Organised by the RSSOC in Belgium
Though participating is more important than winning: as a
souvenir: the participators' list.
Matthew Anne Rowlands
Marc Chris Pallasch
J Dr. Miss J Goff
Andrew Angela Collins
Geoff Geoff Richards
Eric Angelique Duit
Rob Sjaan Storsbergen
Axel Wil van der Voorde
Andre Carine Santens
P Mrs E J Williamson
Keith Rhiannon Bowen
Dieter Ingeborg Greve
Wim Alice & David
Peter Glynis Freeman
Jaki Tony Heath
R K. Klaarenbeek
Timothy Jacqueline Daly
Steffen Haustrap Annelise Debois
Gerry Zilla Coorsh
John Penny Milligan
Roger Lesley Hetherington
Jerry Cuningham, Sue
M Val Lewis
Neil S A Cooper
Gordon Sally Attwater
Nick Zoe French
Rob Richard Parker
Robin Mrs Abrey
Bruno Trudi Ender
Huizen, Leo Roman Scheffeur
der Waal, Hans Dictus Marian
John Carole Eldridge
John Wendy Cassingham
Martin Myrna Veltkamp
Colin Jane Powell
Thomas Stefainie Greve
Fiona M Hipkins
Paul K Redington
David Carole Walker
Geoff Reta Wright
Mervyn Muriel Gardiner
Geoff Pam Eldridge
Gordon Lesley Collings
Horst, Robert Alexandra Muller
Jon John Rickard
Len Thelma Turner
Dave Frances Cramp
Colin Maureen Burrows
Paul Margrit Hofmann
Tony Hilary Penfold
John Maureen Dunn
Chantal Jakob Bill
David Erica Creer
Mr Mrs Cranstone
Eric Nicholas Thuillier
Olivier Jasmin Stillhart
Claudia Angelo Piritore
der Waal, Jeroen van der Waal, Wouter
Jacques Michelle Vandevelde
Jean-Luc Luce Cuvelier
Leo Marleen Heremans
Danny Rika Maris
Jo Ann Biermans
Willy Renee Wuyts
& Jef Neefs, Maria Neefs
Pictures... double-click to enlarge.
Trophees ..... go with speeches:
Wieland & Mrs Feige Matthew Gable &
Anne Peter Freeman
we only missed the Disneyland-kind-of-park.
RSSOC International 2003 Dinant Belgium
The backstage report
By Jacques Vandevelde
It all begun with a remark of Els Neefs at the 2002 International in the Dutch mountains.
" They have already done this before" she said to Geoff , pointing in Leo's and my direction.
Geoff , in a very diplomatic way, ensured himself that those two strangers could become the next victims for organising the RSSOC International meeting. It could not have been the Dutch beer that influenced us Belgians to say yes. I will never know exactly what pulled the trigger.
Jef Neefs also volunteered immediately, was this Els again?
Geoff gave three starting points:
the weekend after the greatest race on earth, Le Mans.
a not too complicated road-book.
assume the same amount of subscribers as in 2002.
As I never went to Le Mans, and never made a Tulip rally style road-book , only point 3 was relevant.
Brochures, phone calls to tourism info bureaus, and inquiries amongst colleagues proved that point 3 was the main issue. Hundreds of hotels, b&b's, stay-at-the-farm and other lodging possibilities in the Ardennes but a hotel with enough capacity for the RSSOC Int'l was scarce like hens teeth.
Finally the Mercure Hotel came into the picture. Enough rooms, all facilities, a nice setting.
Road maps revealed several possibilities for the Rally.
I drove to the hotel to sample the food and it proved to be OK. So first arrangements were made. A reservation for 60 rooms, I had some difficulties pronouncing this. An Email to Geoff with ??? received a clear answer... Do it.
Another trip down there to make acquaintance with the helpful Mrs Inge Beernaert gave the opportunity to discuss prices and the menu.
The first drafts of the Saturday and Sunday trips got the critical appreciation of Jef and Leo, Email is a wonderful invention. Autumn was in the air when I drove the Rally for the first time. My sister Michelle navigated and we looked for interesting spots. We had a fine picnic too under a shady tree. The local speciality of Dinant, a kind of biscuit, was not recommendable for 21st century teeth.
The Rally was too long, the cutting of so many fine spots was the most difficult part.
