The National Association for Bikers with a Disability.
"You've been Nabbed - 11"
10th - 12th May. 2002.
Having spent the last week down South on the Dorset coast, I was quite looking forward to a run up North. ( Glutton for punishment, I am. ) York Dragway, just a few miles South at Melbourne. Should be easy enough to find, I thought. Wrong again. It seems to be a trend that drag strips are never sign posted. Apparently, last years NABD rally, at Santa Pod, suffered a great loss of signs due to some car club nicking 'em as souvenirs.
After a few stops, and a bit of map reading, I finally found York Dragway and booked into the rally. The approach road must have been over a mile long and had just about the worse surface I have ever rode on. I don't know about run what you brung, they could have advertised the approach road as a pre rally trials course. That road seemed to go on for ever, well, at a fast tickover in first gear what do you expect ?
At last I made it to the field and turned onto the grass - - Bloody Hell - it was even worse than the approach road. What seemed like a fairly level patch of grass was in fact a badly rutted, rock hard, corrugated excuse for a field. I managed less than thirty feet before I turned the whole plot around and set up camp there and then. Now if I can't manage to navigate this field with a trike and trailer, what chance would a wheelchair stand ? I hoped the disabled camping area was better than this. Kettle on - calm down with a nice cuppa, then take a wander around.
It didn't take long to find a few familiar faces, namely the members of Alien Nation, who I hadn't seen for a while. I sat around drinking and chatting for a time until I was suddenly overcome by the urge to eat. Plenty to chose from, so, going on past experience I opted for the chicken curry with the compulsory ( for me, anyway ) chips. Having purchased my next meal, I braved the "booby trapped" field and managed to get back to base camp without breaking an ankle.
Saturday, and I took a walk around the campsite just looking at the wide variety of machines that folks had arrived on. I noticed a couple of mini caravans, much more aerodynamic than my mobile "dog kennel", but just a little too small for my liking. Just to "swing the other way" there was also a huge car engined trike towing a conventional two berth caravan, which was painted in a rather fetching mat black. I bet that gets a tad warm in the Summer.
By now, the run what you brung drag racing was well under way, so I headed towards the drag strip. Now I don't know if Santa Pod had spoiled me, but I found the York Dragway to be a most uninspiring thing to say the least. Still - make the best of what's there, so I watched the fun and frolics for a while. The two Panther outfits that went head to head made me smile. Hmmm - I wonder just how quick my old BSA M21 outfit would have been ? By the time they were ready to run the Firestorm jet car I had already moved on, but it sounded just as awesome as ever.
Dinner time - anything involving food is always good in my books, so, I once again headed for the main arena in search of food. As I sat there scoffing away I couldn't help noticing the difficulty wheelchair users were having with those bloody awful ruts. I'm sure this was "The National Association for Bikers with a Disability." -"You've been Nabbed - 11" rally ( like what it says up there ^^^ ). Surely an association for disabled bikers would have planned either a flatter site, or some kind of temporary roadway. Just a thought, I do have 'em now and again you know.
I must say, I wasn't looking forward to towing the ol' dog kennel back down that approach road, but it had to be done.
Looking back at last years NABD 10th rally, I wasn't very impressed with either York Dragway or the disabled facilities at this years event.
To quote from last years report
This was the first NABD rally I'd been to, but it won't be the last. Everything about the weekend was "right" - the food, the beer, the weather, the people, the entertainment, the atmosphere - in short "Everything". A pity a few more of 'our lot' didn't make it, but I suppose the Isle of Wight the previous week had left 'em a little short. Having met some of the people, and having seen some of the conversions, NABD do a marvellous job of keeping bikers on the road. As the only registered charity dedicated to helping bikers they deserve all the help they can get.
I know NABD do a bloody marvellous job in helping disabled bikers get back on, and stay back on the road, but this years NABD 11th rally was a poor show, sorry lads, but I'm afraid that sums it up. If the NABD can't organize a rally with decent facilities for the disabled then what chance does a "normal" M.C.C. stand ?