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The Rondom Gees and Horsepower Run weekend, April 2017.
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show. Acknowledgement for some of the photos, which are from the VMC website)

Having ridden the Rondom Gees in 2016, this year was a bit of a must, as on the following day was the Horsepower Run, an event started by the late Willem Pol in 1981 as the Dutch equivalent of the Pioneer run. We loaded up the 1908 Triumph outfit and set off on the Thursday prior to the event with the idea of visiting Jean's youngest sister who is now living near Ipswich. From there at around 8pm we headed for Harwich and the 11.15pm overnight boat to the Hook of Holland. We had a cabin for the crossing and slept all the way. 8am saw us land at the Hook and heading for Utrecht. There was no real rush as we had all day to get to the hotel, so we stopped off at a cafe near Gees for a lunchtime bite. On to our hotel and a nice leisurely evening meal.

Saturday - Rondom Gees
Up too early for a proper breakfast and after grabbing a breakfast roll and stuffing it full of cheese we set off for the start. This event supplied free fuel that was strictly of the old type - no ethanol, hooray. There was a freezing North-Easterly blowing quite hard and it really was cold. There were over 90 entries. Seen at the start:

Rudy Leblon and his wife Els had brought their two Leon Bollees. I know them from the Oude Klepper and put Vic Blake in touch with Rudy, as both of them have Auto Fauteuil Veteran motorcycles. Els was piloting the Voiturette, whilst Rudy was on the Race version - and fast it was when it took off - it was the E-type Jag of the 1890's for sure.
As we waited for the commentator to finish, the weather decided to provide a short downpour, so I pushed off and headed for the van. The rain and cold wind was enough not to continue, so we sheltered in the van for 10 minutes until the rain passed by. Eventually we were away and off out into the Drenthe countryside with the sun shining. There were times when we turned a corner and went straight into the North-Easterly wind and that really did slow us down. So much so, that the belt started to slip, which meant that we were slowed even more. Soon it became a real problem so I stopped behind a hedge for some shelter and took a link out of the belt. From then on there was no more belt slip. It wasn't long before we arrived at the morning coffee stop at "De Gaffel" restaurant in Valthe. We were both very grateful for that, I can tell you, as the cold wind was still blowing strong. Seen at De gaffel:

The late morning route was just as pleasant as the first part of the morning run (apart from the cold strong wind). Next came the mistake of the day as we rounded a corner, only to find a large gaggle of bikes all discussing where the lunch stop was. We needed to go back, and, much against my better judgement, we followed - eventually finding the lunch stop in a large barn. There was a duo playing some jazz, which was nice. However, we arrived at 12.30 and sat on a table with Mike Wills and a Dutchman who introduced himself as the event photographer. Drinks soon arrived, but we waited an hour for the soup course, then another hour for our pancakes. By that time I'd had enough of the jazz being continually played in my ear and I reckon that we'd still be there now waiting for service if it hadn't been for our Dutch friend getting very irate with the waitresses. Seen at the lunch stop:

From the lunch stop we set off south with the wind following us, for a change. The afternoon tea stop was at "De Shenkerij" in the village of Orvelte. Seen at the afternoon tea stop:

The run into the finish didn't take long and was the shortest leg of the day. It was still freezing so Jean and I just loaded the bike into the van as quick as we could before heading into the Pluspunt hall for the end of event dinner. It wasn't long before it was all over and Jean and I were heading the 8 miles back to our hotel and a nice quiet drink in the bar before turning in.

Sunday - the Horsepower run
An even earlier start today, as we had to be at the venue by 8.30am and had a 25 miles drive to get there. Parking wasn't easy, but we eventually squeezed in and unloaded the Triumph outfit. There were 107 bikes listed in the programme, with many the same as having ridden the Rondom Gees the day before. The weather was still freezing cold, but the wind had dropped and the sun was out as we rode around to the start in the Prison Museum complex in the village of Veenhuizen. We were soon parked up and headed off to sign on and find a nice coffee to warm us up.

Waiting to start:

Our Triumph started up fine and we were again out onto another well prepared route. No route sheets, as all we did was to follow the red painted arrows that were attached to trees, lamp posts or anything that could be found. It really was easy to follow them, I must say. The morning run of 30 miles had a coffee stop before arriving back at the Prison Museum for lunch and then heading back out onto the afternoon circuit. Seen at the coffee stop in Elsloo:

Vic Blake had to retire, as his Triumph decided to seize with Vic collapsing into several other bikes as he tried to start. His Triumph was soon swallowed up by the backup van. It was a short run back to lunch and good the food was too. After warming up we set off on the afternoon run of some 25 miles. Not too bad really and plenty long enough on some of the Dutch side roads. We made good time before the bike started to play up. I found that I needed to close the air more than usual and, as each mile passed, found it more difficult to keep the engine going. There was an afternoon tea stop and I reckoned that I could probably coax the bike back to the finish, but as a precaution, I drained the carb as the main jet could have been partly blocked - it wasn't. Everything seemed ok and we set off for the finish with no improvement in power output. Eventually the bike just ground to a stop, so out came the spanners again and this time I disconnected the fuel pipe only to find nothing coming out of the tank, despite it being half full of fuel. The tap was blocked and the best thing was to remove it and clean it. Easier said than done, of course. I unscrewed the tap only to have fuel pour out of the tank - with a finger over the tank outlet I had only one hand to try and poke a wire through the tap to clear it. Being in Holland it was a bit reminiscent of the boy with his finger in the dyke, remember that story? Anyhow it wasn't long before several people stopped to help and I watched as one of our helpers removed a brown plug of some gungy stuff from the tap. Yeah, ok, it was old petseal, Anyway, we were soon back on the road and the bike ran good and strong - 2 more miles and we were back at the finish where we collected our finishers medal.

After a coffee and the prize giving it was farewell to those that we knew and back to the van for the bike. The evening meal in the hotel was most welcome and leisurely, as the pressure was now off. Breakfast the following morning was good and we were soon back on the road to the Hook of Holland and our ferry back to the UK. We made it home in good time and a very welcome bed.

BP