Suggestions again from Leo and Jef and a second try with Leo. Leo could not approve and made more suggestions. More hills, more typically "Ardennes" routes... to be redone in fact.
Third time good time, and Jef and Els made the renewed Rally maiden trip; enthousiastic reactions this time.
The embryonic road-book let them make extensive use of brakes and reverse gear. Their Sabra did the job.
In October Geoff and Pam came over to the Mercure Hotel and both sides felt reassured. Subscriptions could start. An impressive subscription page in Slice got the adrenaline working again; the Belgian Int'l should really be up to the expectations.
This meant the creation of a War Room, virtual, thanks to Email, many activities followed their course, resulting in a selection of tests, questions, new itineraries ...
Spring came and the final roadbook was extensively tested. Jef and Els's children survived the Rally without beating each other too much, with parents on the back seats, a real challenge indeed.
Leo went down to Dinant, I went down, we all liked the region by now, knowing even the smallest spots.
The decision of including the Gambrinus drivers' museum was a gamble we wanted to take.
The message from Geoff that subscriptions were closed now and that we could confirm the bookings for Friday, Saturday, even Thursday and Sunday, made it possible to arrange all tickets for the visits.
Jef invented a very practical system by preparing RSSOC tickets that could be exchanged for the official ones. How he got his printer doing this, surpasses me.
The roadbook, version 13, was printed.
Leo's frontpage had several versions too; many people, many ideas, is a Dutch expression, but the result was nice.
Jef personalised the roadbooks by producing a sticker with the names and some hieroglyphs D2, S2, L2 etc . An easy check of whom subscribed for what, became suddenly possible.
I had to send my little sister on a 140 miles trip to the medieval laundry to count the towers. Autumn , Winter and Spring visits had given different results, trees grow and get leaves in Spring we learned.
D-day minus 5: roadbooks were stapled; I got fined for excess speed while driving home late ( the '69 SE5 still has enough power for speeding).
D-day minus 4: late night mails from Jef, being concerned; when does he sleep? A selection of best Belgian beers was purchased for price 1 and 2; some are dangerous stuff. Weather forecast not famous.
D-day minus 3: we rechange the crews on the different test spots. Ticket controlling had been forgotten. Payment of a Dutch party did not arrive yet, another one absolutely wants to participate.
D-day minus 2: call the hotel for last minute changes; exact numbers needed because all food is freshly bought. Late payments confirmed by Geoff too; he already arrived in Dinant; a phone call with lots of background noises proved that he was in good company. Weather forecast changed ; the week end will be fine.
D-day minus 1: Ah, the chocolates weren't forgotten.
All gather in the B&B we chose for staying overnight. 12 people will be on duty. I drive to the Mercure Hotel to welcome our guests. Bad timing, traffic was dense. The car did not overheat, so far so good. I said hello to Tony an Jaki Heath, Malcolm and Val, the only LPG Sabre in the world they must have, discussed the latest details with Pam, Geoff and Mrs I Beernaert, finally the numbers matched.
Plenty of Scimitars scattered on the hotel parkings. Some people cleaning them, some admiring ?? something beneath the car; Wim Deinum filling the radiator with crystal clear Ardennes water....; tool boxes ...this must be the Int'l starting.
A call from Leo got me hurrying back to "La bottine", the B&B; a last check had revealed a mistake in the Questionnary. A modern copy-paste thing had deleted a complete question. A lap top, paper and a printer solved it; un-staple the roadbooks and re-staple them was extremely bad for the finger nails.
Final briefing: everyone knows what to do; co-ordination OK; someone wants to see Leo's gear test, no gears ... result: Leo and Jef make a night trip of 150 miles to get the gearwheels. At 3 o'clock they are back; breakfast is at 6.30 AM.
D-day: 7.30 AM at the Mercure Hotel. Mr Brandy is the first one I meet on the parking; he drove his superb silver Sabre 6, all the way from Luxemburg, just to say hello. In the lobby people gather to collect their roadbook. I hope we can answer all their questions. Fingers crossed. Some people do not show up, did they get lost in the Ardennes' misty valleys ...
11.00 AM Treignes: two steam engines making a lot of smoke; this must be the railway museum. Many Scimitars trying to ride with a tray on the bonnet. Do they try to get their drinks like that? It is not a drive-in here. The lost team shows up in a Skoda; also starts with an S ; but congratulations to them, the Scimitar broke down,they stayed at an hotel in Charleroi and got a rented car while the Scim waits for a spare part; this explains the call to the night porter.
