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Update on events at this year’s Diamond Race 2014

2014 Europe Cup series round 3, VIERSEL, Belgium, 29th June


Round 3 of this years competition was the occasion for the 29th running of the famous Diamond race in VIERSEL, on  the Albert canal outside Antwerp, and the usual exceptional weekend of action unfolded.


There were a very healthy number of European skiers and teams, but we were delighted to welcome no less than 6 skiers from USA and Australia, who certainly enhanced the occasion, making a total of 70 skiers from 7 nations.


This massive occasion, so expertly staged by the city of Zandhoven and the VIERSEL waterski club is a feature of every season of waterski racing because of the exciting location and unpredictable water conditions which are most testing.


First race of the day was the Eurokids, for our two pre junior age group skiers of under 12 and under 15. There were 4 in each age category and the younger ones did two circuits of the 4km course with Ellen Rodens taking an excellent win in 12 minutes 13 seconds – the first home win of the day. Not far behind was Lauren Bird of GB, withSam Verweire also of Belgium in 3rd and Lenz Evereart of VIERSEL home in 4th.


In the older age group, there was further joy for the host country asTommy late remains was just too good on the day for Hannah Bird of GB after 31 minutes of racing. Julie’s Fehrmann of Germany took third here after two wins in the previous rounds, so there is everything to play for in the final round at GEEL also I Belgium next weekend. Sadly Daisy Slade of GB could not finish today. A good start to the racing despite the inclement weather.


Next action saw the Juniors and Men’s Formula 3 taking to the water. Demi Maeckelberg and Ewald Wismans unpredictable boat no.11 to the fore just clear of GB junior Ben Manchett and Martin Wiles Extreme no.47 with Tom Smith and no. 21 in contention. By lap 3, Ben Manchett had eased ahead and he powered home for another great win, with Demi a healthy second and Tom recovering after a swim to claim 3rd spot. Lee Holland of GB was a good 4th behind the F2 rig of Dave Ellis and Sam Clark and her GB rival Nadia Mersey were 5th and 6th in class.


Men F3 is a great category for close competition with 14 contenders today all completing the 35 minute plus one lap race on the gruelling canal.

Bebian stalwart Kelly Nulens again proved the best leading home first 4 all from Belgium to take step towards another title with one race to go.

Frederic De Wachter was second and Kristof Poetsch third. Best Brit was Ashley Cooper in 5 th place with Dan List oddly subdued today in 9th position. Good finishes for Laurent Pradal of France and his team mate Alioune Cisse in 6th and 8 th respectively.


We then enjoyed the encounter of the grand old men of waterski racing the Masters or those over 35 years young! These stars ski with the Ladies who are split into 3 groups according to tow boat engine size. 5 Masters entered the fray along with 14 Ladies.


Before the race there was a very touching ceremony as the lady competitors and teams witnessed on the Canal, a memorial to the late and lovely Sarah Teelow our World Champion F 2 Lady skier from Tenerife 2013 who passed away last November..Sarah’s ashes were laid to rest on the canal to the accompaniment of her favourite Elton John song called…..????


A fitting tribute to a great water skier so tragically taken from us all in her prime.


Our heartfelt sympathy goes to Tania and Chris her parents and to her family and friends who came across to Europe.


F1 lady, Kathrin Ortlieb of Austria, was immediately to the fore with  local lady Vicky Leysen holding a good second with her team mate, Christel Magdeleyns laying 3rd.

Kathrin has already clocked up, two wins in this series and was again imperious here today as she romped to victory today, a full 3 minutes ahead of her rivals after 41 minutes of great skiing on this renowned track. Vicky did well to secure a sound second, with Christel also finishing strong for 3 rd another 40 seconds astern. Sylvia de Speigeleire was home in4 th to complete he class. Sabine Ortlieb once more showed her ability as she won Ladies F 2  for Austria, just 17 seconds clear of Hailey van de Ven who in turn beat her Belgian co- team member Gitte van Gool. 6 th and 7 th places for GB interest with Gina Robinson just ahead of Marisa Alongi.


In Ladies F 3regular winner,Chris Rydl convincingly triumphed over Morganne de Cock with Ruby Dom not starting. Chris enjoying a great run in this class of results and is clearly the one to beat right now.


Final race of the day saw 22 men compete in the F1 and F 2 event and strut their stuff. The power play! The 5.8 km course was eaten up as the fierce contest took shape. As in round two in Austria Dave van Steelant of VIERSEL set a blistering pace for others to challenge and was clear leader after the first lap, although Darren Kirkland of GB was up close in 2 nd with Buby Bertels lying 3 rd and Jack Lynch of GB 4 th. Van Steelant was never pressured but by lap 3, Steven Van Gaeveren had pushed up to 3 rd and a lap later he had taken over second place. Where was Todd Haig? He missed his pull at the start and was languishing in 21 st spot on lap one, with it all to do! So watch this space. By lap 4 he had surged up the field to 9 th, and on lap 5, was into6 th– remarkable! After another stormer he moved into 4 th and was close to the front three of Dave, Steven and Darren.


On lap 9, Haig and his Nordic team no191 were into second place and set fair to chase the leader when their boat was swamped by another and the ignition was cut. They thus fell back to 4 th but back into the fray and powered on.

All the while team no72″ Axion” and Van Steelant maintained his pace and the lead to romp home victorious after 56 minutes.


Kirkland had regained second spot at the flag for another excellent effort with his” Uno Addito”  team of Patrick Klaus and Wayne Harvey, but Haig was now only10 seconds astern in3 rd place after an amazing performance by skier and crew alike. Steven Van Gaeveren was a very strong 4 th and was the only other skier to complete 13 circuits of this boiling circuit.


Two Brits in the persons of Jack Lynch and team 200 and Harvey Robinson and team 38 made their own mark today with a good battle for the next places in

F1 with Jack in 5th place for much of the hours’ work until Harvey eased past on the penultimate lap and held off his rival at the finish. But good performances all round with Will Newland team no47 in8 th.


In Formula 2, the early pacemaker wasDarryl Tyndall of GB and his Belgian team no. 29, with Dave Sewell and Jake Frame shadowing. Robin Marien of Belgium with” purple rain” no. 10 was always in the mix as well.


Disaster for team 76 and David Sewell when a persistent oil pressure failure caused their retirement on lap 7. Darryl soldiered on with Robin Marien in pursuit until the latter fell on lap 7. Meanwhile our Aussie and USA guests in F2 were starting to push for the front and on lap 8, Steven Robertson behind” Herbie no.272 took up pole hotly pursued by Jarod Teelow (173) and Cameron King (924) . These three were to contest the podium after 56 minutes with Jarod taking the gold, Steven the silver and Cameron came third, all from the back grid too. First European was Darryl Tyndall with team 29 in 4 th with Robin Marien hot on his heels. James Bartlett was 6th and Jake  7 th after solid performances. Barry Gibson of GB was 9 th and his all.


We now move to GEEL next weekend for the final round in this series with lots to go for.


Very many thanks thanks to VIERSEL club and all their unseen workers for another great weekend during which the IWWF region E &A Racing Council presented a lifetime Achievement award to the evergreen icon of ski racing Darren Kirkland for his unparalleled success, longevity and commitment to our wonderful spot.


Mike Waterman

BWSWR racing


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