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Leg 7 – 8
The allways deciding final evening loop has turned the leader board upside down. Circumstances, black ice, steep hills and pitch dark. Again it was Hank Melse who won this leg just ahead of James O’Mahony / Frank Hussey four minutes ahead of Rene Kuipers / Willem van Leeuwen these three are really a class of there own when it comes to mastering extreme circumstances. Robert Westland/Michel Bout lost all electricity just after the start which meant the end of there rally and also an off road session was the end for Peter van Merkstein / Maurits Verhoef. See the results for leg 7
The Friday morning run into Salzburg did not change any positions this time, in spite of another day win for Mark Godfrey / Martin Taylor in Trial category.
Absolutely worth mentioning is the day win of Marscha Goei who navigated her father to an outstanding victory for the day and a first in class on her first rally ever.
It all ended at The Sound of Music background in the Schloss Hellbrun and after the already a sort of traditional fish and champagne out of the boot of Marcel van Breda's Volvo, The fireworks in the Schloss garden as well as an unexpected performance of the singer from Rotterdam Ger Vos turning the party into a super special.
See the results for leg 8 See the final overall results
Leg 6 Linz – Linz
The theme for today was very simple. Just stay on the road. Almost unnoticed as a thief in the night (famous /Dutch expression) is crew O’ Mahony / Hussey beating all the other top ten aces with only 3 min. 30 total penalty for the day. Just behind the very fast Porsche of Merkstein/Verhoeff.
Again a great mix of a stunning route, sun and an extremely fierce competition. All the best ingredients for a perfect day. And oh yes it was moving day again. Van Merkstein was not happy with a penalty for speeding, that moved him back in the rankings just while he was trying hard to move up a bit.
In the Challenge class it was Diederik Nolten / Tom Hendriks claiming first place again. Also George Banken /Frank Soree excelled with another overall first. Possibly even more impressive is the fact that the young rooky Marsha Goei navigated here father to the second spot.
In case you read this and you have not seen our exploding Instagram yet, it is worth to have a look,
Leg 5 – Leoben – Linz
As we come further north the snow walls on the side of the road are becoming higher and higher. And that means the snow banks on the smaller country lanes are becoming bigger and bigger as well. No wonder that some of the crews disappear in the banks and we also see the competitors wrestling with snow chains for the first time in the event. Of course this means a bit of chaos and the same goes for parts of the rout were the daredevils without chaines are blocking the road to the highest tops.
No problem for the day winners Peter Merkstein/Maurits Verhoef and Tom Collet/ Bennie Roetgerink in the Trial Category.
The Challenge Categorie see Diederik Nolten / Tom Hendriks on first place and the lady team Irene Blauwkuip/Marielle Vehmeyer on second. The back markers are victim of two farmers with the tractors block the road because they are of the opinion that this events runs without authorisation. The organisers have to convince that this is not the case and than the police sents away the landowners. After they did the police car came stuck in the snow and had to be rescued by our service crew Gerbrand van Lohuizen/Wim Derksen. Classic Job meanwhile performs a beauty operation on Ivo Nooteboom’s Volvo.
Leg 4 Ljulana (SL) – Leoben (A)
Finally the sun is coming out, so this is a better chance to enjoy the farytale scenery. Meanwhile the fierce competition continuous. Day winner in the Trial category Hank / Nicole Melse are back in business and Philip Armstrong / Adrew Duerden are defending the Irish colours with a second place. Roads were extremely slippery on places what resulted in quite a few cars in need for help to come back on the road.
The USA team, Stephen and Gin Goei are having the time of there life. But just as they think to be able to do magic a little overdose of pedal pressure make them end just in front of the camera team.
Frank Soree /George Banken perform in a magic way. They take first place in the Challenge Category with an unbelievable 14.50 seconds head start over number two Diederik Nolten / Tom Hendriks.
