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Report of Niels Cools's racing day, powered by Diabolo.lu performance parts:


The invite of competing in the French championship on a scooter came as a surprise. Happy as a small kid I took the opportunity.

So this is how it went, Saturday:

After a whole day Saturday practice it became clear that we needed to do an extra effort for the race day, this because in the french championship there is no weight and carburation limitation. Meaning that our not weight reduced zip SP2000 powered with a 19mm carburator has a great handicap in the weight/power ratio.....

But ending the day with a second best laptime gave some confidence. The best lap was placed by a Swiss guy named Mathieu Bessard, whom was a pretty fast guy with a really good performing bike. Conclusion of a whole day working on the setup of the bike was mounting a new rear tire and a as good as new front tire.


After waking up and having breakfast the last detail on the scooter where prepared. Getting the racing number #36 in place and checking the tire pressure.


The first (and only) training session was on a slightly wet track. So just waking up and get the feeling again with the bike and the track was the only goal, we didn't try to set a good laptime, but apparently good enough for setting the pace  .


Checking and cleaning the transmission and refuel the bike was the main duty in preparation for the qualifying session. It was still cold and windy and the track was still al little bit wet ons some corners so I started the qualifying on a slow pace warming up the tires. Knowing that the session only lasts 10min instead of what I am used to 15min, made me little bid to enthousiastic which lead into a crash halfway the session. Because I was at that time qualified in the 2nd place we decided to withdraw the session. Which wasn't the best thing to do, because the other riders started to warm up and we dropped to a 7th place on the starting grid.

Race 1:

Ready for race 1, when the light's went off I was very fast on the throttle and I started to clearing the gap with the front, but when we where all launched the weigh/ratio handicap became visible resulting in a very bad first turn. Then it was time for some hunting. As the race went further I could hunt the field down one by one until passed the 3th guy in race. Then I had open field with the leading group, which was a pretty large gap. So hit the throttle and the last two laps I was in the back of #69 Christopher Auzoux whom was running second. I had one lap to observe the lines and find some gaps to pass #69 Christopher Auzoux. The last 6 turns it was my change so I prepared and made my moves, which resulted in a very nice and sportive battle that lasted 4 turns just passing each other. But there was no time enough and a power/weight handicap the lead the race. I ended race 1 in 3th position with the fastest lap time on my name.

Race 2:

After a rain shower we had to take the most important decision of the day, tire choice! What would we do?.... We decided to enter the track with a new set of PMT rain tires. For me the first time with a scooter in the rain and the first time ever I rode on these tires.

Apparently the start grid of race 2 was the result of race 1. Meaning I was ranked 3th on the grid. Feeling confidence I waited for the light to go out! But as we expected before turn 1 was there we lost again some places.... I did not feel very comfortable on the rain tires. It took me a few laps before I was confident, following the leading group on the 4th place with a big gap to the 5th. But then the track really started to dry up which was terrible for the PMT rain tires. The scooter had no more grip on the back wheel and started drifting each turn. The 3 guys in front of me made a better tire choice. Keeping the pace of the leading group was racing dangerous, because I had no grip at all on the back. because #69 fell in the early stage of the race I felt comfortable in the 4th position. This place would give me a start in race 3 from the front line. So I took no risk and turned the pace down resulting in a comfortable 4th finish. Conclusion, we could not have made a worse tire choice.....

Race 3:

Everything was possible, because the last race counted for double points and I was placed on the grid on the first line. The track didn't dry up complete but I was determined to go for the win with the slicks mounted again. But off course I know I wouldn't come easy, because the scooter just doesn't has a good weight/power ratio... This I hunted down most driver quite quick, until I got stuck on the 4th place. The guy in front of me (which was leading the french championship, Jacques Pagliaï) was clearly slower in turnspeed but he gave me absolutely no place to pass.... but when I tried and placed the scooter next to his he still tried to push me off the track. When I withheld and came out before him out of the corner he easily passed me again with his very strong engine.... But near the end of the race I succeed and concurred the 3th place. Now it was time to head for the leading group with again a huge gap to close.... I pushed and rode the fastest lap times until some rain drops start falling. When I opened the throttle in turn 9 it happened, I made a small crash, I KNEW I had to stay in front of Jacques Pagliaï or the podium place was in real danger. So I kept my hands on the steering wheel and played with the throttle so the engine won't stall. I picked-up the scooter in no time and was on the track again just before Jacques Pagliaï. The gap to the leading group was way to big now to close. So I just completed the race in a safe pace an waiting for the checkered flag to fall. But just in the 3th last turn, the leading group crashed out together which was sad event but a good thing for me, I passed the finish line before them with the fastest lap time on my name.

So now it was all about calculating the points which gave the following podium:

1: Niels Cools (Belgian guest driver)

2: Dennis De Lijster (Dutch guest driver)

3: A french guy whom's name I cannot recall


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