by The Bakers
Mel and Sandra Baker drove their buggy from England to France and then Holland!
Here are the details that I'm sure you want to know...
We left home at 5am - it was raining really hard (typical !!) and we met up with a friend driving a VW Caravelle bus, plus another club member in an immaculate VW convertable bug, someone else in a Golf (Rabbit to you) and finally another couple in an Audi. By the time we arrived at the ferry in Dover, the rain had almost stopped, but the buggy's interior was nice and soggy (water seeps between the pan & fibre-glass body). The crossing took 1&half hours to Calais in France. From there its a 4 hour drive (around 240 miles) through Belgium to the east of Holland. In fact, we were about 15 miles from the German "border". There are no borders anymore. We were in a plus hotel, 5 minutes walk from the showground. The others were either sleeping in their vehicles overnight, camping and one pair hired a bungalow on site.
The site was huge - on Friday evening many, many people were arriving at the site. So many infact that the queues were back onto the motorway for 15 miles!! The quality of cars arriving was superb, notably the bugs. Not too many buses though.
On Saturday there was a sprint competition for any VW; off-road for all the buggies; swapmeet, and other bits to do. The photo is of the rear end of a Dutch buggy at the top of an earth bank, getting ready to launch itself in to the mud pool. Yes, these Dutch people are really bonkers!!
On Sunday Mel entered his buggy into the concourse - buggy class - and was up against 8 other buggys. In the photo the red buggy is Mels, with him holding the 2nd prize trophy in the dune buggy class. The yellow "Vulture " buggy on the left came 1st. This buggy was built by an English guy some 4 or 5 years ago and sold at a British VW show (VW Action) to a Belgian guy. I assume as the buggy has Belgian plates, it is still owned by the same Belgian.
We met two Dutch people who we initially met at the VW Classic back in June. They took their buggy to Florida and drove it across the USA to CA over 3 months. In fact, they won the long distance award at the Classic. So it was nice to meet up with Peter & Ester (Ester, Sandra, Peter, & Dutch Dune Buggy Historian) again.
We also met the infamous Lew Silverman. Yes, he turned up there unexpected!! He was working in Hungary for the US Army and hired a car to visit the show. So we had a very long chat with him. There was a great off-road track on which there was a mud bath. Yes, those mad Dutch people drove their buggies through a mudpool. Mels buggy came 2nd in the class - I managed to get my nice silver cup early in order to leave promptly as we had to make the ferry by 8pm.
So the buggy made it all the way there & back (about 530 miles), averaging 24 mpg, at around 65mph most of the way. The weather was superb throughout the weekend - this is what particularly made it a great weekend.
Report over & out.
Mel saw around 70 buggies at the show - "make my day..."
Melvyn G Baker
Brunel University, UK
Courtesy of Mel Baker (email@example.com)... .