banner

Dedicated to the memory of the late Brian Archer who fulfilled his dream to re-create John Sprinzel's Sebring Sprite Coupé

sidebar image

Our host:
Hans van de Kerkhof

Spridget MeetPoster
at the International Healey Museum

27/28 September 2014 ~ Vreeland, Netherlands

 

Spridget Meet
Rally Plaque
Sprite Meet 13
Nay, Hilary & I Synchronise
Sat Navs en route.
Sprite Meet 1
Jack Wheeler, Ian Grainger and John Phillips with DAC
Sprite Meet 2

Sprite Meet 3
Comfy chairs
Sprite Meet 4

Sprite Meet 5

Sprite Meet 6
Pete Taylor & Susan
Sprite Meet 7
Steve Coleman shows Pat Harris round the TFR 7.
Sprite Meet 8
Phillips, Baker & Wheeler
Sprite Meet 9
The Byford's Sebring
Sprite Meet 10
Steve Norton's new toy
Sprite Mett 11
Off on the tour
Sprite Meet 12
Stephen and Sylvia head off in WJB 707

A hectic week pulling JJO's engine and gearbox out after it jammed in 5th and only getting it all back in, the day before the "off" was the preliminary for a 4.45am alarm and Susan and I setting off for Dover. We soon met up with a number of Midget & Sprite Club members at the quay and after the 2 hour crossing our little convoy made its way through Belgium towards the Healey Museum. Pete and Hilary Stevens' Frogeye had a broken exhaust manifold so they, as well as Colin and Nay in their turbo-charged Midget, headed for Stephen Bowen's parts shop at Poederlee. A new cast manifold was fitted in half an hour so after a coffee break Steve and Sylvia led the way northwards to our hotel at Breukelen. During dinner that evening I could see many people I knew, seated at a long table: Brian Wheeler (Frogeye bodyshell pioneer and constructor ofthe Healey SR rep'), Bob Kemp (AHC Sprite registrar) and his wife, Linda, Jack Wheeler (Targa/Nurburgring exponent) with photographer John Phillips, Steve Coleman (owner of the last 2 works prototypes) and his wife, Melanie, Clive Baker (Healey works driver extraordinaire) ....the list goes on. There was a great atmosphere of anticipation with many small groups chatting together.
The following morning after breakfast we were off to the museum at Vreeland where we were shown into parking slots to form a circle amidst the trees, out front. Coffee and Dutch apple cake was laid on and we sat and chatted in the sunshine beneath vast umbrellas in comfy chairs. Inside was a revelation with a Frogeye perched above the entrance and an array of historic Healey's including the ex-John Baker supercharged Sprite, Stephen Bowen's ex-Ian Walker Sebring WJB 707 which sporned all the replicas, and Steve Coleman's Sebring Coupé and Targa Florio "roadster". It was not long before Sprite historians Tom Coulthard and Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird were seated at a table piled high with photos and papers to see what they could learn from the museum's extensive archives. Hans van de Kerkhof and his team of volunteers welcomed us and showed us around.
All too soon, with so much to see, we were bundled off on our scenic tour of the beautiful local countryside and Sprites were spotted in car parks alongside crepe and coffee bars along the route. After meandering between elegant avenues and alongside sparkling poulders and canals we returned to Vreeland for a bite of lunch. The afternoon was whiled away talking to friends, meeting and making new ones, poring over cars or investigating the museum's contents. A real treat for a few of us (only room for 10 in the little cinema) was a film about the Healey family. Found in a can amongst various documents and memorabilia shipped from the States, this old clip lacked any soundtrack. A couple of years ago the now late Bic Healey very capably added a voice-over. Fascinating snippets included one of Geoff working on the '68 Le Mans Sprite. A real little gem of a film.
Bruno Verstraete fired up the ex-Sebring DAC in readiness for Zandvoort the next day which triggered Brian Wheeler running up the V8 of the SR and Steve Coleman getting the Ring Free Oils coupé running as well. After all this excitement it was time for dinner ~ a Chinese of chicken on skewers with rice and spicy vegetables followed by cinnamon ice cream. I have to confess I could barely eat it as I was nervous about giving my presentation straight afterwards.
A competition had been run during the day which involved us choosing which car we would most like to take home. There was much mirth when Gary Lazarus' Frog known as 'Gaps' came 3rd. A very smart Netherlands Frog was 2nd and Steve Norton's newly completed shiny black and white Sebring Coupé deservedly won the main award.
I came next and I think (hope) my little talk about my research into the later 'works' Sprites (A Bit of Detective Work) went down quite well. I followed it by dragging Clive Baker, who drove just about all of the cars in anger, up to the front. After a question or two from me he relaxed into some of his favourite anecdotes which we all greatly enjoyed.
Sunday was a day to visit the Zandvoort GP racing circuit in the dunes by the sea and some 30 Spridgets and 2 big Healeys gathered together in the paddock. The main race of the day was a DTM round consisting of a contest between Mercedes, BMW and Audi - basically identical cars apart from the badging and very hard to identify with tiny numbers/names on them amongst the gaudy advertising. The race seemed endless and consisted of a procession with little overtaking, interspersed by minor incidents which brought out the pace car. How boring some of these monied series have become (at least that is my personal view). Highlight for most of our Spridget companions was the 25 minutes free driving on the circuit at the end of the afternoon. I have to confess I was pussy-footing around gently being very conscious of the need to make the 300 mile journey home without breaking anything, but others had a wonderful time and were circulating pretty rapidly.
So, this wonderful weekend drew to a close. A most memorable and enjoyable time, culminating in a relaxing chat on the cross-channel ferry back to Britain.
Hans, please repeat the exercise next year ~ thank you and Ria, Han, Ineke, Jaap, Jos, Wim, Lida, Albert, Claudya, Rinus, Marijke, Petra and Wim for making it so special.

