The European Bug-In 5 (#EBI5) was held on June 28-30, 2013 in Chimay, Belgium.
The fully restored original Inch Pincher III as well as the brand newly built Moonbug were invited "guests" to the event and shipped all the way from Japan. The three of us, Wildman, Kijimoto-san and I, had the pleasure of attending the event and here are some of the photos from the trip.
We flew into Paris (CDG) Airport and grabbed a car rental. It was raining and very cool outside. It was very early, about 6AM when we got the car. We were about 30km away from "Paris, Paris" like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. After figuring out how to "CONFIG" the navigation language to English (No Japanese), we plugged in the Eiffel Tower and then followed the navigation guidance.
After seeing the Eiffel Tower, driving the Arc de Triomphe round-about (rotary) several times for the experience and eating a cafe, we made our way for Chimay, Belgium (about 3 hours drive).
We stopped for lunch just as we entered Belgium then found our way to Chimay Circuit where we met up with Freddy at the registration booth.
We then headed for the main tower where Kobus was already very busy with setup and was just about to get the Moonbug and Inch Pincher III from the warehouse. We also ran into Mike. The three of them (Freddy, Kobus and Mike) are the event organizers and did an outstanding job again this year. There were 3,000 campers registered, hundreds of show and race cars plus tons of swap meet vendors and dealers. Although Thursday was a setup day, things were just getting started and most vendors would be showing up tomorrow morning so we decided to look around.
There were so many VW Type-2 (buses) which a lot were used for camping. So cool! The race cars were lined up too.
We walked up to the drag strip. It's part of the circuit straight-a-way. There were more race cars parked there too.
Then we saw the trailers hauling the Moonbug and Inch Pincher III. This would be our tent/booth for the weekend.
Nao-san from Flat4 was not here yet so we setup what we could and decided to check into our hotel and eat dinner.
We walked around the small town of Chimay. Just love European architecture. Just on the perimeter of the town center is the only Chinese restaurant (that we found) and decided to eat here. Of course, not without some Chimay beer! This blue label beer is 9%.
MOONEYES & FLAT4 BOOTH/TENT - EUROPEAN BUG-IN 5 - Chimay, Belgium
In the morning, Obata-san arrived. He owns and drives a crazy-fast turbo-charged Moonbug IV. We was on-hand to make sure the Moonbug's maiden run on the strip would be a success - well, the engine at least. The driving would be up to Kijimoto-san.
Nao-san from Flat4 showed up in the morning too. He brought racing gas so we filled up both cars. After than Obata-san and Kijimoto-san went through the basics of operation getting familiar with the Moonbug, then started it up for the first time. (view it here)
The restored original Inch Pincher III owned and brought over from Flat4 (Tokyo, Japan).
Nao-san would be driving this machine! During the restoration process, Wildman assisted by pinstriping and lettering the entire car!
In the rear intake vent, the original signature of the original pinstriper still remains as a salute.
By midday, it was still very cloudy but many cars were coming in.
The official OPEN TIME for today (7/28) was 2PM. Next to our tent was the official EBI tent and a line formed around ours as people waited to get their event goods! They closed after two-three hours. After that, our tent really got busy with lookers. Wildman had some work too. Pierre Otto from Otto Bros. let us borrow a battery charger so Wildman lettered his helmet as a thank you. He was very happy. Pierre drives a VW dragster and lights the tires on fire for fun!
Friday night ended earlier than expected possibly because of the weather but we went back to our hotel, then ate dinner at a place in town called CASINO. It's a restaurant witha casino theme where under the glass tables are chips and cards. The menu was only in French! We had spaghetti. Oh yes, and that blue label Chimay Beer. It's so smooth! Highly recommended!
The rain came overnight and slightly in the morning. If it stayed like this, there could be no races at all. The line outside was for the EBI booth but there were a lot of visitors on Saturday (7/29). Everyone wanted Wildman's autograph! We had a special visit from two VW legends, Lonnie Reed & Dyno Don Chamberlin. Although Lonnie Reed has be in a different line of business, this event has given him the bug again and plans to build "something" soon. Looking forward to that!
CoolFlo from the UK built this buggy as well as the Bay Window camper.
To reduce the amount of mud, event staff brought in hay. It make a huge difference.
Classic Store from France built this amazing prototype (kit) car.
Wildman was busy all day but it was time for lunch! So we headed over to the VIP tent and met up with the others. As we passed the drag strip, they were about to heat it up to speed up the drying. Look! Wildman getting a taste of Chimay Beer!
Suddenly, I heard a noise and thought it was the heating machine but no, it was a helicopter!
I was told the helicopter would only be around for a few hours so I needed to go soon. Rather than wait until after I ate, I decided to go before. After all, I didn't want to lose my lunch while in the air... it was my first time riding a helicopter and lucky for me, it was the pilot's first day on the job too. We went up to about 900 feet. I asked him to go higher and we sure did! I could see the entire event area. It was awesome! We passed over the VIP tent. I could see Mooneyes yellow! LQQK! You can see them waving!
