Kees Koolen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Kees Koolen
Kees Koolen (2016).jpg
NationalityNetherlands Dutch
Born (1965-08-19) August 19, 1965 (age 53)
Bergeijk, North Brabant
Dakar Rally career
Debut season2009
Current teamMaxxis Super B Dakarteam
Car no.254
Best finish17th in 2013 and 2017
Previous series

FIM Cross-Country Championship (Quad)
Silk Way Rally
Championship titles
2017FIM Cross-Country Championship (Quad)

Kees Koolen (born 19 August 1965 in Bergeijk, North Brabant) is a Dutch rally raid racer and businessman. Koolen participated in various rally raid competitions in a variety of vehicles. Koolen also was the CEO of

Business career[edit]

Koolen studied technical business administration at the Twente University. Despite not graduating the university, started his own business as an advisor to different companies.[1] During this time Koolen was an angel investor to different internet startups.[2] Koolen was one of the founders of, a price comparison website for hotels. He sold the company in 2005 to Booking Holdings for 110 milion Euros. Koolen remained's CEO until 2011.[3] In 2013 his wealth was estimated at 115 million euro, making him 232nd wealthiest person in the Netherlands.[4]

When Uber placed their headquarters in Amsterdam Koolen was requested by Travis Kalanick as the companies COO. Simultaneously the Dutchman founded Agri Brasil, a conglomerate of large dairy farms.[1]

Rally raid[edit]

Koolen competed in his first Dakar Rally in 2009. Racing a Honda CRF450 he finished 69th in the motorbike classification.[5]

For the 2010 Dakar Rally Koolen and his team raced a McRae Enduro buggy. Koolen had a troubled third stage. He passed all check points but stranded on his way to the bivak and had to retire.[6] For the 2011 Dakar Rally Koolen developed his own buggy to compete, the GoKoBra. The team entered two GoKoBra's, one for Koolen and one for teammate Jurgen van den Goorbergh.[7] Koolen was disqualified after the sixth stage. Koolen finished the sixth stage outside the time limit but was given dispensation by the organisation. The organisation later the decided to disqualify Koolen because he missed the first check point.[8] The team finished the 2012 Dakar Rally in 59th place.

Kees Koolen entered his first Dakar Rally with a quad in 2013. He again finished the Dakar Rally, in 17th place. In 2014 Koolen became the first participant to finish the Dakar Rally in all four classes.[9] In 2014 Koolen joined Van den Goorbergh and Gijs van Uden in a Ginaf truck entered by Maxxis Dakar Team Powered by Super B.[10] The team finished in 37th place.

For 2015 Koolen developed his own quad off-road racer. During the Dakar Rally Koolen was arrested by Chilean authorities. During the fifth stage Koolen deviated from the determined route and drove through a protected area. Koolen was released after questioning. Koolen was not the only participant racing through a protected area in the Atacama Desert, Matteo Cassucio was also arrested.[11] The following stage Koolen retired from the rally.[12] For 2016 Koolen returned in his Honda quad with top ten stage results.[13] He did not finish the Dakar Rally after stage nine. After his retirement an incident with a helicopter caused his quad (without rider) to drop fifty meters to the ground.[14]

In 2017 Koolen and his team developed the Barren Racer quad racer. With his self developed quad he scored his first stage win. He won the 219km stage between Tupiza and Oruro. The stage was shortened because of bad weather.[15] Koolen finished the Dakar Rally in seventeenth place in class.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Kees Koolen: 'Ik ben altijd aan het werk, maar ik ben ook graag lui'". NRC. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Kees Koolen". Bloomberg. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Oprichter: Verkoop van aan Amerikanen is slecht geweest voor Nederland". Business Insider Nederland. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Kees Koolen". Quote. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Kees Koolen". Dakar. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Etappe 3: Revanche Verhoeven, ellende voor buggy's". Omroep Brabant. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Een nieuw avontuur kan beginnen". Omroep Brabant. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Omstreden besluit: ook Koolen uit Dakar Rally". Omroep Brabant. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  9. ^ "KEES KOOLEN SCHRIJFT DAKAR-GESCHIEDENIS". Eurol. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  10. ^ "No. 541 - Maxxis Dakar Team Powered by Super B". Dakar. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Dakar-deelnemer Kees Koolen gearresteerd na omweg door archeologisch gebied". Omroep Brabant. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Hans Vogels op een keurige 20e plek en de uitslagen van de andere Brabanders in etappe 6". Omroep Brabant. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Dakar 2016: Argentijnse broederstrijd bij de quads, Kees Koolen weer in top 10". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Helikopter laat quad van Kees Koolen per ongeluk vallen van vijftig meter hoogte [VIDEO]". Omroep Brabant. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Kees Koolen pakt etappezege in Dakar: 'Awesome!'". Omroep Brabant. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Kees Koolen". Dakar. Retrieved 21 January 2018.