A Travellerspoint blog

Assen 2018

BSB

Day 1

And away we go. Reggie dropped off at Wyncot nice and early and I filled the tank at Tesco before heading to the Shuttle.

The Insignia managed 40.0 mpg on the last tank. With no long journeys and just local driving I had hoped for better.

We arrived at 1010 and didn't get an earlier crossing. Our 1120 crossing had been re-timed to 1119!!

They might as well have re-timed to 1136 as that's when we wheezed out of Folkestone.

Eurotunnel maintains its 100% record of leaving late when I am paying to travel.

We finally arrived about 2010 local time. A total of 10 hours on the road with a few short breaks. This was from home admittedly via Reggie's kennels.

Traffic horrific from Antwerp to about Amersfoort. It took 55 minutes to get around Antwerp on their ring road. F*** knows how long through the middle!!

Plus Belgian drivers are terrible. No signals. No lane discipline and absolutely shite at undertaking all the time.

As for the Dutch. FFS.

Booked in the hotel and had a comfort break and the dinner and a few beers. Very nice.

Day 2

Up and out early enough to get a few hours seeing what Assen town has to offer the tourist before going to the track for the undercard races and then BSB qualifying.

Sadly we were int hr car, hence the horrific journey the day before. My brother Neill was on his BMW R1600! He had faired better. How I would have loved to have been on the bike.

But first a couple of pics near the hotel.

Hotel

Hotel

Canal next to hotel

Canal next to hotel

Lift bridge next to hotel

Lift bridge next to hotel

In Assen we managed to park easily enough and find enough coins to put in the parking machine. A short walk took us into the market. As expected flowers feature highly!

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Along with cheese!

Cheese and Clogs

Cheese and Clogs

We bought some food for lunch at the track as well. Claire bought some chrysanthemums for €2.

Everything has changed at the track, or at least access has. Easier to get in but car parking a fair way from the entrance!! We didn't have to crawl through the narrow tracks between the campsites as we had done when we went to the MotoGP a couple of years before.

Our team didn't fair well and both Bradley Ray and Richard Cooper failed the qualify from Q3.

As it was qualifying day we could easily walk through the paddock. Also, for BSB the grandstands were free.

Assen.

Assen.

Assen.

Assen.

Assen.

Assen.

Assen.

Assen.

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Assen BSB 2018

Assen BSB 2018

Assen BSB 2018

Assen BSB 2018

Assen BSB 2018

Assen BSB 2018

We sat in the grandstand almost by the start and finish line. The undercard had races on both days and the British Talent Cup on Honda 250's proved to be some good racing along with the ADAC Cup (KTM) and the Ducati TriOptions Cup were pretty entertaining.

BSB qualifying was a little disappointing for us with Suzuki concession tickets as both riders, Bradley Ray and Richard Cooper, failed to qualify from the first session and were way down the grid for Sunday in 17th and 15th spot.

I had the Nikon with me but the standard lends was very limiting, plus my finger/eye coordination lacked something! I took quite a few pics but really only a few came out sufficiently well....

Gino Rea OMG Suzuki

Gino Rea OMG Suzuki

Tarran McKenzie Yamaha

Tarran McKenzie Yamaha

Maybe next time get a telephoto lens!

Once that was done and dusted we headed back to the car. A long walk and Claire's hip started to play up, but we made it and got back to the hotel safely.

We decided to eat in again rather than drive. It meant as least that I could have a beer, Another really good meal courtesy of the De Vriezerbrug hotel.

After what seemed a long day we retired to bed!

Day 3 - Raceday

Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

Up early, for a Sunday anyway. Breakfast in the hotel and then all three of us in the car to the circuit. Neill's Beemer locked up alongside the hotel for the whole weekend.

Cars went in the same entrance as the day before. This time the stewards directed us into the parking square (dykes on three sides!!) much nearer to the entrance than Saturday! A shorter walk. There were only a few bikes on the tarmac section.

We went through to the uncovered stand nearer the chicane than the day before but although the view was good, we couldn't see the big screen that faces the main grandstand. So we moved. We couldn't get as far along as before but that was okay.

We had missed the BSB warm-up but were in tome for all the undercard... the same as the day before with the Talent Cup, ADAS KTM's and the Ducati Tri-Options.

On Saturday we had heard some cheering and chanting but didn't realise it was for Keith "Bugsy" Jaggard, a cult figure in the Tri-Options Cup aboard his Panigale. Keith is a big personality! A big lad too.

Unfortunately I chose to leave the Nikon in the car and so only had my phone and I missed him playing to the crowd before their warm up and in the race. My picture is a little blurry....

