Interview with Nigel de Kock – World Masters Winner
Following the recent success achieved by Nigel de Kock (525) by winning the World Masters, we caught up with him to find out a little more about the talented Dutch driver…..
The last few weeks have seen a welcome return to the UK oval racing scene for drivers from mainland Europe, where COVID and not Brexit has been the barrier for almost 18 months.
At Odsal in late August we saw the welcome return of transporters with the familiar yellow number plates, and then the familiarly named (thanks to Mark Sargent) ‘Wooden Shoe Mafia’ returned to demonstrate their skills to the UK BriSCA fans once more. Three Dutch drivers made the first trip across the North Sea for this pre-world final meeting, Jelle Tesselaar (H410), Mika Ronitz (H248) and Nigel de Kock.
Whilst the standout performer of the weekend (Odsal and Sheffield) was Jelle Tesselaar, with a Heat win at Sheffield, the Heat 1 winner at Odsal, Nigel de Kock showed the driving skills that would prove valuable for his next visit two weeks later.
When a larger contingent of overseas drivers arrived for the World Final weekend taking in meetings at Odsal and Northampton, Nigel came to the fore, picking up 3 wins, one at each meeting, the latter being the prestigious World Masters title at Northampton to cap off an excellent weekend for the Beverwijk born yellow top.
Nigel continues a family tradition of racing where he raced Toyota Starlet Jr’s, followed by F2 Jr’s and finally Ministox, where he raced 3 times. Nigel followed in some big footsteps as his grandfather, Bert Schaap (H525) raced F1 stock cars, his uncle, Bert Schaap Jr (H525) and also Dave Schaap (H007) also raced F1’s.. Nigel’s nephew, Wesley Schaap (H77) also races F1 stock cars on tarmac back in Holland.
Nigel’s first race win was at Lelystad when he was racing in the Toyota Starlet Junior class, when he was just 13. The first venture onto the UK racing circuit was National Ministox meeting at Belle Vue, where Nigel adds “I didn’t really have good pace in that car, but I am really happy I got to race at that track”.
Nigel’s favourite track to race at is Kings Lynn, “where the racing is good and fast”, but having now visited Odsal, he likes the place “this is the track where my luck changed (with the win in late August), and it is an excellent track for the crowd too, which is important”.
When asked about his favourite surface to race on, Nigel says that he started his racing career on tarmac, and that that style of racing suited him, but, unsurprisingly, he is really enjoying the success he is currently having on shale.
The driver Nigel admires the most is Dave Schaap “he is the best Dutch driver ever for me, and I really like to watch him race”, but Nigel doesn’t feel any driver is the ‘toughest to race against’, he respects all the drivers he races against, and expects the same in return.
The plans for 2021/2022 are simple, do as many meetings and races as possible to try to get enough world championship qualifying points to earn a semi-final spot for the 2022 World Final.
Nigel’s car arrived for all the recent meetings on a Mat Newson transporter, and when asked about this partnership Nigel added “I did my first UK practice and race meeting at Kings Lynn in one of Mat’s hire cars, and after that meeting I bought the engine from that car for my own car. Following this, I hired a car from Mat for a tarmac meeting at Skegness (approx. 2 years ago) and it drove and handled really well, and after this I asked Mat to look after the set-up of my car”.
Finally, Nigel proudly explained that his best and proudest achievement in the sport to date was his World Final weekend success, which ended with the World Masters title heading back to Holland.
I am sure we will be seeing lots more of the likeable Dutch driver at UK tracks over the coming months.