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vrijdag, oktober 09, 2009

Relay Rik Thys : hamok and 2/4L

Belgium's largest relay was run today at Masy. The all important military trophy Rik Thys was won by 2/4L, while hamok won the best civilian team and best all female team awards. In an exciting and top-notch organisation, only the strongest teams had a chance to fight for the victory.

Among the civilian teams, Flemish clubs Trol, Omega and hamok clearly fielded the best teams. The traditional favourites of the military, 10WTac and 2/4L would also run head-to-head for the title, with especially 10WTac focusing on this event.

Hamok, the 2006 winners, with Thomas van der Kleij and Jeroen Hoekx in the current team, was still lacking a big title this year. No orient-show victory, no WOC-victory and no Belgian relay title. Chairman Luc Melis has a history of mispunchings at the Rik Thys and has been injured the last 5 weeks, but still said to be prepared for the race.

Trol is missing its very best veteran runners, Laenen and Vervoort, both in Australia. Marc Meeuwsen, the king's own bodyguard, was the one to join Ken Peeters and Trol's Latvian Andis Laveikis in their quest to match their 2007 title.

Last year's race was won by Omega, with a rather old team. They added Joost Talloen to complement Jan Delobel and François Jacobs.

Team tactics are very important in the Rik Thys Relay, since each team needs a M40 or older. Traditionally, this person is running in second position. Of the three favourites, only Trol had Meeuwsen in second spot. Hamok had Melis as their starter and Omega deemed Jacobs able to finish it off.

In the mass start, it was Gunther Deferme (2A) who started best, closely followed by Melis. But in the open area of controls 3 and 4, they were overtaken by Trol's Ken Peeters and good old Martin Beckers. At the TV control (3), Talloen already had a 2 minute deficit. It was Peeters who arrived first at the spectator control, with Beckers right behind and Deferme 1 minute down. Melis couldn't keep up with his fast starting pace and lost time, with a lot of runners passing him. Spectators saw the runners stumbling near the control, signs of a tough course, with one group of six military runners clearly indicating they had suffered enough already.

Trol's Mark Meeuwsen was the first second runner to start, with, as the next real orienteers to start, Omega's Jan Delobel, 10W Tac's Stefan Wils and Trol's second team runner Winston Franssen. Rather surprising, Dept. Inf.'s Ivan Vis was also there to start in a good position. With Bart Delobel as a third runner, they would still be candidates for the overall victory. Hamok was some 7 minutes behind the leaders and 5 minutes behind on Omega to start, but by the spectator control, it was only Jan Delobel who was in front of your reporter. Meanwhile, Stefan Wils had to stop his race when he fell down and injured his knee. He was brought to the hospital, ending 10W Tac's dream. In the last few meters of the race, Jan Delobel lost the lead for a few seconds, but Hoekx got unsure and lost precious seconds on the forked second last control.

This meant that François Jacobs was the first third runner to start, a few seconds in front of Thomas van der Kleij. Van der Kleij quickly surpassed Jacobs and a mistake at the TV control decided the race. Hamok was the first team to arrive and showed to the rest of the world that they are also able to race well without presumed "knowledge of the terrain". Second runners Franssen and Vis raced close to each other for most of the course and launched their final runners in a good position. Bart Delobel was the one to finish third and was the first military team to arrive, but they couldn't win the Rik Thys trophy, since Vis is a civilian working for the army. The winners of the Rik Thys came from further behind, Geert Simkens pushed hard and secured the title for 2/4L, winning quite a few places during his last leg. We also saw a fast time for Benjamin Anciaux of 10W Tac, less than 30 seconds slower than the fastest time. Without Wils's injury, they would have run for the victory.

A competition in the competition was the all female competition. Hamok fielded a strong team with Nancy Wenderickx, Annemie Jansen and Marijs Van De Weyer, which subsequently won the trophy, although the fastest female runner overall was Saartje Sallaerts (KOL).


(all photos by An "ik zie er wel keislank uit in de bekerreflectie" Frederickx)


  • At 9/10/09 17:41, Blogger An said…

    Lang leve de bekerreflecties :-)

  • At 9/10/09 21:47, Anonymous Anoniem said…

    Hey Jeroen,

    Gefeleciteerd met de overwinning vandaag tijdens de wisselbeker Rik Thys. Je hebt een uitstekende wedstrijd gelopen evenals Thomas dus de overwinning is verdiend.
    Ook bedankt voor de mooie tekst over de organisatie. Misschien wordt dit ook wel in het buitenland gelezen waardoor we in de toekomst misschien wel buitenlanders aan de start krijgen.



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