Bugsy

Bugsy

Race one went to Haslam after a close fought contest with Jake Dixon. And Haslam took Race two as well.

We stayed to watch the sidecars come out and as it was getting later we headed back to the car. Getting out was very easy and we were soon heading up the motorway.

One of the sidecar teams is sponsored by the dealer where I bought the Rocket. True Heroes Racing A team that gives disabled ex-servicemen a focus and gets them into racing. The website doesn't seem to have the sidecar team on it! My pic, as with Bugsy a little blurred.

True Heroes Racing

True Heroes Racing

Claire and Neill checked Google for somewhere to eat as the hotel restaurant would be closed. The nearest was "By Fabrizio", and Italian restaurant. We did a drive-by to check how far away it was. Google reckoned 1.2km from the hotel but Claire's hip wouldn't be able to do that twice so I opted to be the designated driver.

After a wash and change we were out for a 1930 sit down. To say Fabrizio is very outgoing would be an understatement. He came and sat down next to Neill to take our order and chat to us. The locals obviously know about him and were laughing. Claire spoke to him in Italian and he was our friend for life. What a superb guy.

I did have beer. Only one.

Ichnusa Beer

Ichnusa Beer

His pizzas were really good too. Claire and I left about a third of ours and had it boxed to take away. Neill ate all of his! I actually had mine (and Claire's) for dinner the following evening after we got home!

It was a short drive back to the hotel. Monday we had to drive home.

Day 4 - Homeward Bound

After the journey up we decided not to hang about too long on the way home in case the traffic was as bad and we would be endanger of missing the train home.

So we were up and ready to leave before 9am. Neill was still there as we left and Claire and he had set Google to we could see where we were on the road. It wasn't working that well when we left though.

Rather than risk getting to Antwerp and once again getting stuck in heavy or non-moving traffic, I decided fill the Insignai's tank with cheaper diesel. On Sunday it was €1.379 a litre, by Monday it has leapt up by 4 centts. Still cheap enough.

When I later entered the figures into Fuelly we had managed 46.26mpg despite sitting in traffic for hours on Friday. I had high hopes then for this tank as long as the traffic wasn't as horrendous.

Claire kept checking google maps and it showed Neill still at the hotel. Despite warnings from TomTom of heavy traffic it was only near Hoogeveen where the A28 leaves itself and becomes the A28 after a large junction.

There was another short delay at Utrecht when we had to turn off the A28 onto the A27. But it wasn't for long and we barely had to actually stop.

As Antwerp drew nearer we decide it was time to have a coffee break. Neill was still at the hotel according to Google. So we stopped at the services just before Breda. A coffee and a cake and twenty minutes later we were off. Neill was now on the way and about 50 miles behind us.

Amazingly Antwerp wasn't the disaster it has been every other time we have tried to get through. Traffic couldn't be called light but we were through and on the A11 (re-badged from an N road we have used before) and on the way to Brugge.

We didn't stop again. As we crossed into France we saw that Neill was a Jabbeke Services so he caught up with us pretty rapidly.

We arrived at the Shuttle way too early to check in. You are supposed to only arrive two hours before your crossing. But as they don't actually run a service to time ever, what does it matter!!

We got in a longish queue. Through the barriers we could see about quarter of a square mile of cars all jammed and trying to get through French passports. Usually the laissez-faire French don't give much of a shit to people leaving..... But today?

The computer offered us a 1650 crossing instead of the booked 1750 and for free. So we took it. The ticket "hanger" for the internal mirror was S. Time to get through the controls and have comfort breaks.

Neill was still at Jabbeke according to google.

After queuing for about fifteen minutes the French bloke simply waved us through. We then stopped at their customs and a guy came and swabbed the bonnet (?) around the catch, my door handle and window frame. Looking for explosives. We sat here for ages until they shifted a cone and we headed for UK passports... Another 15 minutes lost.

We entered the terminal building with our "call" still 40 minutes away. It works like the airlines... a call to the gate. Neill finally arrived and messaged he was queuing to get through. He was told that he had to travel as booked. And got T.

We were called to proceed just as he parked next to us. A quick "hello" and we set off.

Of course, it wouldn't be Eurotunnel if we had actually got on the S-train at 1650. We queued in the S-lanes and the train went and we moved forward a little bit. The barrier dropped. We waited another 25 minutes and then got loaded on the T-train! We were near the front of the double deck half of the train and Neill right at the back. What a shambles.

