For those who have heard the name but don’t have a clear idea of what it’s all about, Le Puy Notre Dame is a village about 20k South of Saumur and the river Loire. For the last 23 years, the village has organised a “Grand Prix Retro” event for pre-war cars, three-wheelers, sidecars and bikes. The format starts on the Saturday with a leisurely 120k ish run on quiet, sunny picturesque roads – some a tad bumpy, but hey, ho, no pain and all that – followed by a “Demonstration” in classes of vehicle (Yes, you promise not to exceed 50kph) on the Saturday evening and all day Sunday. A 1.5k circuit is created round the closed village streets with straw bales covering the bits you might inadvertently hit (especially if you were inadvertently to exceed 50kph, perish the thought) and making chicanes to prevent you from inadvertently exceeding 50kph by too much . . . You are required to wear helmets, again, just in case you might . . . .
John & Shirley Minns
Gary & Barbara Caroline arriving from the UK
None of this would be properly French if there were not a lot of eating and drinking. The entry fee for the whole event including superb and plentiful food all weekend was 260 euros for a car & passenger.
This year the weather went from cool on the Saturday morning to hot then to very hot indeed exceeding the UK heatwave by a fair margin. Sweltering under the sun were 26 Morgans of which almost all were from the UK plus 12 Darmonts, 1 Sandford plus other assorted threewheelers. In addition, some Club members came without Morgans including Dennis (thanks for the photos) & Wendy Rushton and Sue Clews.
The Saturday run was interrupted by a “breakfast” stop including tea, coffee bread and local pate. I was interested to observe French owner Bernard hanging his trademark lighted fag over the petrol can as he re-fuelled his Darmont Speciale. Fortunately we didn’t have a cooked breakfast! The lunch was something else with a glass of local bubbly and a three course meal (wine too).
The Saturday evening “Demonstration” seldom attracts many UK Morgan owners based on the opinion that some of the French drivers are prone to red mist sometimes amplified by red wine . . . The worst offender did invert his Darmnont Speciale but fortunately was not badly hurt.
Mike Guess chases Dave Wright
The main straight
The Sunday “Demonstration” was well supported by MTWC members, some of whom left spectators wondering if they might just be exceeding 50kph. Tony Pearson’s Mk2 JAP racer is, as you can imagine, exceedingly difficult to drive at low speeds. Even Richard Dismore’s investigation of the chicane straw bales might have been preceded by a lapse of protocol. Aero a bit bent, Richard shaken not stirred.
I guess that you could justify any slight lapses by claiming that the large crowds of spectators had come to see some action.
So, apart from driving Morgans in a leisurely (or otherwise) fashion, the weather was fabulous, the company wonderful and the French hospitality – well, they just know how to do it!
MTWC Morgans attending included: John Minns 27 sv JAP Aero, Neil Kerr 33 JAP SS, Mike Guess 32 8.75 JAP Aero, David Wright 28 JAP Super Aero, Alistair Rew 29 JAP Super Aero, Ian Haynes 33 JAP Sports, Jon Mattey 36 MX2SS, Adrian Murray-Leslie 28 Blackburne Super Aero, Peter Elgar 37 MX2SS, Pete Jones 27 Aero, Cliff Dearden 34 F2, Mike Penney 32 JAP SS, Gary Caroline 32 JAP SS, Trevor Seymour 33 JAP Sports Family, Steve Terry39 F4, Tony Pearson 33 Mk2 JAP SS, Richard Dismore 26 Dogear Aero, Gordon Naisby 39 MX2 SS (Yes, aged 87 – I think – he drove the c. 1,000mile round trip), Bernard Mary (La Rochelle) 38 F2, Andy Abraham 34 JAP Sports Family, Andy Messent MX2 SS. Thanks too, to wives, partners and passengering friends who contributed to navigation and excellent company.