Leg 8 Linz – Sankt Wolfgang

The final day did not bring us any great surprises. Everybody tried hard to improve a place or two but without any luck. In fact the biggest surprise was the Citroen 2 CV. We expected them to finish on the podium, but they just missed a second or third overall.

Nevertheless they should be extremely pleased with a second in class. 600 cc against 1500 cc and more. Well done Joost and Nico. Overall awards goto Alexander and Shirley van der Lof in Trial and Werner Budding /Maiko Wellink in Club class.

Leg 7 Svaty Jan – Linz (night loop 2)

The gladiators are ready to fight for the ever so important victory medals. Not as much snow as expected but plenty of solid ice patches make it a not easy to handle exercise. One has to make a choice between careful driving and not loosing to much time on the regularity and TC sections. A clean sheet until the mid waypoint for Bennie Roetgerink / Tom Collet, a big smile on the face but minutes later it is all over.
Meanwhile Lady Jayne Wignall ends up in a ditch and so do Geert van de Velde and Erwin Doctor. Erwin breaks the support of the dynamo and needs to go straight to the finish. Four cars manage to leave the track all at the same place and cannot proceed without being towed out so one can imagine that the leaderboard undergo’s a firm shuffle. The result is that with 20 minutes and 24 seconds Alexander and Shirley van der Lof t win the evening loop, with a second place for John Abel/Andy Pullan. In fact only 11 cars manage this evening section with a full 4 hour penalty. See the results page.

Now we are on our way to the finish in Sankt Wolfgang for the prize giving party to night and look forward to inform you later today.

Leg 6 Olomouc – Linz

Last night a friend of the Rients Visser and Jan Willem de Rover drove from Holland to bring new shock absorbers and fix them on the BMW. The Escort of John Abel has been fixed during the night with near bearings offered by Robert Westland in exchange for help in case he gets stuck in snow somewhere.

This is also the day of the Schmidt Zeevis Trophee, Well the trophee on the rallycross circuit is won by the ever so fast BMW of Yelmer Buurman, again I have to say, but meanwhile the Mercedes of Schmidt Zeevis disappeared in a snow bank. The friendly Volvo crew, Antoine Baarends and Paul Fermont, always ready to help, offered to to them out. As they manoeuvred  the car in place and also disappeared in the invisible ditch. So more help had to come from Tachyon. See the pictures.

The days starts with the third crew taking the lead. Hank’s first place was short lived. A police control held them up for two hours. Goodbye victory dreams. So now Alexander van der Lof / Shirley van der Lof are leading thee back as we disappear in the dark of the final night section.

Leg 5 Liberec – Olomouc

This news from yesterday we only heard today but is worth telling you. Insiders do know that the Winter Trial evening sections are of very high standard, very competitive and most of the time the deciders of the rally. So adrenaline is building up as the cars park in front of the start location to have an evening meal and get the maps and instructions for this 3 hour power lap. Frank Hussey approached the start control on the moment that already 20 cars left whereas he is supposed to leave as car number 3, which equals his place in the standings. He looks around and asks where is everybody? Well Frank all the cars parked around you have started their engines and went of whilst you slept through it!  Ouch………

Today some great regularity sections which all required high driving skills paired with good navigating. No wonder that many cars found themselves in the snow walls. We have a new leader in the Trial class. You find the final results a bit later tonight. But we know that Alexander van der Lof had a brilliant day and we will see how many places he gained.

Very bad news for the leaders, John Abel and Andy Pullan. The two are both performing outstanding but the car, or better a wheel bearing is letting them down. Good bye podium. Funny enough it happens in front of a car parts dealer ship, so the bearing are found very quickly in Praque and sent over to them. At the finish the Deltion team put them back on and they are ready to roll again.

Highlight of the day is the Jouw reclame Hill climb in Stenberg. Two of the favourites to win this are Erwin Doctor / Jan Poppe in Escort and Hank and Nicole Melse with Porsche 911. They both present the film crews with some great pirouettes on the icy hill. And the new leader is…………..Hank and Nicole Melse – Porsche 911.

Leg 4 Liberec – Liberec  (night loop 1)

The evening loop has been really sorting the men from the boys. The Escort of  John Abel/Andy Pullan had a bit of electricity problems during the day but they managed to get this resolved without loosing any time.