Eurotunnel blamed the queues on the border controls for the delays. Surely the trains run to a schedule and whoever is there queuing gets on? More BS from Eurotunnel.

We had hoped to get on an earlier train so that we could go and get Reggie from the kennels but that was thwarted and we didn't save the overnight fee for him.

Once home we unpacked the car and had a sit down. I know we had been sitting down in the car since before 9am, or 8am UK time, but sitting with a cup of coffee and not in the car was very nice.

I forgot to check TomTom's statistics to see what they looked like.

Tuesday

Had a short lie-in and then went to get Reggie. He was pleased to see me and jumped into my arms and then went to sleep in the car. At least this time he seems to not have sore throat from barking!

I stopped at Tesco. The round trip Tesco-Assen-Tesco was 728.8 miles. Although I had hoped to maybe top 50mpg when it was all entered into Fuelly. As it was, it was the best ever but only 47.5mpg. I blame the traffic queues at Eurotunnel for that!

Posted by InvictaMoto 12:20 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Assen 2010

Day 1

We were up early and away by 0715 for the short run to Dover. The checking in was pretty simple and quick and we were loaded straight on the ferry.

We were at the back of a large group and the rings in the deck were rusted tight so we were moved to the other side.

The sailing was relatively painless and we were soon on the way out of the port. The other group were all over the place in the road out and we slid past.

The idea of island hopping seemed a good one. I topped the tank up on the outskirts of Bruges and then we seemed to get in a tizzy as the GPS mapping is out of date.

The roundabout trip to the tunnel underneath the West Schelde eventually came up in sight. Just not from the direction I had expected.

The day has been warm and sunny and we are both glad we are wearing our vented jackets. I've ridden all day with just a T-shirt and mesh Joe Rocket Phantom jacket. Only cold in the 6.6 kms long tunnel.

We had a Coke break in a small place called Boekhoute in East Flanders. Once remounted and on the way we noticed the registration plates has changed and without any signs we were in the Netherlands.

After the tunnel we had another GPS moment but made the right road to Middelburg and the N57 That snakes across the islands that make up Zeeland.

We had another stop to buy strawberries before the first of the longish dams. The wind socks were at 90 degrees to the roadway. We had yet another stop for lunch and to have a look at the sea and miles is sandy beach.

It was gone 4.30pm as we rolled up at Villetta B&B.

Once checked in we needed a little run to Brouwershaven up the road to get some cash as the B&B is cash only.

After a shower we were ready to go and were just thinking when Steve rolled up.

A quick change for him and a walk to a local restaurant. Luckily Claire has her wallet as I forgot mine in my jacket pocket. A good but very expensive meal of fish soup and mussels later we wandered back to the hotel.

Day Two will see us ride to. De Wapse for the race weekend.

We were up early enough to nosh through a large breakfast and it was about 930am when we finally left Zonnemaire. The plan was to go back to the N57 and continue island hopping towards Rotterdam and then head north. Once we were in Maasland we seemed to be heading east before a 180deg turn brought us to a ferry.

It made a change and €5.05 later we were aboard and soon whizzing across the Maas.

My Garmin interprets routes created in Mapsource and Tyre with Google Maps as it sees fit. So after the ferry we had a tour of some housing estate before we emerged on a road roughly north and roughly towards Amsterdam.

Eventually we joined the A4 to the east of Den Haag and headed north at a greater speed, under the runway at Schiphol and onto the A10 ring. Eventually onto the A6 running along the eastern side of the Ijselmeer.

We made one stop for petrol and a snack, otherwise it was non stop to Wapse and the hotel.

Once checked in we had a walk into the village to see if de Wapser has a rival; it doesn't. Cameras were exercised....

We settled in for a beer and James had arrived. He'd made good time using a borrowed satnav. We chewed the fat and then had dinner before retiring early to bed for an early start for Race day.

Day 3

Race day. A short ride after breakfast to the circuit. Within 45 minutes we were parked and looking for our seats.

The Winterdijk stand was full to busting. We sat for over six hours in the burning sun to watch the main races.

Hopefully when we download the pix from the camera we will have a few decent ones.

On the way back we got separated but arrived in Diever for an ice cream about the same time.

Tomorrow James and Steve ride home and we head for an overnight near Breda.

Day 4

Day 4 is not quite over. We have just boarded the ferry for home after a palavver over changing our ticket. On P&O coming back a day early costs a ticket change cost plus additional fare amounting to £60. I kid you not. In the end we got it down to £29 but even that is a disgrace when the website return is £19! Maybe when I next travel I will remember this rip off?

