Routes des Vosges - October 1997
OK, first you drive from The Netherlands to France... 530 Km's later & already crippled [the Gamine is not THAT spacy if you are 1M90 tall...]
you start the next morning with the Administrative and Technical inspections... Here it appears that your car is FAR TOO small to fit all the necessary stickers! Normally the numbers are fitted on the doors, but 25CM height really made the technical inspector laugh out loud.[Stèphane, great guy]. With his help we cut a part off & finally find some space on the rear wings of the Gamine.
With participators from France, Switserland, Belgium, Germany and Holland, it was quite an international event. Next to Jaguars, Porsches, MG's, Triumphs, a Mercedes, Volvo, Renault, NSU, Panhard, Ford, the Gamine defenitely was the smallest car [by size & horsepower]. Gilles & Sophie also drove a Fiat 500, but Gilles has done quite some work on the Fiat 126 engine that is fitted into their car. It surely made them go uphill a lot faster... The purpose of the Route des Vosges is to find your way within a specified time [you'll have to drive an average of +/- 40Km/Hr: NO WAY the Gamine reaches that speed uphill with 18 BHP!].
With the help of a roadbook you need to find your way through the nicest areas of the Vosges. Unfortunately the 'time pressure' doesn't give you enough time to appreciate the environment too much. According to Stèphane our position after the first day really was amazingly good. The next & final day we lost too much time: but not enough to give us the last position ;))
We did get an honourfull 3rd place on 'most desirable car' election, but we figured out that a snobby MG owner wouldn't vote for a Jaguar, but rather for this cute Gamine...
Sunday-afternoon, 17.00hrs, it was all finished, but we still had to return to Holland... Driving on the highway with a maximum speed of 95 Km/hr and being overtaken by fast trucks is no fun at all! We arrived in the Belgium Ardennes at 21.30 hrs & decided to stay overnight. The next day we continued but decided to avoid the highways. It took us ages to arrive at the Dutch border, but we enjoyed the Ardennes & a nice beer in Hoegaarden!
The picture hereafter shows that we did win a trophee [& not even a small one: it just fitted into the car...]. It was for "l'èquipe le plus sympathique"!