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Report 2015 edition

Englishman Philip John Bastow wins spectacular Eastern Europe Rally

The EER is a rally for offroad motorbike and quad lovers. Riding it is so fantastic, it makes you want to return to this off road paradise right away. The sunbathing Tatra mountains gave us a warm welcome and during the scrutineering people were already having a good time. Graaff Rally Support was busy in no time and before the start there was a lot of tinkering going on. Marco had a blast and was giving his colleague route marshal Hendri a hard time, “just buy a KTM”, he smiled.

A couple of participants had visited Auschwitz on the way up and also this subject was spoken through. The EER creates a bond already.

Emotions and common sense are part of rally sports and are more important than experience. Not speed but endurance, motor control, a good mood and correct navigation makes you a winner. Anton Crezee is an experienced man and arrives at TC2 with a ribbon of riders. “Wonderful riding and navigating” he smiles. Jaap Martens is a motor sportsman all over but this was his first rally and he properly followed Anton in the difficult navigation part. Also thanks to that he knew how to win the first special in the digital class. Philip did not participate in the EER for winning, but thanks to independent and perfect navigating, quickly taking obstacles and riding well, day 1 was already his.

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Wouter repairs the fuel tank of Henk, Jaap Martens looks for parts in his rally case, Martin de Geus asks Wilma for assistance and Wilma Olthof notes start- and finish times while checking who’s already in. Hilbert Baard arrives together with Robert van der Kolk and Anton poses for Gerjan so he can take a picture with his phone

Robert Weijers however was right behind him and was the winner on the sand trails on day 2. The three English participants weren’t really part of the ranking anymore and nobody was really taking them ino account. Hilbert Baard gets well through the special and is a happy man but an hour later he almost dies at the first climb with his colleague riders. Appartently the climb was hard to find, while the roadbook clearly shows ‘into qued’! Yet most riders refuse to enter the stream! “Great, nothing better than rally sports”. After the climb, Hilbert really looks unhappy but when you talked with him in the evening, he thought is was a fantastic day.

Hilbert and his two faces, a happy one at TC2 and completely broken after a climb. Nothing better than rally sports!

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Philip wins by far the third special across the mysterious mountain, “Wonderful, just like Wales” he smiles. Robert looses the wheel of his quad during this beauty of a special. Because of this the Belgian man Konraad Vantomme takes the second place. The ranking is completely open. In the digital class the always happy Twan de Rijke amazes everybody. That dude knows how to win almost everything. Jaap Martens of Enduro Club Drenthe and Bakery ‘t Aole Ambacht is a bit too careful to give Twan a really hard time, but manages besides a moment of victory, to be second constantly. The weather couldn’t be better as usual, just lovely with every now and then a thunderstorm which separates the men from the boys.

Rob Elsinga is always willing to help out and takes the third place with just one point difference with Konraad Vantomme, the hero!

At the last part of day 3 the thunderstorm causes a wrestling game on slippery hills. The game of waypoints gets started now, quitting by sweeper track is no option, no, just fight until 18.00 o’clock because after that time you’re obliged to follow the sweeper track. Enduro riders experience the day of their lifes. “Awesome!” and Marco finishes with a bright smile. Not too many feel like a hero when they finish. Team Father and Son are icing the cake. Dirkjan Franken has participated the EER a few times by motorbike. “The EER is much more fun than Dakar” is his opinion and “my wife should experience this also” said Dirkjan. No sooner said than done, the next year Dirkjan and his wife finished by quad. They had such a fantastic time that their eldest son got to join the year after. And this year it was Sam’s turn (just 12 years old) to participate in a Polaris side by side. Sam’s task was to navigate and he had followed all kinds of navigation trainings. Three weeks before the start father

Only real men can deal with the EER in a side by side. Dirkjan hits rock bottom during day 3 and passes out after finishing. Because he was seriously complaining about a painful shoulder due to the really tight safety belt, we immediately called 112 because it could be the signal of a heart attack. The emergency services arrived quickly, the monitor said ‘nothing wrong’. A bit later Dirkjan wakes up and starts smiling again when he sees his son Sam. Harry accompanied father and son in a very professional way but could not prevent the fact that Sam already posted a picture in their Whatsapp group. LOL, the phone just kept on ringing after this.

