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Checkout this short video clip of the start HERE
Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Dixon on Tulip - 4 to 10 May
Reports by Maurice Millar & Ian Dixon

member Ian Dixon is taking his recently rally prepared MGB/GT on the 2014 Tulip Rally, with fellow member Maurice Millar guiding him on the gruelling route starting in France at Lake Annecy and traveling through Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and finishing in Holland. 

The pair will be keeping us up to date as and when the crew find an internet connection for Maurice and Ian, also known as the  '
Ecosse Rally Team Extrordinaire' to send us progress reports. Wishing the crew and Car 136 good luck on the event.

Saturday 3 May

Arrived at Zeebrugge on time. Sunny morning for tramping south across Belgium for the French border and on to Rheims for lunch. MG running well in overdrive top. I can almost hear myself thinking, reports Maurice.

In the pits at the Circuit de Gueux, Reims.

Sunshine as the crew reach Reims

Sunday May 4

Arrived in Annecy yesterday afternoon with only 30 minutes in hand before the end of scrutineering. The Sunday morning leg of the drive to Annecy took longer than expected.

Worrisome noises from the transmission, combined with a ticking clock made for an anxious arrival. Inspection revealed that the gearbox had lost all its oil from the rear oil seal. The rally service crew produced some gear oil and a selection of funnels and pipes.

Monday May 5

We started the rally at 08:35 this morning and headed into the mountains south of Annecy: lots of hairpins uphill and down The car did really well.

Ian reported that over dinner yesterday evening he and Maurice shared a table with 8 Dutch competitors. Their comment was " Tomorrow we head into the hills". How much of an under statement that was. We started at Annecy at 0835 and ascended and descended every mountain in the region which entailed several hundred hairpins on mountain roads with literally hundreds of feet or in France meter drops. Ian managed to glimpse at one or two of the views which were stunning but alas no time to enjoy.

The car is standing up to the pounding very well with only a couple of minor (fingers crossed ) problems. First, the gear box rear seal has developed a leak, and at first we thought it was due to a failing bearing but after todays run I am hoping that the bearing is OK and only the seal is the problem. A soft drinks bottle, plastic fuel can spout, gaffa tape and a Blue Peter badge later and we have a solution. We top up the gearbox twice a day and hopefully it will get us home. Second, the o/s rear wheel bearing is rumbling but holding on. We hope to pick up a new bearing kit in the morning and make time to get it fitted.

The fun has started for Ian and Maurice. Visit here again soon for the next installment.

Tuesday May 6

The morning started with results from day one and we found ourselves sitting at 57th in class, no mean feat for two chaps from Scotland. Day two turned out to be a complete turn round from day one where the car and driver took the brunt of the punishment with hundreds of hair pins and turns over 250 miles where as today was a day of intense navigation with numerous detours in and out of old roads and junctions covering 360 miles.

The car is bearing up very well under the pressure, the gearbox leak has steadied down to an egg cup full of oil twice a day and the rear wheel bearing has not got any worse. A new problem manifested itself this afternoon in as much as an intermittent electrical glitch switched off the ignition feed for a split second every time we cornered or hit a bump.

Eventually I realised if I touched the harness at the column ignition switch it came back on. Further investigation and I realised that while under the column filling the gear box with oil I had disturbed the connectors and quickly made a fix.

Tomorrow we have an 8:55 start time and look forward to see what the rally holds for us.
Car 136

Wednesday May 7

We have had a good day today, beginning in Besancon this morning at 08:51 from the Midipolis exhibition centre. The centre of Besancon is disrupted by works to create a new tram system, which is familiar to anyone living in Edinburgh. We started in light rain, under dark skies and windy conditions. Several hundred more kilometres on different roads, including a second karting track. Out-lap, reference lap, Lap1, Lap2, then an In-lap. The objective is to complete Lap 1 and Lap 2 in exactly the same times as the reference lap-time. This is not as easy as it sounds. We also had a simple speed test.

