From vintage and classic to 3D production technology!
We are guests at Red Hand Classics, founded in 2017 by Alex Woppenkamp and his son Nick in Rijen in Brabant. The company is located in the Divmo Motoren building and was born out of a pure passion for oldtimers and especially their technology. This is especially true for English motorcycles, with a personal preference for Rudge and Triumph. In addition to restoration, repair, overhaul, maintenance and the production of parts, RHC also mediates in the purchase and sale of old-timers. You can also go here for a 38-point check-up after winter storage.
Who is who?
Motorized two-wheeler life started for Alex around the age of fifteen with mopeds like an ex-police DKW, you know, that uncle cop's moped who often drove just a little faster than yours. But also Kreidlers and a Berini. He wasn't brand conscious. ”As long as he took you to school”, says Alex, who made it to precision mechanic via the LTS, MTS and HTS. First he did this as a permanent employee with worldwide jobs and from the 1990s as an independent entrepreneur. Around the age of 25, classic motorcycles began to attract attention. The first was a 1950 CZ. After that, the fascination for the pre-war models of Rudge and Triumph, as well as a few Kawasaki three-cylinder engines, began. The collection of motorcycles and parts grew steadily in the private garage, now widely discovered by enthusiasts. In the meantime, son Nick was also infected by the motorcycle virus and during a fair in England the idea arose to start Red Hand Classics VOF together. The great love of both of them for the Rudge brand is reflected in the logo, in which a left hand is used to avoid copyright problems.
Best Motorcycle Technician
Which brings us to son Nick. As a toddler he already understood how to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts. Before he rode a moped, he learned to drive his father's 1930 Rudge Ulster when his mother was not at home. Where other teenagers were looking for a job in the supermarket, he started working at Divmo Motoren on Saturdays when he was fourteen. First as a cleaner, but soon he was also allowed to help in the workshop. He bought a Yamaha FS1 with his earnings, which he found in Belgium as a worn-out ex-'pub moped' in Belgium and built it himself. It now has 20,000 kilometers on the clock. In the meantime, he obtained one diploma after another: Engineering mechanical engineering level 4, Motorcycle technician level 2, First motorcycle technician level 3 and Technical specialist passenger cars level 4. The latter because there is as yet no training for technical specialist motorcycles. In 2019 he won the award for best motorcycle technician. To do this, he traveled to Vienna to compete with young technicians from countries such as Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and the Netherlands. Also, at the age of 25, he has already ridden a lot of rides for historic motorcycles in England. In short, father and son are evenly matched and technically complement each other perfectly!
The pursued perfection is also reflected in the workshop and showroom. It is 'old-fashioned' orderly, everything is neatly in place and it is also spotlessly clean. The spacious workshop of 175 square meters is divided into three areas. These are an assembly room with seven bridges and three large workbenches, a machining room with a lathe, a milling machine, a drill press and a saw table and another room with welding equipment, a blasting cabin and two valve grinders. It is the domain where minor and major repairs and overhauls are carried out. RHC also makes parts 'which are no longer available' using the most modern techniques. On the top floor you immediately notice the beautiful wall decoration and of course the sales desk and showroom with both a private collection and motorcycles for sale. The warehouse is also located here, with a large stock of parts.
Became curious? RHC can be visited from Monday to Thursday (by appointment only) and is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. without an appointment and closed Friday and Sunday. Address: Parallelweg 50, Rijen, tel. +31 6 82057496 and info: www.redhandclassics.com Motorcycle clubs that want to come and have a look during a club ride are also very welcome, but it is appreciated if they to agree in advance.
Text and photos: Frank van Oortmerssen.
Source: magazine ”Het Motorrijwiel” edition 177 | year 31 | MAY – JUN 2022