Kings Lynn, 20th September 2013 meeting report

After visiting the UK regularly for over 20 years, Ron Kroonder took his first ever final on English soil.

After visiting the UK regularly for over 20 years, Ron Kroonder took his first ever final on English soil.

Twenty Four Dutch drivers plus a New Zealander made their way on to the Saddlebow Road shale for Heat 1. Henk Maris (H60) dominated the early stages of the race until ex-F2 driver, Danny Van Wamelen (H47) stormed from the back to take the lead, just as Marco Falkena claimed the first retirement with a flat tyre.

New Zealand driver, Phillip Ogle (NZ282) showed off his skill, quickly making his way up to third before the caution flags were waved for Rian Vronik (H102), who ended up in the fence on the start straight. After officials rescued the stricken Dutchman, the remaining cars took up their places for the restart. Van Wamelen still headed the field, with three back-markers separating him from the second place car of Henk Maris.

Phillip Ogle, who lined up third for the restart got into trouble as the green flag was dropped and he was forced to pull off with a damaged front wheel and two flat tyres.

Cor Meijer (H69) getting stuck into Danny van Wamelen.

Cor Meijer (H69) getting stuck into Danny van Wamelen.

In the chaos caused by Phillip Ogle’s exit, Danny Van Wamelen was able to fly away from the rest of the field. While several drivers, including Dutch stars Ron Kroonder (H217) and Johan Catsburg (H99), spun going into the bends, H47 maintained complete control of the race and took the chequered flag to claim the first victory of the night. Unfortunately, the H47 machine failed scrutineering and the win was handed to Rutger Valk (H27).

Heat 2 started with drama, as a large number of cars piled into the fence on corner 2 of Lap 1. Harmen Zwerver (H195) took full advantage of the pile up, claiming the lead. The Dutch driver was not afraid to use the bumper, tapping back-markers out of the way to maintain his already healthy lead.
The speeding car of Henk Jan Ronitz (H240) caught up with Zwerver and H195 was forced to go defensive.

Daniel van Spijker (H231) has been a regular visitor to the UK tracks this year. Seen here with Joop Veltkamp.

Daniel van Spijker (H231) has been a regular visitor to the UK tracks this year. Seen here with Joop Veltkamp.

Zwerver was forced wide into a corner, allowing for a lead change. However, it was not long before bumper work from Cor Meijer (H69) left H240 with a flat front tyre. H195 was able to re-take the lead in the closing stages, just as a caution came out for the other Zwerver (H19) and H69, who were stationary on the back straight. Instead of yellow-flagging the race, it was red and chequered, in order to keep the busy race schedule running on time.

In Heat 3, Phillip Ogle showed he certainly knew how to handle King’s Lynn. He quickly took the lead and, as others battled for position, gained a healthy advantage. A pile up involving half the field occurred in the early stages of the race, but the majority of those involved were able to get going again and the race remained green.

Harm van der Veen' sengine made an incredible noise.

Harm van der Veen’ sengine made an incredible noise.

The New Zealand dairy farmer also showed skill with the bumper, tapping wide anyone who was in his way. However, he was soon under pressure from Heat 2 winner, Harmen Zwerver. The rapidly approaching Dutchman didn’t faze Ogle and he was able to retain the lead. H195 continued to fight hard, looking for his second win of the night but he drifted wide into a bend, allowing NZ282 to get away again.

A caution just before half way closed up the field, with the yellows being brought out for Harm van der Veen (H484) and Fred Hink (H35) who were in the wall between Turns 1 and 2. Phillip Ogle led them round for the restart, closely followed by flying Dutchmen H195 and H47. The New Zealander had a poor restart but recovered well and continued to lead the race.

Two legends of the Dutch stock car scene, Henk-Jan Ronitz (H240) and Ron Kroonder (H217).

Two legends of the Dutch stock car scene, Henk-Jan Ronitz (H240) and Ron Kroonder (H217).

The consistently impressive H195 had soon taken the lead. Meanwhile, NZ282 was still racing to impress, throwing the car sideways around turns 1 and 2 to avoid the stranded car of Louw Wobbes (H22). Unfortunately, his luck changed when, with five to go, he clipped a parked car on the pits bend, spun and was left marooned in the precise place where, a lap earlier, he’d expertly avoided Wobbes.

The caution came out as Harm van der Veen (H484) and Frits van Dis (H392) joined the New Zealander in the middle of the bend. Zwerver (H195) was still in the lead after the restart but came under pressure from Ron Kroonder. For the next couple of laps the two Netherlands stalwarts battled for the lead, managing to pull away from the third place driver.

New Zealander Steve Pribicevich used a car from the Mat Newson fleet.

New Zealander Steve Pribicevich used a car from the Mat Newson fleet.

Kroonder eventually gained the upper hand but Zwerver showed he would not give up without a fight. Despite a valiant effort from H195, Kroonder pulled away to record a long overdue final win on English soil. Zwerver followed up his heat win with a second place in the final, with Durk Greidanus (H29) coming home third.

There was still an impressive 22 starters for the last international race of the night, with Kroonder taking the lap handicap. Josh Pelkey, gaining in confidence with every race, took the early lead. Henk Maris (H60) was also flying but a tangle with Jac Tesselaar (H440) allowed the American driver chance to get away.

A sign of things to come? Josh Pelkey would find himself in a very similar position in the World Final.

A sign of things to come? Josh Pelkey would find himself in a very similar situation in the World Final.

The Arizona sprint car driver really turned it on and he was still leading by over half a straight when the union flag flew to mark the half distance. It looked like a shock win was on the cards! As the laps ticked by, Pelkey began to drift a little wide on the bends allowing second-placed Greidanus to close up.

As they entered the pits bend on the last lap, the Dutchman made his move, spinning the US12 car aside to take the win, while Pelkey remained stranded on the bend. Hink (H35) took second place with Rene de Groot (H646) third.

One of the Netherlands leading lady drivers, Wendy Koopmans.

One of the Netherlands leading lady drivers, Wendy Koopmans.

A fantastic night’s racing; long may these “Friday before the WF” meetings continue. The efforts of NZ282 and USA12 will live long in the memory, as will the sound of that H484 engine!

Words: Rhosanna Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

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