When they are leaving I see several cars keep nicely to the LEFT and then suddenly switch to the RIGHT. They had only 1 drink ticket here!!
Good echoes from the different people on the stop spots. Going smoothly and within the presumed time frame.
15.00 Gambrinus Drivers museum: a hot spot today. I am tucked away in the darkness next to the counter; trapped; can't leave before the tennant has made time for a chat and a drink - had been offered several, but I have to be careful here. Smiling people everywhere, inside, upstairs, in the " garden", in the village street. Someone singing, rewarded with a large bottle.
17.00 Mercure Hotel: questionnaires are being collected; evaluation: Danny, Jef and Leo doing an accurate job. Will the winners tradition be broken?? Will the nice beers and chocolates go to the East or to the West? Who is the woman on the picture? Who drove the dark blue Scim? Who will the Pallasch Trophy go to?
The flip chart with the results was an immediate success amongst the hungry gathering at the restaurant door.
21.00 Dinner: we were all very pleased with the many thanks I received from so many people, who came personally at our table to say a few nice words. The overwhelming applause joined the words of appreciation of Geoff. It came right from the hearts. The Dutch club surprised us even more with an unexpected gift for Leo and myself. It felt good. We will drink their quality gin at our debriefing meeting in July. The whole crew table knew that every word that was said to me was meant to be for them too.
21.15 Price giving: Well, the Pallasch brothers nearly did it again; they finished third; their choice of coming with the GTC made the results in the manoeuvres less performant than with their SS1....
Wieland Feige, as second over all, came with his SS1, the winner, Matthew Gable, had rushed in16 secs around the tray circuit, parked 9 cm from the pole and threw the coin ON the line. Must have been his lucky day. Who the lady winner was, we will never know because her husband took the price on her behalf, not her lucky day, because she missed an excellent dinner and her price, because the next day it was revealed by her honest husband that she had not been driving the car.
24.00 a relaxing sleep will get me fit for tomorrow.
Breakfast and back to the Mercure hotel. People already starting their trip, early birds, or do they go for an extra sightseeing interest? Perfect subscriptions for the cave and the citadel 50/50, as required. Is Michelle in time , are Jef, Els and Maria at the cave? Of course they will be. Again many thanks from people who had to leave early, a French speaking man with a Swiss accent, had to catch a ship and then drive to Birmingham. It was an Englishman after all I found out later. A swiss family said goodbye too; a father and his 2 children, both married... all Scimitar minded, see you somewhere in the future.
Now time for a cup of coffee, yesterday I did not find the time for it. Mr Jean Pigeon comes to say hello too. He completely restored a Sabra Sports, just finished it last Spring, the finest example in Belgium, did everything himself, engine overhaul, electric, interior trimming, seats, he is an enthousiast mechanic at his 80-ish .... Who does better? Hope to see him for many years more.
Wim, the Dutchman who insisted in joining us on Sunday, arrived at 8.00 from Breda, no more dust in the Scim's exhaust after a 3 hours drive (do not try to calculate the average speed).
Now feeling comfortable I took a shortcut to the brewery Du Bocq, our last visit. The brewery was still closed, but a nearby cafe served a good coffee. Axel and his wife Wil joined me and we could discuss the differences in culture in North and South Belgium and the Netherlands , so close and sometimes so far away. That's what the Scimitar Club is for, exchange of ideas, good company ... a promising start of the day, making me look forward to a next meeting where I will have the time to chat.
Brewery visit: local production; excellent quality; need I say more; Reinhoudt Klarenbeek whispered in my ear that this was his favourite beer in Holland; he must have a connoisseur beershop in his neighbourhood. I saw him glaring at the nice glasses that were for sale, I am pretty sure he is drinking his favourite in a proper glass now. Wasn't he wearing a brewery cap too when he left?
I sampled an Ambrée, amber coloured, tasteful, and refreshing, the perfect apéritif.
A queue had formed at the little brewery shop and the well humoured lady did her best to find everything her customers wanted. Some of us helped gathering the empty glasses
Lunch buffet: I arrived late but it must have looked great; I tasted the fish plates first, had a lot of ticketing to do, some more checking and counting, and when I looked up the buffet was gone. The delicious regional meats ...
