Africa Eco Race 2020
Africa Eco Race 2020
Noël Essers and his team leave the site Lommel early in the morning for Monaco.
In 'the Beast' Noël is accompanied by Tijs Vranken and Marc Lauwers. Johan Cooninx and Luc Hellings will follow the team with the assistance car and help where necessary.
The race will officially start on January 4th at 7 pm.
Early in the morning the team leaves together with the other participants by boat for Savona. Still some time to relax and inform the home front. During this boat trip there will also be a safety briefing for all participants.
The start signal has only just been given and it's already going wrong. Noël sees some low hanging branches as leaves and the windscreen of the truck has to be attached to them.
Fortunately, they don't let the bad luck get to them. Our team regains a nice 9th place after stage 2.
'The Beast' slowly climbs to the top in the third stage and climbs 2 places: from 9 to place 7. Our colleague, Chris Gale, gives the home front a look behind the scenes in Bivouac.
The start of the 4th stage, this one is 404,53 km long and ends in Smara. And again a jump from place 7 to 6, meanwhile we are getting closer and closer to the head of the race.
Stage 5 and place 5 in the general classification. The H.Essers team is unstoppable and moves up another place. This stage ends in Dakhla, where all participants will get a day's rest on Sunday to recover from the tension of the past days.
Ready for the 6th stage after a good rest day. Also 'The Beast' was spoiled yesterday by a fresh wash and is ready for it again.
Today all visas of the participants were checked as well. So a long wait... But the stage ended in euphoria again, as our team can move up another place.
Igor Bouwens of the Gregoor Racing Team wins the stage win.
"It's been a tough day. The many dunes made it extra difficult but there were no problems with the truck.
That is the most important thing. All in all it was a successful day", says Noël Essers.
The eighth stage goes from Aidzidine to Tidjikja and soon means bad news for the top of the race, the Gregoor Racing Team.
When they enter the first stretch of dunes they come to a standstill. Without a 4x4 drive it's impossible for them to resume the race and Igor's team is driving towards the start in order to measure the damage.
We also got into trouble in this stage as 'the Beast' got stuck in the dunes, fortunately the Van Velsen Rally Sport team is ready to help us out. Unfortunately this means that the H.Essers team drops 11 places in the general classification. From place 4 to place 15. Hopefully they will have more success tomorrow!
Noël's overtaking manoeuvre didn't take long. The team climbs back 11 places after the ninth stage!
A good day for the team. Only a small setback: the leaf spring of 'the Beast' is broken. Luckily our mechanics on site have already stood in front of heavier fires.
In the last stages Noël and the H.Essers team still manage to climb 1 place.
This results is a nice 4th place in the final classification! Congratulations to Noël, Tijs, Marc, Johan and Luc!
It was an edition with setbacks but most of all a lot of nice memories!