Monday, 16 March 2009

6th Nacht van het Oosten

Club Triumph on tour!


Last Saturday saw the by now traditional start of the driving season, the Nacht van het Oosten. After several failed attempts to do this event with René as my navigator, this time he succeeded ... just, being released from hospital for a pneumonia treatment only last week.
This time Rutger had built in some tricky bits in the road-book, in the shape of some map reading to start with and a herring-bone-diagram to finish the first stage. As we had start number 33 we decided not to hang around too much and find ourselves a nice quick driving route to the start of the (tulip diagram) road-book. So we ignored the provided line-on-the-map and choose a very nice road along one of the many dikes in the area instead. Big advantage of doing this was that we managed to “overtake” all the cars that started in front of us without any problems. OK save one that is, but that one was dealt with without problems. But it did automatically rule us out for any prices though, as we off course missed all the way points. But we didn’t care to much about that ...

The first stage went very well indeed, despite the roads being rather slippery so now and then, caused by a little rain in combination with clay on the roads. Luckily RenĂ© was reading the road-book faultlessly, so I could concentrate on the driving. Which was a good thing as it was rather busy on the road. In the first stage we encountered quite a lot of Land Rovers who also had a Night rally in the area. But that didn’t give many problems as they were all decent chaps who moved over to their side of the road. Near the end of the first stage we encountered a group of a rather different calibre. These guys were in all sorts of hot motors and by the looks of it rather annoyed that they had to move over for oncoming traffic ...
But in between these two groups I had more than enough time to concentrate on the behaviour of the cars suspension. Can only conclude that the front is very good indeed. Despite the spring rate being much stiffer the car isn’t harsh. Contrary, the front is much more stable and quieter. Especially on bad roads the stability and the ability to absorb potholes and bumps at speed was a revelation. The dampers, despite being at their softest setting, worked pretty well too. Compared to that the rear with “uprated” 200lb/in springs and AVO dampers can’t keep up with the action!


It was no surprise that we did reach the halfway stop first. And after a few well deserved cups of coffee, and a little chat with the other faster teams we started on the second stage. We did make a few mistakes on this one, mainly caused by my eagerness to try out the new front suspension of my car. First I nearly managed to drive of one of the dikes and into a river, due to me being slightly annoyed by the lights of the car behind me. As a result of which I interpreted Rene’s instructions wrongly and missing the road going down to the left. I managed to stop the car just before we would have slid of the embankment and into the water. Lost us a minute ...
Shortly afterwards we made another mistake, but we immediately realised we had turned left 10m¹ too early instead of onto the parallel road on the other side. Sadly we had to carry on for a while as we were on a busy through road with no possibilities to turn on to the parallel road or make a U-turn. Lost us another three minutes ...
As a result Robbie in his Mk1 Escort RS2000 caught up with us halfway the second stage. As I didn’t want to hinder him I let him pass. Shortly after that we entered the village of Dalfsen, were we got completely lost. As we lost 15 minutes here I couldn’t pick up the route outside the village we could only retire out of the event . So I programmed the sat-nav and returned to the start/finish location. When I checked the road-book at home against the maps it turned out we actually left the village as per the road-book!


Wasn’t the best end to a great evening, but the most important thing for me was that I got Rene back in action. It also gave me a very good impression how the new front suspension behaves under different conditions. As mentioned earlier the rear is lagging behind now, so putting the rear coil-overs under the car is high on the to-do-list!
Oh and I definitely need a revy engine with more low down torque ...

After the rally we returned to the hotel to find they had closed the bar already. So we were forced to find ourselves a pub in the village...

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