The second IRRC weekend welcomed the teams just like the first stop of the 2015 season in Hengelo ended: cool and rainy. However, despite the initially bleak outlook surprisingly hot days were to come for the pilots – and that´s not just in the meteorological sense.
Since the Pinkster Races in Oss are traditionally started on Whit Monday, the race weekend starts with the training on Sunday here. And it was sunny! Although the first IRRC supersport training session already was started at half past eight in the morning, after a wet Friday the pilots were indemnified with blue skies, sunshine and springlike temperatures. The Palgraven ring was completely dry overnight, the rain from the previous days still had a negative impact. Like all tracks in IRRC calendar the race in Oss is also on normal traffic roads and therefore there is almost no grip at the beginning of the race weekend. The rain of previous days enhanced this effect and it was obvious that it would not take long, till there would be a first victim.
Due to the serious accidents in the past year, in 2015 the first two laps of the first training in the different classes are performed as sighting laps behind the safety car. But that’s not necessarily a remedy and IRRC guest rider Chris Nobel proofed this shortly before the end of his first flying lap. The Bene-Cup rider had a proper highsider at the exit of the fast left hander before the short pit straight, threw his GSX-R with force into the steel fence of neighboring shipping company and remained lying on the ideal line. The ambulance was out within a few seconds but due to the rider and the motorcycle could not retrieved immediately, the training was aborted in the third round. For Chris Nobel it even looked as if the whole weekend was done.
Pain-free but no less unlucky went the first practice for Thomas Wendel. Due to technical issues with his R6 the lad from Kelkheim in Germany didn´t even travel to Hengelo and now he rolled after 4 rounds with a broken spark plug to the pits.
When it comes to best times even in the early stage of the training it became clear, who would be the one to beat this weekend. As in Hengelo it was Marek Červený who claimed to the pace from the first lap and the czech man finished the training with a 1: 39.519 the provisional fastest lap. He was followed by the Italian IRRC newcomer Luca Gottardi who already showed his potential for the first time with his second place in the second race in Hengelo. The third fastest time was set by Marc Bornhäusser.
The IRRC Superbikes also showed a similar picture like at the first weekend in Hengelo, too. Championship leader Sébastien Le Grelle seemed to have a perfect feeling for the track in Oss from the beginning and pushed a 1: 36.819 minutes in the still slippery asphalt. He was followed by guest starter Koen Zelen (NL) who was almost 1.3 seconds behind and by the rain king of Hengelo, Johan Frederiks. Fastest German was Didier Grams in fourth place. The Saxonian struggled in the first training with the stop-and-go character of the track and a resulting changing pressure point on the brakes of his 2015 BMW. And he was not the only one who faced this problems during the training. Since in Oss a few fast straights and slow 90-degree corners row up after each other, the track gets some brake system to its limits here. That´s why also Kai Zentner and Stefan Wauter in the SSP class were also severely affected. Especially the latter, needed to interrupt the training several times because his front brake quit its service fully completely.
in order to gain something extra training time, like in Hengelo many of IRRC pilots attended the BeNe-Cup too. The level in the second IRRC qualifiying therefore was closer togehter and especially Joey the best could make a huge leap forward. During the first practice session he only managed to get the ninth fastest time, but now he completed the front row behind Marek Červený and Luca Cottardi. Červenýs lead ahead of Luca Gottardi on the second postion had halved since the first practice session, but with a gap of almost 0.9 seconds he was still substantial postion. AND: As always Červený exclusively joined the IRRC, while almost all other starters took advantage of the BeNe-Cup training!
Tim of Ooijen, who fights in BeNe-Cup for the championship and who uses the IRRC for additional training time grabbed fourth place. The fifth fastest man on the circuit was Stefan Schörgendorfer. The Austrian is 2015 also rookie in the IRRC, but due to his experience as a mountain racer in the Austrian and French championship he is dealing very well with the IRRC road racing courses and went a very respectable 1: 39,828 minutes.
