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DEAUVILLE CENTENARY RALLY, NORMANDY WEEKEND
Friday 7 to Monday 10 May 2010

This was the fourth weekend rally organised by Michel Moniot of the French Section to which members of other Sections had been invited. Many members have attended the previous events so it has become a very happy reunion. This year there were twenty-nine cars (eleven from England, including seven from CSS) and sixty members and friends from England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Special members were Anne Piscarel the Chairman of the French Section and Tony James the Club Chairman.

The cars ranged from Bill Bradford's 1934, 3.5 litre Bentley to Dean Ash's GT Speed Bentley and Tony James's New Phantom, both 2010 cars, so an excellent display was made on the hippodrome (race course) at Deauville for the enjoyment of the local residents and the judging of their favourite cars by local dignitaries. This was of course preceded by an excellent lunch in the Villa Strassburger on the hill above the hippodrome (and I thought a hippodrome was a 'music hall'!)
 
Chateau Fontaine Henry
 
The Hippodrome
 
In a short weekend rally it is not practical to make many visits, but this year a visit was arranged to Fontaine Henry, a chateau, near Caen, owned by a cousin of Everad d'Ursel of the Belgium section. The chateau has been in the same family since it was built in 1200AD and has never been sold. However it has passed through several branches of the family as they have died heirless and been transferred to cousins. The current owner, Pierre-Apollinaire Earl d'Oilliamson (the name is derived from his Scottish ancestors the Williamsons) gave us a guided tour of his house in French and perfect English. The chateau is reputed to have the tallest roof in France, as can be seen towering over our cars.

Earl Oilliamson and  Michel Moniot.   On the return journey to Deauville we stopped at the Pegasus Bridge museum, which has recently been refurbished. This reminded members of the D-day events sixty-six years ago when glider borne infantry landed ahead of the invasion force to secure the vital bridges across the Orne. Audio-visual presentations and a conducted tour in English were appreciated by the UK members.   Pegasus Bridge Museum
Earl d'Oilliamson and
Michel Moniot.

This year the weather was kind and every day was sunny and dry. The accommodation and food supplied by the hotel and outside caterers for the lunches in Fontaine Henry and at Villa Strassburger was excellent.There were no motoring problems, so the weekend was enjoyed by all.

Our thanks to Michel for his hard work organising the rally and the French Section for inviting us.

Maurice Pitchford - Section Committee Member

Photos: Maurice Pitchford