Personal memories of Sommertreffen 2014
by Richard Knight
Back in January 2014 I had opted to apply to attend this year's July Sommertreff in Lennap, Germany. The previous year I had attended with my uncle using a trailer to tow my YB to the event, and this year I decided I wanted to drive my YT to the event. Accepting that the journey would take longer I undertook the task of planning route with overnight stops. The main criteria being safe secure parking and a realistic journey. I eventually settled on accommodation in Dover, Oostende, Eben Emael and finally Lennap, Remscheid where the event was to be held.
In the lead up to the event I had decided to service the YT and had an MOT where the brakes were highlighted as having slight trouble with a low percentage in one wheel. After several weeks of troubles replacing all four wheel cylinders, finding out the brake master cylinder kit would not bleed, a delay in master cylinder being shipped to Holland to be re-sleeved and then sent back, I eventually had the car back on the road the penultimate weekend before the event, with little time for proper testing.
Tuesday 8 July, I eventually set off and 12 hours later numerous stops along the way we arrived in Dover for our overnight stay arriving after 1am having set off at 1230 hrs. The start was sign of bad luck to come.
Wednesday 9 July we crossed the water to arrive in Calais and grey skies. The drive to Oostende was mainly dry however upon arrival in Oostende the winds had gathered momentum and the sand was blowing off the beach and into the side of the car blowing in between the hood and the side screens and into the bulkhead. Thankfully I had booked garage accommodation for the YT at each stop over, and the hood was sheltered from the winds strong enough to blow you off your feet. A Skype call home to hear that home was sweltering did little to lift my mood.
Thursday 10 July and we travelled to Eben Emale, having taken another 12 hours to complete roughly 137 miles, the journey wasn't exactly going to plan, as the time to cool the engine was just getting longer and longer.
Friday 11 July 2014, we had just crossed the German border in North Rhine Westphalia in area near Aalsborg when decided that the car was over heating and I pulled over on national road limit, the back of the car was stuck across the carriageway and eventually a kind German couple pulled over to ask if I needed help. Explaining the engine was over heating and that I reluctantly wanted to drain water to replenish cold water to get the car off the main highway, they obliged by handing me a bottle of drinking water and offer to follow me from behind. Using water I had and the kind offer from the water bottle, I drained the radiator and replaced with cooler water and away I drove, pulling off at the next exit. My jaw dropped as I was told something had fallen from the car described by my German good Samaritans as looking like a cap. "Radiator chrome cap!" Doh, rushing I had left on the badge bar and it was back up on the highway. Slight diversion back and all was found safe and sound lying in middle of the highway pretty undamaged as cars would have gone over but not touched cap. This was the first bit of good luck since the trip began. Having returned to the YT I decided by now luck was against me and it was best to call Hagerty for repatriation to the UK. Less than 30 minutes later, all hotels cancelled via Skype calls and the recovery truck arrived. The driver explained it was policy to go to an "oldtimer" garage and my problem would be found and fixed. 3 hours later €250 lighter, my loose water pump had been tightened with the fixing of new nut and the assurance that all was well. Reluctant and sceptical of such a quick fix, away we were, back on track to Remscheid. Arriving after 21:30 hrs, we were off for food and to catch up with the other Y type owners in the pub.
Saturday 12 July we completed the 98 miles of driving around the Bergishland forest, and apart from squeaking brake drum and swapping over both front drums to solve the issue all was well. In the evening there was a buffet meal with good conversation and happy Dutch contingent as Brazilians were well beat in 3rd/4th place playoff.
Sunday 13 July ended up being unlucky for some. We set off for trip to museum and general route back towards Eben Emale. On arrival at the museum I was asked if I had brake lights and after making some checks it was clear I had no brake lights and likely a faulty switch. Here I decided that we had best forgo visit to museum and said goodbyes before heading for Belgium, after few hours and having just crossed the border into Kerkrade in Limburg, I heard the sound of rattle from the engine. Having pulled over at side of the road with the rain falling and having inspected the engine it was clear the water pump had come loose again. Back on call for breakdown it was agreed that repatriation was needed. The sting in tail was being Sunday nothing could be done that afternoon and that the YT would go into 15 days storage and my passenger and I would be repatriated home next day. After much negotiation and contemplation it was agreed I could self-repatriate with the help of my uncle and self drive recovery truck. Having got back to my B & B in Eben Emael and car pushed into the garage where hospitable owners agreed I could leave YT until had truck to tow it away. Now was time to watch the World Cup final and relax.
Monday 14 July many phone calls later and hire car from Maastrict I made my long drive to Calais, to meet my Uncle with recovery truck. Apart from hiccup over which motorway to meet, and 2 hour delay we were back on track with hire car loaded onto the recovery truck and long drive back Eben Emale to collect the YT. Arriving at 02:30 hrs on Wednesday morning and trying to keep quiet we off loaded the hire car and if luck wasn't already against me, I felt prick in my rear and a snag on the car seat cloth! Inspecting my back pocket I found I had alien object I can only describe as cocktail stick which was the first time I had seen this and I can only surmise was left on the driver seat of the hire car. Anyway working in the dark and torch light, we eventually loaded the YT on to the trailer for the long drive back to Calais. The rest of the trip went fine until arrival back home at 14:15 hrs when I was swapping the YB out the garage and the throttle cable snapped. Luck against me and tired, I pushed the YB and moved the YT to the back of the garage and shut the door before any further bad luck could strike.
On reflection I certainly got my adventure, not quiet as planned, but still love my Y's and looking forward to my next adventure once I've had new re-core radiator and water pump fitted.
To enlarge the pictures, double click on them.
Richard also recorded his experience in the September edition of the Winchester MG Owners' Club magazine which can be downloaded here.