people power

Herbert Nieuwenhuis, through a combination of good fortune and tenacity has done what many must envy. It all started with the German Grand Prix in 1989, the morning after Kevin's famous, last gasp victory over Wayne. "Kevin was driving out of the circuit on Monday with Jim, and Shirley in the car." explained the Dutchman. "We had a Texas flag and they drove up. My best mate Humphre had had a bit to drink the night before and was asleep, my brother - went to get his camera, kicked Humphre to wake him up and said, 'Get up Kevin Schwantz is here, come and meet him.' Humphre didn't believe him of course and went back to sleep.

"They drank a beer with us we had a chat and took photographs, I asked Kevin to wait just one more minute while I got Humphre he would never have forgiven me if I hadn't so I ran back to our tent. While I was waking him Kevin came running through the woods with the Texas flag, Humphre jumped ~ about three feet in surprise."

"We saw Kevin, Jim and Shirley several times after that they have been able to get us paddock - passes sometimes, the first time at the Austrian Grand Prix that year Jim and Shirley remembered me but Kevin didn't. I was a bit disappointed but I realised that he meets ten thousand people a year I only had one face to remember."

"After that was the Dutch Grand Prix at Assen, Rainey made a mistake at the last corner and Kevin won. I jumped over the fence with the Texas flag that he had signed in Germany. I ran into the middle of the track and gave it to him, it was on TV, I have it on tape."

"He took the flag on the victory lap and then threw it into the Grandstand. I was very lucky because on the way out of the track my friend Humphre saw a guy with my flag, he got it back for me, I didn't ask him how. Since then I haven't let it go again."

"I met them again at Magny Cours in '92. Humphre and I climbed over the fence at night, slept under a truck and managed to see Kevin, it was a bad weekend for him but we had a drink in the motorhome with Jim and Shirley. That was the first time that they recognised us rather than just the other way round."

"From then on I have kept in contact with Shirley. We began to know them as people rather than just the racing side of things. You get to like the people instead of just holding Kevin up as an idol."

Looking dangerous at Kevin's house is Herbert Nieuwenhuis. "Shirley suggested that I might want to visit Texas and eventually we managed to organize it. It was great, a very special week for me, I shall never forget it and now in a small way I feel part of the family."



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