CineCars wouldn’t be CineCars without our own reporter at the 63th Tulpenralley on Noordwijk Boulevard. On Monday the 2nd of may 235 teams took of from the Via Chanoux, main street of the little North-Italian town of Saint-Vincent, embarking on the first stage of Hollands eldest rally.
Founded by Benedictine monks in the 11th century this adorable town made an excellent decor for this prestigious events kick-off. Amidst giant alps like the Matterhorn, Mont Rose, Mont Blanc and the Gran Paradiso, the area’s unexpected mild climate earned it its nickname of the Alps Rivièra. A bit treacherous, since the second day of the rally brought snowy roads leading to the Austrian city of Feldkirch. The most beautiful stages followed one another to take the entire fleet in just seven days through Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Belgium to finally finish on the boulevard in Noordwijk.
Speaker at the final sprint event on the boulevard in Noordwijk, Han Kuijper, told the audience how the Tulpenralley got its name in the first place. Allegedly Dutch rally legend Maus Gatsonides and French Simca pilot Marc Angelvin met up somewhere in the late nineteen forties. During their conversation they noted that most rally’s where named after mountains or similar natural phenomena. Things The Netherlands didn’t have to much of. ‘But Holland’s got tulips’, they concluded. And thus commenced the very first ‘Tulpenralley’ in 1949. That same Maus Gatsonides stands at the origin of a completely different aspect of this years rally. Amongst car lovers he is known for his attempts to record the speed of his own racers, ending in the invention of the Gatsometer. An invention the participants of this particular International Historic Tulpenralley were quite painfully remembered of whilst crossing Swiss territory. No less than 40 contestants were fined for speeding. Frank Pauli, chairman of the Tulpenralley: ‘There really wasn’t any racing going on at that part of the track.’ Like on Dutch motorways, Swiss roads count so many changes in maximum speed that it is very hard to keep track of the actual maximum speed at any piece of the road at any given moment.
Being a Volvo P1800 lover, yours truly was glad to see so many Volvo’s reach the final destination. Including the lovely 1965 P1800S of Belgian contestants Willy and Tim Beer. The beautiful P1800E of Paul de Groot and the equally beautiful 1967 S of Frans van Bueren. Very nice indeed was the 1949 Jaguar XK120 OTS alloy owned by Aart van Bochove. An early example that was once owned by Rob Slotemaker. British Peter Pratt drove a very special Triumph TR2. Technically very sound it made it to the finish without any trouble. The green shell however looked as if it were painted by hand, which it probably was. Sadly long rally’s like this do know their share of dropouts. Engine and gearbox failure being the main reason. Amongst them the beautiful 1937 Citroën Traction Avant Cabriolet of Ruud Wesselink. Luckily we saw the car running again at the Noordwijk boulevard. The first one there actually, since there were quite some delays. Taking the entire circus through the many towns and villages of the Dutch part of the route took it’s toll. The long waits tended to lead to overheating or otherwise technical malfunctioning of these lovely classics. Most of them were solved on the spot by Classic Job’s excellent technical assistance. Quite the achievement.
An hour and a half later than planned the first equipes arrived in Noordwijk for the final sprint number. The last seven years a sprint is set up at the boulevard, to make the arrival of the rally in Noordwijk more attractive for the audience. Actually it’s two sprints in one. The teams take of quickly to come to a complete halt at letter A, just to take of again and make it to another complete stop at the finish line on the end of the boulevard. The Alvis Speed 25 Special of Hank Melse and Tom Deschan surely did that in the most spectacular way. After the final sprint it’s of to Huis ter Duin, where the teams are welcomed with a nice cold glass of Korenwijn and, what else, tulips. Rally’s are being raced for winning. That is what Alexander Leurs and Peter van Hoof did in the Expert class in an orange Opel Ascona. Winning the Sporting class are Leo Beukering and Olav de Wolf in a 1963 Jaguar Mark II. The Vintage class is won by Marcel and Alfons Geurts in an Aston Martin.The Touring class by Onno and Hilde de Boer in a 1963 Bentley convertible. Toni Bienemann takes home the ‘landenprijs’ with his 65 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III. CineCars Diva Han Brouwers comes in at a deserving eight place in the Sporting class in a 1964 Fiat 2300S Ghia Abarth Coupé.
We had a wonderful afternoon in Noordwijk and watching the enthusiasm of the contestants and the crowd we thing preparations for the 64th International Historic Tulpenralley can start right away.
text and pictures: Robbert Moree
translation and editing: Marc GF Zaan