11th June 2007
Steve Benson took his Sunbeam S8 for an upper class weekend, in the fine company of the Sunbeam Owners' Fellowship...
This was the seventh Welsh rally and we had been to and we have enjoyed them all, but we were looking forward to this one in particular. The weather was forecast to be good, my Sunbeam S8 was running well and we were about to meet old friends not seen since last summer. All the different Sunbeam Fellowship rallies have a unique theme because of the locality and the organisers. The Welsh rally is the most appropriate to the original intent of the designer, Mr Poppe, who intended the Sunbeam to be a gentleman's touring machine.
The Llwyngwair Manor Park in Pembrokeshire is surrounded by 55 acres of the woodland of Llwyngwair Estate, and bounded by the River Nevern. So it's a perfect setting for Sunbeamers to relax and enjoy the delights of a stately home. I am sure Mr Poppe would have approved. The ride down is a 180-mile trip that takes us through Whitchurch, Llangollen, Cowen and Bala, then along the coast until we get to the manor. A leisurely breakfast in the Country Kitchen at Llangollen and an ice cream stop at Aberaeron are the now traditional stops along the way. The Beam of course handles the journey without a murmur of protest even though it is two-up and laden down with luggage.Sunbeam S7 and S8
We arrive just in time for afternoon tea and Liz gets the key to our room in the manor so we can get washed and changed ready for dinner. After a nice spicy beef curry and a couple of pints of Guinness it's time to retire to the armchairs and the roaring fire of the main lounge. It's been a long day so what better way to end it than relaxing and conversing with friends while the fire and the ale work their magic?
Next day after a superb full Welsh breakfast from local produce it's time get petrol and fettle your machine for the run at 10 o'clock.
It's Jerry who organised the rally and it is Jerry who leads the run. We use the 'drop-off' system with a back-marker to keep everybody in step for what is often a very exciting run through the back roads and hairpins of Pembrokeshire. Today was no exception -- I had hoped for a ford or even a dash across the sand like last year -- but Jerry behaved himself and our older riders thanked him for it.Sunbeam S7 and S8
We stopped at a lovely bay for lunch although this was a nice light meal because we have to save ourselves for highlight of the rally, the Saturday evening buffet. We moved on so a local member could show us the pride of his collection -- a lovely ABC flat twin in oily rag condition -- then enjoyed a nice run back to the manor.ABC flat twin in oily rag condition
We all showered and got dressed for the buffet at 7pm which is now feature of this rally. With so many people attending it's probably the most economic and satisfactory way of feeding us all (without disrupting the normal clientele of the manor park). It's certainly a very welcome social occasion.
Then we went back to quaffing ale by the fire in the main lounge -- you can see why this rally is becoming very popular. But after the breakfast next day we have make our way back to reality. For the rest of the rally-goers there's a trip to Pembroke Castle, where they very kindly let us park our bikes right in the centre of the castle's stone forecourt.
But for Liz and me it's a nice trouble-free, dry trip back to Macclesfield via Bala and Llangollen. As always it's the people who take the time to arrange these events who should have the praise… so thanks Jerry and Ken for a super weekend.
The Sunbeam Owners' Fellowship caters for all 1946-57 Sunbeam S7 and S8 motorcycles. See www.onthebeam.co.uk
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