I really will have to go back over there.
All the working crew were satisfied, we never felt it as work , it had been fun all the way.
Pam and Geoff were pleased too, this was a good promotion for next year's 2004 Int'l in Beaune.
The sympathetic young Mr Bach and his friends will do a good job. If all goes well , many will see each other there ... the week end after Le Mans will be fine.
Good luck to François Bach.
Base was : http://www.hotels-belgium.com/Dinant/mercure.htm
The organising-team worked the Flemish way:
During the Saturday-trip we saw:
Trainmuseum in Treignes will be longtime remembered: big consternation when
Saturdaymorning, while setting up the tests we were asked (rudely ordered) to
leave the premises as it was a private parking lot. Despite agreements
first time in September 2002, despite agreements with the tennants of the museum
and the cafetaria the house-lord (SNCF) sent us away. Now we could have
moved to a public parking-lot a little further (had the autorisation), but as
it was nicer to do the tests in front of the museum and cafetaria we had dropped
that option. Lucky the friendly people of the cafetaria and the museum (had
arranged for extra personnel and facilities) lead us to the
"super-boss" of the SNCF who, after quite some plea-bargaining, let us
use his parking-lot for non-parking-purposes, claimed he probably would be
dismissed for that decision!?!? Hope the reasonable man keeps his job.
Jaki Heath was very kind
to write us a participants-view-report:
you to everyone who helped to make the recent RSSOC International event in
Dinant so special.
& I spent a stressful few days prior to the event trying to get our SE6
roadworthy in time. Thankfully we succeeded. The car behaved well throughout the
weekend and given that the weather was hot and sunny all the time that was some
us the weekend started when we bumped into fellow Sabra/Sabre enthusiasts
Malcolm and Val in the hotel car park. They had just arrived and were chatting
to Jaques Vandevelde the leader of the team of Belgians who organised the event.
We were soon checked into our hotel room and back outside on the hotel terrace
sipping our first cold Belgian beer (one of many through out the weekend) and
meeting up with other members who had arrived earlier. In the evening most folk
chose to eat in the hotel restaurant which was very pleasant. Because the
weather was so good it was possible to sit out in the cooler evening air after
the meal and chat once again to friends.
morning before breakfast we collected our route guides and read them whilst
eating then set off following the instructions contained inside. We meandered
through the countryside collecting clues and bumping into others who were doing
the same thing. A lunch time stop was arranged where we were given our picnic
bags and after a couple of games one involving driving the other throwing we sat
down to enjoy lunch in a railway siding. There was just time for a quick look at
the Railway Museum before setting off into the countryside again to collect more
clues. An afternoon break was included in a little village with a quaint inn
with its own small museum. Here was another chance to try the local beer before
congregating on the village green to try our hands at a game involving wheels
and cogs. By now it was getting really hot and we were quite glad to be
travelling back to our hotel with the windows open and a nice blast of air to
cool us down.
showering and changing we all met up on the terrace before going into the
restaurant for dinner. The meal involved 5 courses so there was plenty of time
to chat about our daytime experiences on the rally. During the evening prizes
were presented to the winners of the rally and thanks were expressed to the
hardworking team who had run the event.
morning we enjoyed another hearty breakfast before setting off to see the nearby
caves with their impressive stalagmites and stalagtites. Then it was off on
another run to a nearby brewery. Much to Tony’s dismay we got a little lost en
route and arrived quite late. Luckily we were not the only ones so the last tour
of the brewery had been delayed and we were able to complete this and sample
some beer before dashing back to the hotel for lunch.
lunch we sadly said goodbye to those folk that were leaving. We had decided to
leave the following morning so along with Malcolm & Val we took a taxi into
Dinant and enjoyed a very pleasant walk along the river. My lasting memory of
Dinant will be the sun twinkling on the river where we sat watching the world go
by and enjoying our mussels and beer.
in all a wonderful opportunity to spend time with like minded people who enjoy
their cars as we do.
On the Sundaytrip we saw the Citadel or cave: "Do you wonna go
back, back into time?"
Hey, an intruder, Octavia's were never made by reliant!
Brasserie Du Bocq
four Sabra's on one picture again!
Yellow is zondag, purple is Saturday.
What to do when you get this in front of your lense.....click.... beautyfull