GCE-rally 2006

(pictures by Matti Hyppänen)

The rally centre was situated in Baldersnäs in the county of Dalsland in Sweden during June 12th to June 18th.

The rally have been planned and executed by Hans-Ove Görtz with the support of Lars Anebreid, Ingemar and Gulli Blomberg and Peter Kjellin (all GTR club of Sweden). With the support of Daan Zeydner in NL he made the really nice T-shirt design (see pic 835, 836).

The overall theme for the rally was – give all attendees a taste of the county; local food and beer, customs, culture and history during their stay – riding nice and some twisty roads in a friendly atmosphere.

We had attendees from USA (OTP traveler), Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden and Finland – all in all 10 bikes and 12 members (see pic 892, 900, 907).

Firstly; during the whole rally we had such good weather – really uncommon at this time of the year! – with temperatures in daytime between +25 - +32 C (75-82F),

– You bet the cold beer was sought after each day.

Secondly; we had no accidents or Connie Drops – only Ad Lambrecht (NL) had one minor incident when I had leaded the group in the wrong direction and we all had to turn around on the small road – suddenly Ad couldn´t turn left with his handle (see pic 1086) – IT WAS STUCK! – turn right was OK! – hmmm, after some investigation Ingemar found that an accessory (gadget) cable socket had lured it self into the space between the steering lock mechanism and the steering head.

How lucky it happened at this place and not on the twisty roads!!!!!!!

Thirdly; we all got very found of Mariestad beer – sadly enough we drank the whole stock the first evening, in a very friendly atmosphere – we as promised more next day….but, we got Heineken and some other brand = not to our taste;-( - after a few days they had Mariestad in stock again…but that also was soon consumed by us and other customers……ah, well such is life in the isolated Sweden on the early holiday season.

And even if the hotel’s restaurant was closed early in the evening, like it happened some evenings and thirst was threatening us and our long lasting discussions, we had some very innovative guys in the group, who new which door of the restaurant was not locked , and we could help ourselves. In the morning we could inform the personnel, how many beers they "sold" the previous evening.

Forthly; we enjoyed some unscheduled events like – on the ride to the ferry we meet two young mooses – on the rallysite we had WC soccer on a big screen, live R&R music on Friday and Saturday evening and classic car/bike/tractor event on Saturday and Sunday.

Fiftly; we enjoyed the OTP traveler initiation event – with surstromming, hardbread, snaps – and to our relief Paul Heydemann passed it (although he spat out the snaps) and was presented the official OTP T-shirt! All attendees was invited to taste and some brave guys even had some of the surstromming!

Surstromming – for Finns (Matti and Anna-Maija) even if Sweden is a neighbouring country, that "odd" thing was known as "how can they eat it – thing". Well, now we did have the chance to avoid it or try it. I often like to test different new things and if Paul… and if Simon…, why not me – so I tasted it, too. The opening ceremony of the can, you can call it opening ceremony, was exceptional: the can at he bottom of the pot filled with water was brought on site by the boss himself (see pic 932), opening under the water preventing the terribly-smelling liquid not to spread all over where it stinks at least 30 days, then the fish came out of the can and everybody was behind the wind preventing you not to be knocked down by the smell and then it is ready to eat. The fish, surstromming, on the hardbread , snaps on the other hand and then you go. Paul did (see pic 949), some other guys did (see pic.952, 953, 954, 955, 956, ), so did I – and it was not so bad , as long as you kept the wind behind you (see pic 960). So that is something you can eat but not smell (see pic 944).

Sooo, all rides was in a group – me leading and Ingemar in the end – we started approx 0900hrs daily and we was back between 1700-1830hrs – we made between 150km and 400km (90-250 miles) tour rides.

How is it to ride in a group?.... Matti Hyppänen with Anna-Maija Kivi (FIN) at the back seat found riding in a group very nice. Being the first time riding in a group, they found it very easy, too, because the whole gang seemed to be very familiar with riding in the group. Nobody was riding different speed and everybody stayed on their fixed places. On the very twisty road on the first day, riding in the middle of the group was no so good as on the second day, when we was riding in the back . To make the ride to be a convenient and pleasant ride also for the back-seater, you can’t brake and bend the bike as hard as a single rider can. That different way of driving makes distances between bikes vary all the time on very twisty roads and that variation is better to adjust when riding at the back than in the middle of the group. So we preferred riding at the back (see pic 1047).

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I went to the rally site on June 11th to make sure all was OK and planned to do some last minute checks next day. When I arrived to the centre – to my big surprise – I meet Walter Kirchweger (A) who also arrived the same day – so we enjoyed the evening together with some beers;-)

The next morning Walter and I went out doing the last checks and was back in the afternoon.

