The dream of owning a racetrack remains that for the vast majority of dirt trackers, but not Huub Forrer. The 23-year-old Dutchman (above) is the new owner Lelystad Dirt Track, Netherlands, one of the best track in Europe. We contacted him for a quick interview
Huub, you bought a racetrack? What the hell?
Yeah, just bought a racetrack. It still feels super-surreal. I wouldn't have thought i would be taking this step at 23 but life does weird things sometimes.
How did the deal come about?
The deal had been in the works for quite a while now. I think the first talks about it started a year ago, in more of a joking kind of way. I was doing loads of tryouts at the track and generally spent all my free time there. Dirk, the former owner, had put a lot of work into the track since 2016 and was feeling ready for something new, so the [negotiations] started. What we thought would take a few months took a bit over a year. There were quite a few hurdles to overcome, from the way we would do the deal to environmental stuff, but we made a good deal in which we both feel satisfied with the outcome.
Huub track prepping
How long did you think about the purchase before committing?
i was eager for the deal from day one, how often do you get a chance to buy a track? It also helps that I'm still young and don't have a lot of responsibilities outside of the track. I do still study but I don't have a massive mortgage on a house or a family to maintain. I think that makes it easier to commit to these things.
Does the track need a lot of income for it to make sense for you?
In the beginning I don't plan on taking any income out off the track. It's important for me to reinvest most of the money earned to make the track as stable as possible. In the future it is the plan to take an income out off it, but i don't see the need to make a ton out of it, if it so happens to become that way it's nice, but that's not the aim.
You mentioned your dad on social media. What is his involvement?
My dad supported me all the way through the process and still guides me. He has a few years under his belt and knows me through and through, so he protects me from making stupid decisions that 23-year-olds make. He still has to do a few more years before he retires, but he is not someone to chill off his pension, so he helps me loads at the track, from maintaining the Sunday bikes to grilling burgers after a try-out. He is the jack of all trades one might need at a track. It's also great to have someone besides you who you can talk to about new plans ideas and what not.
Try-out Day at Lelystad
The track hasn't hosted races for a while, just practices, is that going to change?
Oh yeah, I want to bring the race energy back to Lelystad. It's a venue where a lot of people began racing, at the likes of Hells Race, Flatlands and the dirt track series. It's where I had my first contact with the sport as well, and I want to bring back the killer vibes those events brought with them.
What are the short, medium and long-term plans for Lelystad?
For the short term I want to be open a lot more, really put energy into the sport and get more people on bikes. Give people a place to race, chill and have fun. Also getting Lelystad back on the race calender and adding a few extra lights so we can have proper night races. Next to that Mick Jansen (Dutch Brothers) is also super keen on getting a try-out part 2 in which people can really hone their skills.
For the medium term, I would like to fix the infield of the track and make it possible to have a killer TT layout to provide for a broader group of people, so the likes of supermoto guys can have a crack at the track as well.
For the long term I must say I don't really have a vision yet. I think it will form in the coming months/year. It has to do with if I do my job right. If we can manage to get a load of people on bikes and get the sport to grow enormously we can dream big. If I make a mess out of it, well, yeah then it might not be sunshine and rainbows.
Huub during his very first visit to Lelystad. From racing a modified street bike to owning the track
What does the track mean to you, personally?
It's where I learned to shift... My neighbour from back then had an old Suzuki GS450 laying around which he gave me and he told me about flat track, so my dad signed me in and off we went. i got hooked the moment I went through the gate. After the race. and highside, I went to do a tryout at the track and knew Lelystad was the place to be. I started helping around at the track and kept on rolling deeper into the flat track game and so it became my life. Lelystad is the track i enjoy riding the most. I love short tracks and the banking gives it its killer characteristic, the flow you can get into at that track just hits it for me.
You know that the owner/organiser never gets to ride - how are you going to deal with that?
Yes owning a track is a bit of a double-edged sword. My friend, Jean-Paul and I have been organising trainings for quite a while at the track and while we don't get to ride as often as the others, we do still get some riding in. It will probably get even less now but I must say I don't really mind it. There are enough evenings where I can have a session with some mates, so the racing is probably getting less but I aim to get enough riding time in besides that IO love doing other stuff around the track. I've learned to get joy from other things besides riding at the track, not because I wanted to but because i always manage to break my bike so in that case not a lot will change....
What are you most excited about?
Getting this killer track back on everyone's list to visit. I want to make it the best/most fun track on the mainland, willing to share with Rocco's Ranch. That track is killer as well. I'm really looking forward to having great laughs at the track and having the best time possible.
Good luck, Huub and all at Lelystad.