The Anglo Dutch Reliability Trial week 2011
(Click the photo to see a larger picture - then just click your back button to come back to this article.)

The week started for us with an evening ferry from Ramsgate to Ostend. We arrived in Belgium at around midnight on Sunday the 24th July and set off on the 209 mile drive to Almen in central Holland. At least at 2am in the morning the Antwerp ring road didn't present it's usual nightmare of a drive. We made good time and arrived at the base hotel at 4am on the Monday. After a few hours snooze in the car we headed into the hotel for a coffee to help us come round. The rest of the day was spent watching others arrive and at 3pm I had the bike scrutineered. Not what you might think as it was just a check on the fact that I had some bonus points for riding single geared and with a sidecar.


Day One
The first riding day dawned and our Triumph just would not fire up for the start at 09.30 - the problem turned out to be a fouled spark plug. By the time we got away on the 85 mile route we were last. Within a mile or so it started to drizzle so a stop was called for to put my leggings on. The first official stop was at a small local airfield for a coffee and a slice of apple pie. Just about every coffee stop was for 'coffee +', which meant coffee and a slice of pie, gateaux or cake.


On the way to the lunchstop we had to negotiate a set of traffic lights across a main road and I noticed a group of our bikes on the right and one with a severely bent front wheel. As it happened it was the 1903 Pebok of Roel Van Maarseveen - and he was unhurt. It seems that the traffic lights just didn't give much time to get across and a car coming the other way jumped them and hit the bike just as Roel was pushing off. We rode on towards the lunch stop at a Pancake house in Ugchelen, where both Jean and I opted for the apple and cheese topping, all very yummy.


Note the 1903 Pebok on the trailer with the bent front end. Must say that I did like the sweeping brush - indicating recovery.The afternoon run continued and the next stop was at a classic car showroom called 'The Gallery' in Brummen. They certainly had some really nice stuff for sale and all at rather 'heavy' prices. There were a few motorcycles as well, including several Benellis, a Velosolex (that had been sold) plus a lovely little sports Giulietta.

From 'The Gallery' it was a case of heading back to the Hotel in Almen.


On the way we used one of the small ferries that are still found in Holland to cross some of the rivers. By the time we reached the finish we had clocked up something like 85 miles.

Day two
We were joined, just for today, by a nice early Indian with a flat belt drive. The weather was a little better for the ride of 100 miles and included a climb of the 'Posbank' which, believe it or not, is a hill in the Dutch National Park. We took a run at the hill but the Triumph failed when only halfway up. I really did not feel like pushing up the hill and decided to wait for the recovery vehicle. No sooner had I sat down than a car turned up and the driver offered to help. "Have you got a rope" I asked. Luckily the reply was positive and in no time the outfit was hooked up to the car which managed to get us easily to the top of the hill. From there we continued to the coffee stop to lick our wounds. Big problem was that soon after we had left the stop we encountered another hill that stopped the Triumph. By now I was not feeling very enamoured with the route at all and was considering packing it in and heading back to the hotel, but the breakdown crew arrived and assured me that there were no more hills. Two of the Breakdown pushed the outfit to the top of the hill for me and did it so fast that even Jeannie couldn't keep up with them - I had a lift up in the breakdown car, thank goodness.

On we went and the next obstacle was that we had to ride through Arnhem. I've never come across so many traffic lights - all of which meant a push start of course. The lights just never seemed to stay on green for us at all and towards the other side of Arnhem I was going through the lights on yellow and red and basically ignoring them. At one point we had to cross the river and that was dangerous as the outfit was barely managing 15mph up and over the road bridge with the main flow of traffic passing us as if we were standing still. Anyway, soon we were out into the country and running along the top of a dyke and heading towards Njimegen and the lunch stop at the Dutch National Cycle museum. I must say that at this point I noticed a fall off of power from the motor and the run over the river bridge in Njimegen was rather slow.

When we arrived at the Cycle Museum, Pierre was there to welcome us - he'd driven all the way up from Belgium just to say hello and to see the bikes. After a quick bite to eat and a whistle stop tour of the museum it was back on the bike. By this time the engine was not running at all well so I used the cycle path across the Njimegen river bridge. Back on top of the dyke the engine just died on us so we waited for the recovery. After a while the trailer arrived but it was full with three bikes and they had already turned down the recovery of Geert De Boer's BSA outfit. So, with the motor having cooled down, we gave it another go and the motor started up ok, but it was a case of travelling slowly whilst watching the engine pulley float in and out. My mind was trying to work out just what was wrong and I guessed at the flywheels coming loose. Just before we made the hotel the heavens opened and we were soaked big time and were dripping wet as the Triumph crawled into the finish having covered 100 miles.
In the shed that was used as a garage, I decided to take the barrel off and have a look at the problem and found that the flywheels were indeed loose. Out came the engine and I took it to pieces, just to make sure that was all that the problem was. We found a basket in the shed and all the parts were put in that before being transferred to the car boot to be fixed at home, as the crankpin had become loose in the one flywheel just as I'd thought and it needed to be riveted back in properly. Not a job to be done outside my workshop.

Day Three

This was the day of the trial and as our outfit was out of action we followed round in the car - not the same, I must say, but at least we could offer some help, if needed.


The first coffee stop was soon reached and we were all invited to view a small museum of machines just a bit further along the road before we set off on the next leg. We soon came across Jonathon Hill who had problems - all cured after I loaned him a plug to get going.


Next came the lunch stop at the 'Outdoor Lodge in Holten' - where that was, I have no idea. Anyway, we were lucky that the weather was fine as we ate 'al fresco'.


The next leg to was to a museum visit in Borculo which turned out to be something different as it was dedicated to fire engines. There were two floors full of various contraptions dating back to the 1600's. I was amazed to see so many differing ideas during the development of the modern fire engine. Mileage today 80.


Day four

Today we were joined in the car by Wilf Banks after his bike had broken down on day two. The first stop of the day was in Gelselaar with more work being carried out on Ronald Branse's 1913 Douglas. Just about everytime that we saw Ronald there was some piece or other of his Douglas in bits - but he still rode into the finish on each day.


The days lunch stop was at the cafe "De Zevenster" in Hengelo - That's the big Hengelo near the German border. Holland has two Hengelos with the other one having the Hamove windmill and race track that we visited a couple of years previously. Anyway, the lunch was superb, I must say. From here we travelled a short distance to Heim and had a visit to the Technical museum there. It was very interesting and covered various items of a technical variety that are all too numerous to list here.


The final coffee stop of the day was in Markelo, after which the run to the finish ended the riding of the event and the 80 miles for the day.


Back at the finish I spotted this rather tasty 1939 Matchless Clubman. Can't say that I've ever seen one before, but what a beauty - hairpin valve springs and all.

The end of event dinner
The evening dinner was excellent and Fred Hesselink kept us all waiting to hear the results of the trial.

In the end it was close, with the Dutch losing a total of 40 points, whilst Harry De Boer on his lovely original 1907 Minerva managed a clear round with the loss of no marks. The English team lost a total of 43 points with Mike Wills being the best English rider.


All in all a great week.