by Hector Gorden
After a fine start to the season at the Belgian circuit at Spa the IHRO Continental Circus moved to the beautiful and fast circuit at Chimay. The races were held on the shorter circuit where the fast downhill tree lined section before the start/finish straight had this year been tamed by a chicane just before the café.
The Belgian meeting had attracted an entry of top classic racers plus the IHRO stalwarts. Phill Sharp was making a welcome appearance on Tony Dunnell’s Manx Nortons and Clive Ling was riding the immaculate Dennis Gaskins prepared Konig. French ace Bruno LeRoy was one of three Vincent mounted entries.
Qualifying 1 was held in good conditions on Saturday . Free practice saw Phill Sharp fastest followed by Alex Sinclair on a very fast Egli Vincent. Luke Notton on a Seeley 350 AJS was fifth fastest. Sunday timed qualifying saw a front row with Clive Sinclair in pole and Gary Thwaites second, Luke Notton third and Clive Ling on the Konig completing the line up.
At the start of race one Clive Ling could not engage first gear and started in second seeing the front row disappear in the distance. He recovered to finish a fine second overall. At the end of lap one Alex Sinclair was in front and soon had a commanding lead on the very fast Vincent single. The race looked to be a Sinclair benefit with the IHRO regulars having some epic fights in mid field. Dutchman Jan-Frank Bakker retired on lap one. Notton was soon out on lap three while going well until tyre problems side lined him. On lap five Sinclair was leading by the length of the start-finish straight but ignition problems brought his charge to a halt. A very fast and consistent Gary Thwaites was the overall winner and IHRO 500 first with Bruno LeRoy second and Phill Sharp third. Clive Ling was first IHRO 2. Rich Hawkins headed the IHRO 350, David Tetley was second and Steve Parrott third.
Race two was for the Martin Ogree Trophy and started in sunshine after an afternoon of drizzle and showers. Gary Thwaites had a fine start and at the end of lap one had Alex Sinclair and Clive Ling in close company By lap two Bruno LeRoy had joined them just behind a fast Luke Notton whose circuit knowledge and talent were showing with the 350 AJS. Sinclair and Thwaites soon extended their lead meanwhile a battle royale was taking place midfield with a large group of riders enjoying a great scrap. The two leaders were lapping backmarkers by the fifth lap but the final result was not in doubt as Alex Sinclair and the Vincent beat Gary Thwaites by over five seconds after a fine race. Luke Notton finished third overall and headed the 350 class. In the IHRO 500 Bruno LeRoy was third and consistent Ian Steltner was fourth on his Seeley G50. Clive Ling headed the IHRO 2 with Alain Vandriessche second on the Paton and Jarno Jonker third on his BMW. At the back of the field IHRO newcomer Antoine Poiret was lapping consistently and getting to grips with his 450 Ducati. David Tetley and Rich Hawkins completed the 350 with a second and third respectively.
In the absence of a Schleiz meeting for 2015, Chimay was appointed as the meeting to distribute the IHRO annual awards.
The IHRO trophy, the most prestigious of them all, for the person who displays the most ‘IHRPO Sprit’ was awarded to Willi and Leo Poot, Willi has been seriously ill for a number of years but she and Leo have not let it spoil their lives and have continued with great humour despite the setbacks, worthy winners indeed.
The A3R trophy for the fastest Goldstar machine in practice went to Jan-Frank Bakker.
The Classic Racer magazine trophy for the person who made ’that little extra effort’ to race was given to Alain Vandriessche for his efforts at Spa, during the day on Friday, Alain allowed IHRO riders free access to his Dyno facilities, when everyone had left, he put his own Paton on the dyno, and dropped a valve!!, he then drove 500 kms overnight to get a replacement, machine it and fit it before his own chance to ride.
IHRO now move to UK to Cadwell Park and then, in August to the wonderful road circuit at Gedinne in the Belgian Ardennes.