Our SE class Victory in the Rouen 24 hours 1975

 This was my first race as an Evinrude factory driver for OMC 1975

The racing season in Europe normally starts with the Rouen 24 Hours, but I was invited to South Africa earlier 1975 and drove the famous BP 200..(PB 200 story here)..http://svera.se/blogg/racing-historier/1975-2/

I was not crazy about being part of the Rouen race but it was part of my contract with OMC

I flew to OMC in Belgium a week before the race to help out rigging the boat.
Important for me to have power trim buttons and some other things my way.
The rules said three drivers per boat and OMC recommended using two OMC test drivers who where my size.

Two SE class Clerici boats was prepared at the OMC factory. One for me and one for Roger Jenkins.
Roger was a fun man to hang out with..strong personality and Roger was in racing to win..but so was I.

We installed head lights and other “funny things” on the boat. Racing non stop for 24 hours means driving at night in the darkness and the commercial barge traffic
was in business 24/7.

When we got there, it was a lot of boats and most of them were thick fiberglass cats run by local French people.

The next surprise was that the race was run clockwise
around the island!!!!
I was not used to right hand turns but raced and won the 2-hour of Duvnäsviken, Sweden the year before.. that was my only experience with right turns in boat racing.

As usual in France were all info in French only, and I understood nothing of what was said at the driver’s meeting, which lasted over an hour.

Paul Kalb..the new racing boss for Europe did not understand anything either but told me that I was responsible for the entire race planning.
Paul wanted me to start the race and hopefully drive the last hours to finish the race.

My plan was 2-hour shifts because lots of incidents happen in the pit.

The Clerici boat turned poorly when heavy but to many stops with 1.5 hour shifts.

We were out testing a number of times at practice..the waves from the commercial barge traffic was bad bad..but one  side of the island the water was little  bit smoother.

Well remember that famous Leif “Honken” Holmqvist of Sweden drove a V-bottom boat in the SD class and he came and asked me about the crazy water conditions.

His Volvo Penta powered V-bottom behaved strangely on the rough side of the island.
The start was sometime during the middle of the day and lots of boats took off at the same time. I got a great start and was one of the lead boats but on the other side of the island..all the heavy fiberglass cats came flying by in the extremely rough water.
Wow, I needed to slow down and save the equipment for the last hour instead of try to lead in the beginning of the race. Next thing in my head was..I am pretty stupid to be part of this 24 hour race.

Time for cruise control, we refueled and changed drivers a few times in daylight before it got dark, cold and rainy…!!

One of my shifts in the middle of the night went well .. but the next one like 4 a clock in the morning began with a flying experience from a big wave that I could not see on the back of the island.

I landed on top of one another race boat..the driver of that boat was OK but his boat sank..
that was good for me because I could get back to the pit .. where we took the boat out of the water..
Repaired the damage and replaced the gearcase/ propeller and then we went back on the water to race further into the darkness…!!
At dawn we were a few laps behind Jenkins and the other SE class leaders.
Jenkins now disappeared from the race..his time for trouble and had to spend  sometime on the trailer for repair.
Now there was a chance for us to win, so I drove like a mad man for the last hours of the race.

A Rouen 24 Hours SE class victory was now reality..extremely fun and a perfect start as a factory pilot for Evinrude.

After the race we return to the OMC Bruges to rig a new Burgess boat for the OE/Formula 3 World Championship race in Aix-les-Bains also France.

Lars mega crash at the OMC factory 1975..click below for that story.

http://svera.se/blogg/racing-historier/lars-mega-crash-at-the-omc-factory-1975/

 

OMC-11

 

Start-lista-SE-klassen-Rouen

 

Mitt-vinnar-ekipage-i-Rouen-24-hours

 

Resultat-Rouen (Custom)

 

Result 24 Hours 1975 (Custom)

 

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