Dutch Trip 

Back in the mid 1970’s , I was living in England and every year until I emigrated to Canada in 1994, you’d find me travelling  to Holland to watch dutch stock car racing.

Over the years  I made many long time friends and have a lot of fond memories,

Due to family commitments in the UK and USA  (and the cost) , I’ve never been able to return,

I happened to mention this to my daughter Carla, who’s also got fond memories from childhood holidays spent there  . She made her first visit to the races there , when less than one year old.

Well a big thank you to my wonderful and caring daughter for organizing our trip back .

She did a marvelous job . 

Here’s a day by day account

Thursday 12th of May .

I drove my Chev Impala to Montreal Airport, parked it in the Park N Fly , and then took the 10-30 pm , Air Transat flight to Amsterdam.

Friday 13th of May.

My flight from Montreal landed at the Schiphol Airport at 11-25 am . Carla , her husband Alex and my Grand Children Benjamin and Sophia had arrived from the JFK Airport in New York about an hour earlier and I met up with them at the baggage reclaim. It worked out perfect. 

We picked up the rental car and were ready to set off.


It turned out to be a bit cramped for three adults and two kids ,  We’d ordered an S.U.V and the largest thing available was a Volvo wagon.

Carla and Alex were doing the driving on this trip and all I had to do was sit back and relax.

Our destination was the camp site De Berckt in Baarlo (now called the Oostappen Vakantiepark.)  where we stayed on holiday vacations in the past.

It’s  located right next to the site of the now defunct Auto Speedway. 

We had a lot of fun here over 30 years ago.

FLASHBACK  to 1988

Instead sleeping in our own caravan, this time we’d rented a cabin for two nights. 

The weather was warm and sunny and we arrived mid-afternoon.

There is plenty to do there, so we chilled out in the bar as the kids played .


In the evening I’d arranged to meet up with Mat Gulikers, who is the owner of the Dutch Stock Car Museum in Maastricht.

He arranged with the caretaker, for us to enter the grounds of the old speedway and get some pictures. 

Thanks Mat for taking the trouble to drive to Baarlo to meet me.

Saturday 14th May

When Carla was a kid we spent lots of time in the campsites tropical swimming pool.

So in the morning it was time for the grand children to have fun in the pool with grandad .

I stayed there until about 1-00 pm , before leaving them to carry on enjoying  themselves while I went racing for a few hours.

After the long 1 kilometer  paved track closed in the mid 1990’s, a smaller dirt oval has emerged, about two miles away in Soeterbeek.

It is run by BACO , a race team that use the event to raise funds.

Racing is only held there one weekend a year and that’s where I was heading.

Carla dropped me off at pedestrian and cyclist entrance and we arranged for her to pick me up later.

The main event was for four cylinder auto-cross cars, but I was there to see the Dutch Heritage F1 stock Cars that were also on the program. 

The first person I met was Harald Bartels, a BACO official at the main entrance .

He made a quick phone call to my friend Robert Wilms , and it wasn’t long before he and Wendy Van Lier were there to meet me.

Robert is a race track photographer who had arranged for me to take pictures on the center.  Robert lives in Baarlo and I’ve known him for a long time.

I once helped him out with some photos for a project he was doing about the history of the old track.

The three of us wandered the pits and chatted with a few of the Heritage F1 Stock Car drivers.

Bert Dr Vries was there driving his fathers old car.

I also chatted with Ron Christis, who was driving a replica , he’d built of a Lambert Keulen car.


Next up, was former king of the old Baarlo Long Track, Rien Rutjens.

I first saw Rien race back in 1977, on my first visit to Baarlo. He’s now 72 years old .

We had a long chat about old times and while I was chatting, Wendy took pictures of some of the other cars for me.


It was nice to see this replica of the 1978 Frans Meuwissen car.


Once racing began,, we watched the first race for the Auto-Cross cars from the spectator area before I moved to the middle for the Heritage cars.

By now, time was getting on , and I began to make my exit to where I’d arranged for Carla to pick me up at 6-30 pm.

Once back in the Volvo, we drove the short distance  to Baarlo Centrum for a patio supper.

Sunday 15th of May

On Sunday morning we were on the move again. We were leaving the Baarlo Campsite in the Limburg province and heading into Germany.

Cologne is only about an hour away and we had accommodation booked at the Marriot Hotel in the city center. 



We couldn’t book in until the afternoon so we’d arranged to meet some of Carla’s friends at the Lindt Chocolate Museum in the morning.

This was a great experience which the grandkids loved.

We had a light lunch beside the River Rhine before heading to our Hotel.

Our day was completed with a river cruise and look at the Dom, the cities famous cathedral.

Monday 16th of May

This was a day of travelling, as we headed from Cologne in Germany to Friesland in the north of the Netherlands.

Our destination was Sneek , where we planned to meet up with our long time Friends , the Boschma family.

On the drive up , we passed by the city of Apeldoorn where we stopped for a SUBWAY lunch (Yes, the same SUBWAY sandwhich chain is in Europe too)

While we were there we visited the local JAMIN candy store which used to be one Carlas favorite stores. She wanted Benji and Sophia to have the experience .

After this we were back on the road , heading for Sneek.

Our destination was Uitwellingerga, a small village by the water-side.

We had an AIR B&B booked , beside the harbour, for two days and we arrived at 5-30 pm


TO BE CONTINUED   WORK IN PROGRESS, Tues 16th of May to follow