Course and timing revised, new Class
The Legend Boucles @ Bastogne
continues to forge ahead!
An event that does not evolve is one that stagnates. There is no risk of that occurring with the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne, key organisation of the Royal Automobile Club de Spa team. This Tuesday 2nd October, the driving force of this major sporting event held in the middle of winter met the press and partners in Bertrix, one of the stage towns, with a view to taking stock of the various evolutions regarding the 2019 vintage of the Legend Boucles, scheduled to be held on 1st, 2nd and 3rd February.
A renewed team
The organising team’s hard core of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne is evolving noticeably. Consequently, as previously announced, Jean Caro as the man responsible for the course and overseeing the smooth running of the event is stepping aside and handing over to Eric Chapa. Well known and appreciated in the world of classic car competitions, the latter is the individual who brings in a fair amount of new ideas, a heavy dose of enthusiasm, all sprinkled with a dash of serenity.
Pierre Delettre’s son, Pierre-Louis Delettre - ‘Pilou’ to his close friends – joined the offices of the Royal Automobile Club de Spa full time as from the month of August. He is taking charge of the organisation’s daily management of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne, in addition of the marketing. Which obviously is no mean feat. And an additional generation of the Delettre family…
As for the communication, from henceforth this is entirely the prerogative of Vincent Franssen, who will be standardising the handling and releasing the information, whatever the category. Now in the era of social networks and fast information (which does not imply it being botched), news will follow at regular intervals, only one or other major announcement being reserved for the press conference in Bastogne, some ten days prior to the start. Where first and foremost it will be a question of an overall reviewing. …
Cuts made on the Saturday
Having taken the excellent habit of debriefing the previous edition in the presence of a representative panel of drivers and co-drivers emanating from the three categories ‘Legend’, ‘Challenger’ and ‘Classic’, the organisers understood and accepted that Saturday’s mileage, fruits of long liaisons, was too heavy. Enough to create a major change, with the addition of a third special stage (or regularity test - RT) in the Province of Liège! “Don’ t read into this any will of a U-turn on our part when it comes to the geographic integration of the Legend Boucles, Pierre Delettre let it be known. But with three special stages in the Province of Luxembourg and three others in the Province of Liège, we will be making the job easier, especially avoiding those superfluous kilometres for the competitors. It is therefore appropriate to talk about a rationalisation of Saturday’s course, which will allow the teams to leave somewhat later on Saturday morning, and to return earlier on Saturday evening. The event’s conviviality will gain even more from it, notably in the heart of Bastogne! On the other hand, no major changes in Sunday’s stage, which remains 100% forestry and 100% Luxembourgian. With by way of something new a section of … 42 kilometres (!!!) which promises loads of pleasure for the drivers and co-drivers of the three categories! Trust us, this is going to be fun and games!”
A ‘Super Legend’ Class with a 1,40 coefficient
Definitely the major newness of the year at a technical level. Faced with the upsurge of vehicles not or no longer meeting the prescriptions of the period, the organisers have decided to accept at the start, under the designation ‘Super Legend’, vehicles that have or should have been refused in previous years. Those that are therefore concerned by an additional Class in the ‘Legend’ category (and therefore neither in ‘Challenger’ nor in ‘Classic’!) are:
Vehicles built up until 31/12/1990 (Period J2 Annexe K of the FIA regulations) corresponding to the homologation sheet, as long as these are only two-wheel drive vehicles (no four-wheel drive!). Here we are referring to the BMW M3 E30, Ford Sierra Cosworth propulsion, front-wheel drive cars such as the Opel Kadett GSI and Astra GSI, Peugeot 205 et 309, etc.
Vehicles that have been technically modified to such an extent they no longer correspond to the initial homologation sheet. Here we are referring to cars (31/12/1986 max) fitted with engines re-bored more than 20%, engines and gearboxes not corresponding to the origin of the car, Proflex type suspension, more powerful brakes than those of the period, etc.
All these cars, considered to be ‘Super Legend’, will be authorised to take the start and compete in the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2019 in the one sole ‘Legend’ category. They will be encumbered with a 1,40 coefficient, which will prevent them from claiming the most coveted overall places, whilst – theoretically – be in a position to finish in the top 10 overall!
“Through introducing this ‘Super Legend’ Class in the ‘Legend’ category, the main objective is to allow a maximum number of competitors to compete in this great Legend Boucles @ Bastogne event, as also to ‘clean up’ this category of machines that do not respect the basic regulations, Pierre Delettre commented. It is more than ever clear that the Legend Boucles must remain a true historic rally, with an overall top 5 reserved for cars in the spirit of the event, dating from the ‘70s and ‘80s. However, it is also just as clear that the organiser is well aware of the power of attraction of more recent vehicles, or very (too much) modified, as far as spectacle is concerned. Through applying the 1,40 coefficient we hope to satisfy the largest number of people, without impairing our event … »
Something new in ‘Classic’ also!
