Rob Slotemaker


It is indeed a good thing that a driver is remembered by his deeds rather than by his name. However, I think we owe it to the late Rob Slotemaker (not Roby Sloetemaker as his former co-driver Bernard Cahier wrote in his nevertheless highly enjoyable article Minis on the Targa Florio) to spell his name correctly. Slotemaker is still remembered by his anti-skid school at the Zandvoort Circuit bearing his name. Incidentally, it was here that he trained a very young Jan Lammers to become a Formula One driver and later a Le Mans winner.

During the 1960s and 1970s Slotemaker was one of the best all-round Dutch drivers. From an international point of view his finest hour was in the revolutionary variomatic-driven DAF 55 in which he finished 17th in the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon. This he drove against far more powerful cars such as Porsches, Volvo, Lotus Cortinas, Hoidens and even Citroens.

Next to participating in the Monte Carlo, Alpine and Tulip rallies Slotemaker was also an ardent touring car racing driver.

I will always remember him by a rain-soaked Zandvoort Six Hours race in the mid-1970s, approaching the Panoramabocht with flair and courage, slipping and sliding but mastering his Chevrolet Camaro (if I’m not mistaken) in grand style. His driving made you forget you were wet to the bone.

It is so sad that he was later to lose his life aged only 49 on another curve at Zandvoort in, I believe, 1978. A memorial plaque and that notorious curve carry his name as one of the Netherlands’ top drivers, two generations before “our” Jos Verstappen.

Christian Reinewald, Amsterdam, Holland.