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The Maniac in green, taking silver – Interview with 754 Klaas-Jan Poolman

Klaas-Jan Poolman is the first Dutch driver to be interviewed by Caged. Nathan caught up with Klaas to learn more about himself, his team and his career, but in particular, about his incredible season of 2022.

The Dutch pilot from Rouveen, a small town 50 minutes from Emmen, started piloting 14 years ago. He knew some friends who raced, so he thought why shouldn’t I try too? At 16 years old, he made his debut driving a Volvo 440 in an Autorodeo and then couldn’t wait to be 18 to get into bangers. From the autorodeo in his hometown, he moved on to racing with the real boys, at the Emmen track.

Klaas started alongside a few friends from Rouveen where he raced in purple, before many Rouveen drivers started racing, seeing the beginning of the Maniacs! A team from the Netherlands with 8 regular drivers who had already participated in races at Warneton; notably in 2018 for the All-RWD meeting, where Klaas and 528 Jaron took a pair of Ford Scorpios. Klaas was very fast on that occasion! The Maniacs always have really well-built cars, like when they brought 8 Granadas for the season opener at Emmen in 2017 or 752 Richard Klomp’s incredible sounding Jaguar. They compete every year at the team race where they usually go far. ‘We always make it to the final, except last year,’ admits Klaas, but he prefers having a good time with his friends rather than the results; the best attitude to have surely! ‘Fun comes first and if we all have fun together that’s the main thing!’

Moving onto Klaas’ 2022 season, his best season since he was 16. ‘This year was awesome for me!’ He participated in 5 races with Scorpios, then a Jaguar XJ40 for the team race. He started the year very well with a lot of points on the first two meetings, so he thought he was interested in trying to score points this year! ‘I was thinking of going for it, and it worked out pretty well.” His biggest achievement, however, was still to come. In October, it was the turn of the biggest individual meeting of the year over on the continent. At the Blue Oyster Trophy meeting, Klaas was on a mission to win the title. He was locked in battle with Drive Inn’s 945 Jeroen Hoes the whole race. I got him to spin and then taking the win was great, it was a great feeling to win that title,’ Klaas recalls. By that point, Klaas was definitely on his way to winning the points for the 2022 season, which he concluded in December securing the title.

The points he obtained this season allow him to participate in the Unlimited Bangers World Final at Ipswich; his second time in the main race. Indeed, Klaas had already participated in the final in 2014 with a superb looking Mk2 Ford Granada. Unfortunately he had been unlucky and received an early head-on, which destroyed his Granada from the start of the race. ‘I am very happy to managed to qualify for the world final, especially alongside my team mate and friend, 266 Martin Hoikammer.’ Indeed, the Maniacs secured all spaces in the top 3 in the points this year, so Klaas and Martin have their place for Ipswich secured. The third place driver was Klaas’ brother, Gert Poolman, who is also a great driver. I’m sure he will help his brother for Ipswich later this year. I wondered how he was going to approach the 2023 season, because it will be difficult to do better than 2022, but it will certainly be a quieter year for him. ‘No pressure and stress for 2023, because I have other obligations, so time will tell” He will likely be at the team race with his team which has always participated in it and also the world final. Klaas teases us about the latter, let’s see what I’m going to build for the world final.’ We’re sure whatever it is, it will be built very well as usual. Let’s keep an eye on him.

He ended the discussion with a phrase we like to hear, ‘we will continue where we left off; pedal to the metal!’ We obviously wish him all the best for 2023, for the races, but also these personal objectives.

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