European Championships 2000

The first day EC Rowingbike.

The sky is cloudy, but the morning starts dry. With a nice temperature and a mild breeze it’s actually superb rowingbike weather!

After breakfast the last rowingbikes are inspected. Derk helps several participants with optimizing their equipment with a stunning routine. Meanwhile the last contestants are subscribing for the races at the information stand. The number of contestants has grown to 44 people. In the main hall everybody gathers for a meeting were the last instructions will be given to the participants.

And then the whole group rides to the place of the races, the island Neeltje Jans. There the preparations are taken for the first race, a criterion of two rounds with a total of app. 15 kilometres.
Naturally, the whole group has to start together, but nevertheless the start is smooth and everybody is gaining speed quickly. The fast guys race away immediately. After 1 round the field of participants is scattered and Ymte Sijbrandy, Derk Thijs en Werner de Hamer pass at high speed the finish line for the first time. Through the eyes of a novice spectator an impressive sight!
After another round the criterion is already done. Werner takes the first place, directly followed by Derk and Ymte. Ymte says he cannot sprint and needs to have some distance between himself the other competitors to win a race. Nevertheless he proved again that he is still at the top, despite the fact that he couldn’t train for several weeks because of a injury he got when falling with his bike.

At the ladies also well-knows names. Bep Thijs, Hilda Hoekstra and Bernadette Zevenhuizen take places 1 to 3.

Directly after the race the participants review the criterion. Especially the winners amaze themselves about each others abilities. Again it seems that they whip up one each other quite a lot.
Between races the spectators look amazed to the unconventional technique of the THYS 222 Rowingbikes. Several owners give the necessary explanation on the Snek, the way of propulsion and how to ride the bike.

Time for the 500 metres sprint with flying start. Two participants start together, the winner goes to the next round. To give every rider equal chances they start behind a slowly riding motorbike. That way the competitors have time to click in the pedals and make some speed. At the starting line of the sprint the motorbike speeds away and the race starts. Dragging their steers, thumping the pedals, the rowingbikes are raced over the finish line, a spectacular sight!
However, not everyone needs to use his last drop of power to win the race. Ronald Florijn, winner of Olympic gold, wins effortless because his opponent gets a small technical problem during the heat. The problem is solved in no time and Ronald propose immediately to restart. Again, Ronald wins with ease.
Something similar happens during the heat between Derk Thijs and George van Iwaarden. George also has to stop and it’s only logical for Derk to do the race again, even though Derk has already won, according to the rules. During the second attempt Derks opponent proves to be very strong. Only by using everything he got, Derk manages to win with a minimum lead.

In the second round Ronald Florijn has less luck. Jan Maarten Oolman, a well-knows recumbent-rider, manages to take him out.

Bernadette Zevenhuizen is too fast for Hilda Hoekstra. The same for Bep Thijs, who defeats Anja Kuipers. They both continue tomorrow in the finals of the 500 metres sprint.

During the break after the sprint the riders are preparing for the one hour time trial. During this race riding in the slipstream of others is not allowed. Everybody has to do the race completely on his/her own strength.
At half past three the race starts. Again Derk, Ymte and Werner are forming a small front group. After one round it’s clear that Werner is going on on his own. He has managed to create an opening between himself and the other contestants. During the laps Werner is only widening the gap more and more. When entering the last lap have have made an unbelievable lead of almost two minutes! Derk takes the second place, directly followed by Ymte.
At the ladies the results are also similar to the criterion. Bep Thijs takes the first place, followed by Bernadette and Hilda.

With the one hour race the first day ends. apart from only a couple of minutes of drizzle, the whole day had fine weather. During the last race the sun even shines now and then. The participants are going to their bungalows at De Banjaard and can prepare for the 80 kilometres rally along the west of Zeeland.

The second day

Today we have beautiful weather. Sunny, a blue sky, little wind and a perfect temperature. Ideal for the 80 kilometres rally thought the landscape of Zeeland. The start is at bungalow park The Banjaard, the place where the participants stay.

The route passes the Stormvloedkering, de Kop van Schouwen and on along the Brouwersdam to the Oostduinen. There is the turning point and the same way is taken back, only now with headwind! Meanwhile a small group has formed in front of the race, consisting of three well-known names: Werner, Derk and Ymte. On the way to the Oostduinen they went with speeds of 45 to 50 kilometres an hour, now the speed has dropped slightly below 40 km/h. While approaching the finish line, the contestants in the head group are becoming more and more nervous. It now comes to smart riding and trying to sprint away on the right moment. Attempts to break away fail repeatedly because of the strong headwind. The race ends with a sprint, which is won by Derk. Ymte is second, Werner third. Fourth, with some distance, is Ed Koomen. Spectacular is also the fifth place for Wim Poel, the youngest participant, only 19 years old and only a couple of weeks experience with the rowingbike. This promises a lot for next year!
Bep Thijs is the first lady who passes the finish, followed by Benadette Zevenhuizen and Therese Schuitema. Pieter Stoter, director of sponsor Delta Nuts, also manages to set a good time, despite the fact that he has only one leg.

It’s time for the finals of the sprints. After yesterday only the strongest survive, which promises spectacular heats. Ymte goes, with some effort, to the next round by defeating the always strong Frederique van der Walle from Belgium. Derk Thijs wins from John Poot, who despite his older model rowingbike rides a good EC. Wim Poel goes to the next round by staying in front of Jos Hendrik. The always fanatic Jan Maarten Oolman then tries his luck against Werner de Hamer. First it looks like Werner will win the race, but Jan Maarten manages to fill the gap with superhuman powers and even passes Werner on the finish line. It is impossible to make out who wins, so there is no choice but to do the sprint again. Werner solves a problem with his rubber steering dampener. In the second attempt both put everything they have left in the sprint, but this time Werner wins clearly and goes to the semi-finals. Maybe the dampener had more influence than expected.
The semi finals start between Ymte and Derk. Derk has to use evey muscle with maximum power, but speeds first over the finish line. The second heat is between Wim Poel and Werner de Hamer. But this time Wim has to accept Werner as the stronger party. Werner wins, but not with a lot of difference!
Then the finals between the ladies. Bep Thijs and Bernadette Zevenhuizen race against each other, Bernadette takes the first place.
Number three and four then appear at the start. Ymte wins and take the third place, Wim Poels is fourth.

And now only the first and second place has to be appointed. Werner managed to win with some distance from Derk and by winning the 500 metres sprint he added another good result to the list he already had.

The whole group returned to De Banjaard to talk the whole EC over again, usually nipping on a cold beer.

During the price giving the definitive winners the the EC Rowingbike were announced:


  1. Bep Thijs
  2. Bernadette Zevenhuizen
  3. Hilda Hoekstra


  1. Werner de Hamer
  2. Derk Thijs
  3. Ymte Sijbrandy