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A small but enthusiastic group of Citroën owners met at the Upper Canada Campgrounds for the 15th annual gathering of the Ottawa Citroën Club.  The event was organized by Christian and Fabienne T, on the weekend of August 22-24 2014.

Eventually, we had 18 Citroëns, from the Ottawa area, Montrèal, Toronto, and New Hampshire.  Notable among the 2CVs were: Claude F with his newly arrived 1966 AZAM “dans son jus” (as the French say); Jonathan and Jeannie from Montréal with their resto-mod 2CV that started life as a Belgian model; Bruce G with his rare Canadian-model 1968 2CV; Paul and Lorraine R with “la Méhari Éternelle” (they are among our most loyal attendees, making at least an 8-hour drive each year to join us); and then Jaro D, Cor B, Fabienne T, Isabelle R, and Bob McL with their various 2CV6s.

The DS was represented by Michel L, Christian T, and Ian C.  There were a;most as many SMs as DSs, with first-timer Michael M from Montréal and Ottawa-based Werner S with the SM he has owned from new.  Sam H brought his US-model CX2500 GTi. and Mike A brought an XM (Mike also brought a Citroën C-25 “dépanneuse” tow truck wearing a Peugeot grill, very unusual for being diesel powered and front-wheel drive).  Finally, George D arrived from Toronto aboard his majestic and immaculate 1954 Traction Avant 15/6 (this car, it must be said, stole the show, if there was a show to be stolen!).

On Saturday afternoon, Bob McL presented the latest edition of his trademark Citroën Games.  The games always are a combination of precision driving and nerve-wracking demonstrations of manual dexterity.  This time around, competitors faced the first ever Citroën Pentathalon.  Teams of two (driver and co-driver) had to run a tight slalom course three separate times.  Betweeen each lap, the co-drivers had to complete one of two skills tests: first, rolling an egg down a 2CV heater tube into a wine glass; then trying to drop 2CV seat spring rubbers over the neck of a wine bottle.  Successes in the skills test were translated into time reductions from their lap times.

Twelve different teams participated, in twelve different cars (truly excellent participation!).  There were many spectacular runs, but among the highlights were: Jaro setting unofficial fastest time of day for the driving portion; Sam H performing the first-ever pit stop in the Citroën Games (to top up his LHM); the DSs proving once again that their maneuverability is second to none; and finally George in the Traction Avant proving that big old cars can boogie with the best of them.

After completing one full set of runs, Bob, Christian and Fabienne conducted a track inspection.  Unfortunately a week of heavy rain had softened the grass in the show field, and after some discussions, we decided to stop the Games early, to prevent any permanent damage to the campgrounds.

Once all the advanced mathematics were done (lap times, cone penalties, and skill bonuses) the results were amazing:  the top three teams were separated by a total of 0.4 seconds over their 3 minute runs!

Awards were presented after dinner, but here are the results:

  1. Fabienne and Christian T      2CV6             3:02.0   (including 15 seconds of bonus)
  2. Jaro D and Paul R                   2CV6              3:02.2   (no bonus)
  3. Bruce G and Ian C                   2CV 425        3:02.4   (including 20 seconds of bonus)

Two special awards were also handed out:

  • Jaro D, who received Fastest Lap of the day
  • George D,  who received the Neil Bryson Memorial Spirit of the Games Award

(Full results are here: GamesResults)

After the games, it was social time.  One topic of conversation was the Ottawa Citroën Club T-shirt.  Without telling anyone, Michel L had arranged with a local supplier to produce custom embroidered T-shirts, in gorgeous red, with the classic Citroën double chevron logo (that logo is now obsolete in the modern Citroën world, but is much loved on the vintage side).  Sales were brisk, and soon many of the participants at the event were sporting their new look.  Michel has a few shirts left, so be sure to ask him at the next club event.

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Our catered dinner arrived right on schedule, and soon the buffet line formed.  In no time, we were were sitting down to an excellent and much appreciated meal.  As mentioned, awards were presented after dinner, as well as draws for door prizes. Of special note was that we also celebrated an 80th birthday, for Cor B.

As the sun set, a campfire was lit, and people drifted toward the warm glow in the darkness.  Some participants headed home on Saturday night, while others camped on site, or stayed at local motels.  Those who stayed over were treated to a French-style breakfast on Sunday morning, before eventually hitting the road home.

On behalf of everyone who was present, we send our thanks to Christian and Fabienne for organizing this excellent event.  See you again next year.

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