It was in the 77th lap of the final round held at the end of October in Aragon that the European Classic Series title came to a head, the moment when the Sweatshop Phase One team were obliged to retire their Kawasaki as the result of a mechanical problem. This left the door wide open for the former World Endurance champions Richard Hubin and Grégory Fastré to add the well deserved European title to their record of achievements. Having won three of the four events, the Belgian duo scored the maximum number of points possible.
In fact various competitors had forgotten this, but as stipulated in the regulations only three of the four results are taken into consideration to establish the season’s hierarchy. This meant that the Phase One team finished as vice-champion, notwithstanding their retirement recorded in Spain.
This final round was held in the best possible conditions and was particularly close in the beginning. There was a certain uncertainty right from the timed sessions as four riders had dropped under the 2.09 mark chasing a Grégory Fastré who had put in a strong lap time of 2.07.925, confirming Team Force’s intentions.
There was a perfect unhindered start apart from the # 88 of Christian Haquin who remained stuck on the line. As such a completely botched start for the Les Melting Potes who notwithstanding this managed to climb back up through the pack right up to the foot of the podium following a further trouble free race.
Up front there was a solid battle not only between the Phase One Kawasaki and the Suzuki of Team Force but also with the Alf Classic Endurance Kawasaki permanently in ambush.
The few falls without any serious injuries only brought out the safety-car to clean up a long oil spill. These 30 minutes at a reduced speed obviously regrouped the pack and meant that everything still had to be played for. We all know the outcome. Brasher/Linden/Simpson were forced to throw in the towel in the 77th lap, allowing Hubin/Fastré and Banfield/Godfrey/Collins to go full out into battle. Under threat from the English the Belgian duo could never relax, the two teams in the same lap battling it out through to the finish with less than one minute separating them after 4 hours of racing. The Dutch riders van der Mark/Brand, representing the Runner Team completed the podium, but with more than two laps down on the winners and new European Classic Series champions.
In Classic 1000, for the victory of the day, the Scuderia Officine Toscane 2 took over the relay from the Scuderia Officine Toscane 1 that was forced to retire. One could understand the frustration of Bellucci and Zaccarelli who thought that they had lost the title prior to being reminded, to their obvious delight, the rule of the three results out of four. Notwithstanding their retirement, the title was theirs!
In 750TT, the Ducati of the Capelli Belli team, second in Spa and victorious at the Nürburgring, clinched a further victory and secured the title. A success acquired without any major suspense following the broken engine of their rivals of the Galerna Taldea team, who were obliged to race their spare motorbike out of the rankings in this splendid Spanish round.