Jochem Kentgens competing in Morgans
The Tulip Rallye has a long history. Over the years various Morgans participated in it. This was the case in both in its original, highly competitive form and its current form, where participation is limited to classic cars.
Jochem comes from a family with a long Morgan history. His father was among the earliest members of the Morgan Sports Car Club Holland. He was club chairman for some time, while his mother was the club's secretary. As you would guess, Jochem from very little was injected by the Morgan virus. His first "car" was a Morgan pedal car!
Back in 2005, Jochem purchased his first Morgan, a 1971 4/4 2-seater. With this Morgan he and his friend Kasper Pruijsen entered the 2007 edition of the Tulip Rallye, as novices.
Their progress was extremely good. Before too long they were leading their class! The Morgan kept on performing well, while the driver and navigator were acting like professionals!
When they entered Holland, they were well in the lead in their class, with time to spare. The only thing which they had to be sure of was of losing no points in the progress. They DIDN'T !!!
Not too far from the finish in Noordwijk a group of Morgans belonging to the Morgan Sports Car Club Holland were awaiting their heroes. In procession all of them accompanied the two youngsters to the finish.
Of course these winners received an enormous quantity of tulips! This was a very memorable moment for Morgan in the history of the Tulip History. No wonder that Gregory Bowden also selected this occasion for the book "Morgan, 100 Years".
Soon after the event, Jochem sold the 4/4, but that did not mean the end of his Morgan interest, rather the contrary.
In 2012 the Morgan ended up in the country where it was sold when new: Belgium; the circle was complete.
In 2010 arrived no less than TWO Morgan +4s from the USA, both of them with the intention to use them in different forms of competition.
One of these Morgan +4s was a 1959 car, freshly restored and still not run in. Before setting off to France for participating in the 2010 edition of the Tulip Rallye with it, the car had hardly covered 500 kilometres!
The picture on the left was kindly supplied by Neil Miller, author of the fabulous book "Morgan Exploration" (see elsewhere on the site).
Neil and his wife Marilyn visisted Holland, in order to collect photographic material for a future book by Neil.
A visit to Jochem in Amsterdam was part of the programme. Jochem was justifiably proud of the 1959 +4, which by then was almost ready for the rallye.
On the 8th of May 2010, Jochem, his navigator Kasper Pruijsen and the Morgan +4 made it to the finish of that year's edition of the Tulip Rallye.
This time they did NOT win a cup. In fact, they were relieved to have made it to the finish.
Some of the minor mechanical problems they experienced were:
In order to create more leg room for Kasper, the heater had been removed. This made it them suffer cold onto their bones in the atrocious weather conditions. Most of the rallye was driven in the wet, even in snow...
After day 1 they were 8th in their (Sporting) class, but by day 2 they had dropped to place 39. They managed to recover a bit of their lost time and moved up to place 21, but mechanical failure combined with a temporary disrespect for the rules of the rally (driving at full speed through a village) cost them 3000 penalty points... Further mechanical problems made them miss an entire day.
Saturday mornining they started from the hopeless 61st position in their class. They maintained this position until the finish, pleased to have finished the rally and to be reunited with their respective families. If Jochem and Kasper will repeat the same adventure next year, they have learned two things:
bring some small, but essential parts. Morgan garages are few and far between.
improve on their French. People in France (bar some good exceptions) refuse to speak English.
Picture right: at last the finish in Noordwijk has been reached and the well deserved tulips are received.
Each crew gets a small, friendly interview for RTL TV on the official rally stage. It is well visible that the Tulip Rallye was not exactly a friendly drive from restaurant A to restaurant B!
The blue +4 was retired from rallying and instead Jochem focused on historic car racing, for which he got his licence.
The car was prepared for a few races in Holland, but in order to be really competitive a big investment was necessary.
However, Jochem had also acquired a full race +4 in the USA, which already had an impressive career in historic car racing over there, so he decided to concentrate on this car. The blue +4 found a new owner, who doesn't race or rallye.
The full race +4 was built to +4 Super Sports specifications and had been successful in the hands of its last USA owner for seveal years in succession, while previous owners also raced it.
Before getting it to race in Europe, the engine was checked by Triumph engine specialist Fiete van der Grinten and at the same time a hard top was fitted.
The car was selected by the public on the internet to be one of the classic cars of display at the Motor Show (RAI) for new cars in Amsterdam in 2011.
The initial season for Jochem on the track in his +4 was plagued by mechanical problems.
2012 was a much better year for Jochem and his +4. He not only participated in Assen, during the event to celebrate 40 Years of Morgan Sports Car Club Holland/ 50 Years of Le Mans class win by Morgan, but also at Dijon/Prenois in France.
The outing at Assen was plagued by horrendous weather, with at times torrential rain.
Yet, the event attracted the largest attendance ever outside the UK for any Morgan meeting, with some 400 Morgans being present.
The picture shows Jochem in action on a slippery track.
He was in very good company, as TOK 258 was among the participants, two SLR Morgans, the SLR Triumph and lots more.