Speed ​​through the countryside on the dirt bike. Motorcycle club MC’80 from Ruinen hopes that it will be possible again this year during the 38th edition of the off-road event. Last year the major sporting event could not take place due to environmental concerns, for 2023 there is an improved application with extra reports and a new date.

    The event was canceled in 2022. The municipality of De Wolden granted a permit, but it was suspended by a judge after objections from the Meppel Nature Conservancy Foundation. According to the nature group, the municipality would have looked too little into possible damage to nature caused by the event. They were right by the judge.


    To prevent problems, MC’80 therefore started planning the motorcycle ride on time. In August, the initiators met for the first time for consultation. The organization also contacted the municipality and Nature Conservation Watch Meppel in time.

    The nature club said during the lawsuit last year that 700 dirt bikes in a wooded area is hell for nesting birds and awakening amphibians. They also think that the amount of nitrogen emissions should be carefully examined.

    A number of solutions have emerged from the talks between all parties, says chairman Herbert van Rechteren of the motorcycle club. “Normally we drive the ride on the second Sunday of March, but that falls in the breeding season. We are now moving it to Sunday, February 26, before the breeding season.” The route has also been looked at. “You then find out whether you can drive a little further from the Dwingelderveld Natura 2000 area.”

    ‘Thousands of euros’

    Van Rechteren says that all parties involved are satisfied with the consultation and the way in which the permit was submitted. Still, his association had to spend a lot of money to get everything right. “We had a strict nature test carried out. That is a condition for organizing the event. This mainly concerns nitrogen calculations. The test has cost us thousands of euros.”

    Geert Starre of Nature Conservancy Meppel is happy with the way things are going. “A good ecological consultancy was hired in advance. We jointly discussed the resulting report with all parties. It is nice that there is no longer driving during the breeding season. Although I thought that the nitrogen calculations could be stricter, but it has now been there is a new version of the report.”

    Saint Nicholas

    Starre particularly praises the collaboration with the municipality of De Wolden. “I think they are very progressive. In some municipalities you see that a nature test is not even mandatory when submitting a permit application. In De Wolden it is required and that is precisely what we are about. A strict test provides certainty and is very valuable.”

    By this he refers to the fact that nature should not become the victim of, for example, a motorcycle ride. “Even if an organization receives the permit from Sinterklaas, a nature test simply has to be carried out to map out all risks. As soon as this is in order, an event can continue as far as we are concerned.”

    Financial consequences

    The fact that the event was canceled last year was a major downer for MC’80. It also had financial consequences. “The permit had already been granted, everything was in order,” says chairman Herbert van Rechteren. “Then we had to return the registrations. That did not do the club any good.”

    Fortunately, the association has some fat on its bones, because it has been around for a long time. “Over the years you do build up a buffer, which makes a huge difference. But it really wears off.” The permit application will be processed in the coming weeks. The organization is confident, but it remains exciting. “Let’s just wait until it’s finally approved.”

    The Antrappers

    In De Wijk, a similar event organized by the De Antrappers association could also not take place last year. Stichting Natuurbeschermingswacht Meppel also objected to the tour that would be held by the municipality of De Wolden and Meppel with the aforementioned arguments. The judge had no problem with the permit issued by the municipality of Meppel. That was different at De Wolden. The municipality should have formally granted permission for a ride in their area. That permission was missing.

    The tour could therefore not be ridden through De Wolden, but only through the Meppel area. This year, De Antrappers want to drive through both municipalities again on March 5. “We have been arranging everything for two months,” says chairman Arend Klomp. “Meppel’s permit has now been received, but it is a bit more difficult at De Wolden. They indicate that documents are still missing and that the nature test is not entirely satisfactory.”

    The test was carried out last year and, according to him, is valid for several years. “They still have a few reservations about it. I’m not sure exactly what that means. We should be before the breeding season and we won’t pass Natura 2000 areas with our route. That it’s going this way causes some frustration, but this year we will try to just make it a nice trip again.”