Monday, 9 November 2015

A Windy Blast

Click on photos to enlarge - far superior rendition

The intrepid CCC crew assenbled at Pultusk
A group of hard core spankers turned out on a sunny but blustery Sunday for what might be the last dry run this year. Ian turned out in an E-type full of kids, George turned out in his modern 911, Jerzy represented the old school classics with one of his Austin Healeys and Przemek did the young-timer thing in his Mazda MX5. Yours truly wanted to come out in the M3 but the gearbox mounts are kaput so the more sensible Volvo 480 turbo was aired instead.

Once again kick off was at one of McD’s newer establishments, this time in Nieporet. Newer means outside seating  and a McCafe. The kids were appeased with happy meals though I’m not sure who’s happier the kids or the parents at the prospect of 10 minutes of silence. George had some sort of breakfast stack while his wife did the cheesecake thing which lifts McD out of the burger bar category in my books. Me, it’s the egg and bacon bap with a coffee and using McD’s ‘2 for U’ deal it only cost 5zl. This means that for the price of one Bristol dinner all the club members can have a breakfast.

But now the trip. To reduce the risk of losing the fleet whilst in transit I’d set a mid-point destination and given everyone a little map. By starting in Nieporet we had no traffic lights to worry about. The simple route was R631 from Nieporet heading towards Modlin, hang a right onto the R632 heading towards Debe/Plock then R571 towards Pultusk. Just over 50km’s and an easy hour at as steady pace.

After years of complaining about the state of Polish roads it’s got to be said there are some good surfaces. The only danger today was the risk of being side-swiped by the odd tree branch due to the high winds. The 632 and 571 were pretty much arrow straight for the bulk of the way which on a less blustery day would have tempted higher speeds. They’d be good for those looking to run in their engines after a winter lay up of rebuild. The 631 and early parts of the 632 also have a lot of double white lines so progress is hindered if there are HGV’s out. Today there was only one so we got some mid-range acceleration testing done as well.

So we arrive at Pultusk and I was thinking picturesque town with one of Europe’s biggest town squares so plenty of places to sit down with a coffee and talk bollocks about cars while they sat outside in the sun. Our refreshments were limited to either the Café Malgosia or the cake shop where we actually stopped. Tea all round but no cakes Well we’d only just had breakfast, and talking cars mainly about the sub (Ian’s) standard of repair on the E-type and George’s rectifier on his TR3.

Now Przemek in his MX5 had kept his roof down on the way out and Jerzy decided to pick up the gauntlet for the way back and dropped his roof on the Austin, and on a sunny day with the heater on why not. The way back was a simple blast down the route 61 to Nieporet in case the team wanted to catch their next coffee on the lake. But given my mission to find routes for next year I peeled off down the 618 towards Wyszkow to find more challenging roads. This route home took in the 618, S8, 636 and 634 which again offered good surfaces but with the odd gap judging by the sump gouges on the undulating bits. The S8 allowed for some boost but the cross winds kept me below 140kmph which was a bit dull so the 636 was used for some of its tighter bends.

Overall the trip was 150km in 2 hours road time so not bad. I think the general plan of a start at a McD and have a specific destination with hour stop over is the way to go. I just need to find more challenging roads.

Neil Crook

The off at McDonalds, Nieporet

The crew assemble and rest in a remote place on a changeable autumn day of
gales, cross-winds and leaf missiles

Down the bonnet of Ian's E-Type, hungry for a diminutive Mazda...

In the enormous Rynek at Pultusk

The Famous Five Have An Adventure in Poland
The rear view or view of rears

Nothing wrong with the 'E' - just admiring the recent handiwork to the engine

Photo credits: Neil Crook, Jerzy Bylica and Ian Booth

Members present:

Ian Booth
George Makowski
Jerzy Bylica
Neil Crook 
Przemek Vonau

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Just Get It Out and Spank It ! - 1 November 2015

Click on photos to enlarge - far superior rendition

A few years ago, Clarkson, or Axel Rose as he is now known, put the question “Why don’t car enthusiasts just go for a drive like motorcyclists do?” This of course prompted him to get up in the middle of the night and take some flash Merc to Wales to give it a thorough spanking through the valleys. With this in mind I’ve told the wife that next year I’m having every other Sunday morning to go off for a drive or ride depending on the weather.

Then with the Indian summer we’re currently basking in and the fact I’ve got a few new toys in my barn I thought bugger it I’ll have a practice session now, as on last Sunday. But how to rally the troops? Easy, Keep It Simple Stupid, drop the sightseeing agenda and focus on the drive itself and while Poland is full of worthy sights of interest that other monument recognizable to all is McDonald’s, so that’s where we met in a gloriously sunny morning at 11am.

There are many benefits of using McDonald’s as a rallying point. Firstly, they’re everywhere so you don’t need a route but simply a destination. And secondly, and to my mind most importantly is that on a Sunday you can get the McBreakfast before 11am. This is important because as any biker will tell you a ride out needs to include a bacon roll and a cup of tea.

