15th - 16th - 17th June. 2001.
The grand plan was to set off early Friday afternoon, in order to try and grab a flat piece of ground up at the Shady Oak. Having been to the 'Shady a few times before, I knew what shape the field was. As per normal, all plans went askew. A miserable headache coupled with torrential rain put paid to the early start idea, so, not to be outdone, I set off on Saturday afternoon. The Big Red Ugly Bike was all loaded up, and I had climbed into my waterproofs, which is a sure way to make sure that it doesn't rain, and, true to form, after the first few miles of motorway the rain stopped.
The field hadn't
changed - still sort of a "up hill - down dale"
affair. The machine used to cut the grass had left
vicious spikes sticking up, which could quite easily rip the
ground sheet of a tent if you weren't careful. Good
job I was careful then ! The rest of the 'Shiners were
already there and happily cooking tea, so not wanting to feel
left out, I promptly cooked mine. Life always seems better
with a full stomach.
Now I know the Principles lay on free tea and coffee, but when you spot one of their members with a 12 ton pipe bender and a load of handlebar sized stainless tube you begin to wonder where they draw the line.
Back up the top end of the field, those that had eaten were
about to do the washing up. Now when you have a Gold Wing
and trailer, you simply use the kitchen sink and get on with
it. Yep - Gilly and Joy have found out that 'Wings and
trailers mean you can take most things camping - including the
kitchen sink. All I can say, albeit sadly, "Been there
- done that. You want to try sidecars and trailers - even
more junk can be carried."
Feeding and washing up completed, folks headed for the pub. I noticed a lot more people ordering food this year - looks like the lesson about overpricing had been learned. ( Take a nose at last year's rally report HERE to see what I mean )
Like all good ralliests we bought raffle tickets. The Principles, just to be awkward, had one book of "green" tickets, and one book of "blue" tickets. The colour difference was hardly noticeable, especially in 'pub lighting' conditions. Of course, the ticket sold immediately after mine came out. " Oh bugger." A few minutes later and the ticket sold immediately before mine came out. " Oh bugger." Then my number came out - - on the bloody wrong coloured ticket. " OH BUGGER." Would you believe it - my number did eventually get drawn out and I'm now the proud owner of a 'mirror on a stick', amongst other useful things. Thanks Principles - most useful indeed.
Before the raffle, came the awards. I had a feeling we
just might take a few back with us here. Obviously the long
distance male & female weren't going to any of our lot seeing
as we only came 65 miles or so - but having said that, I once
remembered a long distance female award going to someone who had
travelled 8 miles.
"Young" Mark had won the 'youngest ralliest' award for the last three years, but this year Zoe beat him to it. Just to add insult to injury, she also won the 'grot bike' award.
First two awards to the Moonshiners.
The award for 'oldest ralliest' went to Gordon the 'Weasel master', whilst the award for best bike went to Kev Corbett for his Suzuki 800 Intruder.
Another two awards to the Moonshiners.
The 'club turnout' also fell victim to the Moonshiners.
"The best, the worst, the oldest, the youngest, and the most."
Just about sums the 'Shiners up.
Sunday morning, and the rain wasn't exactly sure if it was rain or not. Most of the 'Shiners weren't exactly sure if they were alive or not. Such is the perils of drink.
awoke to find that during the night he had given birth to dozens
of brightly coloured rubber aliens. Most strange !
There were tales of someone wearing a woolly hat and singing the words "Hello - hello again" going around collecting balloons, three at a time, and 'shepherding' them into Roy's tent - - don't know how true that is though.
Still - these weird things happen, it's just that they seem to happen more to us than to anyone else, but, that's life.
All in all, another good weekend. The weather could have been better, but then again, it could have been a lot worse.
To all the lads and lasses of the Principle Rally Club - Thanks for organising yet another great rally - no doubt we'll catch you around somewhere.