Arrived at the Hotel at Dover to meet all the other runners at 7am
and to say that everyone was excited would be an understatement. Once all 16 cars and 26 people were ready we ran down the hill to the dock, where most of us got pulled into the security, thankfully a short stay was had by all, then on to the boat and off to Calais. We all drove off the boat, with several dockworkers pulling faces at various very low cars/spittlers, but we all made it off safe and in one piece and on to the Adinkerke to fill up.
(The diesel boys and girls getting the best deal only paying the equivalent to £1 a litre), then in groups of fives and sixes we drove 180 miles to Hasselt, Belgium to break the journey.
After driving round the stupid one way system and sometimes round the system the wrong way (My husband with me yelling) we found the Hotel. The next thing to do was find a place to eat, well the Belgium/Greek place we found must have thought they had won and lost the lottery in one evening. Due to the problems with the language, the only thing that we all understood was Mixed Grill and Moussaka, so after the first two tables had ordered Mixed Grills, our hosts were on the phone to order more meat, but I have to say that they did very well and the meal was great. A great first evening ending for some in the early hours of the next day.
Germany here we come. Splitting into groups again we headed the 300 odd miles to Stuttgart and arrived in the late afternoon, as unlike last year there was a lot of roadworks and a lot more cars on the road, so no silly speeds. Dinner was taken in restaurant and several Germany beers consumed.
Up with the larks and down to breakfast, then off to Irmscher. Cabby had arranged for us to clean our cars at Irmscher and boy did Thumper need it, although on Tuesday I had cleaned and polished her.
Again this year there were some fabulous cars on display, including the IS40
which in the demo driving later in the day had a little fire problem, (sorry no pictures) and Irmscher Caterhams
I had a treat, as the man who designed the 3.2 engine, signed my engine
and then discussed with Mark, how to get more HP out of the engine, so watch this space.
As always, at events, my husband can not keep clean and as Jay Kay had bought a new grill, Mark, with help from the spectators, helped him to fit it
The day ending on a very high note, as Irmscher celebrated their 40th birthday with a party and here are a few of the photos.
Not sure that the Germany’s knew what to make of these “crazy British”, but we were having fun. But all too quickly we had to leave, as some of our number were taking the train back to the hotel and last one runs at midnight. I will let those who did the train journey tell you about that, as I think that stories first hand would make more sense, well at least those who can remember!!!!
My bargain of the day, was a new Signa Alloy, (to replace the one I drove into a kerb) the price was 75 euros !!!! I paid a lot more for mine, so I was “well happy”.
After the night before, some of the runners did not look “so good” in the morning and where glad that they had left their cars at Irmscher and were not driving back. There were more cars there on Sunday, (but I will let others post up cars)
and more things bought for the GSi household in the form of another round thing, an irmy steering wheel.
Just after lunch we had a tour of the factory, again it was very informative and got to see the inner workings of Irmscher.
We were due to leave at 3pm for the drive to Frankfurt, but before we left we asked Gunther Irmscher, himself, to be in our group photo
Then off on the short 127 mile journey to Russelheim, Frankfurt for the night.
Opel Factory – Russelheim. After doing a reccy the night before, it was decided to take taxis into Russelheim for the factory tour, as between the lack of parking and narrow streets, we did not like the idea of driving the cars into town. So a short taxi ride took us all to the home of the Vectra and soon to be home to the Insigna. The tour was very informative, in the fact that I, being not up on Opel, found out that Adam Opel started his company making Sewing Machines, then moved on to bicycles,
then under the leadership of his children moved into Cars in 1889.
We were allowed into the Press shop and the Robot Shop, but unable to take any photos. We were not allowing into the final production hall, as they have started making Insigna there. We did however see the camouflaged Insigna parked in the plant.
Once the tour was over we headed back to the hotel and started the drive home, by stopping overnight in Hasselt again.
The drive home – This was a very early start as we were catching 12.30 ferry from Calais to Dover and still had a 180 mile journey in rush to do. So starting out in groups in the first bad weather we had all weekend, we drove back to Calais, with time to spare stocking up on booze, fags and cheap diesel at Adinkerke.
The boat left on time and to finish the trip I took a group photo on the boat
I would like to extend my thanks to the committee for all their hard work over the last few months, to make the last week work like clockwork, thank you to all the runners and riders for another great irmscher trip and also a special thank you to Chris (Drinky) for driving as I would not have done it without you So here is to next year and maybe a new destination.