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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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DSC_2053

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DSC_2056

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DSC_2058

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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DSC_2070

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

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