22nd April 2015
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Round Britain Rally 2015
Here's an opportunity to ride your old bike to out of the way places, as far flung as you please, on any day throughout the summer. Roy and Chris Workman explain...
We first heard about this rally in 1993 from a motorcycle magazine, and we started taking part in 1994. We’ve done a total of twenty rallies so far. This is not a rally in the ‘gathering’ sense of the word – it is more like a treasure hunt. The Round Britain Rally (RBR) is a touring and photographic event for riders of motorcycles and sidecar outfits and drivers of other three-wheeled vehicles, such as Lomaxes, Reliants, etc. The idea is to encourage riders to tour around the countryside of mainland Britain, finding (not always easily) the landmark that you have selected. These can include castles, windmills, country pubs, standing stones and follies.
The rally starts in April when entrants receive a list of landmarks. There is at least one landmark in every county in England, Scotland and Wales, and in some of the larger counties there may be more than one landmark. You are issued with a control card, a score sheet and a set of instructions. When you have found your chosen landmark, you photograph your vehicle (showing the number plate), your control card and the landmark, to claim the points awarded. With this rally you can do just as much as you like – a couple of good weekends’ riding will get you a smaller award, and if you are really keen you could do the all the landmarks on the list. We believe that in this instance the distance ridden would be several thousand miles.
If you cannot find the landmark, then take a picture of the village name sign or a railway station sign – whatever you can find to prove that you were there. Unfortunately you will get a reduced points score if you do this, but at least it means that the journey was not a total waste of time.
All photographs and claims forms must be returned to the organiser, Dave Hancock, by the 1st of November. Dave owned the sidecar on the Watsonian prototype motorcycle, which is currently at the National Motorcycle Museum.
We always enjoyed the rally before the riding began, as soon as the landmark list arrived. We would spend several hours marking out on a map all the landmarks that we felt that we could get to. These days the internet has helped a lot to find various landmarks. We used to have selection of reference books to help me in the early days.
One thing that we learned was that most locals do not know much about their own areas. One time we were looking for a landmark called ‘Roger’s Tower’ in Cornwall. One local we asked told me that he had lived there for 26 years and had never heard of it! We thought it could not be too hard to find: a tower sticks up, doesn’t it? Eventually we took a couple of photos of the hillside and got lucky because the tower showed up as a speck on the photo. It was spotted by the organiser so we got full points. The joke is that, unbeknown to us at the time, the tower was actually visible from the place where we asked the local chap about its location!
On another occasion we had to photograph St Martin’s Church at Cwmyoy. This church is built on a fault in the earth’s surface. So when you stand by the church door and looking at the altar you can see that the whole building is twisted. Part of the fun was getting to the church. Chris was sitting in the sidecar, acting as ‘ballast and navigator’. She said to take the next road on the left. The road was a little narrow and a sign said that it was unsuitable for motor vehicles - just the sort of road that we like. We ended up with tree branches brushing against Roy’s crash helmet and shoulders as the path got ever narrower. Going up a steep slope the outfit lost ground as some kind farmer had left mud on the road. As the back wheel spun, Roy leapt off the bike and proceeded to push the outfit, feathering the clutch at the same time. We arrived at the top of the hill puffing and panting and jumped back on the bike and rode to the church.
The RBR is really good fun; you get to see lots of the country and lots of interesting things. Occasionally you met other rallyists on their way around. Remember that you can do as many landmarks or as few as you like, but the enjoyment and satisfaction will be worth it.
The final part of the rally year is a prize-giving and social dinner which is enjoyed in the New Year following the results having been sent to all entrants. You can collect your plaque or certificate at this event if you wish. If you do not attend, your plaque or certificate will be posted on.
So why not enter this year, and join us and other RBR riders?
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