SprMeet 14
Lenham & 5 of the 8 Sebrings
Spr Meet 15
Spridgets galore
Sprite Meet 16
WJB & her Sebring Reps
SprM 17

Sprite Meet 18

Spr Meet 19
Jack, Bob & Tom study the archives
Sprite Meet 20
Brian fires up the V8
Sprite Meet 21

Sprite Meet 22

Sprite Meet 23
Steve Norton's son with Karsten Stelk
Sprite Meet 28
Albert Voord
Sprite Meet 25
Rinus, Bram-Boris, Sylvia Michael and Angelo
Sprite Meet 26
Steve Coleman fires up
Sprite Meet 27
Spr Meet 29
SPR Meet 30
SPR Meet 31
Spr meet 36
Anstead & Harris Reps
Ron Edwards heads out
The Barnes' Lenham Le Mans
Frog over entrance
Spr Meet 32
Spr Meet 33
Spr Meet 34
Spr Meet 35
The Museum's glittering interior
WJB and Baker s/c Sprite
Coleman's cars on display
Sprite Meet 44
Spr Meet
Sprite Meet
Spr Meet 40
Me and Clive Baker
Zandvoort paddock
DAC gets ready
They're at it again
Sprite Meet 40
Sprite Meet 41
Sprite Meet 41
Sprite Meet 42
More in the paddock
DAC had an ignition fault
and more
out on track

and MICHAEL MEERLO'S PHOTOS FROM THE HEALEY MUSEUM AND ZANDVOORT below:

MM
MM
MM
MM
Harris & Byford Reps
The Ian Walker Sebring
DAC
MM
MM
MM
MM
Jack with SR rep
HAN9-R-238
Nice Healeys
MM
MM
MM
MM
Bonnets up!
Pat Harris and others head out on to the track
MM
MM
MM
MM
at Zandvoort

PHOTOS BELOW TAKEN AND KINDLY SUPPLIED BY ALBERT VOOGD

AV
AV
AV
AV
Stephen Bowen, myself (Martin Ingall) Claudya standing & my wife, Susan
Giving my presentation:
"A Bit of Detective Work"
Interviewing the man who drove the 'works' cars,
Clive Baker
Albert presents me with a cap and poster for my trouble - thank you.
AV
AV
PT YouTube
YouTube video
of the Spridgets
thrashing round the
Zandvoort circuit
With Steve at Zandvoort
JJO
[From Pete Taylor]

JOHN PHILLIPS' kindly sent in this selection of his photos from the Spridget Meet in Holland.

JP
JP
JP
Steve Coleman shows Jack
the TFR 7
Hans van de Kerkhof addresses the throng from the gallery
Clive imagines driving the TFR 7 in the 2015 Targa Florio?
JP
JP
JP
JP
Clive admires the SR replica
The cars gather again after the Saturday morning tour
JP
JP
JP
JP
Gary talks to Tom Coulthard
Peter Healey presents a trophy to Gary Lazarus
My interview with Clive Baker
Zandvoort paddock
 
DG
DG
DG
DG
Dick Groen took a whole gallery of photos at the Spridget Meet of which the 4 above are just a very few, so if you were there you may like to purchase a picture of you and your car in action. To view the gallery go to: Link

Healey Museum's Drone Video on YouTube

return to top