Organisers, M.C. Mike The Bike, Weert, Holland 1978.
I had just bought my first BMW R100RS and was equiping it with Krauser panniers. I bought the pannier frames one week end and fitted them during the week, and the panniers the following week end. Frau Sumpman, the lovely old woman that I lodged with, had quite a turn when I bought the panniers into her home. She thought that I was going to start playing the piano accordion and was not looking forwards to all the noise.
The following weekend was the rally at Weert. I was going to meet up with my girl friend, Sonja van Vuuren, at the rally to save milage. Typical Dutch rally, held at a large tavern, field adjoining, close by beer tent, well organised and marshalled. A lot of the regular people in attendance. Weather was good.
At the rear of the tavern was a place for the children to play, swings, roundabouts, all that type of thing, and what was this? A wire rope suspended between two steel girders set into the ground. There was something in the order of a 10 foot drop over the length of maybe 80-100 foot long. Several of the rallists were hanging onto the carriage one at a time and sliding down the wire. Got to be having a go at that!
I waited my turn on the earth bank at the top of the run and duly launched myself into the air when it was my turn. Being quite tall I'd only gone about half way down when my feet started to drag on the sandy ground. I dragged the carriage back up for the next big child and rejoined the queue for a second go. This time I've got a cunning plan. I thought "I'll hold the cross bar on the carriage and pull myself up and I'll pull my legs up and use them to stop me at the far end by going feet first into the pile of tyres placed over the girder".
Well you know what they say about plans.
It all went as planned up until I was just about to hit the tyres, then it went pear shaped. The carriage stopped dead, stopped by a wire rope clamp around the wire, a cunning safety device that I had not spotted. Momentum is a funny thing and I had a little. When the carriage stopped dead so did my hands but my head didn't, well not until it came into contact with hands. I finished up with two black eyes, looking more like a panda than an action man, but it didn't stop me from enjoying a few medicinal Heinekens that evening.
- Les Hobbs