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In Romania you only meet nice people

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Graaff Support full service, without Wouter a lot of particpants would not have been able to finish

Rob Elsinga writes on Facebook: “We can call it a day, as far as riding is concerned. Now a good meal and later the briefing for day 4. The mysterious mountain was mainly real fuzzy, you could hit a cow easily and therefore had to be real careful. It was a lot of mud wrestling but above all that loads of fun! On long paths uphill and downhill and spurring the 690. The yellow clay was less fun, there I looked for the bypass, through the ‘spalatoire’ to make the stuff shine like new.”

Day four brought back the sun and it was a lovely ride through rough nature areas. The special called Lumberjack and Bears was fantastic. First an easy 100km ride through the woods. Unfortunately for some riders, their expectation that the special had ended at the sweeper point, was wrong. Next was the navigation part, clearly mentioned in the briefing and the road book. Leppink Adventure challenges make you loose at the fast parts and give you the opportunity to own the game in the navigation parts. Arie Eeftink passes the navigation part fully concentrated and didn’t even see Wouter who was at TC2. Nothing better than rally sports.

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Quad guys need to work hard all the time, father and son Franken even had to saw trunks. At the same time Robert Weijers experienced some hard times at his 2 wheel driven Raptor.

The unexperienced Ernst Soons wasn’t very lucky during his first rally, his WR was continuously harassing him and today he learned how to get dragged. This for a 240km by Marco, but the good part is that both gentlemen had a brilliant day. Hilbert Baard writes: Beautiful day with everything included, great moments like meeting 2 shepherds and their flock, the communication between us was not much more than nodding, a friendly smile and a thumb up, but stil… Today was full of skimping and finding the right track, but that takes you to fantastic places. In! After a terrific last 40km through the ravine/along the river, no hurries. Everybody’s in. Enough time for maintenance as we stay here for 2 nights. Hilbert always enjoys to the max, while Ernst and Marco had a first Dakar experience. 240km of dragging but they still enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.

At the day of rest the only thing that needed to be done was getting your stamp on a beauty of a mountain between 14.00-15.00 o’clock. At 14.50 o’clock only the three Englishmen have reached the top and they already think they won, but then they hear the muttering of a KTM690. “Too funny!” Wouter de Graaff comments, and there’s Rob Elsinga and at 14.59 o’clock also our Belgian friend knows how to reach the top. Three Englishmen, a Belgian and a KTM690 make it to the top. For the others a shameful moment, but there was another heroe: Hilbert Baard entered the rally to finish it and experienced lots of ‘zen’ moments: “it’s so fantastic over here” he said. Hilbert wanted to indulge his proud 690 and conquered the mountain by foot while making some great movies of the participants that had quite some trouble on a nice slope. The quad riders took the advice of Gerjan and followed a bypass and got stuck in the snow. Robert and Twan had a good ranking position. In the digital class no one got on top which kept Twan out of the danger zone. In the rally class number 1 and 2 were accessible to Robert. Besides, Robert would have gone on top crawling, lol. What a fabulous game with even more fabulous competitors, the EER connects!


Day 6 starts with 280km across mountain passes and beautiful villages. Maximal enjoyment. The final test throught the ‘scary wood’ is the referee as usual. When you don’t miss the two famous waypoints, you’re through the special in 45 minutes. But now it was raining cats and dog and it was like I programmed the weather. Our route marshals Wouter and Hendri rode the test correctly in 1 hour and 20 minutes. Philip, the number 1 in the ranking missed the waypoint and ends up in an impossible ravine. Number 1 digital class Twan had followed Phil, just awesome, both leaders 0 points. Robert takes advantage of this and takes in his two wheel driven quad to TC2 in no time.

Afterwards it is quiet, extremely quiet. Two hours later and there’s still no rider at Wouter’s. Luckily for him Robert stayed with him “Because you can feel real lonely in the scary woods”. The sweeper has to make a decision. Two men stuck in a ravine and Henk on track with a twisted knee. But darn, where’s the rest. Waiting any longer is no option and Marco and Gerjan meet eachother near the water well and carry on by quad together. Gerjan worries about everyone and makes a beginners mistake by rolling the quad in some kind of ravine. “Just like those slap stick movies” Marco smiles. “You know you’ll fall but it takes some more time”. The duo quickly put the quad back on track and laugh out loud afterwards. All lost sons were accompanying Henk with his twisted knee in the pouring rain. A convoy is made, Robert van der Kolk leads and Rob Elzinga is last along the sweeper track back to the hotel.

