Bird in the Wood Rally
14th-16th October 1988
(This report was first printed in Rally Review at the time. The organisers claimed it is factually inaccurate. This seems to be backed up by a few attendees. I don't know what happened there.)
Since the rally was cancelled last year (as there were a lot on the same weekend) I was happy it was still 'all systems go', when I got the map. I got quite a shock when I saw the aforementioned map; the rally was only 26 miles from home. Hardly worth taking the tent I thought, but since it doesn't count if you don't camp, I loaded up the bike anyway. (That's the NEW bike, Bluebird 10, Red Baron 9 having been written off back in July - yes, AGAIN). Anyway, on with the report.
Friday night was advertised as 'Trad' night. True to their word, nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. In fact, BUGGER ALL. What made it only slightly annoying was that we weren't allowed in the pub, (usual reason - 'it would upset the regulars'). Half of the building had once been an old village shop and this was used as a bar for us. (No heating and nowhere to sit).
Ever hopeful, Saturday arrived. Again nothing seemed to happen, so when some of the 7's MCC suggested a ride to Bognor (only 20 miles they said) I readily agreed to go with them. Forty miles later we arrived in Littlehampton! So much for their navigator. By the time we got back it was already dark, and the games had just finished. So something HAD been organised after all! Then it was back to sitting around in the marquee with the occasional trip to the 'bar', until at last (greeted with a large cheer) the disco arrived. While they were setting up the disco a thought struck me, you can't have a Bird In The Wood Rally without a straw fight! So, picking a few victims at random, I started throwing.
The effect was quite amazing, within twenty seconds the marquee was full of airborne straw. This jolly little jape kept going for about ten minutes, until the DJ asked us to stop because dust was getting into his equipment. This we did instantly, mainly as an excuse to build up our stockpiles of straw ready for later. The disco made all the difference, for me anyway, and almost made up for Friday night.
The night-time games were interesting, especially the piggyback sausage/apple/beer/flour fighting.
The Miss Rally contest only produced one contestant, she gave us a flash even though she didn't have to.
Later on, without telling us, the organisers lit the fairly large bonfire but by the time the disco died it had burned down a fair bit, the straw from the marquee helped keep it going for quite a while, keeping us warm for the compulsory rally sing-song. One club kept forgetting whatever song they were singing and changed it to 'I was born under a wandering star', which they couldn't remember all the words to either, causing a fair bit of amusement all round.
All in all I was a bit disappointed by this year's rally but that's only because the previous years efforts had been so good. No doubt some people would disagree with this view but that's life I suppose.
- Phil (the Spill) Drackley