Last weekend the 20th edition of the Ardenne Roads took place. After years of starting from a fixed location in Spa, this year a new location was found. The castle of Jemeppe in Hargimont formed the beautiful setting for the classy rally. On Thursday afternoon, July 1st, the 70 competitors were expected for the technical inspection of the cars. They drove a short prologue to determine the starting positions for the rally on Friday morning.
In the evening, a gala dinner was planned for the competitors with the dress code 'Goodwood'.
Friday morning, July 2nd, at 9am sharp the first Pre War car left. Five minutes later the other participants started, led by the Eeckhout/Gistels team. They came out best from the prologue. The cars drove via Rochefort, Gedinne and Bièvre in the direction of Bouillon where the afternoon stop took place in brewery Rochehaut. On the way nothing but beautiful scenery and nice tracks. Not all roads were suitable for low-lying sports cars, leading to some damage to some cars here and there. After the lunch stop, we continued via Paliseul, Libin and Nassogne back to Hargimont. Near Paliseul, several participants missed a right angle turn just after a steep descent. Most of them were able to continue on their own, but it was a bit of a scare for the Verelst/Caset team in their Citroën DS 21 Short Body. Their car got stuck in the verge at the front. Even a quad could barely move the car. Your reporter was able to pull the car loose with heavier means and the DS was able to continue its journey successfully. Only the headlights had failed. For the rest, the car had no other visible damage.
On arrival at Hargimont the Porsche 911 Carrera RS of the Van Den Broeck/Bruynkens team was also badly damaged during a collision with a local driver. Luckily this was only material damage, but it was heavy enough to prevent the team from starting on Saturday.
After an eventful day, a provisional classification was established and the team Vandeputte/Vandeputte in the Lancia Fulvia HF took the lead in the standings ahead of the team Proot/Proot in an MGB GT. In the evening, after a refreshing shower, the participants could enjoy a 'Grand Diner'.
Saturday, July 3rd, at 9 a.m. the second and at the same time last part of the rally took place. The cars were now driving towards Dinant. Again the roads led to beautiful and picturesque villages. Unfortunately there was another collision, between the Austin Healey 1100/4 of team Haelvoet/Tyteca and a local SUV. After measuring the damage and filling in the damage report, they could fortunately continue the rally. For lunch a stop was made at the charming and idyllic Priory of Anseremme near Dinant. The cars were set up in a circle on the large lawn. An ideal moment to take beautiful photos and to admire all the cars at a glance. After the participants had enjoyed a sumptuous lunch, they left for the last part of the race via the old station of Ciney to arrive at the castle of Jemeppe. There, the participants were treated to soft drinks, a glass of Champagne and a word of welcome from the presenter on duty. Around 17h00 the event was concluded with a short reception and the award ceremony.
The top three teams of the 20th edition were
1 VANDEPUTTE Vincent (BEL) / VANDEPUTTE Amy (BEL) in a Lancia Fulvia HF 1970
2 CLOSJEANS Michel (BEL) / NOELANDERS Yves (BEL) Porsche 356 Pré A
3 DECREMER Michel (BEL) / LIENNE Patrick (BEL) Porsche 356 A
In the Pre Wars, victory went to the team NIJS William (BEL) / NIJS Ivo (BEL) in a 1937 Riley Sprite.
Despite the predicted rain the participants enjoyed the nice sunshine which made the tracks perfectly driveable. With the exception of a few accidents we can still speak of a successful 20th edition of the Ardenne Roads. That there were fewer participants than previous years was probably due to Covid-19.
Text and photographs: Dirk Ivens.