Winter break is finally over! Last weekend, on April 22 and 23, this year’s European scooter and two-wheel championship held its kick-off races. The championship is divided into 7 classes.
In addition to the regular scooter classes, the EST now offers a platform for pit bikes and maxi scooters. More than 80 pilots registered for the 2017 championship and were eagerly waiting for kick-off. The EST made it their mission to pay special attention to young riders. It is a great pleasure to see so many more new riders registering this year. Several new pilots gained their first racetrack experience at the first European Scootertrophy event in Templin. The youngest rider was just 13 years old…
The races started on Saturday morning at 9 o’clock sharp. The weather forecast predicted a mix of rain and sun for the kick-off races. The pilots had to manoeuvre carefully to get good pace in qualifying. As expected, it was Marc Harder who excelled here. The 2016 champion of the expert class pulled in the day’s best time with a record time of 54,946 and made it to the pole position in class 3, followed by A. Lukas and C. Hüser. In Class 2 SuperSport, G. Apostel managed to get to the pole position with a time of 58,314, followed by M.Schröder and M. Brüggeshemke. Class 1 Rookies was dominated by P. Stefanutto with a time of 1: 02.681, followed by A. Dittmar and T. Trafis. In classes 4-7 that started together R. Shahin secured pole position on a Big Bore (cl. 5), followed by I. Arnault on a pit bike (cl. 7) and J. Schack (cl. 7).
After qualifying riders were given 2.5 hours of free test runs for all classes to find the optimum engine settings for Sunday.
Everybody was getting hyped up about the races on Sunday. There were some gusty winds blowing through the paddocks on Saturday night, and the weather forecast for the next day did not sound very promising.
In the first race, P. Stefanutto was not able to take advantage of his pole position. Alexander Dittmar raced directly to the top position and stayed there till crossing the finish line. There were lots of changes in position in the rest of the field, though. In the first couple of laps, # 65 Jan Carstensen, starting off from 5th place, made it to second place and remained there to the end. Stefanutto fell back to 4th place, but managed to come in third at the end.
It stopped raining when the the second race started. A. Dittmar had a good headstart and, just like in the first race, was able to stay ahead till the finish line. Carstensen also made it from 5th to 2nd place. Tobias Trafis started from 3rd place and was able of keeping it till the end. In the field behind those three pilots, every lap saw a change in positions. In lap 7, the weather got worse. The continuing light drizzle led to cancellation in lap 9 with crashes and falls looming as the vehicles lost traction on the road. It was decided not to start again, which meant that only half points were given since less than 75 % of the total race distance was completed.
Podium: 1. Alexander Dittmar – 2. Jan Carstensen – 3. Tobias Trafis
Gabriel Apostel started from pole position and reaffirmed his excellent result from the day before. In a head-to-head race from the first to the last lap, Apostel did not give runner-up Schröder a chance to pass him. Brügeshemmke was not really capable of keeping up and finished 10 seconds after those two. In midfield, there was a thrilling triple-header between Berktold, Kückmann and Carstensen, who finished the race in this exact order.
Due to the race cancellation in the Rookies class, the second race started with a 10 minute delay. Race management decided to go ahead and hold a wet race since the weather seemed to remain on the rainy side. This meant that the race turned into a guessing game for which tires to pick. Half the field went for slicks, the other half for rain tires. The race started in the dry, the the rain set in and turned the following 3 laps into a wild ride. The riders with slicks had to fight against the lack of grip to keep the scooters on the road. The pilots with rain tires had the upper hand and raced to the front positions. But in lap 5 the weather turned and the sun came out again, so the track dried up in no time. This meant catch-up time for the pilots on slicks. In the end, it was M. Brüggeshemke who kept a cool head in spite of all the difficulties, defied the rain and wet ground on his slicks and crossed the finish line first. He was followed by # 35 Berkthold who also took advantage from the enfolding chaos to come in second. Apostel, who after briefly dropping from 1st to 9th place, came in third and thus secured the overall victory in this class.
Podium: 1. Marc Brüggeshemke – 2. Gabriel Apostel – 3. Florian Berkthold
Everybody was looking forward to the class 3 kick-offs. Harder’s times were considerably better than those of his competitors on Saturday. A. Lukas did not seem to stand a chance from the get-go, and this impression was confirmed in the first race. Harder dominated the field at his own pace and finished with a 10-second lead. Andreas Lukas could not really keep up and had to settle for second place. Behind him, Kevin Pohl came in third. C. Huis had to admit defeat to Ong.
The second race started in bright sunshine but the forecast called for bad weather again. Although Harder had a better start, Andreas Lukas was much faster this time. And so it turned into a tire-to-tire race, with each lap becoming more and more exciting; the entire time Harder was able to keep the lead. The race became even more thrilling after it started drizzling in lap 10. In lap 11, Harder’s riding skills could no longer compensate for the lack of grip on the wet track. Lukas took the chance to get past Harder. Shortly after, the race was cancelled by the race management with 75% racing distance completed in lap 12 and it was not started again. This meant that Andreas Lukas was the lucky winner who benefited the most from the twists and turns in weather. The remaining field was a repeat of the first race – Pohl before Ong, followed by Hüser.
Podium: 1. Andreas Lukas – 2. Marc Harder – 3. Kevin Pohl
In both races there were simple start to finish victories. Henry Zehe did not give Daniel Lövenich a chance and scored two victories. Jan Gronow came in third, but did not run in the second race.
Podium: 1. Henry Zehe – 2. Daniel Lövenich – 3. Jan Gronow
A well-known rider reaffirmed why he is one of the top pilots for a long time now. R. Shahin ran in the BigBore class and left everybody behind in both races. He basically plowed through the field and managed to come in first. S. Bickell was kind of unlucky. After already experiencing slight problems in the first race, he had to drop out of the second race due to a technical defect.
Podium: 1. Riad Shahin – 2. Sven Bickell
The only participant was Achim Bähr. This meant he won both races.
Podium: 1. Achim Bähr
7 pit bikes started in the new class 7. The entire field did, however, not stand a chance against an outstanding Joe Schack. He showed his competitors how to corner a pit bike like a pro. Midfield was dominated by I. Arnaut and A. Quast.