THE SECTION RALLY TO THE MOSEL VALLEY, MÜLHEIM, GERMANY
|Splendid pictorial rally packs, prepared by BW's David and Anne Steel, had been distributed some weeks before the start and these contained a wealth of information not only on our rally itinerary, participants and motor cars but also general information on Continental driving rules etc, the ferry and the main hotel.
On the Saturday morning fifty-four members and twenty-five Club cars assembled at the Dover Norfolk Line terminal in excellent weather. We soon loaded onto the ferry, experienced a calm crossing in a well appointed ship and docked at Dunkerque at 1500 CET. Evening meal and overnight stop was at a Novotel Hotel in Rouvignies. En route unfortunately, one of our motor cars was stopped at the roadside by Police for exceeding the speed limit and this resulted in an on-the-spot fine. However what was even more galling for our member was that as he was paying the fine, his wife was waving at the other rally cars as they drove past. Not too galling in itself except that our culprit was able to read on the Police computer the speed of the other rally cars as they passed, they were all exceeding the limit but the Police were too busy to stop them!
Sunday saw us travelling on in small convoys, filling up with cheaper petrol in Luxemburg, and arriving at the Weinromantikhotel Richtershof in Mülheim in the afternoon (just over three hundred miles from Dunkerque). The hotel owner and staff greeted us warmly and provided, most welcome, glasses of iced water as we checked in. The buffet dinner that evening was served in the Weingarten-Café Baldachin (a splendid conservatory style restaurant that even had a section of glass floor revealing the wine cellars below). The self service breakfast each day was also in the Baldachin offering a wide choice of cold and hot foods.
|Richtershof Hotel. BW1's Silver Seraph, Rodney Marples' 25/30 and David Gray's Silver Dawn. Darren Collins and Adam on Gala night.|
|Mileage for Monday started with as much as two hundred pedestrian yards to the
landing stage where we embarked onto the river boat. Cruising down the wide Mosel river was very relaxing,
as was our visit to Traben-Trabach and the return boat journey.
Tuesday saw us driving in loose convoy through the Eifel mountains to the famous Nürburgring Racing circuit. On originally approaching the Nürburgring operators earlier in the year our BW was told that the circuit was fully booked (by BMW, Driver Training) for the day in question and therefore there was little chance of taking our motor cars on the track. A phone call was made to Fred Fruth, who made phone calls to the Circuit and to the BMW Driver Training Manager and, Hey Presto, one hour's track time was allotted to the CSS Mosel Rally. How fortunate to have such good friends. The line astern drive around the circuit was quite memorable but a little slower than some people would have liked. When the driver of one of our pre-war motor cars was asked "What would be a comfortable speed" he replied "around 50 to 55". Unfortunately the lead car track marshal took this to be KPH, consequently he drove at 62% of the speed indicated by our pre-war driver! After lunch in the on-site Dorint-Novotel we visited the extensive museum where some of our members demonstrated their driving skills, or maybe lack of them, on a very realistic race track driving simulator. Then we all made our way back to the Richtershof and in the evening, dinner was served in the garden and terrace, a most pleasant atmosphere and temperature for mid September.
|Display of our motor cars along the line of the old Roman road in Trier.||Nürburgring from David Gray's car.|
|The BW's and helpers dashed off early on Wednesday to the central Viehmarktplatz in Trier, the oldest city in Germany where we were met by Gilbert Haufs-Brusberg, a member of the German Section of the RREC who had assisted with the programme for the day. The Mayor having given his permission for us to park on this very large pedestrian area, BW1 and his helper decided that the display of our motor cars would be enhanced by parking diagonally across the centre, in the sunshine and on the line of the red paving (we were later told that the red paving marked the course of the one thousand year old Roman road). All the other rally cars soon arrived to form a display that attracted quite a lot of attention from locals and tourists passing through the platz as well as the local TV station. At a reception in the adjacent museum we were welcomed by the deputy Mayor to whom we presented a small gift to mark our visit (the gift was a Wedgwood Spirit of Ecstasy plate from the Hunt House shop). In the afternoon we gathered for a short tour of the city by a Toga clad guide which was most informative. Following a road-train ride back to our motor cars we drove on for tea at the Berghotel Kockelsberg, which provided a high up and truly unforgettable view over the City of Trier. Dinner in the evening was, once again, served in the Richtershof garden and terrace.|
|A road-train ride back to our motor cars in Trier.||A gift was presented to the deputy Mayor.|
|On Thursday, the free day, David and
I drove off to Wittlich railway station to pick up Fred Fruth who had travelled overnight, from his
home just outside Vienna, to join us for the last two days. Several members visited either Villeroy
and Boch, Berg Eltz - a nearby fairytale castle, or the Flugausstellung - an extensive aircraft museum
with a full sized mock-up of Concorde, the Nürburgring (again) or just relaxed. The evening meal
was a BBQ partly inside, partly outside the Baldachin.
After breakfast on Friday we drove the short distance to Bernkastel-Kues and enjoyed a tour, talk and wine tasting at the Moselland wine co-operative. In the afternoon some of our party also enjoyed a short conducted tour of the town. The evening started with a candle lit Champagne reception in the wine cellar followed by a black tie dinner in the Ballroom. After dinner Malcolm Henderson gave us a solo recital on his extremely valuable and old violin, what talent. A signed print of a limited edition Rolf Harris painting was then auctioned and sold for a very generous bid of £200.00 in aid of Malcolm's favourite charity.
The morning saw the majority of the rally participants depart west for the half way hotel. The weather was still very warm and the pleasant evening meal was served outside by the swimming pool. Then on to Dunkerque and home on the Sunday.
A really first class rally in all respects and due, for the greater part, to the time, effort and organisation put in by BW's, David and Anne Steel, thank you very much indeed.
Fred, Kate and I drove east to the German town of Regensburg where we met up with Fred's friend Eddie. We stayed overnight in a town centre hotel and the Corniche was housed in Eddie's garage overnight alongside his Z8. Eddie showed us his immaculate collection of three pre-war 3 series BMW motor cars, an immaculate collection of at least twelve pre and post war BMW racing motor cycles, a large collection of Leica cameras as well as a collection of miniature railway engines. Eddie is an architect whose hobby is making instruments for cars and motor cycles, a delightful and very talented man.
Sunday saw us driving on to Fred's home in Baden, just outside Vienna. Our youngest daughter, Laura had flown out to Bratislava airport and then caught the bus link to Vienna where we picked her up around 7pm that evening. The three of us stayed with Fred and Monika until Thursday during which time we did some sight seeing and even had a mini rally with some Austrian Club members. On Thursday afternoon Laura returned home via Vienna, Bratislava and Luton. In the evening we drove to Vienna railway station, put the car on the train and settled down in a couchette. Nearly six hundred miles later we awoke to continental breakfast just outside D┘sseldorf. The car transport and B&B, all for the princely sum of £162.00, what a bargain! We drove off the train and made our way to Dunkerque for the ferry crossing (kindly arranged by BW1 for some six days after the main rally return crossing) and then home. Vienna to Horsham (approximately nine hundred miles) in twenty two hours!
Ted Meachem - Section Secretary