Sunday, 16 March 2008

A blast through the country


Being the middle of march it was time again for the (by now 5th edition of) the Nacht van het Oosten yesterday. This night time touring rally was again organised by Rutger and Gea Kwant (from Club Triumph Holland). As last year we would take part with four cars from "down south Limburg"; Rob V's mk1 Escort, Rob's TR7V8 and 't Kreng. It was also the first public appearance of Roger’s newly acquired 2500 mk1 saloon. And a rather nice saloon it is.


Contrary to last year we got to the start in Holten without any problems, giving us more than enough time to check in at the hotel, a few miles down the road. Here we met up with the first of the 10 English teams who also had entered the event.
With the luggage out of the way we returned to the start to sign in and get some Chinese food inside, after which it was slowly getting time to get started.
As usually the road book used tulip diagrams to define the route. This system makes navigating rather easy, as long as you have a half decent trip/odometer. Some of the crews looked like the road book was rather difficult to read though :-)


Contrary to the 4 earlier editions this one was promoted as an official CTH “bokaalrit”. The downside of this was that they needed a few tests to make up a ranking, and speed trials are not allowed on public roads. But as I’m not a CTH member anymore I could ignore these tests without a problem.
As usual with this event there was a large variety of cars participating, like a 2CV, a NSU 1000C or a Porsche 911. And of course there were some Triumphs.


So just after 18.33 we set of on the first leg. After a few small navigational mistakes on the first few diagrams we should start on a regularity section, but the road was just too good to stick to the set average speed.
Having start position 33 meant there were 32 cars in front of us. Luckily it turned out that most of the drivers did look in their mirrors so now and then, or they just took a wrong turn. So we managed to get to the midway halt with only 3 cars left in front of us, progress indeed. So far the car had behaved rather well indeed.

The midway halt was rather interesting, as it was at the premises of BCCP Fuelsystems in Gramsbergen. They are actually the firm that set up the engine in my car. We should have done some more tests here but we kindly refrained from that. After a cup of coffee and a short chat with Hans and Winneke about their racing Dolly Sprints, it was time to set off on the final leg.

This turned out to be very good fun indeed. As my navigator again had some starting problems, Rob (in his mk1 RS2000 Escort) caught up with us rather quickly. From there on it was one long chase to the finish back in Holten, where we arrived rather early indeed. Definitively one of the better drives I’ve had with ‘t Kreng.
After phoning Rutger that we had arrived safely at the finish we went back to the hotel where we had a few beers in the hotel lounge ...


All in all it was again a very good Nacht van het Oosten. Compliments to Rutger and Gea for organizing this great event.

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