The first ever ‘traveling’ classic car event in the
northern-most province of Thailand, the Chiang Rai Classic Car Weekend, took
place November 11-13th.
Model A, 1929, of Khun Santad, owner of Chiangmai News.
Hosted by Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz of Belgium
and Weerapong Boonklieng, the goal was to reunite old cars with ancient
cities and architecture in the Golden Triangle. Starting in Chiang Mai from
the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Resort, 16 classic cars, including a 1929
Ford Model ‘A’, drove up north, to meet six more Chiang Rai entrants and
attend a welcome ceremony.
The convoy then headed further north, reaching Mae Chan,
and finally Insii Thai House, the residence of Count Gerald and Weerapong
Booklieng. The classic car owners were later joined by nearly 80 more
guests, coming from as far as Singapore, to enjoy a traditional Thai dinner
at Insii Thai House.
During the dinner, prepared by The Legend Boutique River
Resort and Spa, traditional Northern Thai dances were performed by 36
dancers and musicians from Mae Chan.
“I can only say one thing about the party at the house:
it was magic!” said Count Gerald afterwards. Complimentary accommodation
was provided at a nearby resort for all car owners and VIP guests.
Srismith (owner of the Rolls-Royce from Chiang Rai), Count Gerald van der
Straten Ponthoz, and Miss Nacaskul, vice-president Thailand Elite.
After a continental breakfast around the swimming pool of
Insii Thai House, the next day was spent admiring the classic cars displayed
in the grounds. Visitors were given the opportunity to vote for their
favorite cars, and while the most impressive cars were certainly the 1929
Ford Model ‘A’ and the magnificent Rolls-Royce Corniche, the
“people’s favorite” was an immaculate red Morgan.
Red was also the color of Racing Team VDS, one of the
most successful private racing teams ever, created in Belgium in 1965 by
Count Rodolf van der Straten Ponthoz, grand-father of Count Gerald. A photo
exhibition of Racing Team VDS cars, which won numerous victories up until
1983, was exhibited in the grounds of the house.
Camp, Consul General of the United States in Chiang Mai, Philippe Damas,
Worldwide CEO of ING Private Banking (Singapore), and Count Gerald van der
Straten Ponthoz, with the classic cars in the background.
Noon was the time for the cars and their lucky owners to
leave Insii Thai House and drive further to the ancient city of Chiang Saen.
Lunch was offered by The Legend Boutique River Resort and Spa at the Chiang
Saen National Museum, and every owner was invited to the museum by its
director, Khun Pramot, for a guided visit.
The rest of the day was free, during which the cars
owners enjoyed the landscapes and monument of the Golden Triangle for some,
coffee stop along the Maekong for others or even a shopping trip to Maesai
for those who didn’t want to lose that opportunity.
Laothamatas and David Summers in front of his participating car.
On the evening of Saturday 12, every entrant arrived at
The Legend Boutique River Resort and Spa, where they checked into their
complimentary rooms just before dinner. A presentation dinner was given by
the resort, with musical entertainment by Chiang Mai resident Scott Jones.
While the whole event was hosted by Count Gerald,
sponsors and partners were to surprise the classic car owners even further.
Apart from great memories, presents were offered to each of them, such as
valuable golden Regnas presentation boxes, high quality Ovidias Belgian
chocolates, impressive ostrich eggs artistically decorated with New Zealand
shells, as well as a beautiful painting of the late Princess Mother. “It
was certainly not easy to organize this event from scratch but our efforts
were rewarded by success,” concluded Count Gerald. “Many friends and
partners were involved and the whole event will certainly lead to new