There are World Superbikes fans. And then there are real World SBK fans. And the guys from Nieuwleusen Motorcycle Club in Holland fall into the latter category.
Nieuwleusen is the home of the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda World Superbike and Supersport championship team – the pride of Dutch motorcycle racing and winners of no fewer that eight world championship titles.
In the WSBK race paddocks around Europe, a familiar sight and sound are the clogs, or klompen, adorning the delicate feet of the guys from the Nieuwleusen Motorcycle Club, some of whom have been following the Ten Kate team for nine years.
According to Wikipedia, the traditional all-wooden Dutch klompen have been officially accredited as safety shoes with the CE mark and can withstand almost any penetration including sharp objects and/or concentrated acids.
The long association of Dutch with wooden clogs can be traced to the traditional creation myths of ancient Germanic Tribes who originally occupied modern Holland.
Today, asserts Wikipedia, Dutch clogs are primarily a beloved tourist souvenir. Despite the fact that most Dutch no longer wear klompen for everyday use, clogs remain popular by people working in their gardens, farms and by planters. The Dutch also consider wearing clogs as being healthy for the wearers’ feet.
Two members of the club – Henk Kragt and Erik Schuurman – made the long trip down to Portimao in Portugal for round two of the 2010 WSBK series with this season’s klompen. There a new paint job every year that follows the team branding faithfully.
There’ll be four members of the club at round three in Valencia but there’s still some work for Gerrit ten Kate and his team to do.
For, although the Nieuwleusen Motorcycle Club guys are good customers of the Ten Kate Motoren dealership from which the race team operates, none of them currently rides a Honda! Oh Clogs.