Equipe37 back at Hengelo

First Race for the International Road Racing Championship

The 3-Landen-Cup grew up in 2010 and changed into the „International Road Racing Championship“; two heats in Chimay (Belgium) and at the Schleiz triangle have been added. But the start of the season traditionally takes place in Hengelo, Holland.

Our last years’ experience carried out, that it is too hectic to arrive at the venue after a busy work-Friday, especially when you consider the cramped schedule for the practice on Saturday. So we decided to take one day off work and travel this day earlier to the races of the IRRC. This gave us (Rider Axel and Chefmonteur Smoke) the possibility to check in first at our B & B at Gerrie and Bert Kettelerij in Ruurlo, arrange the breakfast times for Saturday and Sunday with our hosts, then take our equipment to the paddock and erect our pavillon by daylight. On the way to Hengelo we discovered the Ruurlo moated castle and some other remarkable estates, for shure not occupied by the dutch working class. We really appreciated to visit one of the surrounding parks, but the Equipe’s traditional friendship to the Neederlands natie forced us to respect the „Besloten“ traffic signs.

After the assembly of the mobile team center we went out for diner; but unfortunately the marquee in the paddock wasn’t open yet and even in Hengelo we just found Frikandel, Bitterballen and Gehaktbal. In the end we entered a Chinese, which had „Cashewnoots“ and a „zoet-zuur“ meal on the menue. Axel took the first, Smoke the second one. May be both were made from chicken, in the end it tasted chinese: „Chow-Chow“.

After finishing our diner we drove back to the paddock, where the old dutch 2-stroke veteran Arie Molenaar organised his traditional IRRC meeting. Afterwards we went back to our accomodation.


After a shower and a continental breakfast we took our team van to the paddock and the bike to the scrutineering. To pass this we needed some Explosave, which has been lacking in our short track fuel tank. Kindly Thilo Häfele gave us some.

Later on Axel entered the course for the first time after his tremendous crash in 2008. Some minor changes on the track and the new bike, much faster then the R 1 in 2008, took Axel into a learning process which ended on the starting grid on place 22. Meanwhile the mechanic had almost nothing to do but cleaning the wind screen and the visor and changing rubbers at the race service truck. Other competitors weren’t that lucky: Dirk Kaletsch destroyed his bike strongly and had to use the T-bike (a Norton) from Matthias Dax, while Niklas Pfeiffer threw his BM so effectively into the dutch topsoil, that a broken frame finished his mission. Fortunately both riders were O. K.

The cuisine highlight of the week-end followed Saturday evening: The exlusive Caterer Vosmeijer invited for a „Maaltijd“ into the marquee at 5:30 p. m. „Satéstokjes met Bami“ should be on the menue. Not too bad: this would save us from searching for a restaurant! But at the first sight the marquee was still closed (and, to come straight to the most important point, it would not open at any time); one of the Frikandel cooks told Axel, that the particular snack bar, which seemed to be closed, would later on sell the meal. Axel believed, that they kept the shutters locked, so nobody could see, what cans and bins the food stuff came from. At six o’clock the shutters opened and round about 10 people queued up. This was an insoluble problem for the waitress: hysterically she handled the styrofoam plates, covered floor and counter with salad and sauce. Axel and Smoke got the very last Saté skewers. They had to been eaten in the team truck. Remarkable at the first sight was the consistency of the peanut sauce: like Ponal. But the sauce was covered with a film much faster than the famous wood glue! But really unforgettable was the aftertaste, which kept in our mouths the whole week-end long. The Catering for the Equipe37 VIP lounges at the Endurance world championships will obviously not be delivered by such recovered meat cooks.

Later we went shopping in a supermarket in Ruurlo, bought international food stuff (diet coke, bananas, vla and hagelslag extra puur) from a grid-girl-like female cashier, searched for a TV network having hockey on it’s programme without success and therefor had to watch the german football cup finals: Werder vs. Bayern. Finally we went to bed.


Sunday we packed our private stuff after our last breakfast and went to Hengelo to start the day with the warm-up. After 2 laps Axel was missing. F***! A scrutineer told Smoke, that the rider stopped with a technical problem and would come back to the paddock during the next break with the sweeper bus. And indeed Axel came back safe and sound. But the fault was really strange: the hazard lamp for the enginge control system had been on and the motor just worked with idling mixture. After restarting the engine the problem had vanished. But to minimize the risk Axel waited for the sweeper bus; the warm up was finished anyway.

Just back in the team pavillon, the dutch mechanics David and Feiko and a bit later Laurens arrived. They stripped the bike, checked all plug-in connections and declared the problem solved. Indeed both heats should take place then without anymore struggling.

Heat 1 Axel drove compared to the top riders Didier Grams and Wim Theunissen (the winner and second placed of both heats) very restrained. It was clearly to realize, that the fast riders braked more aggressive and opened the throttle harder out of the corners. So his personal best lap time of 2:04 minutes was far behind his own aims. But in heat 2 there waited another 12 laps to study the hairpins Boschbocht and Molenbocht as well as the chicane and search for the quickest way round. And really things worked better, Axel made 2:02 minutes and had, as he told after the race, more fun than in the first race. But he still was not satisfied, because he didn’t use the capacity of the R 1 to the very end.

But in 3 weeks he has the possibility at the 37ste Snelheidsprijs van de Noordzee in Oostende to discover the limits of our team bike. We will tell you on our website.




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