The problem was that Claire's hip wasn't causing the expected problems so we cancelled the night stay in Breda and had the run to Calais.

We left the hotel around 9.45am and wasted a bit of time getting to the Motorway. We had Steve in tow until the motorway when he shot off.

We stopped for petrol pretty quickly as I wanted to make sure that when we arrived at the badlands of the N49 between Antwerp and Brugge that we has loads. We made good time until I followed the overhead signs for Brugge. We had a tour of the Antwerp ring including three tunnels. The middle one carried a toll... So once you arrived at the Liefkenshoek Tunnel you were committed to the €5.50 toll. No going back!

We then lost another 40 minutes detouring into Eeklo for petrol. The station we had in mind from a previous trip was closed.

Had we turned right off the N49 there was an open station that didn't need us failing to get VISA and Mastercards to work. Belgium is generally fine let down by crap automatic fuel stops.

The last few petrol stops had revealed that fuel consumption peaked at 55.38mpg but was generally around 52. Not bad two up with luggage.

We stopped at the services near Middelkerke for a sandwich making the total time lost at about an hour.

We pulled up to the passport control the first time at 3.58pm. Not bad going for the 300 or so miles from Wapse. According to the satnav memory from Calais back to Calais has been a mere 667.5 miles. Add in the 30 miles to Dover from home and back again when we get off here in the next 20 minutes or so and 700 for the weekend is quite reasonable.

Posted by InvictaMoto 08:51 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Assen 2009

Sadly the first part of the blog from Travelpod was lost. I downloaded everything before they trashed the site but it was unreadable.

Day 1

The group had a longish ride up to stay at the De Wapse hotel. It's not that far from the circuit. Racing is on the Saturday at Assen for the MotoGP.

Arrived hotel in Wapse. Very nice. Shower and time for a few beers.

Beet Time with Linda

Beet Time with Linda

Beer Time with Me

Beer Time with Me

Day 2

Sadly all lost in the "saving" from the old source.

Day 3

The plan for the run back was to set off after breakfast and head towards the Afsluitsdijk and then south past Amsterdam, rejoining the route up around Utrecht.

After petrol and a detour around Sneek we eventually found the top of the dijk. The reason for the detour was one of mapping and roadworks. I took a wrong turn at a newish roundabout that was shown on the Garmin but not with as many of the exits as exist now. In the end our position was shown with our marker in the middle of a blank area.

After a few detours we got back to the A7 and headed off without any further mishap. The first stop to have a look and take a drink at Breezanddijk. Amazingly here, less than halfway across the dyke was a caravan park to go with the small harbours housing a load of pleasure boats.

The Group

The Group

From that point it was all plain sailing (as it were) via the Amsterdam ring, then Utrecht, Breda, Antwerp and Gent.

We had a few stops for petrol and water intake arriving back at Calais with an hour or so to spare.

Posted by InvictaMoto 08:57 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Amsterdam Weekend

2007

Phew. What a scorcha!

We were lucky with the weather. When we arrived at the tunnel there was a Harley and two Vespas in front of us in the queue. The Harley guy was wearing an Arsenal scarf but heading to Belgium for a Harley rally, we weren't wearing any Arsenal gear but were heading for Amsterdam. Partly for a weekend away, and partly to go to the ArenA for the LG Tournament (see elsewhere on the Blog).

By the time we got into Belgium my odometer was showing 60 miles since fuel. I needed a drink as I hadn't had any breakfast so we pulled into the new services after Veurne. I filled up and we had coffee. We were in no real hurry. The route I had planned for the GPS was scrapped as for some reason the Quest was on the fritz again. Unable to find satellites. I persevered for most of the journey to Amsterdam and it wheezed into life a couple of times. Maybe for 3 miles in 230 travelled each way!

As we approached Breda (with Amsterdam not on any road signs) I took the straight on option towards Rotterdam and Den Haag rather than the loop over the top to Utrecht. By fluke not a bad mistake as was revealed on the way back (more of that later!)

With the GPS belly-up, we were lucky that I had printed off the Via Michelin route to the hotel and the hotel's own info sheet, so Claire was able to navigate off the motorway ring road. We checked in and changed into civvies.

We then discovered that we had booked into the same hotel as the Arsenal team - the Hilton. As we went down in the lift we shared it with Nicholas Bendtner, (he is very tall!) and one of the kit men. We ran into players all the time and never when Claire had the phone-camera turned ON! No darned pics!

