Kloosterman Keukens en badkamers, Claeren, More media Group, GW-infra, Marek, De bruin car service
2023 - First participation
“We’re taking part in the Dakar, how cool is that?”
Little boys’ dreams can come true. Tom Kloosterman and Niek Lichtenberg have always been passionate about engines and it would be an understatement to say that the Dakar holds a special place in their hearts and minds. The two friends love to tinker old school vehicles and a few years ago Tom got his hands on a Mitsubish Pajero from the 1980s, the model that had him fantasising about desert adventures when he saw his Dutch compatriots Kees and Mieke Tijsterman take on the Dakar four decades ago, while he was just a teenager. Still, he couldn’t imagine that he would drive this car in the greatest rally. The Dakar Classic has opened new horizons for Tom and Niek. It’s time to explore them.
T.K.: “I always followed the Dakar on television, every night on RTL. And I thought we would never participate. It felt out of reach but it was always a little boy’s dream. Five or six years ago I bought a Mitsubishi Parejo from 1986 and it was the kind of model that Kees and Mieke Tijsterman used to participate in Dakar in the 1980s. But I didn’t know it would be possible to participate in the Dakar… And then I saw there was the Dakar Classic and I got really excited. I watched it on TV and the next morning, I asked Niek and he immediately said yes. From that day, we started preparing the car and we did it in about 10 months.
We are very excited. This is the first time we do something like this. It’s all new to us so we’re a bit nervous but the closer it gets, the more exciting it is. We spent the year preparing the car and now it’s getting real. We’re taking part of the Dakar, how cool is that?
I expect that we’ll get really exhausted and will miss kids and family. But I think we can overcome a lot of challenges. The Pajero is really good now but you never know. We can fix a lot of problems ourselves, we know the car inside out. So I think the hardest part will be the tiredness. But I’m really looking forward to facing this!”
N.L.: “Tom and I both fell for fixing, working and repairing tractors, bikes, scooters and cars in our spare time. We met about 10 years ago through a mutual friend and we quickly got to be known as the engine lovers. At the beginning of 2022, Tom called me at 6:15 in the morning to ask I was interested in competing in the Dakar Classic… Within a second he had his answer: Let’s go!
Tom owned already a classic Mitsubishi Pajero (1986), so we started rebuilding it to the FIA standards but we also tried to keep it as original as possible, so no major technical changes have been made. We also had to get our international FIA license, which made it a tough year. But we got it!
We also got to meet some Dakar legends such as Bert Heskes, Tom Coronel, Thomas Dubois and Chris Leyds. It really feels like one big family already.”
TOM AND NIEK
TOM AND NIEK
- Marque MITSUBISHI
- Modèle PAJERO
- Préparateur -
- Assistance -
- Classe Classic Auto (Moyenne Basse) 87-96
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