Sammy de Caluwe, Laurent Hoffmann and Marc Bornhäusser already hahd proved in BeNe Cup training that they also easily could go faster than 1:40 minutes, but all three stuck in traffic the whole second session and didn´t meet their own expectations. They qualified in sixth (de Caluwe), seventh (Hofmann) and ninth position (Bornhäusser). Kevin de Frenne joined on eight and Daryl Dörlich completed the Top Ten. Apart from the top-notch racer Červený seven of the top ten rider were within 1.5 seconds, which pointed again towards an exciting race.
The gaps between Superbike rider were a bit bigger. Although Didier Grams got rid his braking problems thanks to the other braking discs on the front wheel, Sébastien Le Grelle still was the man to beat. While Grams on second place still tried to break the 1: 35 minute barrier, the Belgians rode a 1: 34.510 minutes and kept the rest of the riders at a comfortable distance. The last place in the front row with only 8 hundredths of a second behind Grams was conquered by Vincent Lonbois. Here probably even more could have been possible, but the teammate of Le Grelle crashed after a good third of the qualifying, injured his left wrist and had to stop the training session. Even a start in the race was questionable. Johan Frederiks and Koen Zelen secured the places 4 and 5. But after the races in Hengelo it was clear that those two definitely should be on the list of podium candidates, too.
Best of the rest was again Timothy Baken. The Superbike rookie was a bit handicapped by quickshifter malfunctions and chattering, but with 1: 36.549 minutes he only was a good tenth of a second behind Koen Zelen. Matti Seidel gained a respectable 8 places, Tomas Gottschalk, in Oss the first time on the bike in 2015, put his BMW on the 16th position on the grid.
After perfect summer conditions on training saturday was gone with best weather across the stage, the first race on Monday was challenging the supersport pilots with random conditions. Just in time for the race, the sun fought back through the clouds, but the track was still wet from the rain the previous night and only began to dry slowly and unevenly. While the first half of the track already showed conditions for slick tyres, the second part was still wet and slippery, so most pilots decided to start on rain tires. Only Thomas Wendel and Tim van Ooijen gambled a bit and rolled out on slicks or profiled slicks.
Undeterred by the conditions Marek Červený again won the start, but behind him it was the time of the underdog and the youngsters. While the experienced drivers quarreled fairly with the wet conditions, the young guns showed a lot of courage and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. One who really hit the throttle from the very beginning was Stefan Schörgendorfer. The Austrian managed to have an awesome start, went into turn one on outside line, past Luca Gottardi on second position and clung to the heels of the leader Marek Červený. But Schörgendorfer wasn´t the only one, who was able to overtake Gottardi. Shortly afterwards, also Laurent Hofmann who started from seventh, Kevin de Frenne and Sammy de Caluwe passed the strong newcomer from Italy.
While Hoffmann lost the front at the end of the first round at the entrance start / finish and threw away his good start, de Frenne and de Caluwe were not that easy to beat again. Although both pilots are among the most constant top ten drivers, a podium position isn´t that easy to get. De Frenne also even passed Stefan Schörgendorfer in round two. Unfortunately the austrian show shortly afterwards ended spectacular with a highsider.
Thus the way was free for the second Top 10 place of Hanno Brandenburg. The Germany from Velen also had a great start, took the seventh position, benefited from the failures of Schörgendorfer and Hoffmann and finished his best race ever on fifth position. He was followed by Daryl Dörlich also from Germany. 7th place went to Chris Nobel. The Belgians has surprisingly quickly recovered from his proper crash in the first practice session and gathered on Sunday afternoon even the pole postion in Bene Cup qualifiying. Also more than impressive was the performance by Christian Schmitz. The 21 year old IRRC rookie rode in his third IRRC races ever on a great ninth place and won for the second time championship points.
Alongside Marc Bornhäusser on tenth position especially Joey den Besten was one of the losers of the race. The reigning champion had a good start, but also was quarreling with the adverse conditions and he was handed back further and further over the laps and finished the race only on the thirteenth rank.
At the start of the Superbike race the conditions were nearly optimal again. It was still a bit cooler than during previous day, but due to wind and sun the course was now completely dry again.
