Reproduced with kind permission of Lotus Passion
On Thursday we attended the 12th edition of the Ypres Lotus Days with Lotus Passion. Now that calm has returned to the organisation, we asked Frederik Van Cauwenberghe, one of the organisers, how it went for them. One thing we knew for sure. It was a huge success! When we arrived, the large square was already packed. At the first edition in 2009, they welcomed about 45 cars. This year, there were no less than 137 plus 2 Lotus from the organisation at the start. But at the Ypres market there are always more, some come to watch with their Lotus (locals) but do not drive. This makes the start in Ypres a must for every Lotus enthusiast!
Organizer Frederik Van Cauwenberghe: “In previous years (not counting the two Covid years), we had about the same number of participants. This year, however, there was less publicity because we could only decide at a late stage whether it would go ahead or not. When I saw that registrations were coming in quickly, I did not make any extra effort. However, I do wonder: ‘If I had done it, how many would there have been?” So, we are already looking forward to next year!
After a hearty breakfast, it was time to set off on the beautiful 225km route through Flanders’ fields. For the morning part where you are about 2 hours on the road. The route took you through the beautiful landscape of the Westhoek. Where the participants took on the same winding roads where the Belgian round of the World Rally Championship takes place in August.
In the afternoon, the route continued through the beautiful Belgian region. We drove the route ourselves with our press car and we can say that this is a route where serious thought has been put into. The entire route is perfect for a Lotus, which means that you as a participant can enjoy it from km 1 to the finish.
The field of participants was enormous. And this year also very international with no less than 30 British, 20 Dutch, 6 French and even a Greek and Italian participant.
“Every year we can count on a team of people to assist us on the day. Even though their role may seem limited, it is crucial. The cars that drive up front to detect and correct any problems. (Unannounced works, interrupted roads, unforeseen circumstances). And also the logistics team who take care of the decoration of all the stops and make sure the cars are parked properly and safely. Without these people, we would have been nowhere. So apart from organising, these people are very important on the day itself.”
How long are you working on this?
“It is hard to say how long everything takes. Pascal and I have a day job next to this one. So, there is a lot of work in the evenings and in the weekends and/or holidays. I work in education and Pascal has his own restaurant, so fortunately we sometimes have free time when others are working. Because everything happens after work, it is very difficult to put exact hours/days on it.“
After the finish, the reactions were again positive. The participants are very enthusiastic year after year. Of course, the weather plays a major role. When the weather is fine, things are allowed to go wrong and problems are minimised; when it rains, obviously problems are magnified.
Reactions from England are mainly: very great organisation, perfectly organised, but also that people alongside the road are very positive, something they apparently don’t experience in England.
“We always try to work at nice locations, something that is not easy with a field of 140 cars… You must be able to park the cars and all the participants have to be able to get in. Unlike other exclusive brands, the Lotus participants come to drive. That has been our focus for years. Lots of driving and good food… not gastronomy, that’s something we put into mapping out the roads. “
After some rest now for Frederik, Pascal and the rest of the organisation, they will be at it again for the next edition. So, keep an eye on their website ypreslotusday.be for the next edition.