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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

System Ford Competition and British F3 winner Gerrit van Kouwen dies aged 60

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But, past FF1600 and F3, De Vliegende Hollander’s progress all of the sudden stalled.

Son of a de Meern automobile breaker, van Kouwen’s mild persona, boundless enthusiasm, tireless work ethic, insatiable urge for food to study and intense loyalty endeared him to all people he met.

Banned for autocrossing a VW Beetle along with his cousin, when it was found they had been solely 15, Gerrit topped a Zandvoort circuit course a yr later alongside police drivers.

Winner of a Marlboro-supported Crossle 32F FF1600 drive, the Dutch motorsport governing physique granted an exemption, enabling him to race earlier than holding a street licence.

In 1982, having purchased two engines from David Minister, he earned the primary of two successive Dutch and Benelux championships in a Van Diemen, guided by Kees van der Grint of Barron Racing and Bridgestone fame.

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In September 1983, Lola’s Mike Blanchet loaned him a T642E forward of Zandvoort’s EFDA Euroseries decider. He thrashed Harald Huysman and Manuel Reuter to win by nearly 30 seconds within the rain.

With Competition aspirations strengthened, van Kouwen entered two Champion of Manufacturers precursors, ending third first day trip and profitable the latter.

On the large occasion, second in his warmth and third within the quarter and semi-finals seemed promising. Alas a holed radiator thwarted his ultimate cost whereas mendacity fourth.

Van Kouwen was banned for autocrossing a VW Beetle along with his cousin, when it was found they had been solely 15

Re-armed with a Lola T644E for 1984, van Kouwen defended his European crown and received six championship rounds in Britain with Danny Blundell’s Fleetray Racing workforce.

Totally invincible on the Competition, he pulverised robust opposition at each stage and scooped a £5000 jackpot as the primary driver to lap the {old} Indy circuit inside 49s.

Perception: The secrets for success at the Formula Ford Festival

Given a leg-up into British F3 with a Pegasus Motorsport Ralt-VW RT30 in 1985, he received three rounds from 4 in a sensational July/August spell.

Sarcastically, he improved to fourth in 1986, regardless of splitting from the equipe mid-season, quickly after a Thruxton victory. That he scored no additional factors on transferring with engineer Trevor Foster to Swallow Racing’s sister automobile stays a thriller.

A BMW Nederland M3 touring automobile programme was ineffective towards Ford Sierra RS500s, which he subsequently raced. Spasmodic German F3 outings added little to his CV.

Regardless of his racing stars waning, van Kouwen remained besotted with the System Ford Competition – which he missed solely twice, in COVID-torn 2020 and through his stoic battle with sickness. His energy of recall for Competition statistics was phenomenal, Mastermind normal.

On his pilgrimages to England, van Kouwen at all times met up with Minister, for whose engine enterprise he proudly assumed a task of brand name ambassador, serving to later generations of bold racers when Graham Fuller took over its administration.

Van Kouwen was best known for his triumph in the 1984 Festival

Picture by: Keith Sutton

Van Kouwen was greatest recognized for his triumph within the 1984 Competition

He would at all times convey provides of stroopwafels, the Dutch biscuits with which the beguiling teenager had persuaded Fiona Webb at Manufacturers to let him check his FF1600s completely in lunchbreaks or after hours.

“Gerrit was a really particular particular person to so many,” mentioned Fuller. “He’d do something to assist and we turned nice associates.

“Even once I visited him in Holland in December and he was so sick, he remained so Positive. There was no self-pity.

“He had secured his beloved household’s future and deliberate his funeral service, so all he needed to do was chat in regards to the golden days of System Ford, the place his sporting legacy lies for all to see.”

Dedicated to his British spouse Suzy, their kids Sian, Ethan and Ellie, and granddaughters Rylie and new-born Olivia, van Kouwen might be remembered as a humble achiever and unbelievable bloke!

Van Kouwen’s funeral is because of be held on 5 February at noon UK time and is being livestreamed at arvideo.nl/gerrituk and may be accessed with the password gk

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