Jan had told me about the auto rodeo tradition in his home region already while we were fishing in Russia and invited me to this years show down in Rouveen. While not ideal, given King’s day celebrations I wanted to attend in Amsterdam, I hopped on the 2h train & bus over to this pretty village in the East of Holland not far from Zwölle. What a crazy sport really, but with 80+ cars competing it was pretty lively though less than last year. I guess the scrap metal trader will have a busy Monday …
Autorodeo – A hobby that needs a lot of passion
So what exactly is autorodeo? Basically guys like Jan and his friends buy old cars for little money and fix them up for the race. For one, that means they need to be able drive. Secondly, there are plenty of safety requirements to be met. So they reinforce chiefly the area around the driver (frames, cushioning but also moving gas tank into the center of the car etc) and rip out most of the rest (no passenger seat, back seat, windows …). Lastly, the cars are decorated including a common team colour (for Jan & co it was black) and some more freestyle decorations such as sayings or little drawings – at last it’s all for fun. In Jan’s case, this process took 6w (I hear less for his friends).
Autorodeo (Jovink En De Voederbietels)
Met de pens vol gif, stoa ik an de start
Zes cylinders brult onder mien gat
Zo hard ak kan, trea-j ik op ‘t gas
‘t Volk dat steet te kieken hult zich vast
Kogellagers die uut mien piepe barst
Terwij ik vol gas deur’t gres hen jank
Beuk ik alle volvo’s in de flank
De duuvel is veur mien doodsbang
As ik de trekhoak in mien buurvrouw hang
Iedereen beukt al wat halen kan
The race – last car running wins: Once the cars are ready (& inspected) they are typically grouped into power classes (in rather Dutch way, this meant a ‘small’ & ‘large’ group in this event) and the race can begin. Usually for autorodeo the race takes place on a grass field surrounded by a trench (as opposed to bangers mostly in the UK that go on asphalt & use more powerful cars). There are typically several races culminating in a final and in this region there is also the crazy race at the end – every car that can still drive is permitted. Once the cars get going they crash into each other in order to force others into the trench and / or demolish their car so that it can’t race anymore. Whichever car survives longest wins. Simple. Key is to fix broken cars quickly in the intervals in order to get another try to make the finals – here a good team, a huge dose of pure force and a bit of improvisation are absolutely key.
By the way, the guys got their bottoms kicked today by a girl who if I am not mistaken won on two occasions. Respect. Fun day out. Thanks go to Jan & his Rouveen gang. And here a video of today’s action. Enjoy.
P.S. Some Dutch people seriously wear wooden boots (Klompen). Hilarious isn’t it?