Starting from 5th position, Koen Zelen launched like a rocket the first and already was in the lead when he passed the first corner. In his slipstream the dutch guy was followed by Sébastien Le Grelle and Didier Grams. However the real man was only on fifth position at the end of the first lap. Contrary to expectations, the Belgian rider Vincent Loinbois was able to race and despite his injury he was on a mission to regain lost ground. In round 3 he already overtook Johan Frederiks on 4th position and in lap 5 he als had pressed past Zelen and Grams. He then even was able to close the gap to his teammates Sébastien Le Grelle but his pace wasn´t fast enough to run a final attack before the end of the race. But his time was still to come. It was Koen Zelen who won the the fight for the final place on the podium and who pointing Grams and Frederiks on the courts.
Start it all again
The second IRRC Supersport race then prevailed optimal race conditions and as expected, everything went on as usual. Marek Červený rode to an unchallenged start / finish victory and also was able to gahter with 1.37.380 minutes the fastest lap of the weekend on a 600cc motorcylce. This time even could get him easy on a Top 5 position in the Superbike Class. Second place again was captured by Luca Gottardi, whose fastest time was indeed only 8 hundredths of a second slower than Červenýs. Even third and fourth place remained unchanged from the outset and in the hands of Joey den Besten and Kevin de Frenne. Stefan Schörgendorfer also was able to defend his fifth position till the middle of the race, but due to a mistake he went far back then and only finished the race in twelfth place. After his strong performance during the training and his crash in race one, this was certainly not a satisfactory result for him.
Kai Zentner eleventh place was a bit better here. The youngest pilot in the starting field struggled a long time for 9th position and even was able to fight back with Marcel Zuurbier, Daryl Dörlich and Thomas Wendel for several laps, but then had to surrender shortly before the end of the race. As he is one of the few who only ride the IRRC and do not join the BeNe-Cup for additional training sessions, this is a very strong result.
For Hanno Brandenburg the second race provided a bitter pill. The surprising fifth of race one rode a long time in the midfield, but made braking mistake on lap 6, went off-road and was the penultimate when he made it on track again. After his spectacular first race he had certainly hoped for more for race two.
Superbike, Lauf 2
Also in the second IRRC Superbike race of the day it was the star of the injured Vincent Lonbois who was shining bright, but this time it was even a little lighter than in the first race. Although it was Didier Grams who won the start, at the end of the first round it were Koen Zelen and Lonbois who crossed Start/Finish in front of the current IRRC Superbike Champion. And it was clear that the Belgians wouldn´t be satisfied with the second place. That his ailing left hand does not really bother him, he already had shown by winning the BeNe Cup Superbike race. And this time he did not hesitate a long time, took over the lead on lap 2, and didn´t give it back till the end of the race. In the meantime, Sébastien Le Grelle had recovered from his poor start and started his comeback. Starting his fightback from fifth position he snatched Didier Grams in round 3, did the same shortly afterwards with Johan Frederiks on third place and immediately started to attack Koen Zelen. Until the middle of the race he was then comfortably on second place. Between Frederiks, Zelen and Grams inflamed an exciting fight for the last place on the podium and Frederiks seemed like he would be the one. Even in the penultimate corner, he looked like the last laugh, but then was a bit to late on the brakes in the last corner. Koen Zelen closed the gap, went the inner line and won the acceleration duel against the unhappy Johan Frederiks.
With a first and a second place Sébastian Le Grelle collected diligently points in Oss and extended his lead in the championship on 86 points from. Second currently still is Johan Fredriks (67 pts.), but Vincent Lonbois and Didier Grams with 65 points each are not far behind.
In the supersport class it´s a bit more clear. With 4 wins and 100 points Marek Červený (CZ) clearly has the lead here. Second place is held by the Italian IRRC rookie Luca Gottardi with 64 points. Reigning champion Joey den Besten (NL) is on 3rd place with 57 points and the best German rider is Marc Bornhäusser with 41 points overall on 6 position.
Please find the current standings here: