On the 17th and 18th of August, the town of Bastogne will host the Belgian Grand Prix. Despite an extremely short preparation, the first visit to Bastogne last year exceeded all expectations, and last week local organizer Dynamic Marketing Group introduced the 2013 GP of Belgium to the press.Benoit Lutgen, Mayor of Bastogne, emphasized how proud he and the entrepreneurs of the city are to welcome and support an event of this importance.
Spoiling the fans
André Mathieu, responsible for the track construction in collaboration with Youthstream’s track expert Greg Atkins, explained the main changes in the venue to make the track more spectators friendly and improve their experience. “There is a new tunnel that leads to the centre square and the starting zone. The visibility of the start has also been improved. We’ll have stands on each side of the track and we will have a state-of-the-art watering system because we expect to have high temperatures during the weekend! And last but not least, the paddock is now completely paved,” explained Mathieu.
A “clean” Grand Prix
One Dynamic Marketing Group’s Edmond Detry goals is creating a Grand Prix with as little environmental impact as possible. “Thanks to the support of the City of Bastogne we can introduce a system of reusable drinking cups. Another novelty is an on-site container system to sort the rubbish and a team of 20 people will work continuously to take care of the waste,” said Detry. “Moreover, the organization itself uses vehicles from the “Blue Line” range of Hyundai, guaranteeing very low emissions.”
Equally unique is the Belgian GP’s attention for disabled spectators. “For fans with disabilities we will provide a separate entrance,” Edmond went on. “Access for wheelchair users and their companions will be free. Furthermore we have reserved a dedicated platform with the best possible visibility for them.” It comes as no surprise to see André Malherbe again acting as the godfather for ‘the battle of the Ardennes’. Besides, the Honda legend will be the consultant and co-commentator for RTBF, the Belgian national television, during the Belgian Grand Prix.
High hopes for Belgian stars
Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jeremy Van Horebeek attended the press conference. The fast MX1 rookie is looking forward to his home Grand Prix. “It’s always special to race for your home crowd,” said an enthusiastic Van Horebeek.
“I have great memories about the track from last year. It would be awesome to get my first podium in the MX1 class in Bastogne. I’m in good shape and over the last couple of weeks I have proved that a top three finish is possible!”
Not only Van Horebeek is on top of his game for the moment. Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Clément Desalle rode to an impressive second GP win of the season two weekends ago in the Czech Republic. You can also count on Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ken De Dycker, third in the World Championship standings, and Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Kevin Strijbos to be up there as well. A relaxed Desalle knows that the world title will be a tall order this season but the MX Panda is in a combative mood for Bastogne. “I won’t allow Antonio Cairoli to be crowned world champion in my home race. I will do everything I can to avoid it!”