So with a simple agenda 8 cars turned up on time. A Merc 500SL, Mustang Mach 1, Austin Healey, MGA, Rover SDI 2000, Alfa Spider S3, modern E500 and myself in my old Nissan. Now there were a lot of nay sayers commenting that we’d all run into trouble with distraught grave attendees or we’d get side swiped by some grandad in his old Deawoo who’d be still worse for wear on the vodka. We had none of it, because I got knocked in the car park. Perhaps it was the brilliant white paint work of my old Nissan that blinded the old git, more likely it was those stupid wrap round sunglasses that some middle aged men wear in order to look 20 years younger. Who knows, who cares as not a mark was left on my car.

Off we go on what ought to be a simple route heading out towards Nieporet and then Modlin airport, however numerous traffic lights and round-a-bouts meant we lost half the fleet before we got to the Warsaw Riviera that is now Nieporet. Ian and I only realized this when we got to Maz. Dwor. Near Modlin so we headed back to the Riviera for coffee and szarlotka.

The roads were clear and offered some good straights with bends quick enough to justify dropping a cog and driving through but Ian had a near miss as he tried to overtake something just as the old farmer in his Deawoo pulled out onto the road.

Comments from the ‘rebels’ who somehow went to Modlin via the Bialystok road imply that they had a good run anyway which was what the objective was. 

Neil Crook (Nissan Silvia 1.8 Turbo - not pictured)

Ian Booth's Rover SDI 2000; Jerzy Bylica's Austin Healey Mk III

Dominik Fajbusiewicz's  Mustang Mach 1

As above but with Pzemek's Mercedes 500 SL 

Adam Widmanski's Alfa Spyder S3 and Michael Kenny's MGA. Ian Booth lurking on the right

Four grown men discuss the attractions of Booth's Rover SDI 2000 in the early morn

On a deserted stretch...

Are we lost in deepest Mazovia or what?

Jerzy Bylica in full English motoring mode...sterling stuff

Home it's cold outside!

Photo credits: Michał Vonau and Jerzy Bylica

Monday, 2 November 2015

CCC Excursion to Żelechów, Poland - 20 September 2015

Click on photos for the full devastating impact

Victoria Ayre in the Ayre TR 6
Under somewhat threatening skies, six cars assembled for what may be the Club’s last excursion of the year.  With all eyes on the uncertain weather ahead, the original plan, to take a leisurely B road route to Żelechów and enjoy lunch at the spa hotel in the old Pałac, was curtailed to the shorter and faster run to Sobienie Królewskie and lunch at the golf club.

Starting from the somewhat prosaic meeting point behind McDonalds on Ostrobramska, were Kuba Owoc’s BMW 6351, Paul Ayre’s TR6, Piotr Ficenes’ Austin Healey 3000, Artur Gabor’s MGB, the Ferrari 328 under Błażej Żuławski’s care and, for the first time at a CCC event, Iain Batty’s magnificent Jensen Interceptor Mk III.  Three bikes, very much in the spirit of the Club, provided a vocal accompaniment to the trip - a Ducati, a Moto Guzzi and a Harley Davidson, ridden by Radzimir Dębski, Mateusz Żuławski & Bart Behnke .

The route along Nadwiślanka gave ample opportunity for all participants to enjoy both the openness of the roads and the somewhat more bucolic surroundings beyond Otwock and Karczew.  A minor detour took the group past the notable timber church at Warszawice, with its separate Romanesque bell tower.  Although not as striking or as well frescoed as the better-known timber church at nearby Mariańskie Porzecze, it is still a handsome structure it its own right.

Sobienie Królewskie has now evolved into a thriving club and, consequently, the Club was unable to park together as a group.  However, there was compensation in the excellent light lunch on the terrace, with only mild consternation at the risk posed by a wayward ball or two.  Fortunately, the attentive waitress was able to offer reassurance that mishaps were rare and that only one window had been lost since she had joined the club.  She did not specify the length of her employment, but her knowledge of the menu suggested that this was not her first day.

The approach of rain brought reveries to a peremptory end and the Club made a dignified but hasty return to Warsaw, again along Nadwiślanka, in the hope that a further outing may be possible before autumn closes in.


BMW 635i
Kuba Owoc & Stefan

Paul & Victoria Ayre

Austin Healey 3000
Piotr Ficenes & Kamila Kozłowska

Jensen Interceptor III
Iain Batty & Adam Mozel

Artur Gabor

Ferrari 328
Błażej Żuławski & Beata Żak

Harley Davidson
Mateusz Żuławski

Moto Guzzi
Bart Behnke

Radzimir Dębski

Paul Ayre

Piotr Ficenes’ Rollcaged Healey

Flora en route

Radzimir Dębski, Kamila Kozłowska & Piotr Ficenes

The cars 

Artur Gabor, Beata Żak, Radzimir Dębski, Kamila Kozłowska, Piotr Ficenes, Paul Ayre, Victoria Ayre, Iain Batty and an unvisible Adam Mozel.

Mateusz Żuławski & Bartek Behnke and the back of Mr. Gabor's head

Artur Gabors’ MG 

Jimi showing off his bike.
Ferrari 328 GTB in rare Tour De France Bleu.
The Spartan interior of Piotr Ficenes' Healey

Three different bottoms
Radzimir Dębski, talented composer, and car and bike enthusiast

Two style Icons the Harley Davidson Sportster Iron and the Limited edition Ducati Sportclassic

Bartek Behnke 

Interior of the  Ayre TR6 

Getting ready to roll

Błażej Żuławski & Beata Żak

Błażej Żuławski & Bart Behnke.