Former racers Stefan Everts and Joel Roelants are among some of the famous Belgians who have expressed anger at the closure of the Honda Park track at Olmen. It means the country now has just two full-time motocross circuits.
“RIP Olmen. Yet another stab in the heart for our sport in Belgium,” said ten-times world champion Everts about the track which has been in a three-year battle over noise complaints. The official permission to use the venue as a track was revoked this week.
Roelants said: “I WILL NOT QUIT, NEVER. The sport that gave and still gives my life and all kinds of people a purpose. The sport that became my work and still does for thousands of people directly or indirectly.
“The sport that got a lot cleaner, stricter and more quiet over the last decade. The racing side of motorbikes/cars go hand in hand with developing faster, smaller, lighter, cleaner and more durable engines. Without racing we wouldn’t be even close to where we are today considering energy efficiency.
“Sadly travelling hundreds of kilometers to ride on tracks that are open takes more fuel then the few liters we use during practice itself. It’s no longer a question of changing everything on our sport (it still needs changes, don’t get me wrong) but it has become a mindset in certain peoples mind that we are “criminals”.
“One of the reasons I wake up every day and train hard is to prepare my body to go riding once in a while in a relatively save way. They can ruin our sport in Belgium but i will keep riding, even if that means traveling far away. Please give our sport a chance and give a perspective to many of the people involved.
“Start with saving the track in Olmen (Hondapark) which is there for many years already and only got more quiet so if it was possible for all those years, then it still is today.”
Photo by Bavo Swijgers.