Here’s the low down on the overseas challengers for the 2016 World Final:
NZ58 Peter Bengston
Peter hails from Ekatahuna on New Zealand’s North Island and hopes to take in around seven meetings during his stay in the UK. Peter is an agricultural contractor by profession and is no stranger to our tracks having raced in the 2008, 2010 and 2014 World Finals. He took a third place in the consolation race at the 2014 Overseas Friday night session at Coventry so the World 240s champion of 2008 and 2015 knows the way around the Brandon track. It is not known yet who will be providing a car for Peter to race whilst he is here.
NZ 282 Phil Ogle
Dairy farmer Phil lives in Hawera, a town in the Taranaki region of New Zealand’s North Island. He made his UK racing debut at Coventry in the 2013 event and notched up two race wins the following year at the King’s Lynn World Championship weekend using a former Joe Booth (446) car maintained by Wainman Racing. He seemed very at home on the Belle Vue shale on Monday, racing a Dylan Williams-Maynard (51) car to heat and Grand National placings.
I was hoping we might see the driver from Waikikamukau this year – thought John Lund would have plenty in common with him. Maybe next year?
Not half a world away, but certainly a long way to haul a stock car from, the Dutch entrants for this year’s World Final will need every minute of track time on Friday September 2nd to set their cars up correctly. Dutch teams and fans are said to be coming over in unprecedented numbers for this “last ever Coventry F1 WF” and we all know how they like to party!
Here’s a quick run-down of the top qualifiers from the Netherlands:
H400 Roy Maessen
Roy is based in Ysselsteyn, near to Raceway Venray in the Netherlands, where he lifted the 2016 World Cup last month in an exciting last bend finish with Ron Kroonder. Roy is familiar with shale racing from his formula two days as H4 – can he translate that experience to the big cars? Does he even have a shale car?
H99 Johan Catsburg
Fifty-one years old, Johan made his racing debut in 1995 and his UK World Final debut in 2006. The man from Waverveen is probably more at home on tarmac than shale, taking three wins at Venray in May but can be relied upon to give 101% wherever he appears. Will he race the car with the interesting paint job that he used at the last Coventry WF?
H217 Ron Kroonder
Rocket Ron is a veteran of the Dutch racing scene, at home on both shale or tarmac and could well be the only overseas driver (to date) to actually lead an F1 World Final. In 2014 he decided enough was enough and retired from racing after thirty years of competition, only to return to the Dutch tracks in 2016 and win the prestigious “King’s Battle” at Blauhuis in April in a borrowed car. Make no mistakes, this driver from Assendelft has all the right credentials to spring a surprise come World Final night.
H422 Marten Bijlsma
Currently lying eighth in the ACON points tables, Marten car was out at the August Coventry meeting in his eye-catching car getting in some practice and qualified for the final first time out. Marten is the son of Ouwe Bijlsma (H3) who has raced over here several times in the past.
H16 John van’t Veer Junior
John is (or was until recently) sharing the top of the ACON points table with Pieter van der Iest so clearly has the talent and ability to give a good account of himself at Coventry. The Friday night session will be crucial for John (and many other Dutch qualifiers) to get in some quick laps.
H226 Pieter van der Iest
Topping the ACON points chart is just reward for the effort the “Frisian Sworder” puts into his racing and will relish getting back onto the Brandon shale. This young man from Harkema not only won the final at Sint Maarten in May but set a new lap record into the bargain. Keep your eyes on the silver-roofed H226 car.
H8 Martin Verhoef
Formerly known as a tarmac racer, Martin lies in sixth place in the ACON points standings and is a very useful performer on the shale, winning the May 5 final at Blauhuis.
H29 Durk Greidanus
This driver from Tzum made his UK world final debut way back in 2001 on the Hednesford tarmac. He has many WF appearances to his name and often comes out as the top overseas competitor on the day. One to watch out for.
H61 Koen Maris
Koen earned his place on the grid by becoming the Dutch Open champion, a feat he achieved at Sint Maarten in August. Koen will want to progress further than his last Coventry World Final attempt, becoming involved in that heavy first bend pile-up.
H694 Bas Peetoom
One place behind Koen Maris in the points table lies Bas Peetoom. Rookie Bas took a final win at his debut meeting at Sint Maarten last September so another win is overdue for this former F2 pilot. Bas is based in Winkel, North Holland and is definitely a star of the future.
Words: Mick Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley and Mick Jenkins