Friday, November 10, 2017

Q & A with Clemens Wellink

Clemens Wellink, 53 years old from Dinxperlo in the Netherlands. Clemens is a crew member and driver of the Dutch Mini Modified Sledge called ,,No Mercy´´. He´s also in the ETPC SIT (Sledge Inspection Team) and makes the inspections on the sledges in Europe. What are you doing in your normal life?
Clemens Wellink: I worked over 30 years now, at a company called Welgro in Groenlo (NL), that builds trailers for transport of animal feed, flower, granulates etc. I'm a little in charge at the blower and compressor shop where we built these things on the Trucks to unload the trailers by pressure What do you like to do in your free time, except Tractor Pulling?
Clemens Wellink: Working in and outside our house where I live with my wife, 3 daughters and 1 son. Building satellite receiving systems for a hobby. What do you like about Tractor Pulling?
Clemens Wellink: The complete package of noise, power, speed, competition and trying to give my positive input on Al those different kind of things. Driving a Sledge, Mini or big, is a thrill. Trying to make a good setting and after words receive positive judgement of Teams and audience is also a thing that keeps me going. When it was an off day, then always trying to think in solutions and go on. What was your first Tractor Pulling event?
Clemens Wellink: The first pull in Holland on 8th October 1977, where the introduction of the sport took place. There, as a 12 year old, together with my teammate Henk, the virus hit us, and never let loose. The noise out of the Foxy Lady Dodge 440 headers was incredible for us at that time. What is your favourite Event / Pulling track?
Clemens Wellink: There are several places/events I like. Everywhere where a huge crowd is roaring on the grandstand when a nice pass of a tractor was layed down the track. Putten (NL) and Lochem (NL) are one of my favourites,  but also places like Great Ecclestone (GB), Kollerschlag (A), F├╝chtorf (D), Bernay (F). 
Events like Made (NL) are a bit to much for me, but I take my hat off for the people that make this happen! When and where have you have driven a Pulling Tractor / Sledge for the first time?
Clemens Wellink: As member of the Little Rabbit Mini Rod Team in Holland I drove the first time somewhere in 1985. On a Sledge it was in the early 90's. I think it was the sled we run now, but was in a different ownership in that time. What was your biggest success?

Clemens Wellink: Together with team Little Rabbit being 2 times in a row second on the European Championships, 1988 and 1989. In 1990 we sold the machine to Willem Dingerink. It became the first Lambada.
With running Sledges you win every event, but it depends on how you win. Together with the class you have to run, it should put on a good show, and than we are all winners in the end. Which Pulling classes do you like too?
Clemens Wellink: I like them all, especially when the competition is good, and you can't predict what the top 3 in a class will be. What was your biggest disappointment?
Clemens Wellink: A few things I remember the most are a slipping clutch on the Keep Moving Sledge in Ahoy with all the impact that gave.
26th of August 2007 Great Ecclestone (GB) Jan van Alphen. We where there with our No Mercy Sledge and on the moment we want to hit the road, this terrible thing happened. The trip home was very very tough and it made a deep scare. Which things must be changed in the future of the Tractor Pulling sport?

Clemens Wellink: As former board member of the NTTO, I learned a lot about the sport with all the ins and outs. The level we have reached in Holland is pretty high, and I hope that this could be continued in the future, and will expand in Europe. Track preperation is in my opinion a very important issue, and there could be more improvement on that.
An other discussion point could be the 100m mark. We must get rid off this number! When a class has a lot off competitors, than the track officials should decide how many machines should come back in the pull-off, no matter if there is a Full Pull or not. They must run for example 95% of the track length.  This gives less stress for the track officials, Sled crew etc. And the audience will get their Pull Off. This could be as much excitement as it is with the system that we have now. When there is no time left due to weather conditions, it also could bring a good show, just by making 1 strong run. It depends on how the announcer brings the show through the microphone. I know that this will work in Holland but not in for example France. There the audience has different expectations. What are your plans for the future in Tractor Pulling? 
Clemens Wellink: This year the NTTO has their 40th anniversary, and I was in the lucky position the be a member for 39 years. I hope that I could make it for several more years, running Sledges etc. and being part of a sport that we all love. Also try to give our experience that we have collected through the years to the next generation. What was for you the most important moment in the sport?
Clemens Wellink: Being part of a committee that tries to get a new built Sledge from overseas to Holland. However it was not how it should be done, the first run in Oudenhoorn (NL) 2014 got me a little bit emotional because of the energy that it took over the years. What was your favourite Pulling Tractor project in the workshop during a winter? 
Clemens Wellink: Working on several Sledges, Keep Moving Blue, Keep Moving Orange and No Mercy, but together with my Teammates building our No Mercy transport vehicle was a nice thing to do. It took us 4 years to get the bus ready, but it was worth wile. It's our second home when we are on the road. Something you want to say?
Clemens Wellink: Thank you for being part of the show! Hope to meet you all somewhere on a Pull! Thank you for your time and good luck ! 

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