Lelystad – September 19th 2010 Meeting Report

Lelystad’s Midland circuit was holding a meeting on the Sunday after the Golden Helmet meeting and it provided an opportunity to attend a relaxed but entertaining Dutch tarmac meeting. On arrival, it was clear that the track was open with grass run offs being employed rather than a hard armco fence.

The format was up on the noticeboard and the grid would be the same for all three of the F1 stock car races. Twenty one cars were in the pits but not all of them raced. Henk Jan Ronitz (240) was working on his unloaded car but did not come out to race. Geoff Nickolls (215) also had his car there in the back of his bus and had planned to race but suffered transmission problems at the previous day’s Emmen meeting. F1 stock car driver, Bauke Visser back from injury was also present, but there to help his daughter race in the ‘Junior’ formula and Bart Koopmans (38) car was visible on the back of a flat bed lorry.

Gold Cup winner Gary Castell (247) was racing, as was Ivan Pritchard (434) in the car that Chris Fort (3) had used on the Emmen Speedway shale the previous day. It also saw the debut of young Wesley Schaap (77), son of Dave (007) in a silver bodied F1 machine which pre-meeting was getting some welding done on the front nearside.

F1 stock car of Wesley Schaap (77) debuting at Lelystad. Photo Colin Casserley

The first race saw eighteen cars line up in a closed grid with Danny van Elmpt (33) and Hans Baegen (65) forming up the front row. Danny Smidt (148) in the ex-(b67) car waded in with his bumper going into bend four at the green as van Elmpt zipped away into the lead. Louw Wobbes (22) bumpered Ron Kroonder (217) sending him crashing into Jessy de Bruijn (399) as Wesley’s debut started with a spin. Louw Wobbes clearly meaning business then attacked Ivan Pritchard (434) with Jessy de Bruijn again getting the aftermath of the assault. Gold Roofed Gary Castell also found himself coming under fire from Wobbes, with Castell spinning out as a result. Schaap’s debut continued with him flying over the grass run off going into the bend, before getting his car back in the race.

Louw Wobbes 22 spins Gary Castell 247 out. Photo Colin Casserley

Ron Kroonder was absolutely flying and the green machine of van Elmpt moved aside to let Kroonder take the lead while Pritchard gave Wobbes a taste of his own medicine by giving him a shove. Johan Catsburg (99) was forced to retire and Theo van Lier (57) went into a spin on turn three. Wobbes and Pritchard continued tustling for position until Wobbes was able to get ahead in a confusion of cars. Patrick Kessels (347) gave Michel van Haarlem (461) in the ex-Wesley Goodwin car a push and they came out of the bend side by side with Paul Hermkes (36) just in front. Kessels then tried to pass Hermkes as the laps rolled down with Wobbes managing to overcome Geert Jan Keijzer (6) on the last bend.
217 – 399 – 482 – 22 – 6 – 33 – 347 – 461 – 247 – 148

Ron Kroonder (217) coming out of the bend ahead of Peter van den Bosch (482). Photo Colin Casserley

Heat two saw Wesley Schaap who had been a bit wild in the first heat, starting at the rear of the grid. Gary Castell and Jessy de Bruijn were neck and neck but with de Bruijn being on the outside, Castell had the edge and could get ahead and make good progress through the field. Hans Baegen and Theo van Lier were racing together, exchanging hits as they jostled, until Baegen rode up over van Lier’s side on turns one and two and the pair dropped down the field with van Lier getting his wing bent to the side in the process. It was not long before Castell took the lead from Danny van Elmpt and started putting distance between himself and the rest of the field.

Joep Hendriks (365) suffering from handling problems. Photo Colin Casserley

Joep Hendriks (365) was suffering with serious handling problems and was racing alongside Baegen at the rear of the field. Castell bypassed backmarker Baegen and had a fairly comfortable length of the straight lead. Johan Catsburg pushed the purple machine Peter van den Bosch (482) wide but soon had first heat winner Kroonder on his tail with five laps to go. Danny Smidt came up behind Kroonder before bypassing and going on to give the bumper to Catsburg. Catsburg went wide out of turn four, over the rumble strips at the side of the track and went up the homestraight weaving from side to side as he fought to get his car back under control and back in the race, while up ahead Castell cruised to a comfortable victory.
247 – 22 – 148 – 217 – 347 – 99 – 434 – 399 – 461 – 6

Johan Catsberg (99) coming out of the bend first. Photo Colin Casserley

The third and final F1 race was down to be the Final with the cars gridding up as they had the previous two races. At the off Danny Smidt got straight into van den Bosch while Hans Baegen sped into the lead. Ron Kroonder who had not been as fast in the second heat bypassed Ivan Pritchard on the inside. Theo van Lier and Kroonder vied for position with Theo van Lier taking a trip over the turn four grass before getting back into the race via the outside lane. Wesley Schaap and Johan Catsburg both went into a spin together on four before sorting themselves out and getting back in the race while cars flew by on either side.

Gary Castell was level with Geert Jan Keijzer with Castell being determined to have the place, giving Keijzer a shove to pass. Castell, fancying his chances after his heat win then gave Wobbes a punt, while Danny Smidt was motoring away from the front after sweeping past Baegen. Ron Kroonder got stuck into Jessy de Bruijn but Bruijn was not having this and got straight back into Kroonder on the next bend. Joep Hendriks barged past Baegen on turn four, sending him into the side of Danny van Elmpt as the two went on to wrestle with each other up the homestraight, Baegen then laid into van Elmpt.

Wesley Schaap who seemed determined to get the bumper in all race long, got stuck in, giving first Baegen a punt then bumpering Hermkes aside. Danny Smidt had taken a smooth, controlled drive after blasting his way to the front, to take the win for the last F1 race of the day. Wesley’s first heat handling problems being due to a broken shocker mounting but he looked to be quite at home in the F1 stock car and obviously one to watch in the future.
148 – 347 – 217 – 399 – 247 – 22 – 434 – 461 – 365 – 6

F1 stock car Lelystad Final winner Danny Smidt (148). Photo Colin Casserley

As one F1 stock car career begins, so another ends. It was disappointing to hear that the Lelystad meeting had been the last appearance for Dutch tarmac racer Theo van Lier (57) who has decided after eight years to retire from F1 stock car racing. Hopefully it will not be the last time we see him trackside as he was always a frequent UK visitor.

Theo van Lier (57) being weighed before his last meeting. Photo Stephen Cording

Ailsa Haigh

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