La Grande Savanne 2015

La Grande Savanne French Syncro club meet

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This was based within Parc Naturel Régional de Normandie-Maine..being Les Alpes Mancelles just North of Le Mans and West of Alencon.
A few of us (3 vans) joined the Syncro Club de France for their Ascension weekend meet in May. Clive & Jenny, Simon (TMT) & Rob (DutchDude).

Leisurely drive down over two days with Simon, meeting Rob at an Aire in a lovely town near Rouen – which happened to be hosting a vintage car rally that weekend.


An off-road site in the middle of a nature reserve. Simon and myself took it on ourselves to do a bit of induction on some very steep tracks – this apparently not being a part of the French Club’s normal purview – we saw it as pretty important after one or two eyebrow raisers.

Lots of driving activities, several set up by Simon. German trial, punch hunt, Syncro Quiz, Cooking in or out of a campervan etc.
Overall Winner – Simon TMT being received gracefully by all – their normal prize being a refund of the entry fee. Great idea!
Some superb dishes done on the fly (30 minutes allowed)… very impressed esp. the presentations; some offerings were 90% art and 10% cuisine 

Owner of the 50 hectare site was Gerard Depardieu (no it wasn’t but his name was Gerard) a doctor, very experienced driver and someone who’d ridden the Paris Dakkar 16 times and held a unique motorcycle record (30 hours in the saddle at race speeds).. Not a bad vehicle collection either… including a classic PD Rallye Support Toyota and a Pinzgauer ambulance (for sale)

True to say the highlight was a Moroccan meal in a real Bedouin tent, Gerard and his wife being well seasoned travellers of N. Afreeka. Accompanied by music from the talented Jaquee.





In the normal thorough fashion ‘Road Books’ of approved local lanes for everyone to drive when and as they wished had been produced. We did a Sat pm trip with Rob – found a nice café with great views over the winding kayak riven river in a small town en-route…couldn’t believe it when we noticed a Belgian beer shop was part of the attraction – well stocked too-until we left!

Final day after packing away.. all of us met up for a communal lunch in a town centre car park – overlooked by a castle – before departing French picnic anywhere you like style.. fantastic.. great weather too.


NB. We made some interesting new French friends, several being quite a bit younger than usual for French Syncro Club which was good to see happening.