Rallye De Jonquilles

by admin on April 10, 2011 in Reports with No Comments

Subtitled ….a meander through the Tulips

OK quick background check: We saw a note on Pistonheads about an upcoming Roadbook Rallye in Northern France,  once posted on the forum there was immediately strong interest from the SKCC’ers, so much so that ultimately we made up 10% of the entry of 130 cars!

The plan was thrashed out, we’d travel across to France the day before have a wee tour around some of the roads and places we know and add a few more in for good measure, with a strong ‘hands up’ for Vimy Ridge – the WW1 Memorial.

Now  as with many of our days together much cannot transpose to the written word as it’s often a case of ‘ you had to be there’, for much of the fun that we derive from our jaunts is the so called – Banter and comedy value. So whilst I may was lyrical about this being one of the funniest and most memorable trips we have done trust me, you had to be there!

We all met at Ashford a short convoy from the actual Chunnel Terminal and it was good to see old friends and faces, and some new ones in the form of a couple of TVR’s from Pistonheads. The Rallye is aimed at Classic Cars but they also have a category for ‘upcoming Classics’ which we fitted into rather neatly. Once the other side of La Manche we quickly found our route heading for Azincourt where daer Henry 5th made his stirring speach. A coffee and a beer for the non drivers refreshed our parched throats for the weather was clear and fine, and it was time to head to Vimy.



Most of us had never visited a WW1 site before, my goodness what a humbling experience.

From there we took a fairly direct route to Vimy to see the Canadian War Memorial where a Memorial Service was just finishing, from the monument we gazed across the valley towards Bethune where the Rallye was due to start and where we’d stay that night. A walk around the graves with so many ‘stones’ unlisted was a sobering experience.

For some that word sober could and would be used again in a different context!
Shortly after tucking the cars away at the Hotel we headed into Town where for a small ish place the Square was buzzing, and we settled down to a civilized bite to eat in the embers of the sun. Now at this point i have to make a small confession to Mr Slater. For those that don’t know Nick works as a marine broker – trading all manner of pleasure craft…..so i’d mentioned to a couple of others that it might be amusing to see how many nautical / water related terms we could get away with in normal sentences. So Nick if you wondered why at times there were a few giggles and stifled laughs it was my fault! Surely you must have caught onto the the multiple references about clamshell wings, ‘sailing by’, dry suit etc etc? Purile i know, but so so funny at the time!
after a few more civilized refreshments a few found the Guinness bar – ah that word Sober…..no more words needed!

The morning saw the keen with make shift buckets and cloths having a last minute clean to make sure the cars were in fine form and then to the Sqaure where the particpants were starting to park up. No point in listing them all but a few of my fav’s: the TR’s, the Alpines, the Challenge 355, an early ‘Stang …..although i have to say best paint job had to be one of the TVR’s, stunning! The Roadbooks were collected at signing in and faces dropped……40 pages of route instruction – oh this looked serious, especially after a few pints the night before. (Worries and fears would be unfounded as in reality for many they were simply able to follow the car infront )


JP the organizer started each car with a small introduction over the PA to the crowd and suddenly we were off. John my co-driver was in fine form, and soon we made the first Checkpoint, whereupon the car managed another 500 metres before the clutch cable decided to snap.
Nick + Matt stopped and Matt did his usual thing of producing the one thing that you wouldnt expect anyone to have – a spare cable…so with a little cursing the new one was fitted and we were rolling again, unfortunately the time delay had left us too short of time to follow the road so we headed direct to teh 1st refreshment stop and from there we attacked the 2nd Stage……..
Now goodness knows where we went wrong, but let’s say we managed about 5 ‘directions’ before we got lost after missing a turn – with time short we headed direct to the lunch venue – the rather splendid Chateau Tilcques. Brilliant. The building as you’d expect is beautiful and the grounds were littered with 50 years of exotic metal. The food was rather tasty too!

Piccie link to some photos

Now as a side note if you’ve never driven your kit through the french countryside you will have no idea how much the French love cars and especially ones like ours. People stop what they’re doing to turn and wave, kids run around in their gardens smiling + cheering – something that over here would never happen. It’s really uplifting and soooo much fun.

With the sun now blazing and some seeking respite from it’s incessant heat we headed for the final stage, a gentle trot back to the Town Square in Bethune. Where all the competitors re-assembled and where the crowds had gathered. Suddenly it was time to Honour the Winners of the various ‘games’……and one by one they took the stage, with the amassed throng applauding their efforts…..what, what did i hear – Le Southern Kit car Club? Ah yes, Monsieur Mark Freenwood…..what a nice touch, we;’d been honoured for our turnout in supporting the event. Up to teh stage went I, grubby dust covered T-Shirt where a brief interview in English was translated by JP their Club President, a handshake with teh Mayor, a bottle of ‘bubble’s and a smal trophy were presented with the warm words of an invite to return to join in again!

The run home was uneventful – until we’d chcked in at E/Tunnel, where Nigels car spat it;s dummy out with a split hose, no matter we were the ‘right ‘ side of teh check in and a bit of tape effected a temporary repair and soon we were back on English soil ( tarmac ).

A fantastic weekend. Others will no doubt use similar words but i’ll set the tone:
fun, cameraderie, brilliant roads, lovely people, atmosphere, banter, ( more banter )….you get the picture!



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