Report from Chris Golding on 2016 Jungfrau-Treffen, Grindelwald, Switzerland
The Jungfrau-Treffen is a M3W gathering organised by Laurens and Rineke Vos who live in the delightful Swiss town of Grindelwald with “His and Hers” M3Ws. It started 4 years ago with an invitation on the TalkMorgan forum for anyone interested to join them for 3 days of driving the stunning local roads and enjoying the local scenery and restaurants!
From the initial 10 cars it has grown and this year over 30 M3Ws from the UK, France, Germany, Austria Italy and Switzerland registered. There were 7 UK participants (counting one ex pat Brit now lucky enough to live in Bordeaux!) and we managed to co-ordinate 4 of us meeting up en-route.
Mark and Heather were the advance guard leaving on the Saturday for Gent with Roger and I meeting at the Chunnel on Sunday. The 3 cars met up on Sunday night in Dinant, Belgium for the first leg of the “convoy”. Dinant was a lovely surprise, a great little stop in the self-billed “Pearl of the Meuse”.
After breakfast we set off through the Ardennes initially following the Meuse river before picking up the motorway towards our next stop in Saverne, France. Along the way we had our first “issue” with Mark’s indicator stalk breaking. A bit of tape was a temporary repair but Heather made a super job as standby indicator for the left hand turns! A call to Laurens that evening and Abt Autos were lined up to replace it when we got to Grindelwald. After finding our hotel and parking the cars in individual lockup garages we set off for dinner, only to find nearly all the restaurants were shut on Mondays, and the great looking one that was open was fully booked! A Pizza place filled us up – especially for those of us who had the “gourmand” Pizza which came with chips baked on top..
Tuesday morning we set off through the Vosges towards our final en-route stop at Belfort. More stunning scenery although the SatNav started finding smaller and rougher roads so we again switched to main roads after a few hours. Arriving at the aptly named Grand Hotel we met up with Lee who had travelled the 400 miles from Zeebruge that morning. A great meal and evening drinking in the town square set up for the final leg to Grindelwald. Heading off on the scenic local roads we soon crossed the border into Switzerland. Somewhat surprisingly there were no customs or passport checks even though we had now left the EU! From Bern we hopped onto the Swiss motorway and arrived in a sunny Grindelwald by early afternoon. Checking into the hotel we then congregated at the bar to meet up with old and new friends and look forward to the coming days. Together with Chas and Charles who had trailered their M3Ws from Oxford and Bordeaux respectively plus Steve and Diane who had built a 2 week grand tour around the event we totalled 7 cars from the UK – a great turnout
The Jungfrau-Treffen – Day 1
Thursday morning dawned bright and sunny and 25 M3Ws gathered in a local carpark specially reserved for our event. One of the rites of passage for any collection of these cars is that no 2 are ever the same so we all spent time looking over the various modifications and upgrades. The most extreme being a “Steampunk” version created from a Superdry by AVUS Auto. Only 30 mins late we set off for the first day passing through Interlaken and traversing the northern slopes above lake Thun. Laurens and Rineke’s local knowledge led us through a stunning blend of open roads, hairpins, Swiss farm fields and small towns where we were greeted by smiling and waving locals. The planned lunch stop gave AVUS chance to fix a broken throttle cable on the Steampunk – we all felt that they had maybe taken the replication of a pre-war 3 wheeler a bit too far at this point by possibly emulating the reliability……
With another couple of cars joining we set of through more local roads and wound our way back to Grindelwald.
For the evening Laurens had block booked a Restaurant Bussalp for a traditional fondue. What made it special was it being at 1,800m and accessed via a hairpin strewn single track road. At the top the view was amazing, however most of us ended up photographing the cars! An uncommonly sober meal was followed by a circumspect decent back to base with the UK contingent deciding right hand hairpins were fine but left hand turns were a leap of faith as we couldn’t see anything! Anyway we all made it back safely for a well-earned nightcap!
With a few more M3Ws joining we were approaching 30 cars and looking forward to another stunning day. Heading off towards Interlaken then heading west towards Thun. We managed to get split into 2 groups (one following Laurens and the other with Rinke) which meant we approached Thun from different directions. However we all met up and the re-joined group headed off towards the Gurnigel Hillclimb and Pass. After a lunch stop we headed further west only to come across a herd of cows being moved from their summer to winter pasture. This is a big ceremonial event with villagers dressing up and escorting the herd accompanied by the peal of their cowbells. After about 20 mins we decided the cows were on an extensive route march so we turned around and headed back past our lunch stop and revisited the hill climb course.