After the helicopter ride, we headed back to the VIP tent to have a late lunch. Lunch was a served which featured sausage, ham, potatoes and veggies. It was very good. I could eat this every day. Oh, at topped with a glass of Chimay beer of course. Chimay Bleu please. The day was actually getting better even though it was technically about 4PM! After we ate, we stopped back over at the tent where Wildman continued where he left off pinstriping and signing autographs. Kobus popped in too. He explained that it was possible to run today as the track was finally dry but being the end of the day, it was probably best to wait until the morning. So we relaxed a bit. We could hear the helicopter overhead so Kijimoto-san decided since we weren't going to race, he'd jump on for a ride. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as he left, Nao-san came rushing into our tent.
"Let's Go!" Nao-san said. "We need to push the cars out now." He continued.
Turned out that the race was on! They were going to make a few passes. Only one lane was open and for just a 200m length.
We pushed the cars out of the tent while Wildman went to get Kijimoto-san.
Living Legends in VW racing: Ron Fleming driving the Under Dog. Schley Bros. Paul Schley behind the wheel of the Lightning Bug. Mark and Paul brought the Lightning Bug to Yokohama last December and that kick started their world tour.
Ron Fleming is a Der Kleiner Panzers VW Club in Southern California and is credited as the originator of the Cal Look VW.
While the Lightning Bug got things going by making the first pass, Kijimoto-san in the Moonbug got strapped in.
The MOONBUG 1st pass ever! 200m pass June 28, 2013 in Chimay, Belgium.
In the lineup was the Inch Pincher III driven by Nao-san of Flat4.
Dyno Don doing his, "BA-BA-BA-BA, BA-BAAAA!" (in high C) The crowd loved it. At one point, he turned towards the camera and did his famous bowing gesture while saying, "MOONEYES!" Such an awesome person and worked non-stop.
Chimay Circuit is a race track so there is no return road. All the cars make a pass, then wait at the opposite end until the session is over and return as a group. Using only one lane, took a little longer but the crowd and drivers were thrilled just to race.
After Kijimoto-san returned, Obata-san checked things out, did some fine tuning and got the Moonbug back in the lineup for another pass. Assuming it would take another 30 mintues, I went ot check out the cars in the show area.
Once I made my way back up to the drag strip, Kijimoto-san had made a third pass. We waited until all the cars were done on last time and parked the Moonbug next to the Lightning Bug tent.
What a great way to end the day! The Moonbug made three passes, got some time clocked. The motor sounds and runs strong. The car drives straight as an arrow. I think it has a lot of potential.
The next morning, the skies were still very cloudy.
We walked the entire grounds looking for a Mooneyes Pick. One that we really liked was this Type-1 with Speed Master Wheels. Very nice. The owner commissioned Wildman to paint the panel that covers the wires behind the dash.
On my way back to the Mooneyes tent, I couldn't help but stop for a visit of the off-road section. I could "play" here all day!
I gave them a Mooneyes sticker and they immediately put it on. Then proceeded to show me a lil'action! Thank you!
When I got back to the tent, they were preparing to race so I headed to the drag strip. Obata-san was going to run! I think he made a great pass but there was one problem. We didn't know they opened the lane up to 400m!
While the drag races continued, Wildman was busy working. I watched the races for a bit then made my way around the show cars again.
Shot with the panorama option of the iPhone 5 overlooking some of the show car area.
This panorama view shows the pit area for the race cars and in the background in one section of the camping area.
The weather started to clear up in the afternoon.
More photos of the event grounds. I finally made my way back to the Mooneyes tent where Wildman was still working!
Just before the Moonbug was to make another pass, the car before leaked oil. A good time for pictures!
One final pass by the Moonbug!
And one final pass by the Inch Pincher III.
Drag races last round:
This buggy from Classic Store got the wheels up real good!
Kijimoto-san snapped a few photos from the far end of the drag strip where they had to wait for the session to end.
Once the Moonbug returned, it was time for the awards and a lot of autographs!
Some of the award cars. The final red Ghia received the biggest trophy of all!
MOONEYES PICK AWARD!
We chose this super fine 1966 VW Type 2. It was so clean, just perfect! Congratulations!
Lightning Bug & Crew. Dyno Don also made a great speech.
Final shots. The Inch Pincher III & Moonbug plus one shot with Kijimoto-san & Moonbug.
The event grounds after most vendors left.
After the awards were finished, the event was over. We headed to the hotel and then made our way to the after dinner party.
We posed with the Directeur of Chimay Beer, Jean Yernaux. Dinner was roasted pig. Delicious!
At the dinner party, Freddy made a speech thanking everyone, Wildman signed more autographs and we all drank beer!
It gets dark at about 11PM. We left around 10PM as we had to leave early in the morning the following day. Below are some photos from our drive back to Paris.
The town of Chimay is quiet in the morning. The mist/fog sets the mood for a classic European drive although it cleared up. At one point, the speed limit was 130km/h. We made it back to Paris in no time.
I hope you enjoyed viewing the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. Thank you very much for view my report.
European Bug-In is held every other year in Chimay, Belgium. It is an experience worth doing! Next year at this location will be the European Hot Rod Show! If you get a chance, make your way to Chimay, Belgium!