The Baldersnäs Herrgård was very nice place, "head office", for this kind of GTR-rally. Those who enjoy the nature of south Sweden, liked the surrounding. Lot of walking routes, plenty of place to wander around, lakes, sheep and geeses, beautiful main building and it’s rooms. And of course the perfect weather helped us to enjoy the Baldersnäs (see pic 887, 1103).


The rides:

Tuesday June 13th:

We had two stops planned only – in "Hamrane Bak- och Kaffestuga" (bakery and coffee cottage), where we feasted on homemade bread with real butter and cheese – and in Åmål "Hamnkafe" (harbor coffee shop), just for drinks, icecream, desserts and coffee – sure viewing the boats as well! In the rest of the day we was riding in the landscape – taking in all the flowers in the fields, bright green leaves on the trees, lakes and enjoyed the company!

Matti Hyppänen with Anna-Maija Kivi (FIN) at the back seat found the first day riding very nice. Specially one remembers riding the most twisty road near the Baldersnäs (best of all roads we ride) on the first day, going up and down and at the same time right and left, and trying to keep the same speed as the single riders, you could here on the helmet’s autocom: "whooo what a beeeending , iiihhhh what a juuuump , whups-ooooh what a braaaaaking!" (Deals Gap in USA is nothing as comparison). Anna-Maija didn’t drop the camera while taking photos during the ride on the twisty road. Matti could feel the twisty road on his hands and arms in the evening, because he wasn’t so used to ride so twisty roads with such a speed with the lady at he back. Neverhteless the road and ride on that twisty road was superb (see pic 924, 1080)!

Wednesday June 14th:

We had only two stops planned – in Norway in the town Halden – in the coffee shop we feasted on homemade cookies, danish, desserts and coffe before we went to Tanumshede "Vitlycke" restaurant (but to my disappointment the restaurant had decided to only have sandwiches), so most of us had just a sandwich. We used the ferry (free for all, all paid for by the roadtaxes) – run by wires – before hitting into Norway – passed the great bridge at the borderline (toll – nil costs for bikes!). After the "world heritage" stone carvings in Tanumshede we continued on the coast road and passed one coast village after the other –in the end we just enjoyed the landscape – suddenly we had a mishap (Ad´s trouble) – and in the end we came back after a long day!

Thursday June 15th:

Oh, free morning with some unscheduled mech&tech session at the nearby gas station. At lunch time we started the sightseeing day – we headed to the twisty road again (142 turns with 54 ups and downs on a road of 8km – close to 5 miles) before coming to Håverud home craft centre, then we headed to the red painted wooden church in Skållerud. In the town Mellerud we found some parts for Wolfgangs bike. We went to the small town Ed and visited the bike museum and on the way to the rally centre we stopped at a moosefarm – for some pics and to get close to the "king of the forest". Very prizy entrance fee;-(

Friday June 16th:

This was the longest ride tour – north into another county, having a rest at "Värmskog hembygdsgård" (summer coffee shop) and I had the famous huge shrimp sandwich, we passed the famous "Glafsfjorden" – got into a newly made roadwork with loose gravel, we turned and went to the village Charlottenberg for some lunch/coffee break. We then headed south and stopped at the most northern lock at Dalslands canal – coffee time!

Saturday June 17th:

This last ride was intentionally short – many attendees were preparing for going back home – and need some rest from riding. We took the southern route – made a brief stop at a WWII fortifications – and went into Norway – twisty roads that have some resemblance with the Schwartzwald mountain roads in Germany – and some nice scenery.

We made a stop at in the city of Halden fortifications (among the biggest in Scandinavia) and also had lunch nearby. Not so far from the city we made a stop at "Brekke sluser" (locks) where the canal drops approx 100 meters in four locks – spectacular engineering! Tehn we went back into Sweden – used the free ferry – and headed

Matti and Anna-Maija left Friday morning. It was their first GTR-rally, but they said that it was not the last. Nice people, good atmosphere, nice ridings together – that’s something to long for during the long winter time far a way in eastern Finland. Next year they’ll try to bring along with few more GTRs and join the next GTR rally.

On Sunday June 18th it was just a day of departures – sadly though, there had been a marvelous week with GCE friends – nice riding and a lot of laughs – and thats the point of a rally, isn´t it!

Thank You all attendees – without You participating – there wouldn´t be any rally!

Next year there will be another rally – in Germany - lets´ meet again – and we hope that more members will be able to attend!

Hans in Sweden