Dutch and Belgium buggy team dominate 8h of Les Hemmes

by David van Boven

Fotos + Video

Last weekend we saw spectacular kite buggy racing at this year's edition of the 8 hour endurance race of Les Hemmes. More than 40 teams battled it out over a long course on a hard packed, windy and sunny beach in the North of France.

Our Dutch and Belgien team riders Mark van den Berg, Dennis Aalbers, Davin van Boven and Robert Smits proofed to be unbeatable on their Chronos.

This is how David experienced it:

"One of the most attended events of the year is the 8h race at Les Hemmes. The club, Kite Hemmes Oye, was able to organize this event for the 4th time in a row.

They sure know how to make a well attended buggy event with over 80 pilots from all over Europe. Riders from Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK were representing!

In this race, you can choose one or more teammate up to 4 in total. This year Robert Smits and I decided to team up and do better than our 3th place 2 years ago.

You ride for 8 hours on a course and in this 8 hours you are allowed to change pilot or kite. Robert and I decided to use the Ozone Chrono 9m². This seemed to be the right choice when Robert went out for some test runs. This would be his 2nd time on depower kites and he was chasing other riders that usually beat him.

The team to watch out for were Mark Van den Berg and Dennis Aalbers from The Netherlands. These guys are currently number 1 and 2 in their national championship and also fly Ozone Chronos.

Robert said I needed to start and everything felt good. Someone in front of me got in a tangle and I had no chance to avoid it. So I had to back up, and I finally started as one of the last pilots.

Because of the big advantage of the Chrono, the depower, I was so much faster going upwind than the fixed bridled handle kites.  After my slow start in 8th position the depower performance allowed me to catch up on the downwind leg with speeds up to 80 km/h to climb to 4th position on the upwind track.

After 2 hours, Dennis and Mark were leading with Robert and myself in 2nd. The race master decided to stop the race and make the course bigger (because of the tide we had more space). 

This resulted in a re-start where I managed to take the lead for almost 2 hours, but then Mark passed me on the upwind course and managed to build his lead. Robert took over the ride and was able to maintain a stable gap with Mark. As this was only his 2nd day on depower kites, he is one to look for when he has his Ozone Chronos!

At 18:30 in the evening, we finished on 2nd place behind Mark and Dennis. 3rd place went to Eric Leegwater from The Netherlands (+1 lap), also with a depower kite.

With the Ozone Chrono now dominating Buggy races in Europe, we can say that unknown names become big names in the buggy sport! Thumbs up for Ozone leading the revolution with the Chrono.  

Pictures By Marc ten Brink and Christophe Laloux.