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The 25th Diamond Race Report

The 25th Diamond Water Ski Race was set to be a tremendous event with almost 100 teams making up the biggest Diamond Race in history.

The sun heated up Viersel to 30’c and the crowds lined the banks of the canal as well as the bridge over the start line.

Superb organisation and ski racing fans from all over Europe, USA and Australia turned up to enjoy the action packed racing which is synonymous with the Diamond Race.

Scott Brooks added more fun to the weekend with a sweepsteak which was a great success and I hope he goes on to replicate at many other races. It was also Scott who sent out all the Twitter updates onto skirace.net, Twitter and Facebook during the races so many thanks to him for that.

The racing kicked off at 12 noon and in Euro Kids A it was Britain’s diminuitive Lee Holland (below) who powered through to a 1000 point win with fellow Brit Ben Manchett securing 2nd. Rudy Dom of Belgium unfortunately didn’t finish.

Lee Holland

In Euro Kids B, Marvyn Praschinger flew the Austrian flag and won by the skin of his teeth with Micki Forstel also of Austria just 5 seconds behind in 2nd. Dan Ellis of Britain was just 21 seconds adrift of Micki and was pleased with the 3rd place and the 988 points he notched up in his 1st Diamond Race.

The Juniors set a blistering pace with Buby Bertels leading the field. Robin Marien (below) was on a grid behind and he gained enough ground on Bertels to secure a 4 second win and 1000 points. To give Belgium the top three places in Juniors, it was Yolien Bormans who came in 3rd with 971 points.

Robin Marien

In Women’s F3, Agneta van Houten from the Netherlands was the only skier to complete 6 laps, dominating her category and winning in style. Belgium’s Nikita Van Craen had some pressure on her hands with Belgian Gitte Van Gool close by but she managed to secure 2nd with Gitte 16 seconds behind in 3rd.

In F2 Women it was Britain’s Paula Newland (pictured below) who commanded the lead from start to finish with Dave Llewellyn driving and her husband Nigel observing. Following her 4th position in the 2009 Worlds, Paula won the event 57 seconds ahead of Belgium’s Davina Sipido, with Christel Magdeleyns also of Belgium, coming in 3rd.

Paula Newland

F1 Women’s provided entertainment value as Austraia’s Trudi Stout skied in her debut Diamond Race. The 18 year old Aussie took the lead with Robbie Wright and Chris Cole as her crew, but was then challenged by the Austrian F2 World Champion Kathrin Ortlieb. But just as they were side by side, Ortlieb fell and Stout was never under any pressure for the rest of the race and picked up a win. Belgium’s Vicky Leysen nothched up 2nd position and Ortlieb came in 3rd.

In the Seniors, Patrick Dom led from start to finish on his home water and whilst Britain’s Rod Hawkins had won the 1st round in Vienna, he settled for 2nd this time round with Britain’s Russsel Cox 49 seconds behind in 3rd.

Men’s F3 was a riveting race with plenty of action. It was Belgium’s Neil Coppens who bagged the 1000 points this time with Belgian Michael Glenet 38 seconds behind in 2nd and Jelle De Leeuw also of Belgium in 3rd.

The final race of the day was mens’s F1 & F2. 27 teams on what was a longer than usual Diamond Race course were set for 50 mins plus a lap. Men’s F2 provided plenty of thrills and spills but it was local skier Dave Van Steelant who secured a win in 10 laps with Belgium’s Glen Goelen less than a minute behind in 2nd and Britain’s Richard Kirk picking up 3rd and 942 points, whilst trying to hold up his wetsuit shorts at the same time.

Men’s F1 was going to be interesting and it certainly was. Bernico maker Nico Bertels stormed into the lead in convincing style. But as he completed his 1st lap, he was pulled too tight around the turn and his line was caught on the undernaeth of the turnbouy. Bertels bravely held on in the hop that the line would come clear but it was not to be and he was pulled down into the bouy (see photo below).

Nico Bertels

This left it wide open for 6 time Diamond Race winner Darren Kirkland (pictured below) and the Brit took advantage of the opening and proceeded to extend his lead on Australia’s Chris Stout. Whilst Bertels got back into the race and set a quick pace, it was not enough to catch Stout. Kirkland’s crew of Philip Lamot and Werner Van Espen did a tremendous job of steering clear of any trouble and pulled Kirkland to the 7th Diamond Race win that he badly wanted in what he says was his last Diamond Race. Stout was 1 min 45 seconds adrift and secured 2nd and Bertels took 3rd 54 seconds behind.

Darren Kirkland

Full Official Results

More photos from Wim Lamot

Many thanks to the Van den Bossche family, Jules Leysen and many others for their hospitality and 1st class organising, and to Chief Judge Paul Cole and his team for judging the day’s events. Thanks to Wim Lamot for all the photos shown above, and also of course to my fellow commentator Rob Harks – ¬†we had a lot of fun calling the races.

If anyone would like to write more about the event, please send me your article or post in the comments section below.

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