Passion and competence at your service

Competence is nothing without passion.

In a manner of speaking this summarises Olivier Liégeois' career since taking his first steps in competition. It was back in 1978 and motorcycling was already the talk of the day. One by one he climbed the rungs, going from national races through to World Championship Grand Prix races, with undoubted success as proven by his numerous podium places at a world level. When in 1988 Olivier swaps his helmet and racing overalls for a team manager's hat, the passion is intact but the experience increases tenfold. He puts all this expertise at the service of numerous drivers, of which some materialise in the best possible manner their mentor's craving to unceasingly evolve.

The initial triumphs appear in 1998 with Masao Azuma in 125cc after lengthy development work for the account of the manufacturer Bridgestone, who had put their trust in our compatriot. In 1999 Liégeois Compétition miss out on the title by a hair's breadth when a young unknown coming driver, Marco Melandri, and his team mate Azuma respectively finish second and third in the world hierarchy, with a highly impressive score of 10 victories and 14 podium places out of 16 Grand Prix. Notwithstanding the fact that they to battle against the works teams, with their almost limitless budgets.

At the same time Liégeois Compétition associate themselves with the go-kart driver Philippe Decuypère, a leading light in the ICC category in Belgium. With the support of his new team, the kart driver passes a major turning point and even ends up within the top-10 of the European championship.

Committed on two fronts, the Olivier Liégeois team continues to evolve. On the one hand, Derbi has called on the sorcerer from Fexhe to head up its Grand Prix team, and on the other the engineer Pavesi and the manufacturer Merlin join together the karting department with DDK. It is at this same moment that Philippe Decuypère opens an outlet.

Liégeois Compétition provides its savoir-faire to numerous drivers in both disciplines, designs, develops and fine tunes high performance parts to meet the specific needs of one and all: cylinders, pistons, crankshafts, cylinder heads, sumps, carburettors, gearboxes and even chassis. The entire team's leitmotif is the on-going search for perfection. However the latter is only achievable if one links passion with competence. … the «in-house » philosophy.

Text: J.P. HARDY