Organiser Peter Brodt (GT MkI & Roadster MkI)
Expertly organised by Peter and Elfi Brodt, this year's annual European Costello Gathering saw seven Costellos meet in the beautiful Ardennes Forest, close to the Eifel Mountains in western Germany.
Those in attendance:
Peter and Elfi Brodt (with their MkI GT from Germany), Pierre and Claire Damiron (MkII GT, France), Jürgen Hauber (owner of the MkIII Roadster but driving his 928S Porsche, Germany), Laurie and Pat Way (MkI Sebring GT , Hertfordshire, UK), Hubert Jansen (MkI Roadster, Germany), Clive and Charlie Marchant (MkI GT, Surrey, UK), Guido and Farzaneh Baldhoff (owner of a MkI GT but driving his TVR M-Series, Germany), Jürgen and Caroline Kuhnle (driving Jürgen Hauber’s MkIII Roadster, Germany).
This 2014 Gathering began close to Monschau, Germany, on Friday 19th September. Cars, drivers and passengers assembled at the delightful Hotel Perlenau for a welcome dinner and ice-breaker. The tour’s organisers had completed several prior reconnaissance runs of the route and compiled a detailed road book to keep the co-drivers busy. Saturday morning saw an improvement in the weather as the group headed out early. Following the lead car, the Costello procession burbled through the beautiful town of Monschau to a local mustard mill where a guided tour and mustard tasting was enjoyed.
A wonderfully scenic drive along the River Rur and the Rur Stausee saw the cars negotiate tight switch-back bends and open countryside as they passed through the villages of Dedenborn, Steckenborn, Schmidt and Heimbach. The only delay was an unfortunate gearbox mount failing of Guido’s TVR. Tour mechanic and MG enthusiast Jürgen Kuhnle managed a repair with the help of a local garage. The group continued into the fortified Nideggen Castle for a superb lunch outside in the sun, where they were soon joined by a fully operational TVR.
Saturday enjoyed yet more spectacular driving through the undulating countryside from Nideggen to Vossenack. All the Costello V8s performed as intended with the burbling engines creating a fabulous soundscape amongst the dense forests. The group arrived in Schmidt in time for a run up the closed hill-climb course (Schmidt to Vossenack) where cars and drivers were both tested on this demanding route. Unfortunately the runs were not timed, however, it is likely the MG Costellos could have given some of the cars entered into the official event a bit of competition!
The group then split; Hubert Jansen and Clive and Charlie Marchant visited the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps to watch the Six Hours Race. The two Costellos were directed to the classic and sports car parking area where we were surprised to see an extraordinary number of regular MGB and MGB V8 cars parked (several of my fellow competitors from the MGCC were taking part – Lawrence)! The race was exciting from the start, with more than one hundred cars entered in the six hour endurance event. Entrants ranged from monster 7-litre GT40s to nimble and light Lotus Elans, as well as many FIA and regular MGB Roadsters. Heavy rain soon after the start resulted in exciting on-track action.
The group re-united back at the Mustard Mill for an enjoyable dinner to share anecdotes on the day’s driving.
Sunday morning saw a downturn in the weather, so after a breakfast and prize giving for the quizzes, the group dispersed for home, driving carefully in the wet conditions.