A record breaking 8th edition of the Belgian National Championship with 159 drivers at the start. After two busy practice days everyone gathered at the 8:00 briefing on Saturday morning, where the last doubts were erased. This was always going to be a fierce championship!

The racing got underway and the first medals were earned. Throughout the day we saw many top drivers confirming their status, whilst others struggled a bit more than expected, as young talents sprung a few surprises here and there! It’s very satisfying for us organizers to see drivers’ joy when they score their first BNC podiums or victories, because these never come easy.

All drivers worked their way around five qualifier races in five different karts, which were equalized again like no other can by 2x World Champion Mathias Grooten. Track conditions did change a lot during the weekend, with high grip levels as a consequence of the high temperatures.  Lap records getting beaten over and over again. And as the heat climbed in the city of Kortrijk, we saw similarities in the Worldkarts facility. Drivers anxiously checking if they make it into the top54 to advance to the semi-finals, or newcomers to the sport seeing if they made the top 100 in this high-level event.

On Sunday the new MatchRace+ qualifying system was introduced to the semi-finalists, and this provided a new challenge to all competitors. You didn’t have to focus on 1 lap, no, you had to do it 9x in the same karts as your direct opponents. Concentration and consistency were key, and Ruben Boutens continued his winning-spree by securing victory in Semi Final A, after having won his 5 qualifier races.

Belgian ace Dylan De Wolf resisted the challenges from Logan Sougné for the win in Semi B, whilst defending 2x Champion Vica Schledz held off a very strong Horion Van Waes for the win in Semi C.

As you can’t drop your Semi Final result, drivers eagerly awaited the official ranking update, to see what 16 names were the cream of the crop of the 2024 BNC.  Because of the astonishing high level of competition, many fantastic drivers narrowly missed out on the final. If you have a look at positions 17 until 30 and even 40, there is no denying that this was one of the closest rental kart competitions ever. And although it’s never enjoyable to miss out on a final by a few points, all of these drivers should now that they are admired by their fellow competitors and by the event organization!

When the sun slowly disappeared and the rain hit Kortrijk, drivers for the final lined up for the iconic photo before they started the 16 lap qualifying showdown. This was a big demand on the drivers, who needed to perform in every kart that was used for the final. No time to relax, but perfect lap after perfect lap was needed if you wanted to qualify up front and have one of the first kart picks. The top 5 changed constantly during qualifying, but after 16 laps it was championship leader Ruben Boutens who continued his dominance with an inspiring performance and an average laptime of 55,445. Fellow Dutchman and former champion Rico Haarbosch qualified p2 with a 55,462, whilst Vica Schledz slotted in p3 with a 55,477. Logan Sougné came close to surprising the champions with a stellar effort of 55,497, closely followed by Horion Van Waes (55,528), Dylan De Wolf (55,529), Christian Douven (55,533) and a super strong Nikolaj Marsengo (55,539). Max Op den Kamp (55,550) and Eliano De Vos (55,576) completed the top 10, which were separated be only a single tenth of a second after 16 laps. Mindblowing! Tomek Bernadowski, the youngest ever BNC finalist was p11, followed by his teammates Simon Vangheluwe in 12th, Sacha Kociszewski  in 13th and Levi Blockx in 15th. Amazing performance by these young drivers! Masters champion Stefan Verhofsté lined up p14 whilst a very good Sven Hendriksen completed the field in 16th.

The Final race itself was the cherry on the cake, with Vica Schledz and Rico Haarbosch exchanging positions a few times before Vica decided to hit pit road early on. At the front Ruben got into a rhythm that made rivals realize he was going all-in. However, the drivers behind responded by equaling or sometimes improving on the leader’s pace, in what was a mouthwatering final.  30 minutes of perfection were needed by Ruben if he wanted to win his first international championship title since 2021, after scoring many podiums the past couple of years. But, in a field of ever improving young talents, Ruben held his cool and completed what only Mats De Jong and Vica Schledz had done in the past, winning every single race they raced in one BNC event. A remarkable feat, knowing what top drivers there are in every race and especially the finals.

After 33 laps Ruben Boutens from BlueStar Racing Team crossed the finish line with his fist held high, screaming out of pure joy on a great achievement. Two-time champion Vica Schledz followed in his tracks, after another top drive good enough for p2 overall, as he graciously passed on his title to his BlueStar teammate. Best Belgian Horion Van Waes performed fantastic all weekend long, and his p3 in the final secured 3rd position in the final standings for him as well, as well as the BNC Junior Champion title. Talent Factory’s Rico Haarbosch finished p4 in the final after a great run again too, ending a very respectable 5th overall. Dylan De Wolf from Hola Lulu was p5 in the Final, but good enough for p4 in the general ranking, after a stellar performance throughout the weekend too.

As the trophies and prizes were collected at the podium, a sense of satisfaction came down over all of the organization. A fantastic edition with great racing, massive fair-play amongst all competitors, hardly any mechanical issues and beautiful champions. We can’t wish for more.

We would like to thank every single one that contributed to a fantastic edition of the BNC, and we hope to see you all again in 2025!

Also a big thanks to our partners :

Worldkarts Kortrijk

Mathijs Cornelissen – Photography

Designed by Superdryver

Ibis Styles Expo

McDonald’s Kortrijk

Check out all photos here:

Official aftermovie here:

BNC 2024 Champion 

Ruben Boutens