At this point my car simply cut out – fortunately on a straight and level bit of road! The event is supported by Abt Autos, the “local” dealer who follow the route in their service van. Within a couple of minutes they were all over the car checking sparks and fuel. All seemed fine so suspicion fell on the cambelt and eventually we found the cambelt drive sprocket had come slightly loose and worn away the locating pin. It’s a known weakness of the S&S engine with an upgraded bolt assembly but I’d not had this fitted. So whilst I’m thinking I’d blag a passenger ride for the final day and then get the car recovered back to the UK Abt had other ideas! They called one of their technicians in Basel, got him to go into the garage to pick up a spare sprocket and then drive 2 hours on a Friday night to meet up with us. When he arrived it was a 20 min job to replace the sprocket, cambelt and idler wheel and she fired up first time J This unbelievable level of service meant I was out of action for less than 5 hours and we got back to the hotel in time for a celebratory beer!
The downside was that I’d missed that night’s meal at Restaurant Männlichen which was at an even more spectacular 2,225m with views down the Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen valleys. Our group had also been joined by Morgan MD Steve Morris in his Aero 8 who had been touring the Italian lakes with 3 others and their wives. I believe the narrow twisting track up (and down) was a bit of a test for everyone.
At least 32 M3Ws gathered (I kept losing count!)and we were soon joined by Steve Morris and his friends. Someone worked out that almost 2% of the M3W production was in the carpark which for a privately organised event is an incredible statistic. After a little “persuasion” Steve got up to make a speech and vowed to get some MMC factory attendance next year. That should be fun…
Anyway Steve and co set off for Reims and we got back to bringing Grindelwald to a standstill as we headed off for a day of storming the high passes. First the Grimsel pass, a series of tight hairpins between quarries, lakes and quite an industrial vibe. Cresting the pass at 2,429m the Furka is spread out beneath us. A quick stop to regroup and catch our breath and it’s off down the sweeping twist, turns and straights of the Furka. The more open vista allows views of the snake of M3Ws as we zig-zag through the stunning scenery under a perfect, almost cloudless sky – beautiful!
The lunch stop was a chance to cool down and chill out ready for the afternoon. Departing through the narrow cobbled streets of Andermatt we were waved and cheered on by all the locals lining the streets. Then onto the Susten pass with more tunnels, tight turns and more stunning views as we climb back up to its 2,264m peak. A quick photo stop in a layby by a lake and then it’s back to Grindelwald. The last night was celebrated at another superb local restaurant – Café 3692. This time a short (but steep) walk from the hotel bar. A few speeches, a great meal and plenty of local beer rounded the most fantastic event off a treat. With next year being the 5th anniversary Laurens and Rineke are already starting the planning.
Most of the participants headed off on the Sunday but I stayed on with Mark and Heather to relax before the trek home. A casual wander around Interlaken market followed by a lap of the Brienzersee lake was just the ticket, especially when we stopped for lunch parked beside 3 Ferraris and as a result everyone was looking and photographing our M3Ws and ignoring the Italian Stallions!
Come Monday and it was time to leave. For the first time in the trip the heavens opened and the rain set in for the day. We headed off towards Basel and onto Strasbourg where the rain finally stopped in time for a glorious afternoon.
Tue we had planned to follow the Rhine towards Koblenz but a SatNav issue led us through a more rural, but very pleasant, route. Finding the hotel was a challenge as we hadn’t realised it was in a pedestrianised area! Still, with a bit of creative parking (not in the disabled bay!) nearby we arrived and settled in. As it was my last night we found a great restaurant and made a night of it.
Wed morning we bid our farewells and I set off for Calais and the tunnel with Mark and Heather heading for Spa and Gent. With 400 miles to cover it was a mainly motorway day but the car was running sweetly and economically so the journey soon passed. Back through the tunnel and it was a quick run to the M25 and onto home.
So 1,990 miles in 11 days at an average of just over 36mpg. One breakdown (which really was nothing to do with the trip) and a fantastic set of memories and tales to tell.
The Jungfrau-Treffen 2017 will be from 31/8 – 2/9 2017 and is already firmly inked into my diary.