Blauwhuis, 26th April 2018 “King’s Night” – Meeting Report and Photos

My first visit to this clay oval in Friesland, Northern Holland and what a cracking little track it is. Over sixty F1s booked in with a smattering of UK drivers in both F1 and F2 classes. This being a normal working day in the Netherlands, the place didn’t really fill up until around start time with fans still arriving long after the first green flag at 5pm.

I found Ben Riley (422) in the pits, standing by one of half a dozen Team van Spijker F2 cars, one of which was numbered 422. Ben confirmed this was no change of direction, just the offer a drive too good to turn down. With work commitments, rugby (and no doubt that little incident with 197) Ben said the F1 has been sitting in the transporter since the Gala Night last November, untouched.

Track preparations well underway

With races for Rodeo, Standard and FAC 1600 cars on the bill as well as F1 and F2, there was plenty to look at in the extensive pit area before racing began prompt at 5 o’clock. The first F2 heat set the pattern for the evening with cautions and a roll-over before 29 F1s lined up for their first race. Rutger Valk (27) spun before the green flag as Willem de Boer (58) set the pace with Bert Hondert (541) in second. Gert Jan Klok (152) and another blue top clobbered the back straight marker tyres just as three cars collided on turn three, one of them turning over.

De Boer led the restart chased by Frank Zijsling (292) and Rian Vronik (102) with Bobby Griffin (UK166) up to fourth and looking very much at home on the bumpy clay surface. Zijsling and Vronik tangled coming off turn four while another crunch on the pit bend delayed Daz Kitson (UK532). Jaap Hiemstra (315) and Griffin disputed the lead, with the Dutchman pulling away while a small fire developed under the Barry Boersen (591) car. The fire went unheeded as Craig van der Finn (955) moved into fourth.

With the chequered flag in sight, Hiemstra gave it too much right boot coming off the final turn and spun just before the start-line, Griffin slipping by for the win. The 315 car rolled across the line backwards for second with Finnikin third and early leader de Boer fourth.

Bobby Griffin took the first win of the afternoon

With track watering and grading necessary after every race, it was clearly going to be a long night. 31 cars for Heat Two and a rather ragged start caught the red tops napping. Dennis Sintebin (214) led from Nigel de Cock (525) but three cars locked together on the home straight to cause a chicane bringing out the yellow flags. 214 again led the restart from Jelle Hiemstra (173), Stefan de Jong (53) and Jur Blokker (7) with Jacob de Vries (453) the first of the star men to show.

Nathalie Wekema (332) received the black flag as Sintebin forged ahead until another caution, this time for red tops Jan Kuin (699) and Henk Jan Ronitz (240), hooked up on the home straight, allowed the dust to settle. A bit of a false start followed before the action almost resumed with green and yellow flags being waved at the same time! Two rolling laps later we were off, nearly, with Hiemstra spinning and collecting Mark Sargent (UK326) and Yoren Winands (575) rolling onto his roof on the back straight.

More yellow flags before Sintebin again set the pace until he tangled with de Jong, Sarge was stranded mid-track on turn one and Johan de Vries came through to win from Bert de Vries (20) and the ever-present Sintebin. Only 14 went the distance.

Sargent fell foul of a spinning Hiemstra in Heat 2

Thirty-one for the Consolation including Neil Holcroft (UK496) in a Tesselaar (410) car and Koen Maris (61) in his Fairhurst-built machine. A delay before the start of what was another fast and furious race with Blokker leading while all around him chaos reigned. There were cars at all points of the compass, facing every which-way. Ale Haarsma (294) almost rolled after climbing the fence as Blokker hit traffic while Boy Tesselaar (345) spun on the pit bend.

The inevitable caution came for Cesar Noppert (725), stuck against the fence in a dodgy position before racing resumed with Hondert in front pursued by Bruce Potveer (62). Three cars formed a heap on the pit bend, joined by a few more then shortly afterwards, defending King’s Battle champion Jan Roelof Wijbenga (228) had his aerofoil ripped off as a car, possibly Tesselaar (345) climbed over his roof. My notes tell me Tesselaar rolled but I may have imagined it – it was hard to keep up. Another rollover, another caution, before the chequered flag finally flew for Hondert, with Weird Gietema (76) second and Potveer third.

Jan Roelof Wijbenga (228) had his aerofoil ripped off during the Consolation

Another big field for the final, led by Griffin from Sintebin and de Cock. A spectacular pile-up on the pit bend saw Hondert climb over the top of the Sargent car before cartwheeling back onto the track as more and more cars joined in. The track was blocked and the race stopped.

Griffin again led the restart from 214 and Bouwe Arjen Hiddinga (17) but with time pressing on I had to leave so my thanks to Halls and Ralls (yes, the Halls and Ralls) and Steve Goring for confirming that Bobby G held on for a fine win ahead of Hiddinga and Craig Finnikin. With Rob Mitchell (UK905) bouncing and boring his way to the F2 final win it was a good night for the UK drivers – was a British victory in the big race on the cards tomorrow?

The final also went the way of UK166 Bobby Griffin

Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Ant and Mick Jenkins

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