The 8th stop of the EuroTour Presented by Starboard took place in Namur, Belgium this past 24th of June. From the beautiful Mediterranean sights of Croatiawe made our way across Europe to the very picturesque town of Namur. The event now in its 5th edition has already been a part of the EuroTour since the start and takes place right in the middle of city.
The competition started on Saturday morning with the headline event, the long distance race from Charlie’s Capitainerie, in the middle of town, to the edge of the city to then come back through three bridges into a 3’5km loops. Amateurs completed 2 loops of the course for 7km and the Elite crew did 4 loops for a 14km total. The past month had seen quite a bit of rain in the region meaning that the river level was at its highest level, bringing currents into a key element of the race strategy.
The men’s race had a very quick start by Austrian Peter Bartl (JP) that took the first buoy that had been set against the current (which by the way virtually eliminated people creeping over the line as they were constantly being pushed back).From there a tight group of seven competitors that would stay together for the rest of the race formed. Even though there were four laps to the course competitors tried different sides of the river on the legs against the current to get a faster line, and that kept the race very entertaining to watch; as competitors will meet again at the first bridge every lap.
Out of that group a very in form Frenchman, Jeremy Teulade (Starboard) who showed great sprinting technique in the final 500m straight outlasting German Normen Weber (Siren) a true contender when its flat who can match many of the best. In 3rd place was a great effort by Italian powerhouse Davide Ionico (Fanatic) edging out the ever consistent Frenchman Martin Letourneur (Hobie).
A new comer to the scene, Boris Jinvresse (Starboard) finished on the podium and in the money with a great 5th place, showing that his second place in the 200m sprints in Germany where he surprised many was no fluke.
Closing the top group was France’s Joseph Gueguen (SIC)in 6th followed by The Netherlands Joep van Bakel (Fanatic) finishing an impressive 7th. Joep is a new face that has recently crossed over from Surfski and has quickly become the fastest in his country.
The chasing pack was next with Peter Bartl (JP) coming in 8th followed very closely by his team mate German Peter Weidert (JP) and veteran competitor from Netherlands Martijn Van Deth (Starboard) closing out the Top10.
On the women side, showing that The Netherlands has plenty of talent, Petronella van Malsen (Fanatic) powered to the finish line with a minute lead over Frenchwoman Amandine Chazot (Starboard) another new comer to the racing scene that showed great form and we predict will be a standout in many other races. Completing the podium was yet another competitor from Netherlands Janneke Smits (Mistral) followed closely by Austrian 14yr old Laura Bartl (JP) that did an excellent race over the 14km.
Following the Long distance race the weather turned for the best, with beautiful sunshine that would remain for the rest of the afternoon (something about raining during the race here in Namur that seems to be a classic). The “XL Race for glory” was a lot of fun with the women team (aided by the organizer himself Bertrand Loute) putting on a great effort but falling short of team France, who captained by freshly crowned winner Jeremy Teulade (Starboard) proved too strong.
The closing ceremony was next with the podiums and awards being handed in the very suiting floating soccer field that the crew at Charlie’s Capitainerie also operate (first one in Europe). To cap a fantastic day in Belgium the organizers put on a great home cooked dinner where they mixed the Belgium traditions with some Moroccan cuisine.
Truly an amazing event, where Bertrand and his entire crew worked hard and ensued all the competitors were being looked after. Special mention to Rico Leroy from France the Race Director, that besides doing a great job running the race has been part of this event since day one; being a huge part of his success. We also want to thank all of the Happy Summer Namur sponsors for making it possible.
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