Hilton

Hilton

We found the two nearest tram stops and took #2 into the centre and then checked out how to get a strippen card to hop on and off the trams and metro. It's all done by folding the 15-trip card in the right place and sticking in a machine. Once stamped you have an hour to get where you want. How you work out how many zones seems like a lottery as Emmastraat seemed inside the yellow line on the map showing it to be in the Central zone, the same as Centraal Station, but they bipped it twice when there was a guard/ticket seller on the train!

After sorting the tram tickets out, we decided to have a cruise along the canals and the harbour area. We chose Holland International (http://www.hir.nl/) for cruise. It was €11 each, but had the most comfy looking seats! The cruise takes about an hour and is indeed a rondvaart!

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After the cruise we decided to head back to the hotel. We had got our bearings for the next full day of sightseeing! We retraced our steps on the #2 tram. Stopping for a beer (our first!) at a bar by the Emmastraat tram stop. A bit upmarket with some "beautiful people" (or plonkers!) drinking wine in such an affected way of holding the stem you wanted to slap them. Especially the blond version of Llewellyn-Bowen in the white blazer.

After nap and change we rubbed shoulders with Cesc and Alex Hleb who were larking about in the foyer. Sadly, we didn't have the camera with us (!) and Claire's phone was turned off! Too late! Later, as we ate. Mr Wenger and Pat Rice came past as we sat outside a nearby Italian restaurant.

Day 2

We were up and breakfasted by 9.30 and out. This time we took Tram #16 instead for some variety and jumped off at Spui as Claire wanted to see the flower market and to buy some bulbs for the garden. On the other side of the road was a Gay Pride banner, penny not yet dropped.

We did the flower market, bought a touristy ceramic clog and bulbs for our next door neighbour who fed the cats for us whilst we were away, and three packs of bulbs for us and Claire's sister. Then we felt we needed a drink.

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At the first bar we didn't see hide or hair of the waiting staff and so gave up. Not gay enough? The canal banks were lined with people and anyone that owned a boat was out soaking up the sun.

As well as this there were boats overloaded with people enjoying the Gay Pride day.... dressed up in strange (to us) concoctions and some "ladies" that looked like rugby players in drag.

We had a long walk around and a coffee in Rembrandtplein, once again the service was sloooowwww. Some wandering found us a the Waterlooplein market before we headed back to Centraal Station through more gay pride areas and then China Town.

Dam Square was chocked with people and also those guys that dress up and act like statues. Mimes? Whatever. They were all pretty good and getting a load of attention. In that heat they must have been boiling to death in their costumes. Or perhaps the silver reflected the sun! I took a few pics, although the guys were reluctant to pose and kept turning away. Had they posed they may have been the colour of my money. It's a trade guys!

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Tram #2 was the tram of choice this afternoon. It was so hot that we had to have a lie down with a cold tin of beer before the evening at the soccer....

Day 3

After a late night on Saturday after the football at the ArenA, we had a late morning and a leisurely breakfast before packing up for the ride back.
At this time we had no idea that by some stroke of luck we had missed the entire closed section of the motorway south of Utrecht on the way up or that it was going to be even hotter than the previous two days.

Is it possible to get sunstroke through your clothes and helmet?

Escaping from Amsterdam was easier said than done. We thought we had retraced our steps back to S108 and the A10 Ring but in fact had gone towards the Centre! I guessed as the Heineken Brewery came into view. A quick ride round the block brought us on the way out, eventually meeting the Ring at S110. Not too bad. Just loads of sitting at traffic lights in the burning sun.

Once on the A10 the A2 wasn't far off and we started to up the pace. Even at 80mph the wind was still warm coming through the top vents of my helmet. As we approached Utrecht there were signs in Dutch that meant very little to us but from the pictographs it looked like motorway closed. We were right as it happens. We followed the detour, that helpfully kept us on the A2 and added 25 miles to the journey to Breda.

Once there we rejoined the original route and we were soon into Belgium. As it was so hot we ended up stopping every 50 miles or so for a drink and a stand in the shade. As my phone wasn't working, Vodafone had put the international bar on (!) I couldn't contact our friends John and Inge to say we were in the area, so instead me went back to the Shuttle. By now it wasn't as hot as it was getting on for 1700 local time.

The trip under the Channel was the usual 35 minutes following ages sitting about, firstly by the big car park and then again alongside the train as they load cars on so that they can stuff us in the last carriage. Does anyone have any idea why we can't be loaded as and when we arrive?

Anyway, all in all a good trip, hot and uncomfortable and not without some niggles. At least the GS ran perfectly the entire trip!

(Other photos can be accessed from the links ----->;)

Posted by InvictaMoto 07:23 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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