Is it the atypical timing that reminds us of the 70s editions where the crews start the first stage on Friday evening for it to end Saturday afternoon? Or is it its unique atmosphere in Ypres where the organisers provide the perfect mix of relaxation & competition? One thing is certain: after its first edition last year, the Ypres Historic Regularity has become the Belgian favourite for the European regularity rallies. There are 100 crews, including a whole series of specialists and there are 20% foreign teams who will give victory a shot or … just go back in time at least 30 years.
“We have not changed anything about the initial concept, except for some fine tuning. Just as the European rally drivers will be presented with a sporty and compact program in June, the regularity specialists will also have to deal with the same challenges,” says Norbert Dumoulin, competition leader. “But in addition to our fixed concept, we have expanded the program for this second edition. During the three-day event, this year the caravan will visit 4 host municipalities en route. An innovation we are proud of, because in every host municipality where the caravan descends, there will be an old-fashioned motorsport atmosphere to sniff and we will organise either a service zone or a stamp check or a closed regularity ride where many spectators can see the participants in action in complete safety. “Of course, the exact course – as is the intention of the event – will be kept strictly secret, but we will give you the 4 host municipalities and the exact program per host city first!
Boezinge, was put on the map as the capital of historic motorsport for the last 15 years through the Ypres Historic Rally, which, can of course not be missed on the program of “the legend”. Just like last year, the opening test will be organised on Friday evening 29 November. It will be a closed regularity run where the cars will grind through their first meters of the race. An identical route to last year’s (Ravestraat & Reningestraat) will be seen where the participants must do a stamp check on the market square before proceeding to the next test of the evening: a secret regularity ride that accounts for 17.13 km!
After the two opening tests, that of Boezinge & a first secret regularity ride, the caravan lands Komen-Waasten. The first two tests will give a first look at the rankings and on the initiative of Francis Soete, the former Lys Racing Team, the first service zone takes place in the centre of Warneton. In combination with a time control inside the café “à l’Hôtel de Ville” where the navigators have to have their time card stamped, there will be an appropriate feeling of nostalgia. But that is not everything! A few kilometres away, in neighbouring Comines, a short slalom trial will be organised just like in the 1965 edition. Only then will the participants finally go into the dark with a long series of secret regularity tests. There will a service zone in Merkem De Kippe at around 9:15 pm concluding regularity stage on a route that was last used in 1984 …
On a Saturday morning, after a short night’s rest, the caravan resumes with the roadbook. This brings the participants to Wallonia, with the organisers choosing to keep the route strictly secret this year! The crews will do the opening 6 consecutive RTs without any time to breathe! It is only around 2.30 pm that spectators will be able to spot the competitors. The finish of the first stage (after the participants have already covered 500 kilometres since Friday evening!) is in sight, but we will stop for a little while in Mouscron. It is the exact same spot where the fifth stage from 1997 was organised. The participants will enter a service zone before completing another regularity test on the Mydibel-Lavano arena! A race on a slippery surface will undoubtedly provide a spectacle. The place to be on Saturday. And if it rains, then we provide a covered public zone!
The organisers created a loop with some secret regularity tests on French soil. At around noon, the participants report to the French village of Boeschèpe to complete the final test. A secret regularity stage with quite a few differences in elevation that will include some beautiful views, although the navigators should keep their concentration if they want to stay on the right track… The start of the regularity ride is in Rue du Mont Noir and is preceded by a service zone in the centre from Boeschèpe.
Friday 29 November
Saturday 30 November
Sunday 1 December