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20th September 2005

The RealClassic Rally and Stinkwheel Show

Fifty-odd tents, forty nine pasties, three litres of milk, two punctures, two crates of Belgian beer, one clutch cable, one hog roast, and some very fine classic motorbikes...

Well fed and about to leave Buntingford and embark on an adventure...

"What do people do at motorbike rallies?" asked Frank, after we'd been standing around in a field chatting about motorbikes for half an hour or so.

Broughetty broughetty broughetty broughetty brough. Superior.

"Well", I replied, "they mostly stand around in fields, chatting about motorbikes…"

Bikes and tents. Idle banter not shown.

There's much more to it than that of course. There's the bit where you put the tent up and wonder whether the £8.92 you splashed out at Asda was money well spent (yes, by the look of it). And there's the bit with the airbed, where you decide whether your own cardio-vascular capacity is more dependable than your bike's electrical system (no heart attacks on Saturday night, no dicky batteries on Sunday morning; result). And there's the bit with the automatic hog-roasting contraption, the disappearing pasties and the evaporating milk.

The Hog Roast. Shame they didn't trust us with a knife, mind.

And then there's the bit with the sporran. Oh yes, the sporran. Kent Shaun and his "Oi! There's money back on them" Belgian beer, the swarm of bottle openers that appeared every time Emm batted her eyelids, AJS/BSA Steve's whiskey and bacon… and who was that bloke asleep in the corner? "Wake Up!"

Steve Wilson must have had that bottle of Sporran out of the chuffing chariot almost before it had stopped.

But mostly, we stood around in a field, chatting about motorbikes.

Never try and smile while drinking...
Random Manx Stuff on

And then we went to bed, got up the next morning, and did some more standing (or sitting, or even slumping) around in a field, chatting about motorbikes. Some of us ate flapjacks, some of us had hangovers, and some of us had to do some judging.

Making everything else in its class look old and tired.

Which is more difficult than you'd think. How do you choose between bikes as diverse as a BSA Rocket 3 and a Yamaha 350LC? Or one bike from a category which encompases every Italian motorcycle on the site?

Making my Morini (three years younger!) look old and tired.

Mind you, the choice of winning race bike was easier. Red, or white?

Red or white, Douglas or Yamaha?

There was some riding round the ring to be done, and then there was some riding home to be done. And - apart from the standing round and chatting bit - rallies are about riding. Somewhere to go, a destination which creates a journey which will itself inevitably be eventful.

A serious EVGuru chases a smiling NVT round the ring. Caption contest?

For me the journey was a race against the clock to catch a convoy which was, in fact, three hours behind me. For the convoy, it meant a barbecue in Buntingford, two punctures and a snapped clutch cable. For all of us, it meant stories to tell and memories to keep.

Thank you Rowena, Emm and everyone who made it such a good weekend. Same again next year?


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