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  • Writer's pictureAngela Louie and Allan de la Plante

That Fateful Day in Zolder

We weren’t planning to go to Zolder but Rob in Zolder reached out to Allan. Rob had acquired one of Allan’s images to use in conjunction with a poem on Gilles that had been lost for some 40 years.

As they communicated more on Zolder, Rob said that his parents would like to host us for dinner at their home. They also said we could park our RV in their driveway and hook up our electricity. We were touched by their generosity and hospitality. This was the ultimate blind date! Not only were we going to meet with Rob for the first time but we were also going to meet his parents, his wife and his child!

Rob also offered to be our guide for Allan’s return to Zolder. There was a truck race being held there that weekend. It had been 40 years since Allan had been to Zolder. We were bracing for an emotional day. As fate would have it, Rob’s father, Theo, a retired fire fighter, was a former marshal at Zolder. He was one of the men who held the blind around Gilles to shield him from the prying eyes and cameras as they worked on him. Allan felt he was a man he could trust with his Zolder experience.

When we were at the site, Allan met another marshal who had first-hand experience with the crash. He was one of the first to get to Gilles lying in the catch fence. He was also a retired fire fighter who now ran a museum on racing.

The stars aligned to give Allan the support to say good-bye to a dear friend.

Allan then did what he does best…he shot the action on the track.

While at dinner the subject of Passendale came up. We were thinking of visiting as we had a few open days and it was close by. Rob’s mother Carina produced a video clip of ‘The Last Post’ that happened every night in Ypres. That settled it. The next day would be a Remembrance Day.

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Oct 23, 2022

Beautiful picture that tells it all. Thank you Allan and all of you.

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