by Rosemarijn Atalante Veenenbos

The world of vintage and classic cars is an impressive world to discover with so many great elements. One of them is the rally sport, or as some say the sport of reading maps. This is something that raised my interest after I met some very interesting rally drivers. At first I thought I would not really like to navigate, and still I prefer to drive myself, but actually navigating can give great satisfaction too when you are good at it (or becoming good at it). After my first adventures with rallies and navigating, I will share my adventures with you, but first something that is really great, the Tulpen Rallye or Tulip Rallye!

The Tulpen Rallye is the crème de la crème when speaking of Dutch rallies. For 63 years a huge number of participants (this time more then 200) start in Italy and drive to the finish in the coastal town of Noordwijk where the party takes part in Huis ter Duin. This year the start was at Saint-Vincent in northern Italy from where the participants covered some 2674 exciting and Spartan kilometers, with a number of them exposed to all weather conditions in their open prewar cars. Circuits like Monza are part of the game and without a doubt this rally is not something for lazy drivers!

One of my rally role models is Han Brouwers (2300 S Ghia Abarth coupé), as well as René van der Borch (991 T). Thanks my amazing friend Han, I was able to enjoy the finish as a VIP. Always great to spend a nice day with my dad, and for him a nice change since after years of Sunday horse dressage competitions with me. I was so enthusiastic that even my petrolhead dad had to ask me after a ‘while’ how Iong I wanted to stay to see all the cars finishing. Yep, I wanted to see them all finishing… Before the participants finished they made a nice little sprint on the boulevard along the beach and then a warm welcome with… of course many tulips. Several cars passed the stage, and some quite interesting  like the RR ‘chinese eyes’ or just a Silver Cloud III, several Bentleys and Alvis, Aston Martin 1937, 15/98, Mercedes 190 SL,  Fiat Dino Spider and 124 Spider, Jaguar C-Type reconstruction, many Healeys, Porsches and Alfas of course, and even an Invicta S!

There was also a nice initiative, organized by the Dutch Vintage Sports Car Club. Some of my friends with their great Bugatti bolides drove a part of the TR, the last section in the Netherlands. And already this part was not easy at all as I understood from my Bugatti friends. Sadly Amillion didn’t make it since there was some trouble with the magneto ignition, you know… Startup trouble you have with most new-old cars. In addition I had lent out one of my four wheel nuts to a friend who is participating with his CGS in the Mille Miglia right now, after he had lost his. Again… his hubs had all been mounted the wrong way around, which was the reason why he lost one of his! Luckily we figured this out quite soon on my CGS and changed it.

To me it was great to hear all the reactions of the finishing participants, and to see how much souvenirs they brought back in the form of mud. Also interesting to see what kind of cars are driving this challenging rally and which of them drive in the expert class and most of all of course, who wins? The winner was an Opel Ascona! Of course participating is the best way to enjoy such an event, but I must say that the joy and happiness at the finish was epic.

Soon more about my first rally adventures and probably more to come, since I already experienced the joy of a victory which is something that made me hungry for more!

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