J.C. de Bonhomme and his team invited us in the fabulous environment of Reims to participate in the celebration.
It must have been very hard for them to put on a great celebration event, especially as last year there was Heddingham (Classics at the Castle) and the great RS meeting in Sinsheim. Nevertheless, it was a real success, despite the bad weather especially on Friday. All the participants cars -and there were many- were in almost showroom condition when they arrived at the event. But after the first day of touristic rallying in the beautiful Reims region, most of the cars looked more like mud dirty tractors than spic and span RS’s. Still the atmosphere was thus that all people were happy.
On Saturday the organisers had real charming touristic Champagne routes in store for us, this time with the sun out and shining. We all went to the legendary circuit of Reims (in Gueux). On the circuit straight in front of the old Grand Prix pits all the RS’s and RSR’s were lined up in an old school Le Mans starting grid style. It has to be said that it was totally impressive. It was also there that the judging was done by Mr. Clement (French authority on the RS), as well as our Belgian counterpart Mr. G. Callewaert, together with Jürgen Barth, who of course is very well know to the Porsche fraternity.
For sure it must have been a tough job judging all those beautiful RS’s and RSR’s, and picking some winners. Probably everybody must have had their own preferences and our personal choice would have been the 1973 Martini Le Mans car driven at the time by Gijs van Lennep and H. Muller. But the real judges would announce the winners at dinner later that evening in the “Demeure des comtes de Champagne”, an old magnificent building belonging to the Taittinger Champagne house.
At the Gueux circuit we did receive a wonderful pick nick. After that we were happily ready to drive to the “circuit des ecuyers”. After a spirited drive through the beautiful Champagne region we arrived at the circuit.
There the cars were divided into 4 groups to have a go on the track. The very last group were the RSR’s in which only 4 cars took part. 911motorsport entered the yellow 2.8 RSR, a car driven sideways most of the time. In order to have the public joining the fun, passengers were taken along for a joyful ride on this twisty and technical circuit. Most of them did like the sideways stance of the car.
After all this fun there was just enough time to go to the hotel, for a quick shower and change of clothes in order to be ready to take the yellow 2.8 RSR to the “Demeure des comtes de Champagne”. Because we did not want to drive the car all the way from the hotel to the town centre, we loaded it into the trailer. But as we discovered, the old town of Reims didn’t have the infrastructure to accept a van & trailer combo at all. So we left both vehicles behind at the first opportunity we got, unloaded the race RSR again and drove it through the streets of Reims towards the magnificent courtyard of the “Demeure”. The yellow RSR was flanked by the viper green 2.7 RS of Mr. Clement.
A reception was offered in the knights room and the excellent Taittinger champagne’s were served.
This was also the time for the award winners to be announced. Mr. Clement went on stage and gave us an insight in how difficult the car judging really had been. Followed by the final results which were rather rewarding for us. This with double trophies: the first one for “Best original car”, the second one for “Best of show”.
After an excellent dinner we drove back to the hotel for a great night’s sleep. The next day Mr. de Bonhomme and his team had yet another surprise for us all. We were invited to an abandoned military airfield nearby where we were welcomed by the responsible commander, who was also an ardent Porsche driver himself. He allowed us to drive in-between the bunkers in which they used to store the French Mirage jet fighters back in the days. After that we were able to take our cars to the very limit on the airport runway itself. Last but not least the organizers did a great job on lining up all of our cars in front of one of the hangers. It was a grand finale!
We would really like to thank the organisers for putting up such a great event! We returned home after a wonderful celebration weekend knowing that the next one will only be in 10 years time.