Exclusive domain of the regularity devotees at 60 km/h, the ‘Classic’ category has also been subjected to some immediate attention. Consequently, in close collaboration with Blunik, the timing partner, every effort will be made to accelerate the process of transmitting the results at the end of each regularity test. This from one end to the other of the 19 sections of the event. This will also allow for a faster organisation of the final overall podium in this category.
A question of guaranteeing the widest possible sporting fairness, a list of 20 drivers said to have ‘priority’ will be defined based on the results of the last two editions. These 20 drivers will set off from minute to minute for Saturday’s regularity tests, whereas the others will leave from 30 seconds to 30 seconds, as has been the case since several years. On Sunday, with the 100% forest stage, it will be the first 20 from Saturday evening’s overall rankings who will set off from minute to minute, prior to a start every 30 seconds as from the 21st provisional place. Irrespective of the team.
Roll bar strongly recommended in ‘Classic’
No way is this measure compulsory … for the time being! However, it will be as from 2021, the year in which the cars competing in the ‘Classic’ category will also need to be fitted with a safety roll bar of the less elaborate type than those of the ‘Challenger’ and ‘Legend’ categories. “In no way is the objective to involve the competitors in costs, but to avoid that one day the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne is headlined in the newspapers following an unfortunate accident of a car without a safety roll bar, Pierre Delettre commented. Keeping to a 60 km/h average in the forest sections on Sunday, or even on Saturday’s varied course, with ever enduring uncertain weather conditions, is not without risk. Enough to encourage us to forge ahead to steer clear of problems. For the time being fitting a roll bar is strongly recommended. This will also still be the case during the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2020, but as from the following year the measure will be mandatory. As from that edition a text drawn up by the RACB will be incorporated in the technical regulations.”
Eifel-Ardennes Cup in collaboration with the Rallye Köln-Ahrweiler
Among the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne organising team’s priorities is the ever growing and important entry of competitors from neighbouring countries, or from even further afield. It is in this state of mind that an agreement has been reached with the organisers of the Rallye Köln-Ahrweiler, which will take place on 9th and 10th November 2018. Among its members the club has several dozen owners/drivers of classic cars, some of which can only take part in ‘Demo’ runs in Germany, not meeting the regulations in force.
The creation of the ‘Super Legend’ Class in the ‘Legend’ category in anticipation of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2019 will allow these competitors to really take part in a rally, and as such to compete within the framework of the Challenge and set up within the framework of the Rallye Köln-Ahrweiler 2018 and the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2019, the Eifel-Ardennes Cup. A discount (20%) on the competitor’s entry fee taking part in both events will be applicable, whereas some thirty machines emanating from Germany are awaited in the Bastogne region. And there is a likelihood that there might well be numerous (pleasant) surprises …
The videos of the special stages available as from Friday morning
If traditionally one needed to wait until Saturday evening to receive the videos of Sunday’s special (secret) stages, this situation is going to evolve. With the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2019 competitors will as from Friday at 09.00hrs be able to receive the videos of the special stages (RT) of Saturday AND Sunday. These special stages will not be named, but simply numbered, with a view to reducing the temptation to go hunting for pace notes, in fact something which is always impossible for Sunday’s sections, predominantly drawn up on tracks non-accessible to cars in normal times.
Other innovation, the ‘Legend’ and ‘Challenger’ competitors will receive Sunday’s notes drawn up by a specialist, as in previous years, but also those of Saturday’s special stages, a question of becoming familiarised with these. This will also save time during Friday’s recces, using these as a base to draw up their own pace notes.
The marquee will be ‘Gulf Vintage’ through until 2022!
Among the commercial agreements signed or poised to be in view of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2019, worth noting that the marquee set-up on the Place MacAuliffe will be in the ‘Gulf Vintage’ colours for four additional years. Not having gone unnoticed last February, it was the outcome of a partnership with the Gulf petrol station of Martelange. The concept having received unanimous support, it has been renewed for the following four editions … at least! Once again Steve McQueen will be on hand!
Additionally, partnership agreements have been renewed with Toyo Tires (2019) and Spa Racing (5 years!), whilst other commercial or other collaborations are presently under discussion…
Registrations open as from 1st November
Last but not least, registrations in view of the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2019 will start as from Thursday 1st November. This for the three categories, namely ‘Legend’, ‘Challenger’ and ‘Classic’. And as announced last year, the rates remain strictly unaltered …