was nearly perfect on the track all week long, with mostly sunshine and just a few light showers and wind, perfect race weather really. The track facilities were unparalleled, a fairly new build it features a café, restrooms, showers and an impressive rostrum, along with a lower platform to the side of the track for spectators to catch the action.
We arrived on the Monday to set up a support base to offer our help and spare parts to all those that need it, then we set about checking the track out… hold on to your hats ladies!
This track was challenging to say the least, pretty sure there wasn’t one driver that didn’t have something to say about the conditions. Dustex was used on the track surface to make some attempt at binding the dust and improving things. It did not. There was only so much that could be done, the hot weather made for a dry track and there was plenty of loose gravel and dirt on top that only seemed to worsen over time as the cars hammered the track during practice and qualifying heats. There was nothing like the massive potholes in France a few weeks ago, but enough to cause a frenzy of tyre choice confusion. People went from V-max, to Freeride, to Cubes and all the way back to V-max again, though Freeride seemed to be the preference for most.
At the end of qualifying we had Darren in a fine 6th place and many of the team in the higher finals. Darren had run near the front all week showing the SV's great bump handling. Joni, the Kilics's, Ari, Callum, Edouard etc all had promise to move higher...
The finals day started really well for the team, with many finding their way into the top 4 and as such bumping into the next set of finals. In particular Edouard and Ari did this several times, with Ari just missing out on progressing to the semis.
Every driver seemed keen and was putting in plenty of effort to get as far as they could, though unfortunately there were only 13 top spots to be had for the main final in the end. Some mild fortune occurred on the day of the race; rain fall the previous day and night meant the track was slightly easier to traverse for everyone, though again the sun made short work of drying it out. Interestingly, two Italian drivers that qualified for the semi-finals managed to avoid their marshalling duties without immediate disqualification. This understandably caused quite a bit of upset amongst all the other competitors, who remember all too clearly a similar scenario involving a young driver who had travelled overseas at last years euros, only to be disqualified for the same offence.
The justification for only receiving an official warning was that the officials had not followed usual protocols for informing drivers of their duties, so the usual punishment did not apply. I’m not sure everyone agreed with that logic, as the duties were clearly displayed and the other drivers managed to fulfil theirs… but we digress…
Darrens semi soon was on the line and he duly ran top 3, never looking hurried on the track it was a smooth transition to the main final for him. We were all delighted. Its so hard to make the main final at these events, requiring man and machine to be in harmony. This would be the 3rd time out of the last 4 euros that Darren has put his Agama in the show and the first for the new SV platform. After the normal driver introductions to the building crowd the buzzer sounded and Europe's best were off on their 45 minute race to crown one of them as champion. The number 6 machine of Bloomfield gracefully worked his way to the top group, running as high as 3rd on occasion and never more that a few corners away from the lead pack. Ultimately he would take 7th overall as the flag dropped to signal the end. He ran for the duration with no issues, no cuts and we are all very proud of his result.
Congratulations to Robert Batlle for taking the European champion title and our heartfelt thanks to the track crew and organisers for one of the best euros we have seen.
Next on the cards for us will be the UK nationals this weekend, which puts us back in Pembry, Wales.
Cheers from all at Nemo, and as ever…
Race for fun.