Nick Antwerpen: Saloon Stockcars “develop in the right direction”
And suddenly they were turning right: Since the Saloon Stockcars have also been driving according to the British regulations in the Netherlands, the Autospeedway class is on the upswing – Nick Antwerpen assesses the development positively
For a long time, Saloon Stockcars in the Netherlands turned left on the ovals, unlike its big brother in Great Britain. But that changed when the British regulations were adopted on the mainland. With the right-hand drive cars, they turn right on Autospeedway ovals. This change has helped the class take off, which race driver Nick Antwerpen praises.
“The development of the class is certainly going in a good direction, many points have already been set right by the organizers, drivers, but also the DSCDA [Dutch Stock Car Drivers Association],” the 20-year-old told ‘Leadlap.net’ exclusively. “The driver pool is increasing. The paddock consists of a divers field with some very interesting characters from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.”
Saloon stockcars? Never heard of them?
A short insertion: what actually are the Saloon Stockcars? The National 2l Saloon Stockcars is an Autospeedway class that uses reinforced production cars. As a so-called full-contact class, it offers a lot of action for the drivers and fans. Racing takes place on asphalt ovals and dirt tracks.
The competition is the main focus of the class: in order to finish in first place, competitors may be pushed out of the way by hitting the rear of the car as it enters a corner. Opponents may also be spun on the straight with spirited pushes into the quarter panel. Contact is therefore allowed everywhere on the track. Unlike the Bangers and Bangerstox, the aim is not to destroy even stationary cars with crashes.
In recent years, the number of participants has gone steadily upwards. In Venray in 2020, more than 25 cars were on the grid on a race day. “However, the end of the line has certainly not yet been reached,” Antwerpen believes.
Many different tracks
Raceway Venray, Circuit de Polderputten Ter Apel and JaBa Circuit Posterholt have already published their provisional 2021 calendars. Blauwhuis Speedway, Sint Maarten Speedway and Speedway Emmen – the dirt tracks – on the other hand, are still taking their time in the pandemic.
In terms of the race calendar, Antwerpen also sees a positive development in the class: “Besides the World of Shale, the Dutch Open and the Fryslan Open, the World Cup is currently being planned.”
“The Saloon Stockcars will be seen on six tracks in 2021, should all tracks have the possibility to implement events with alternative concepts again,” the race driver from Nettetal said. “There is also a surprise planned in the calendar, but it will remain secret for now.”
DSCDA the heart of the series
But what has helped the class to grow so well in recent years? Antwerpen has a clear answer: “The most important step to the success of the class so far has certainly to be the creation of the DSCDA drivers’ organization, which is in charge of race organisation, scrutineering, marketing and driver retention.”
“Through driver leadership, the organization is very agile and can intervene extremely quickly even in complex strategic decisions that directly affect the class,” explained the young race driver. “For example, the DSCDA independently negotiates contracts with promoters and sponsors, organizes its own events such as end-of-season parties, and also handles bureaucratic issues with the parent organization SSCA [Saloon Stock Car Association| in England.”
“The DSCDA thinks further, for example the ‘DSCDA Info Days’ have been planned, three dates spread throughout the Netherlands, where enthusiasts, interested parties and fans should get the opportunity to get more deeply acquainted with the class. That only fell through due to the Corona pandemic,” Antwerpen continued.
“However, the plans remain acute, of course, and will be implemented as soon as the opportunity arises. Furthermore, youth work and the promotion of young talent form a focal point in future planning.” For those interested, there are always opportunities with the teams and the series organization to rent a car for a race day at a reasonable price (usually under 1,000 euros per day).
Antwerpen’s own planning
Antwerpen is not only committed to the series, but is also an active Saloon Stockcars driver. He himself would like to get back behind the wheel soon and attack at the top: “The first dates have been set – everything is subject to change. And that’s actually how our planning looks. The plan is to drive everything that’s made possible for us, whether that’s five, ten or 20 races in the 2021 season is still written in the stars.”
“The fact is, as soon as it’s made possible for us, we’ll be on the grid,” he said. “We are considering, if it is possible due to Corona and Brexit – also financially – also to start again in England, as I have already done numerous times in recent years.”
Antwerpen won the track championship at Raceway Venray in 2018 and also made his mark in the field of white and yellow roofs. The color of a racer drivers’ roof shows his or her status in Autospeedway – the best drivers start from the back here.
A brief color theory: white roofs are rookies, yellow roofs drivers who have already collected some points, followed by blue and red roofs for the best drivers. Special paint schemes – such as gold, silver and checkered – identify the various champions.