LOWER UFFORD RALLY, 1 APRIL
Talboteers put up a good show at this annual event in the field adjacent to the White Lion Pub in the village of Ufford, about 5 miles north of Ipswich. This is a word of mouth event with no obvious organiser and on arrival in Ufford there was hardly any guidance as to the location of the event. Of course those in the know needed no signage as the aficionados knew the location. First timers like ourselves got there in the end.
The vintage cars, together with a few classics, filled the field adjacent to the pub. The array of Talbots, about a dozen or so made a fine display. The Dutch Talboteers made up about half the Talbot display, no doubt in support of Foppe d'Hane whose workshop is in Ufford. In addition to those, a number of Talboteers in moderns, including the author, meant the TOC was well represented. Other marques including pre-war Bentleys, Rileys, Lagondas, Alvises and many others filling the field made a display worthy of the Orchard car park at Prescott, albeit on a smaller scale.
The weather was kind as the easterly wind kept the intermittent clouds moving and the sun shone for much of the time. There is a carnival atmosphere as the pub provides live music with an excellent jazz saxophonist, barbecue and a very large seating area.
The day was rounded off at the Crown Inn where David Booth organised an excellent dinner for about a couple of dozen Talboteers including many of the Dutch contingent. A good time was had by all and if you have never been to this annual event think about it for 2018. You will not be disappointed.
LOWER UFFORD RALLY, 1 & 2 APRIL – THE DUTCH VIEW
We took, coming from Maastricht on Thursday, the nightboat Stena Brittanica, arriving at a very early hour in Harwich.
We are a two car team: Emile van Thoor in his impeccable 105 ‘blue flash’, running like the proverbial clock (thank you Foppe). Louis Putzeist (owner of an OA 90 Fabric Tourer) accompanied him.
The other team was Luc Slijpen with Fox & Nichol Team Car AO 90, better known as PL2, and myself as volunteer and owner of the “Norman Pruce car, the former shopping car of Mrs Blight, an OA 90 as well.
We arrived at Foppe’s workshop in the early Friday morning, having had a very nice breakfast in the main street of Woodbridge, although we already had consumed a breakfast on board (as we had paid for it in advance, we couldn’t skip it. You know the Dutch….!)
That idea of a breakfast in Woodbridge came from two Dutchmen, Guus and Hans, from the region of Amsterdam. We met them on the boat. They travelled with a car having an aggressive looking bird as a mascot on the radiator. I think they called it an Alvis. I was told that if they need parts, they had to order those with a firm called Red Triangle or something… But those guys had seen the world, but not ours……that became clear soon…
At Foppe’s, the first thing I noticed that he has changed his way of working! He is now producing/restoring cars in a row, it just isn’t serial production, but almost. Of course the space is not as straightforward and sterile as with McLaren, but it comes near!
Coming back to that car with that aggressive looking bird on the radiator: Foppe started immediately working on the carburettors (3 of them, believe it or not) and I had the feeling that it wasn’t the first time that he had seen so many attached to one engine… and the people from Amsterdam looked relieved when he finished the job before lunch….
PL2 needed some attention as well. Luc wants his PL2 to go faster, as in the old days. Foppe and Luc agreed upon making a fast engine for use on the circuit, but then they found out that the throttle only opened half way. So luckily Foppe can start the major rebuild of his home in time…
During Friday afternoon we (who are known as the ‘Maastricht Mafia’) went for a tour and had a late lunch in Orford.
Next day was the big day…
All those cars gathering at a meadow, next to a pub, where the proprietor was preparing very tasty Angus beefburgers for the proud owners (and other people as well who were hungry…) and of course had several beers on tap.
There were cars other than Talbots, but I did see that super Ulster Saloon of the family Whatton, the more than rakish Airliner of Mrs. Young, the stretched XL tourer of our Former President, with those pregnant coloured wheels, the beautiful Talbot of Jim Parker, meticulously restored in 18 years?? Also, the grand sedan 75 of Mr Berkowic, in which I was lucky to have a go the next day.
In the evening, we had our club-dinner at the Ufford Crown with 22 people, cramped into a separate room, very cosy. And what I did like so much is that you know weeks before what you will have to eat… Of course we all forgot what we had ordered. But that was not a problem at all while his Hon. Secretary told everybody exactly what he or she had ordered, because, wisely, he had kept a list.
On the Sunday we had a very nice outing with detours to Reedham, where we took the ferry of the local pub owner, and had a good beer at the mooring in lovely sunshine. The special thing of that ferry I like very much is that, if you promise the ferryman to have a beer at the other side, he won’t charge you for the passage, how is that?
After this pleasant stop I was allowed to drive back in the 75 of Mr. Berkowic, with a Preselector. I hadn’t driven a car with a preselector for years, but it went wonderfully. We arrived at Foppe’s and Elisabeth’s place where we had tea and coffee with the homemade specialities of the house.
At five in the afternoon it was time to start or journey home. In Manningtree we stopped at a nice Italian restaurant before taking the Stena Hollandica to a bitter cold Holland.