19th July 2010
Various RC riders who took part in this summer's National Rally noticed a team of Enfield Bullets, blazing a trail between check points. That happy band were on their way to winning gold awards...
Last year a three bike team from Hitchcock's Motorcycles entered the ACU National Rally. The Royal Enfield Bullets proved their legendary reliability, covering a total of over 1500 miles to gain three gold awards. This year Hitchcock's raised the stakes. Aiming to improve on last year's success, Hitchcock's entered a six rider team for the demanding annual endurance event. The Rally offers bronze, silver or gold awards for finishers, depending on the total miles completed. The Hitchcock's team and their six Royal Enfield Bullets set themselves the target of six gold awards! The riders were Allan Hitchcock, Claire and Wayne, Mark, Kevin and Richard.
Starting at 2pm on Saturday, the riders faced 20 hours on the road. To win gold awards each rider must complete at least 500 miles in the time allowed. Progress is monitored by manned check points scattered all over England, the riders plotting their own routes. The route the Hitchcock's team planned began in Stratford upon Avon and took in 19 check points before the finish, at the MIRA test centre near Nuneaton.
In an age of super, large capacity, fully equipped grand tourers easily able to circumnavigate the globe in under 80 days it may be wondered what is the point of the National Rally. Historically these rallies were endurance events, opportunities to test motorcycles in arduous road conditions. That was Hitchcock's intention this year.
And if you think that riding 500 miles in 20 hours is somehow 'easy', then just go and try it on a modern, 1000cc or so multi-cylindered machine. Then restrict yourself to one cylinder of half that capacity, and navigate yourself from between check points set 20 to 40 miles apart, often tucked away in tricky locations. Several members of the RC Crew are old hands at the National Rally (FrankW completes one of the easier routes most years, on his unmentionable Hinckley Tiger), and we know very well how hard it can be to clock up the requisite miles in the time allowed.The happy, smiling team at Stratford upon Avon just before the start of the Rally.
The team of six Bullets was made up of three EFi models, a Sixty-5 Bullet, Hitchcock's 612 and a 500 Bullet fitted with Hitchcock's rigid frame conversion. The latter also sported a Hitchcock's Amal Pre-Monobloc conversion kit.500 Bullet fitted with Hitchcock's rigid frame conversion
One EFi was fitted with a prototype Hitchcock's big bore 535 engine conversion, and two had modified exhausts and development Dyno-Jet Power Commander ECUs. One engine was also fitted with experimental cams.
The 612 Café Racer had been ridden in 2004 from Land's End to John O'Groat's in under 24 hours and last year achieved a gold award in the 2009 ACU Rally.
Preparation of the bikes was minimal: the machines, either works 'hacks' or rolled out of the show room, were given a quick 'once-over' and topped-up with fuel. Hitchcock's had a lot to prove!
The team planned a route that meandered through the beautiful Cotswold open roads and villages before tackling the undulating, picturesque but challenging terrain of the south Shropshire hills.As evening sets in the machines and riders take a short rest at Worcester, one of the 19 check points the team visited.
Fifteen English counties were visited. At every check point the team was greeted with comments along the lines of, 'Those bikes look and sound great, like real motorbikes!' With an aggregate total of over 3600 miles, the team finished earlier than planned, covering the same distance more quickly than last year.
All six machines performed faultlessly. Other than having to replace a badly made electrical connection on the tail light of one of the new machines and the sensible precaution of checking the fuel and oil levels regularly, the bikes required no attention, not so much as a chain or clutch cable needed adjustment. The biggest surprise was the speed and handling of the rigid frame Bullet on twisty B-roads, the rest of the team at times struggling keep up with Kevin!
At about 8am on Sunday the mission was complete-six Royal Enfield Bullets, six gold awards and all the special parts performing well.Still smiling and happy at the MIRA test centre after finishing the thoroughly successful 500 mile adventure epic-six Bullets and six gold awards.
So we're delighted to congratulate the Hitchcock's team on a successful result. They certainly proved their point about the bikes and their modifications. Congratulations are also due to all the other RC riders who went out and rode their own National Rally routes - we hope you all got the awards you deserve, and enjoyed a splendid day of byway riding!
Full Details of the National Rally are at: www.nationalroadrally.co.uk
Info about Hitchcock's spares, accessories and upgrades for Royal Enfields cab be found at: www.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com
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