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Burgos, 5th - 11th June 2011
Every year the Bugatti community comes together for the International Bugatti Meeting that is organized by one of the national Bugatti Clubs. Two years ago the Italian event agency 2fast4you organized the centenary meeting for the Italian Bugatti Club to set up a new standard for the coming meetings. In 2010 the meeting was organized by the Austrian Bugatti Club, a meeting that suffered from heavy rain and severe weather to throw over most of the organization. Unfortunately the small organization crew was not able to compensate for that as a professional might have been making clear that a meeting for up to 100 cars is a task that is not easy to handle.
In 2011 the Swedish Club was on turn but the small Club passed on when realizing the same problems. So the presidents of the national clubs entrusted once more 2fast4you to do the 2011 event but with the premise to do it outside of Italy, so the agency have chosen the region of Burgos to do the first ever International Bugatti Meeting in Spain.
Burgos is the capitol of the region Castile and Leon situated north-west of Madrid. The region is a high plateau surrounded by mountain ranges and the rolling landscape that is an ideal place to play with the prewar cars.
Burgos itself was founded 850 A.D. as a fortification in the war against the Moors and its cathedral is part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. When walking from the Cathedral through the old city gate the bridge over the river Burgos points directly to the Museum of human evolution, in front of the museum was the parc fermé that served as the base for the coming trips into the region.
89 Bugattis found their way to the meeting on Sunday at the day of the arrival, 3 cars were replaced for different reasons by a BMW, a Jaguar and an Ivicta. The line-up consisted of several Brescias, either in T13 and T22 form, many GP cars of the type 35 and 37, a T46 and a T49 plus several T57s.
The evening started with the welcome dinner where old friendships could be renewed with friends you meet every year.
Monday saw the first tour to the west with a first stop at the small village of Santa Maria del Campo with its twisty roads through the old town to the place in front of the church. Many of the touring cars followed the advice to drive around the village as they might have become problems at the small turns between the old walls. After another stop for an aperitif at the church of San Martin the convoy headed for lunch at Carrion de los Condes that was served nearby the old and very impressive cloistered courtyard. The way back to Bugos was finally a race against the rain as the sky became very dark behind the cars and unfortunately the weather was faster as the last cars arrived in rain at Burgos.
Tuesday the road went south-east to the Reserva Nacional de Sierra de la Demanda with a first stop at Santo Domingo de Silos with a visit of the monastery. For some reasons several cars arrived quite late as they ran out of fuel as there was no petrol station along the road, but as the daily trips are all around 250 km a fill-up in the morning should have brought you through the day. The weather that day was mainly gray but stayed dry most of the day. After passing some small canyons the lunch was taken by the Casa de la Madera, an impressive building entirely build with the local materials: stone and wood. The modern design was a nice backround for the Bugattis standing in front of it. On the way back to Burgos some of the participants had a spontaneous coffee break in a small village where they parked on the main place in front of the bar.
Wednesday was the smallest trip with about 188 km in total and just one stop for lunch at Santa Casilda. The church is located on a small hill that is just accessible by a narrow road where the cars where parked in a row. Lunch was a typical paella. Along the road many ruins, a few lavender fields, canyons and small villages gave many photo opportunities and one could often see the passenger to use small pocket cameras during the ride. This is mainly possible due to the system of signs at every crossroad put up by the forerunners so that everyone easily can find his way even without studying the map or a road book leaving enough time to enjoy the landscape.
The reason for the early return that day was the visit to the cathedral and the museum of human evolution in Burgos where several guides explained the history in tours in different languages. As most of the participants are petrol heads it was no surprise that the Bugatti T13 Brescia of Franco Majno drew most of the attention and not few of them had the opinion that this might be a peak of the human evolution. The day ended with a reception on the top floor of the museum.
Thursday morning was the first day with the sun out and so the rain jackets could stay in the trunk. The journey led to the south to Penafiel. For some reasons this was the part of the rallye were the only two incidents happened. First american collector Peter Mullin came of the road when the steering locked for unknown reasons after a left turn leaving the car in the roadside ditch. Fortunately the car was not fast at that moment so the impact was lenient with minor damages to the rear wing but both driver and passenger left unhurt. Being a meeting amongst friends rather than a rallye it was no question that all the cars coming by stopped to get the car back on the road. After the car was pulled out of the ditch with joined forces a closer examination showed that the car could be driven the rest of the day under own power but a small fear stayed that the problem might reappear so the car stayed in the hotel parking lot the next day.
Just a few miles further a T37 was hit on a crossroad by a modern car bending the steering arm and cracking the steering box, but again nobody was hurt but the Bugatti had to be put on the trailer and has to be repaired in the next weeks.
After the two moments of shock the convoy reached on of the best locations during the days, the ancient bullfighting arena of Penafiel. The cars were parked on the square surrounded by the houses that served as stands during the fights. The participants were transferred to the castle on top of the city were they visited the vine museum whereas the cars could be admired by the public.
The next stop was for lunch at Penaranda de Duero, the square the cars were parked was surrounded by half-timber houses and the church. After an extensive break the cars headed back for Burgos were the day was finalized with the Parmigiani dinner. The Swiss watchmaker is known for high quality watches and has an own example for the Bugatti name. As a gift the most sportive driver of the week was given a watch and it was not a surprise that this was Jürgen Ernst. The German collector has a foible for very sportive and rare sports cars and he was running well in front with his T45/47 type 16-cylinder during the whole meeting.
Friday was the last day of the meeting and unfortunately the weather did not stay as good as the day before. In the morning the tour led over hills were the visibility was reduced to several meters. After the visit of the winery Lopez de Herendia Vina Tondonia the lunch was taken at the Hotel Marques de Riscal. The modern building of the main house was designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry who also designed the famous Guggenheim-Museum in Bilbao. This was also the right location for the final group photo before the cars headed back to Burgos for the last time.
The evening saw the farewell dinner with an open bar downstairs so many of the participants had a very short night when the cars were loaded early in the morning for the way back.
So when looking back to this week in Spain it is easy to say that the meeting was as well organized as one could expect due to the previous experiences with 2fast4you. The region of Burgos is well worth a visit with a lot of different locations, soft lines of hills and some harsh rocks. Unfortunately the weather was not what one would expect for the beginning of June in Spain making it obvious that this is not a small factor for the impression of an event, but this is the only thing that is not plannable in advance.
The next meetings in 2012 and 2013 will be held by the national clubs of the Netherlands and Scotland so one could expect a total different character for these rallyes. The Dutch event will be at the border triangle at Vaals and the tour will lead to Belgium and Germany as well. The Scottish meeting should be in the Highlands what might become very spectacular as well. What is sure is the fact that most of this years participants will be back then and they certainly will have good memories of this years meeting when they meet again at the welcome dinner 2012.
Text&images: Peter Singhof
Chassis-Numbers compiled by bugatti69 for www.bugattiregister.com