18th August 2014
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International West Kent Run 2014
Dave Blanchard enjoyed an extended five-day weekend with the VMCC, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the International West Kent Run...
The 30th anniversary of the International West Kent Run was blessed with sunshine for the whole week, with just a threat of a shower on the Saturday 100 mile run. This made the event even more enjoyable because motorcycle enthusiasts just love fine weather riding, whenever they can get it. For those eager riders the road miles commenced on the Thursday. This is an evening run which finishes at the 12th Century Friary near Maidstone in Kent. The Friars is home for the Carmelite Monks and has hosted this event for the last 12 years. At the finish of this year's Thursday run, an industrial-sized barbeque awaited hoards of hungry riders.
Enthusiasm and appetites whetted, the Friday run got under way with a buffet that evening at the VMCC President's reception. This was followed by a live band and plenty of dancing. The well-stocked bar and flowing alcohol decreased everyone's inhibitions considerably!
The very late Friday night finish to the festivities did not stop the entrants from assembling quite early for the Saturday 100 mile run through the Kent and Sussex countryside. Bikes were under way (usually oldest first) by 9am heading for the coffee stop and then lunch.
Mention must be made of the late Alan Abrahams who lost his battle with cancer this year. He was one of the founder members of this successful event. Alan's son James was first man away on one of Alan's old bikes; a two-stroke James, no less. Alison, Alan's wife accompanied young James on her old Honda. Many motorcyclists have benefitted from Alan's passion for organising motorcycling events. His spirit and memory will always be associated with many things about motorcycling and of course the IWKR.
The 100 mile run went well except for the seven broken down bikes in the recovery lorry. There were another six left on the route, but thankfully they were able to use their own personal recovery system. Perhaps we will hire a juggernaut next year? The comfortable 17 seater minibus took the riders and passengers back to the Friars. They soon cheered up as life stories, vicar jokes and old time singing took precedence and made them forget about their broken down bikes and the looming problems of repairing them.
The Sunday Show which incorporates a gymkhana, avenue of clubs and bikejumble was open to the public. Most of the gate money goes to 'Heart of Kent Hospice', the club's chosen charity for this year. The new aerial displays of mountain bike riding provided a different type of entertainment. The balance and control these lads have has to seen to be believed, and these displays went down very well with the spectators.
The autojumble is always an important part of a bike show and many enthusiasts could be seen eagerly slimming their wallets when purchasing that vital part for their current rebuild. The motorcycle gymkhana was entertaining and good fun for spectators and participants alike. Many riders wanted to show their skills and have a go. There were points penalties for not completing each task. The complete course was also a regularity type of event, with both attempts needing to be done in exactly the same time, or as near as possible.Nick Pearce's 1915 Indian 'Little Twin' deservedly won the Best in Show award. The frame broke just one month before the event. Nick had it stripped, repaired and painted in time to take part
At around 3pm on the sunny Sunday afternoon, the awards were presented for those lavishly restored motorcycles that we all would love to own. Dennis Bates commentated and Tim Penn the VMCC president dished out the awards. Great stuff all round!
After all these activities and the prize-giving you might think that the IWKR could draw to a close. But no! Monday morning brings another social run to gently ease down the participants, ready for their journey home.
Another successful IWKR has passed and the 30th celebrations were as good if not better than other years. How can the West Kent Section keep improving on perfection? Riders were heard to say that if any other event ever clashed with the IWKR dates then the IWKR would win without a shadow of doubt! It is these comments that make it all worthwhile. So thank you to everyone who came to the 30th celebration of the International West Kent Run Weekend. We hope to see you all next year…
For details of next year's event, see www.iwkr.co.uk
2014 IWKR Prize Winners
Photos by Carole Green and Rob Smith
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