The Bembridge duo battled it out against local West Flanders drivers in somewhat scorching conditions, winding their way through the tricky Belgian roads.
Saturday saw the crews making a reconnaissance of the stages, with 2 passes of each stage in normal road cars. This recce is an opportunity for the drivers and navigators to make pace notes describing the route in detail, corner by corner.
A ceremonial start took place that evening in the packed market square of host town Oudenaarde, with cars driving over a podium and interviews with drivers via public address system to the large crowds.
Sunday saw the competition get underway at around 09:00 with dry roads, glorious weather and 4 legs of special stages on closed public roads to tackle flat out against the clock. The start of leg 2 was curtailed after a car caught fire in the stage but resumed shortly afterwards.
As the day wore on many cars fell by the wayside through mechanical failure or evidenced by the many stricken cars occupying ditches and fields along the route. Weaver and Pink were one of the first on the scene of an accident in stage 6 with a car blocking the road. This stage was cancelled as a result and crews directed to the final stage of the day.
Notwithstanding a trip into a field having vaulted a ditch, Richard and James completed the rally with no significant damage to their car. Finishing 20th overall of 104 starters, they were satisfied with the result on unfamiliar terrain.
“After a 3 year break since our last visit to Belgium to be in the top 20 overall against stiff competition and local knowledge is pleasing.
“We hope to be back to Belgium as soon as possible. The atmosphere and fan turnout never ceases to amaze me. The local people love rallying.
“I hope that the sprint event at Sandown seafront next year will be equally embraced by our own community here on the island.”
The team would like to thank their local sponsors for their continued support.