Well Done All Shifts
Everything went off sweetly and a big thank you to all concerned for the effort and reliability that has ensured complete success.
The Twilighters took the brunt of the numbers as expected, starting off with the anticipated queue of eager riders champing at the bit to begin the Inner Controls. They also had to cope with a town full of drunks going home after England was knocked out of the World Cup. Although there was the option of calling on a local Midnighter (John Ireland) as early reinforcement, the Twilighters managed the surges of riders. I suppose that is one advantage with being youngsters. Any-road-up, I think they were pleased to hand over to the Midnighters a bit early. Especially Alan Kirkham who had his leg pulled mercilessly for turning up in his 'pyjamas'. See the Gallery photos.
Riders through (half hour intervals)
When the Midnighters arrived the control was still up to its neck in riders. They soon figured out the system and dived into the fray. Midway through their shift the numbers plummeted as riders wisely took rest breaks between 1am and 1.30. That left the Midnighters with the slackest time of the Rally until riders once more began to arrive. They met the challenge of keeping awake despite John Beccles being due to work on a Steam Day later, and Alan Wright having a morning training session booked before travelling to Germany in the afternoon. I hope Steve White took his camera because we need some photos of the lads in a bleary eyed state. Otherwise can you re-enact it next week for the cameras? I didn't think so.
The Sunrisers began to take charge just as the local night clubs were spiilling more inebriated pedestrians onto the streets. The local police were keeping an eye on things and stopped by for a chat. Word is that Ian Goodson was so taken by the rubber stamps that he will be applying for a job with the post office. I don't envy anyone on this shift but at least they go home in daylight.
Sweeping up was done by the Daybreakers. With very small numbers now hurrying through towards the National Motorcycle Museum the three old timers bringing up the rearguard were able to cope easily. Just to make sure they didn't doze off through idleness the shift began with spots of rain and there were a couple of sharp showers to send them scurrying to cover up the paperwork. As the rally drew to a close the Daybreakers were confused and confounded by regular streams of riders approaching, only to ignore our gesticulations to turn into the control and sail by on route to the Grand Prix at Donington. Next time we will have a rope ready!
Jane and Neil Young were available throughout the event and did a bit of spanner work to keep at least one rider moving. They provided the premises and facilities including hot drinks and - thankfully - a lavatory. We thought it appropriate that Neil should keep the contol award at Len Manchester Motorcycles, perhaps to encourage his customers to take part in next year's National Rally.
The neighbour who had listened to the bikes coming and going throughout the night came to greet us before the end of the rally and chatted about her own experience of Triumph combinations. Thanks to everyone for minimising the noise we received only encouragement from the lady.
Simon Wilkinson-Blake was our travelling marshal and he called in a few times to support the control and let us know about the Cottesmore control that had gone AWOL. We are still speculating about what happened there but in the event we treated it as a 'virtual' control and filled in the line for anyone who claimed it.
Rachel, who organised the setting up and helped with the initial rush, has rashly volunteered to write a report of the Rally from the perspective of the control with the intention of it being included in Rider early next year to encourage more participants (there were 917 this year and capacity is 2000). If you can contribute a word or two then please let Rachel have your ideas. You can write them down or we could have a debriefing, perhaps over a meal with partners when we have all recovered.If you have ideas for improving the control get in touch with Ben. Why? Well, you never know. We may be invited to provide a control next year!