We loaded our old faithful combo and in brilliant sunshine, took a relaxed ride to Harwich to catch the ferry for our early morning crossing to Holland. The ride down from Norfolk was uneventful but pleasant as we lurched along at our usual stately pace of 55mph on the back roads of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. We had a cabin for the crossing. Always nice to get a snooze in before hitting the confusing road signage of Holland.
Lovely crossing, nice bit of nosebag and we were on our way to the rally at a rugby club in Tilburg , which was just a tad under 2 hours from the ferry, at our pace. All the British contingent (including us) picked an excellent spot to camp near an avenue of trees that kept the scorching sun away from us until much later in the day.
The site filled up nicely with JAWAS of all ages, sizes and from all different places. Latvia, Germany (hello Wolfgang) Czechoslovakia (or whatever they call it now), Finland, Holland (of course) and Britain.
Then there was Mehmet who’d come 3500 KMs from Turkey on his beaten up old Jawa outfit to join us all. On the sidecar Mehmet had the slogan “ My other bike is even worse ! “, but I was quite impressed that this beat up old thing had got there and didn’t think it looked that bad at all. Check out the Velorex Cars. A frame at the front with a JAWA motorbike nailed in the back. I’ve seen them before but still think they’re mad.
Many run outs were planned during the 4 days of the rally plus live entertainment and all sorts. We didn’t go on every run so I’ve included a few pics of those that we did go on. First run out was on the Friday night through wonderful quaint countryside with a mere 100 plus smoking Jawas to a private collection of motorcycles, many of which I had never heard of before. I’m still researching some of them. On the run various old Jawas decided to protest and started to litter the roads of Holland, causing mayhem with the traffic until their owners had coaxed them back into life.
We also had one old boy on a vintage combo that managed to disappear into the trees before we’d even got off the site. We hauled him out and told him to put some weight in the Sidecar for the next day’s run out to the DAF museum. I think something went wrong in translation as come Saturday he put more weight on the bike by getting his wife to ride pillion and then they put a small terrier dog in the sidecar wearing pink sunglasses. I think the sunglasses weighed more than the dog. God knows whether they survived the run out.
On the Saturday about 200 went in manageable groups to the DAF museum. See the pictures. Lorries, cars and a blue motorbike that seemed to be fitted with a DAF Variomatic drive system. No idea what the engine was, we couldn’t find out. So there. You’ll never know.
Honda frame, Sachs 300cc engine and DAF 46 variomatic
We had great fun back at the site. Bands were playing, bikes were whizzing about, a concurs line up was going on and Ben and Me found a right hand sidecar outfit that the owner allowed us to take for a spin. I’ve had outfits for about 37- 38 years and have never driven one with the sidecar on the “wrong” side. I jumped at the chance to experience the fun of everything I know going the other way on corners.
We shoe horned our incredible combined bulk into and onto the little vintage Jawa outfit, kicked it over and it sped off like a scalded cat. Most impressive. Then it died.
I think Jumbo the elephant and his mate were a bit too much for the old girl. Being a Jawa owner of many years standing, I managed to fettle and coax it back to life and we were off again at break neck speed with corners coming up and drunk people to avoid.
We returned to the bar with big silly grins on our faces. It was great, as was the rest of the rally. The Dutch JAWA club done us all proud. Can’t wait for the 30th. We left for home on the Monday. After blistering heat in Holland all weekend it was peeing down in the UK as we left the Ferry. Welcome home!!
Steve and Ben. Kings Lynn.