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30th October 2015

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MC Indianos International Rally for Pre-1988 Motorcycles

First it was in Colombres, then it was in Santander, now it's in Colombres again. Roger Nicholls enjoyed the fourth running of this popular Spanish classic motorcycle rally...

What a splendid affair and this year accomplished without too much rain as temperatures reaching the giddy heights of 28 Celsius. A great tonic for the end of season's riding and visitors for us. Its a chance to meet up with many friends who wend their way down to the event in the Pecos Mountains of Northern Spain.

The event is in its fourth year now after a split from M/C Piston; the M/C Piston event grew too big for Colombres and moved back to its origins in Santander. We attended the event there when it first moved and enjoyed the proximity to beaches and shops - well my wife did; surprising how many handbags and shoes she can buy and fit into an aged pair of swagman saddle bags. I digress, the event was excellent but the getting in and out of Santander was not for me and apparently not for some of the original club. This led to a split and a return to Colombres, a very pretty little town situated between sea and mountain.

M/C Indianos International Rally for Pre-1988 Motorcycles

The first year of the return was 2012 and I learnt about it second hand from friends who were also a little disillusioned with the Santander move. We signed up and duly drove down from our home in Brittany with our Triumph T140 on the trailer, too far to ride the Bonnie and leave both me and the bike still in fit enough shape to ride the mountains.

I think there were about seventy of us that first year with something of a club atmosphere about the whole thing. Most were Spanish with a few Brits and a smattering of other nationalities taking part. It was a real gem of an event, hassle free and very relaxed, nothing more than the rides out and a meal and a few beers afterwards. That was the first year, now four years later it has returned to what it was when M/C Piston left.

M/C Indianos International Rally for Pre-1988 Motorcycles
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In just four short years it has grown from around seventy taking part to around 300. At least that is what I was told the attendance was this year. Whatever it was it did seem like a lot of bikes and people especially as the week end arrived and Spain had a bank holiday to boot. The square at Colombres was filled to capacity for the Hill Climb, music, bikes, food, drink, auto-jumble and that vital element, the sun. A winning combination.

A week of rides takes you all over the Pecos, an average of just over 100 miles a day but hardly a straight road to be had, so it's hard work especially two up! The first couple of days were damp to say the least but the worst of the rain held off for the night time leaving very wet leaf, chestnut and mud covered roads. There are also a lot of cows in them there mountains leaving a lot of cow poo on the roads and here is a question for you; why is it the cows manage to poo right in the middle and on the apex of the bends and always on the line you have decided to take? Cow grot is only second to diesel, but at least you can see it. Sometimes there are too many bikes on the runs and sometimes there are those that feel they have something to prove and will insist on passing when passing would not be advised; vigilance and mirror watching can become a strain.

M/C Indianos International Rally for Pre-1988 Motorcycles

Partially because of this, we and a few like minded friends took ourselves off on quieter less stressful runs, one of them being along the coast from San Vicente de la Baquera, through Comillas where Gaudi was commissioned to build a house to the beautiful old town of Santillana del Mar. Here the cobbled streets played hell with my arthritic foot but my dear wife, bereft of the proximity of the shoe and handbag shops of Santander, found solace amidst the offerings of the town's purveyors of fine wares including a beautiful little silk shop where the ties and scarves, paintings and shawls are all on hand-painted silk of exceptionally quality.

M/C Indianos International Rally for Pre-1988 Motorcycles

Shoes forgotten and me forgiven (for not going to Santander) she proceeded to buy the shop. Silk objects do not take up much room in the aged swagman bags nor are they too heavy. We filled the shop with bikers, all of us chaps had ladies on the pillions and it is wise to do a little shopping every now and then to keep everyone happy.

M/C Indianos International Rally for Pre-1988 Motorcycles

So a few days out on the organised runs staring death and destruction in the face - generally a herd of cows also staring and scaring - and a few days out on not so organised runs made for a truly great event. This year was marred by a few accidents resulting in a number of broken limbs, bumped heads and bruises. Fortunately nothing too serious - as if a broken leg is not serious - hey ho, could be worse. The week seemed to go by so quickly and it was time to say goodbye again and put the old Enfield and Triumph back on the trailer and start on the 1,200km trip back to Brittany.

Only when home and looking at the pictures and remembering who you had seen and what had happened can you begin to appreciate just what it was that had taken place. Many thanks to all those that organised the event; my only hope is that it does not become a victim of its own success and lose its own unique identity.

M/C Indianos International Rally for Pre-1988 Motorcycles

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