PLC Corse : Primarily Lunatic Conversions
The Flying Dutchman and his helium-filled PLC Vespa parts
Compared to other countries, Dutch scooterists are a rare breed. Rare, but often good quality in my experience. Christiaan Foppen – also know as Ollandese Volante (the Flying Dutchman) – really fits the bill.
Christiaan runs PLC Corse, a Vespa racing parts company borne out of his passion for scooter racing. The business is singularly and splendidly unconventional, as was Christiaan’s introduction to racing early in this Millennium.
His background is not ‘traditional’ scooter scene. He was an art school kid in Holland with a penchant for skateboarding and dreams of becoming a professional Motocross racer, but knee injuries put paid to that. Instead he put his Vespa on the track and immediately shone.
When he moved to Italy, where he spends time with his wife and new-born son, Christiaan was one of the first fully-sponsored Vespa racers in the current sport, riding for Angelo Zirri.
While racing under factory contract helped with the finances, it didn’t entirely satisfy Christiaan’s ambition on the track. A chance encounter with an Italian kart tuner lead to a joint project making a Vespa smallframe kit based on a liquid-cooled kart barrel.
Development was a long process but the end result was a complete boxed kit for turning a Vespa into a fire-breathing 14,000rpm beast. Christiaan promptly assembled a team of equally nutty racers and entered the 2008 European Scooter Championship (ESC) series in 2008.
PLC ‘silent block’ engine mounts. also for silencing!
“I felt like a rock star!”
“I felt like a rock star” explained Christiaan, looking back on the impact his team made on their sudden arrival in the ESC with his own cylinder kit. Celebrations however, were short-lived. PLC’s kits were promptly disallowed from obtaining points in the championship due to being ‘alien’ cylinders that were unavailable to all competitors. The team carried on winning races deprived of any opportunity to win a championship as a result.
Christiaan’s attitude has always been unconventional. If you were one of the few who bought a PLC cylinder kit back in 2008, then it arrived in a straw-filled wooden box; much like the baby Jesus. Unlike Mary’s boy child however, a PLC kit did not come with instructions on parchment. Instead you got an assembly video made by one of Christiaan’s friends who worked for Discovery TV.
Since that time PLC’s business has remained true to the Vespa racing creed, evolving to produce the fibreglass tanks and body kits used throughout the European racing world.
THE FUTURE: Christiaan remains motivated by fun. This might be riding one of his Vespas in the Italian mountains, running a crazy moped race on the farm where he lives, or competing in the Zuera 24-hour Vespa race for Pinasco.
In the future Christiaan plans to ship several race Vespas around the world so he and his friends can compete in one scooter race in every country where there is a championship. If that doesn’t sound like the ultimate scooterist stag party, then I don’t know what does…
PART TWO >