Fabled Belgian Horice Speedsters

Fabled Belgian Horice Speedsters

Special thanks to Czech Road Racing statistician Jan Vavra for putting together another fascinating stats based article, which revolves around 21st Century Belgian racers circulating around the Czech Republic’s most acclaimed real roads circuit, Horice.

Jan’s recently compiled piece, reads as follows:

The first Belgian rider participating in non-yesteryear races at Horice in 1981 was Dieter Heinen. Leading the 350cc race, he ultimately was a non-race finisher.

During the 1990’s, present era Sidecar racer Chris Baert represented Belgium in the 125cc category.

There has been an expand of Belgian riders nowadays, started after premiere of Twin class category (2013) and debut of IRRC (International Road Racing Championship) at Horice in 2014.

To the present times 25 riders in total from Belgium have participated at Horice (not on classics machinery).

First sound of ´La Brabancone´ across Horice in modern classes for winning a race, was in 2015 (IRRC event), when circuit newcomer, Ex World Supersport and MotoGP rider Sebastien Le Grelle mastered the opening Superbike race.

To this day the only victory by a Belgian road racer in non-yesteryear races at Horice.

Paul De Doncker has three wins from Classic 500 races. Former and current lap record holder for Classic 500’s Marc Michot (2.44.624) and Bart Crauwels (2.41.876) have one win from the same class. De Doncker and Crauwels also competed in the Super Twins class.

IRRC Superbike 2016 and 2022 Champion Vincent Lonbois is the second fastest newcomer (2.15.254) in overall Horice history. IRRC Superbike 2015 and 2017 Champion Le Grelle is third (2.17.153) in newcomer best lap times list behind Lonbois and another IRRC Superbike Champion from 2019 – England´s star Davey Todd (2.15.084).

Lonbois claimed in 2022, five years after Le Grelle’s PB Horice lap time (2.15.185), the speediest Belgian Horice exponent title, by the slenderest of margins, 0.001 of a second!

Lonbois, Le Grelle respectively occupy the ninth, tenth fastest racer spots in Horice racing history.

Additional Belgian roads favourites to have followed Lonbois, Le Grelle in tackling the Czech Republic’s real roads gem include Laurent Hoffmann and Jean Pierre Polet.

Both known for their Northwest 200, Southern 100 exploits, 2012 and 2013 IRRC Supersport Champion Hoffmann also boasts Ulster GP, TT, Macau GP experience.

Others to name but a few include Kevin De Frenne, a previous Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough competitor at the Cock O’The North Road Races of 2016.

Geoffrey Vankoekelbergh, Lightweight TT newcomer in 2015, Classic TT pilot in 2013 and 2014, Bart Crauwels.

There are some added racers from Belgium who have sampled Classic machinery races at Horice, like already mentioned Michot and Herman Verboven, Jean-Pierre Capel.

IRRC Belgian participants in recent years who did not travel to the Horice paddock were for example: Timothy Baken, Lambert Berrewaerts, Vick De Cooremeter, David Drieghe, Marnix D´Hondt, Steven Galens and Marc Fissette.

The riders from Belgium to have sampled Horice, read as follows:

Horice participants 2013-2023

(Personal best lap time located near racers name)

Vincent Lonbois – 2.15.184
Sebastien Le Grelle – 2.15.185
Laurent Hoffmann – 2.17.926
Jean-Pierre Polet – 2.24.216
Yannick Jacops – 2.24.985
Gregory Botty – 2.25.532
Thierry Pulinx – 2.25.622
Sammy De Caluwe – 2.26.269
Koen Brusten – 2.26.822 (only practice)
Kurt Haek – 2.28.405

Mike Ceuppens – 2.28.417
Joel Smolders – 2.29.056
Dieter Vervloessem – 2.29.169
Kevin De Frenne – 2.33.033 / 2.29.302 (only practice)
Jerome Varlet – 2.33.633
Benjamin Vanacker – 2.34.287
Christophe Carlier – 2.36.442
Paul De Doncker – 2.36.823
Geoffrey Vankoekelbergh – 2.38.829
Jerome Astore – 2.38.959

Jacques Borremans – 2.41.099
Bart Crauwels – 2.41.751
Peter Bonnarens – 2.49.888

Horice participants before 2013

(Personal bests are not known – year of participation near racer’s name):

Chris Baert – 1990
Dieter Heinen – 1981

In memory of Vick De Cooremeter.

Photo credit: Robby Repsol

Words by Jan Vavra

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