So fresh to start the evening loop and what a great performance they have put on. With only 2 minutes and 28 seconds they widened the gap to the rest of the field dramatically. Hank and Nicole Melse came second with 8 minutes 21 followed by Alexander and Shirley van der Lof with 12.41. Have a close look to the results page. We really wonder how many in the Trial Class will manage to stay under the 1hour of penaltys.

Leg 3 Karlovy Vary – Liberec

Minus 9 degrees as we start and the organisers say that the Winter Trial is really starting today.
The first regularity does not cause any problems for the experienced crews, but than there is the test in Most. 100% ice with deep snow borders. The dream of every rally man. Yelmer Buurman comes first and Erwin Doctor is on his very first international regularity event and both of them steel the show by beating the field. Hank Melse. Wouw what a show these boys have put on. Fortunately there were 3 camera men there to save it for the future. At the test Sybren van der Goot has a loose dynamo bolt causing a leak in the radiator and one hour delay. What a shame to see the podium slip away. Another strange thing happened with Rients Visser’s BMW, who looses a wheel because four wheel bolts brake off. And on three wheels it is difficult to drive.

We are now preparing for the first of the two evening loops. We have more snow on the roads, the temperature has climbed to only -3 degree’s and it looks like we may have snow.

Club class leaders are Werner and Maiko in the Mercedes. Trial Class is lead by John Abel /Andy Pullan.

Leg 2 Fulda – Karlovy Vary

Four tyres flat on one car. What had happened? The Deltion service car drove into the garage to park the car, but on the way in, the garage had shrunk or the truck had gained height. So they find themselves completely stuck. This gave the boys finally something to do, because for the first time ever there were no stranded cars that could be fixed with a little bit of help.
Help was needed for at least 5 Club class teams plus the Ford Edge of the press team.

You notice we are not giving names here, because they all found a shorter route than meant by the organisers. Snow shovels and snow chaines were asked to help. Inspite of a temperature between – 10 and minus 15 degrees we found big smiles on the faces when they found out that the same happened to more crews. The three Lemmens brothers in the beautiful NSU RO80 have a second navigator on the backseat so you would expect some miracles. But the miracles are not happening today. They are now highly classified to win the prize for driving the longest route. Very onfortunate to see that the Escort of Michiel Koster and Arie Schaap have a broken throttle cable at the end of the day. Rescue team Tachyon is closeby and can get the Winter Trial rookies back on the road. Day winners are John Abel and Andy Pullan in the Escort 2000 RS closely followed by Tom Collet / Benny Roetgerink with Porsche 911.

In the Club class it is Yelmer Buurman / Nathalie van der Lof that takes the victory for day 2. But the real surprise is that Joost Bolwidt / Niko Bloemendal in a 2 CV Citroen powered by a 600 cc engine manage to claim the second place. What a great achievement this is. And than to think that they only knew 10 days before the event that they won a free entrée in a sweepstake offered by Princen Bier and Autoweek. See the results on the results page.

Leg 1 Valkenburg – Fulda

The only troubled car on the road to the start is the Peugeot of sponsor Jouw reclame. There is only one tunnel on the road to the start and it is in this tunnel that the Peugeot starts to sputter. So an anxious look from co-driver Maartje. Is it here where our rally finishes already she asks Frank? Well they make it to scrutineering and are ready to rock and roll.

Blue sky, minus 7 degrees and a good athmosphere after the nice farewell dinner in the new Chateau restaurant.

The full starting list is waived away by friends and sponsors for the 500 long day nr 1. It is at the start line that we receive the first two entree’s for next year from the Wüst garage.

Unfortunately we also see the first drop out. Father and sun Baljet’s Datsun meets up with a German already in the first hour of the rally. What a shame to loose this great car.
The lady that drove more Winter Trials than anybody else is of course Jayne Wignall and she, guided by Peter Rushfort really went for it. She went so hard that a beautiful pirouette kept her away from first place. The young Andy Pullan teamed up with John Abel tought the rest of the field how to do it. With only 11 minutes and 52 seconds penalty the days victory was there’s. Best on the test is Alexander van der Lof closely followed by sun in law Yelmer Buurman, In fact Yelmer thinks that if he had better tyres this would not happen again. So after cheching in in the final control he drives back direction Holland to meet a friend driving in from Holland to Fulda with a new set of soft rubber tyres. Tomorrow we will see if this does the trick.
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