It's a logistical headache of almost military proportions, but keeping a 45-strong world championship motorcycle racing team on the march is a task that has to be completed in order to maximise the team's chances of success.
As the World Superbike and World Supersport championships arrived in Europe after the two opening 'flyaway' rounds in Qatar and Australia, Winston Ten Kate Honda geared up to move the logistics and team hospitality onto higher level.
For the 2005 season, the team is contesting both championships with four pilots and the required mechanics, data loggers, tyre and suspension technicians. And with Winston as the team's new title partner, that means an increased number of guests at each round, too.
The task of keeping the team fed, watered and comfortable during each of the 10 European rounds of the championships falls principally to a small group of three people – Henk and Janny Muggen and Frits van Erven.
Husband and wife team, Henk and Janny, joined the Ten Kate team five years ago, along with their daughter, Monique, who now acts as team co-ordinator. Frits, the team's chef, joined around the same time after his son Danny - chief technician to Superbike rider Karl Muggeridge - asked him to come and help out with some cooking at the Assen round in 2000.
“It was a very busy home round for the team so I went along in my Sunday best,” admits Frits, who first learned to cook during a 30-year career with the Dutch navy, “but within half an hour I was peeling potatoes and I've been here ever since!”
Before each event, Frits prepares menus and hands a shopping list to Henk and Janny. “We normally spend around €4000 before we leave, shopping for everything except fresh food,” says Janny. “Then we do a local shop when we reach the circuit.”
The hospitality truck, driven by Henk, sets off the weekend before the race and, in the case of the recent Valencia round, the 2,000km trek takes around two and a half days. “I'm the only driver,” he says, “so I have to stop every four hours for a 45-minute rest. The other two team trucks get there faster but they each have two drivers!”
Henk is a qualified truck driving instructor, however, and is currently teaching three other team members to drive the 12m units, each of which holds 900 litres of fuel – good for 2,000km. But with 25,000km to be covered during the European season and three trucks to fill more than 10 times over, the team's annual fuel bill is certainly significant.
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