Steel Horse Rally

More than 2000 rallyists invade the medieval city of Bruges

I have already said almost everything, through previous articles, about the well-known Flemish meeting 'Orde Van Het Stalen Ros' (Order of the Steel Horse).

A well known rally in the late 60s and 70s, created in 1968 on the initiative of Jean and Magda Blanckaert, and taking place every year in September, in the medieval city of Brugge, Belgium. The chivalrous ceremonial of this gathering was not encountered anywhere else.

Steel Horse 1972 - Waves of steel and leather submerge Bruges' Belfry Square

Flags and oriflammes (banners), brass bands and boy scouts...

A highly renowned international event which, like all other rallies of a religious nature, was perhaps not to everyone's taste.

Steel Horse 1972 - Happy rallyists heading for the Belfry tower

Some perceived it a bit too pompous, solemn and ostentatious for their tastes, with its carefully arranged procession heading for the Belfry tower, its induction ceremony of the Knights of the Order, its mass, its speeches, its flags and banners, its brass bands and its boy scouts...

Steel Horse 1972 - A splendid hybrid Norvin outfit piloted by a British member of the Vincent Owners Club

Nevertheless, the comfortable and high quality campsite located on the shores of Lake Loppem, with beer bars nearby and the incomparable atmosphere that reigned on Saturday evening under the huge circus tent, were undoubtedly significant assets in the international reputation that the Steel Horse rally built.

Steel Horse 1972 - A do-it-yourself hybrid machine with a Volkswagen engine

Irreproachable organization despite an influx of participants

Since the very first meeting in 1968, the number of participants over the years had grown, attracting an increasingly large international community. The largest number of registrants at the 1972 meeting was more than 2000 attending rallyists.

Steel Horse 1972 - More than 2000 rallyists took part

Despite faultless organization, with such a flood of participants to manage, Jean and Magda Blanckaert concluded that the management of the event for the coming years would become an impossible challenge.

Steel Horse 1972 - The campsite on the shores of Lake Loppem

To resolve this problem, from 1973, participants were limited by a much lower number of registrations.

Steel Horse 1972 - The whole family on a solo machine

- Jean-Francois Helias