For over 90 years the fast flowing, also technically challenging roads of Chimay, have hosted top calibre pure road racing competition.
In the modern era, the well loved roads circuit in Belgium has since 2010, hosted a round of the International Road Racing Championship.
This years Open Trophy meeting, marks the third round of the 2017 running of Europe’s premier roads series.
Championship leader Sebastien Le Grelle, who holds a healthy 20 point lead in the Superbike standings, starts for many favourite this weekend for more big bike success.
Photo by Robby Repsol
The ex Grand Prix racer, is joined this weekend at Chimay, by reigning champion and Herpigny Motors BMW Motorrad Belux team mate Vincent Lonbois.
Vincent making a wildcard appearance at one of his favourite roads venues, is certain to mix up the anticipated competition at the front of the IRRC Superbike encounters.
German roads great Didier Grams, Wepol/Safemetal Racing’s Marek Cerveny and Johan Fredriks a recent race winner at Chimay’s Classic bikes meeting, are all capable of sealing a race win or two.
Don’t discount as well the talented Finnish duo of Erno Kostamo and Juha Kallio, from contending for podium finishes aboard the Markka Racing BMW’s.
Added ones to watch include fellow circuit newcomers Estonia’s Martin Partelpoig and Lukas Maurer, 2012 Newcomers A Manx GP winner Kamil Holan, the improving David Datzer and Ales Nechvatal.
Keep an eye as well on high profile wildcards Optimark Road Racing’s Fabrice Miguet and Xavier Denis.
Photo by Jarmo Heikkeri
Looking towards the IRRC Supersport races, expect championship leader Performance Racing Achterhoek’s Joey Den Besten, to have strong challenges from the likes of Pierre Yves Bian, Thomas Walther, Christian Schmitz, event newcomer Davy Thoonen, plus former champion Laurent Hoffmann.
Outside of the IRRC classes, Chimay also holds this weekend Sidecar and Super Twin races.
Just some of the Super Twin riders to keep an eye on include debutant Dave Butler, a top five finisher in last years Newcomers B Manx Grand Prix, David Kuztal, Joel Smolders, Stefan Wauter and Paul Klopp.
Whilst notable Sidecar entrants include Dan Knight with a still to be confirmed passenger, Estelle Leblond/Melaine Farnier, Francois Leblond/Marlene Couillard, plus the Irish duo of Denis Cusack/Simon Mythen.
There’s also races for Endurance Classics, Endurance Post Classics, Classic EVO, IPC and national championship Superbike and Supersport races.
Photo by Jarmo Heikkeri
Established as one of mainland Europe’s most popular and prestigious roads venues, Chimay has attracted over the years many of motorcycle racing’s biggest stars.
At a glance just some of the star names to have enjoyed success at the circuit, which reminds me in parts of the legendary Spa Francorchamps include Michel Simeon, Giacomo Agostini, Barry Sheene, Johnny Cecotto, Rolf Biland, Jack Findlay and Fergus Anderson.
Competition is scheduled to get underway on Friday from 1 PM local time, which will be followed on Saturday by a full day of qualifying action, before a 14 race schedule takes place on Sunday.
Words by Stevie Rial