by Ursula Walter…..
July 2013 – there’s a heat wave all over Europe. Also in Spain, that welcomes us with 105 F (but nice cool nights). After a beautiful drive all across France and the rugged Pyrenees Mountains we reach historic Alcaniz on Tuesday morning. We follow the signs to the Motorland race track and are amazed that there is no traffic jam at the entrance. Those who are already pre-registered can enter the site right away. Those who still need to pay park on a huge parking lot near the registration, which is located away from the entrance.
Within minutes we have passed the entrance. We only get wrist bands and a sticker for the car, no goodie-bag and no information … we find our friends and pitch the tents, on the upper far end of the area. We are near 10 sanitary containers, which are well maintained and cleaned all the time. 2,500 cars attended and there was enough space and showers for everyone The camping area was divided in small spaces that were painted on the ground. Nobody took it too seriously with those borders but the cars had to be facing the designated roads that were wide enough for emergency vehicles or an evacuation. There were also lots of fire extinguishers mounted on poles. The area was on a slope and the ground was hard and rocky. Even after the thunder storm (which lasted as long as 3 bottles of wine) there was no mud. Everything would have been perfect, would there have been trees for shade, but there is just nothing. But that did not come as a surprise. If you had looked at the meeting web site or Google Earth you knew you had to bring your own shade.
In the afternoon I walked back to the entrance to look for friends. There were more cars on the parking lot, but whose with tickets could still enter without waiting. Still no more information for those entering. By word of mouth we learned that we had to get our goodie-bag at the info-booth in the paddock. And that was the area where the private and professional market was (with many good deals!), as well as the party tent and the food market. And most of the program happened there, too. Between the paddock and the camping area are the grand stands and boxes and that helped to divert the noise from the music that went on until 2 am. A security service was present at all entrances at any time and this time we have not heard of any theft!
The museum was small and pretty sterile. A few flags and posters would have been nice to cover the naked walls. Later we learned that the whole event was organized by just 35 enthusiasts with 80 volunteers and they were allowed on site only the day before opening. Knowing this, it is amazing that everything was ready and worked so well. Of course, there were complaints that most volunteers only spoke Spanish (mainly by the French who just speak French themselves …) but this small number of volunteers worked hard day and night for a week straight with almost no break or sleep.
During the hot mid-day hours we drove to the lake near by just to find a 2CV beach party in the shade under the trees. There was even a sandy beach at the local campground giving easy access to the refreshing water.
The main event for us was the engine competition, where during 3 days 10 participants had to totally dismantle and rebuild a 2CV motor. The same team as in France two years ago organized the event, just with even more show and fun. The winner from Austria needed only 51 minutes, followed by a Spaniard with 56 minutes and a Slovene with 59 minutes. Axel of 2CVsRus came in 4th place with 62 minutes.
The first two (with a team of five) had to disassemble a complete 2CV, carry the parts through a hole in a wall that was barely bigger than the 2CV body, reassemble everything on the other side, get in the car and drive a few yards. Again, the Austrian team won with just 40 minutes, 20 seconds, followed by the Spanish team shortly after. Congratulations, well done! The same event was announced for the next world meeting, too.
During the evening program the Poland delegation announced the city of Torun as the site of the next world meeting in 2015 and the next day Portugal promoted their country for 2017. Since they were the only ones, we will be there again 30 years after the meeting took place in Ericeira. With the same idea the Swiss already announced they will be interested in hosting the meeting in 2021. This leaves the question who will be brave enough in 2019 to organize such a mega event for 2500 cars and twice as many people for almost a whole week?
Congratulations to the Spanish organizers and volunteers – you did a great job!