VAN HAMERSVELD’S EYSINK 500: THE FIRST ‘LOCAL FAVORITE’
In 1925 the Circuit of Drenthe hosted its first real road race and Dutchman Bertus van Hamersveld looked set to win it, was it not for a broken valve spring to deny him that honour. It was to be the first of many unlucky races in Assen for Hamersveld. His speed and determination made him the first ‘local favorite’ in Assen, especially in 1932 when he raced the Dutch built Eysink 500 cc.
Dick Eysink had started the ‘Amersfoortse Rijwiel-, Automobiel- en Machinefabriek’ back in 1886. 11 years on his sons Menno and August built the first Dutch car. In 1913 August won a gold medal at the prestigious ‘England-Holland Run’ on a home built motorcycle which became the basis for an army motorcycle which was produced up to 1930. After 1930 Eysink used engines from ILO, New Hudson, JAP, Matchless and Python (Rudge) and it was the latter that brought the most success. The 1931 win in the Six-days event at Merano, Italy by Dick Eysink, Gerard Schut and Bertus van Hamersveld was the brand’s finest hour. A year later Eysink entered the Dutch TT road race with Bertus van Hamersveld using the same 500 cc Rudge engine.
Van Hamersveld boldly took the lead in front of big names like Stanley Woods, Graham Walker and Tim Hunt. Tens of thousands of spectactors urged the Dutchman on. On course for at least a podium position, during a tank stop Van Hamersveld failed to re-start his Eysink losing valuable time. Pushing the Eysink to its limits to make up time, the motorcycle eventually ceased completely. Van Hamersveld’s team mate Jaap Houtop managed to finish in ninth position.
The 4-valve radial TT Rudge Replica engine produced around 35 hp with it the steel framed Eysink 500 was capable of top speeds around 150 kilometers per hour. By the 1934 Dutch TT the Eysink 500’s were eclipsed by the latest British racers, but in 1948 Eysink did manage to write history in the lightweight class with Dick Renooy becoming the first ever Dutch winner on a Dutch machine in Assen. In 1956 the company ceased to exist to come back producing 50 cc mopeds.
Van Hamersveld stood on the Dutch TT podium twice: in 1935 (250 cc) and 1937, as a factory BMW rider in the 500 cc class. A crash at Zandvoort in 1947 ended his career. A roundabout near the TT Circuit is named after Assen’s first local favorite. He past away in 1975 at the age of 79.
The Eysink 500 is owned by Wim Marijnis and is one of only a few pre-war big class Eysinks still in existence. 90 years after Van Hamersveld’s 1932 Dutch TT, the bike will be ridden during the Classic GP Assen by Van Hamersveld’s grand sons Tim and Tom Coronel, known for their international racing and rally endeavours.