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39-year wait finally over for rally veteran Russell Brookes

On Saturday 13 May, more than 600 people attended the prestigious Grandhotel Huis ter Duin at Noordwijk to witness this year’s Tulpenrallye awards ceremony.

The 2017 winners from four categories – expert, sporting, touring and vintage – were each presented with their trophies before special guest Russell Brookes was invited to take the stage by Dutch journalist and broadcaster Bas van Werven.

The story of Russell’s 1978 Tulpenrallye victory was then retold to the audience, including the part about him not receiving the famous silver tulip accolade. Instead, he and Peter Bryant each received a bunch of tulips after sponsor cuts led to the traditional award being scrapped.

Russell and Peter had to be content with a floral replacement in 1978

Thankfully, as explained last week, the event organisers were made aware of Russell’s plight and sought to rectify the issue by presenting him with a proper trophy almost forty years later!

Russell and Peter were both sat at the round table alongside the general manager of Andrews Sykes in the Netherlands and the owner of old Ford Escort RS 1800 that was driven to victory at the time.

Two special memorial shields had been fitted onto the car following the 1978 rally, and it was spontaneously decided that these could be removed and signed by Russell before being auctioned off for TV personality Linda de Mol’s charity.

Russell Brookes with his Silver Tulip trophy

This gesture, combined with an organised lottery, saw more than €30,000 being raised for impoverished families in the country. In fact, one of the shields was actually won by a company director who put in a generous bid to ensure Andrews Sykes would have a permanent memento of Russell’s extraordinary achievements.

Naturally, we are very proud of Andrews Heat for Hire’s 17-year sponsorship with a motorsport icon and are delighted that Russell enjoyed collecting his prize almost 40 decades after the event!

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