Yesterday we found the wet roads very slippy which brought us some excitement. Today has been different. We have had fewer hairpins in the Jura and Alsace regions. The car is going well with regular attention from Ian to the gearbox oil level.

We are doing fine, but continuing to miss route control checks in unknown, obscure locations, hence the high penalty points total. Most of the other competitors are Dutch and most of these are very friendly to a couple of hooligans from Scotland.

We have kept to time all day today, unlike yesterday.

Ian has replaced both front tyres this evening. The rears are also worn out. The set of four has lasted 3 days. Don't get the idea that this international rallying is just dawdling between meals.

Tonight we are in Horbourg-Wihr, near Colmar, still in France, near the German border and not far north of Mulhouse (where the famous Schlump Collection car museum is).

It all starts again for us tomorrow morning at 09:34. - destination: Saarbrucken.

Friday May 9

There was no report from us of yesterday's progress as we were late in finishing in Saarbrucken last night and we had a 07:28 start time this morning.

Today's route has taken us through parts of Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and we have finished in Vaals in southern Holland; just over the German border from Aachen.

The MGB is going well and stopping and turning better with the new tyres on the front. We have not been able to find a further pair of new tyres for the rear because the schedule has given us no time during the day when tyre suppliers are open for business. Internet connections have been rather hit and miss, so I have been unable to search for suitable suppliers. We had one lined up for last night or this morning, but the time schedule ruled that out.

This rally is fully of tricky surprises. Yesterday's second regularity started when the afternoon routebook was issued after lunch. We were already losing time before I got in the car, before we had worked out our route and before we knew the regularity section had even begun. Every crew in the Sporting Class incurred 2,500 penalties. The route cunningly used a small piece of road which had a name printed all over it. I took us a long way round by mistake.

Another Dutch trick is to issue route maps with the route shown as a plain black line on a white circular background, with no other roads or markings of any kind. This plain white circle is imposed on the usual roadmap. You have to measure the distances and interpret the actual road and junctions etc to find the correct route. 

We are off to the Rally HQ now for dinner and a probable early start tomorrow. The weather forecast is for rain which will reduce the numbers of Dutch people out cycling and walking tomorrow.

Ian sent our kilts to Noordwijk by courier to save room in the car. We will find out tomorrow afternoon if they have been received at our B&B.

Saturday May 10

Ian and Maurice  arrived in Noordwijk-aan-Zee in the afternoon to heavy rain and strong winds. There was only one navigation section in today's route, but five speed tests (flat out against the clock); one regularity run on a karting circuit; and one short regularity up a steep hill.

The crew beat the bogey time by 2 seconds on the first test; plus 5 seconds on the second one. The third speed test was 10.6km around an airfield -    long flat-out straights and various bends with no codes or landmarks: not easy.

In between venues, there were lots and lots of motorway miles to get from the very south-east corner of Holland to the coast not far south of Zandvoort.

The car has held up well. The rain and the worn rear tyres meant that the going was slippy in places, especially on the karting circuit.

The final, traditional test of the Tulpenrallye is a straight-line sprint on the boulevard by the sea in Noordwijk. This is a simple thrash with two stop-astrides. Maurice had their Saltire unfurled all the way on this test, as Ian struggled with the slippy wet tarmac.

The pair have concluded about 2,300 competitive miles since early last Monday morning. The sun is out at the finish and Ian and Maurice are putting on their kilts for the gala dinner. We won't be troubling the engravers, but we have had a great time and enjoyed every minute; and met some friendly people along the way.

Driver's comment: a lifetime's experience in one week. Can we go back and do it all again?

Car 136,    MG BGT,    REN114K
- built, driven and maintained by Mr Ian Dixon of Scotlandwell;
- navigated by Mr Maurice Millar of Blairgowrie.

For a look at how the pair got to the start check out the preparation  HERE

Updated 10 May 2014