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what a thug. A navigation mistake was the cause of riding the last part by myself, but roaring on an asphalt mountain pass with beautiful views is also a party!

At this last day through the fabulous Slovakian forest hills, the wheel of Robert’s quad breaks off again. Riding by sweeper is no option, because he would have to give up his conquered second place and would just take 4th place. Twan drags Robert to a gas station where the wheel gets welded. The track is being finished and they are in before 15.00 o’clock. The final barbecue party was fantastic and we could all say goodbye to a fabulous week with beauties of tracks and beauties of people, always ready to help eachother out. Nothing better than the EER!

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little bridge does not scare Robert van der Kolk. Robert Vulders always a happy face on the road. Philip, Rob, Jaab and Hilbert cannot live without pizza!!!

Our daily reports with lots of pictures are on Twitter. https://twitter.com/GerjanLeppink

Wouter de Graaff deserves all credits, besides his fantastic role as route marshal he has solved an enormous amount of technical problems and scored a lot of parts in Targu Mures.

Dirk Jan and Sam Franken fought like lions and deserve the trofee ‘best team ever’!!!!

Philip John Bastow and Twan de Rijke were unbeatable in the EER 2015. “When I entered this rally the main objective was to finish. I would be quite happy with that. The thought of winning never entered my head. Now here I am on the top step of the podium. How the hell did that happen….

Many thanks to Leppink Adventure. Brilliant rally.


Winners of the Eastern Europe Rally 2015

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1 Philip John Bastow KTM 450 Six Days
2 Robert Weijers RAPTOR 700
3 Rob Elsinga KTM 690 Enduro

 Winners Eastern Europe Rally 2015 digital class

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1 Twan de Rijke Polaris XP 1000
2 Jaap Martens Husqvarna 450
3 Maarten Zijlmans Polaris XP 850


Results rally class
1 Philip John Bastow KTM 450 Six Days
2 Robert Weijers RAPTOR 700
3 Rob Elsinga KTM 690 Enduro
4 Konraad Vantomme KTM 450
5 Gerald Clapham KTM EXC 530
6 Michael Wolley Honda CRF 250
7 Robbert Vulders Husaberg
8 Dirk Jan Franken Polaris RZR 900
9 Sam Franken Polaris RZR 900
10 Hilbert Baard KTM 690 Enduro R
11 Robert van der Kolk Husqvarna TE310


Results digital class
1 Twan de Rijke Polaris XP 1000
2 Jaap Martens Husqvarna
3 Maarten Zijlmans Polaris XP 850
4 Anton Crezee Yamaha WR450
5 John Groote KTM 690
6 Martin de Geus WR450F
7 Arie Eeftink WR450F
8 Henk Slagter Husqvarna
9 Ernst Soons Yamaha WR400


1 Dirk Jan Franken Polaris RZR 900
2 Sam Franken Polaris RZR 900
3 Robert van der Kolk Husqvarna TE310
4 Robert Weijers RAPTOR 700
5 Martin de Geus WR450F 2004
6 Ernst Soons Yamaha WR400
7 Robbert Vulders Husaberg
8 Konraad Vantomme KTM 450
9 Twan de Rijke Polaris XP 1000
10 Maarten Zijlmans Polaris XP 850
11 John Groote KTM 690
12 Anton Crezee Yamaha WR450
13 Gerjan Leppink. WR450
14 Rob Elsinga KTM 690 Enduro
15 Hilbert Baard KTM 690 Enduro R
16 Jaap Martens MOTOR
17 Henk Slagter Motor
18 Michael Wolley Honda CRF 250
19 Gerald Clapham KTM EXC 530
20 Philip John Bastow KTM 450 Six Days
21 Hendri Dierkes Beta 350
22 Arie Eeftink WR450F
23 Harrie Olthof Iveco
24 Wouter de Graaff Honda CRF450x
25 Marco WR 450
26 Wilma Olthof Defender

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