A never seen performance is from Renee Kuipers. The old fox is parked in deep snow and managed to winch himself out by fixing a tow rope to a tree and on the spokes of his wheels, than in first gear and the car starts moving backwards. In spite of going of the road the team ends the day with only a nine minute loss against the day winners.
Leg 3 Dolenji Novaki / Ljubljana (Trial only)
The battle of the titans.
Four hours of pure concentration and no room for the smallest mistake. We stopped counting seconds, it is minutes now that separate the men from the boys. And oh boy while the snow was coming down now in full force hiding the icy part of the road, nobody noticed that the mean Opel Manta piloted by Robert Westland and navigated
by Michel Bout came out of the blue. They managed the 21 controls only loosing
12 minutes and 31 seconds, closely followed by James O'Mahony / Frank Hussey.
Hank /Nicole Melse followes with 13 minutes and 41 seconds.. What if………Hank and Nicole had not made a few very costly minutes on day one.
Unfortunately we lost today the Mini of Richard Phillipson with a broken gearbox and the Swiss crew Nadlinger / Alber retired because of the Alber’s sickness.
The leaderboard is now an organisers dream with a top ten of all the aces and 5 more legs to go. Have a look at the results
Leg 2 Ljublana – Ljublana
As we awake rain is coming down on the frozen roads and outside the town we climb a bit so the rain is now snow. That is exactly the ideal scenery for day 2. The start control of the day is 30 kilometre outside of the town. Disaster hits the old fox Peter Rushfort. On the moment he wants to check he realizes that his timecard still in the hotel. So he has to skip a few controls to make up for his more than his one hour mistake. Straight to lunch halt is his only option to manage the damage. Sybren van der Goot in the Datsun 240Z tried to jump over a guardrail but did not manage. In fact he landed on top of the rail but was quickly helped out by some enthusiast locals. On the road again he is. Just like Ivo Nooteboom and Cooper Goei. Both of them.
Jan Ernst de Vries / Henk Jacob de Vries di dit again. The brothers managed to win the second leg with not less than a 3 minutes advantage over Paul van Ruiten / Andre Bout
This winter Trial is pleased to see a number of new faces such as total novices trying there first rally ever. And on top of that some manage to settle themselves in the middle of the fiels . Mischa Goei, here first rally has nestled herself on the 16 place today and the other rookies Rob and Charley Boon on the 20th spot. Great achievements in the strong field.
Another Winter Trial rookie is the very experienced rally ace Peter Merkstein, navigated by Maurits Verhoeff are fighting for a top position and take a 4th place today. The organisers had a kind surprise in store for the competitors. Two regularities on closed roads with spectators encouraging the teams to show there skills. This of course brought even more smiles on the faces than they already had.
Leg 1 Berchtesgaden - Ljubliana.
As expected the top teams have nestled themselves at the top of the classification.
The well experiecend dirver Dennis Kuipers navigated by Bart den Hartogh took an heavy 1 minute 30 seconds lead over the also stronf team of Wouter Roelofs / Ad van der Werff. Much to our surprise Hank and Nicole Melse always good for a top position made mistake after mistake in the regularity sections. However on the always very enjoyable test at the 4 kilometre snow circuit of Altenmarkt Hank showed his driving skills by beating the field in a very elegant style. Leaving all the big rally names behind him.
Wilhelm Palthe / Jurgen Donders had announced great plans and yes they are living up to it. A fourth position just after the strong Irish team of James O’Mahony / James Hussey. Not so fortunate is father and sun team, great to see that we have so many father sun teams, Jos and Patrick Lemmens. The Skoda blew a head gasket and our Slovenian fixer Ferdo has alarmed his troops to find a gasket somewhere in Ljubliana. The same goes for Harrie Kuiper. The undistructable brand new brake cilinder dit fail early in the day so the end of greate hopes. Again Ferdo's troopers managed to find one and he is happy to be able to start day two.
Leaders in the Challenge class are Rinal Kloppenberg / Jeroen Bode in the PV 544. Immediatly followed by last years winners the De Vries brothers in a BMW.