Brighthelmstone Rally

16th January 1987 - Brighton & District MCC

It was another stable rally in Brighton Race Course and it was bl**dy cold. There were reports it was about -10°C. I have no idea if it was this cold the previous year, as this was one of the rallies I missed in '86 following 'The Accident'.

Around the site there were snowdrifts, but the small grassy areas in between the stables had been cleared for the small number who insisted on using their tents. The rest of us paid the nominal charge and slept in the stables. Not too expensive if clubs packed in as many as they could and this meant you could bring more blankets in place of your tent, which went some way towards making up for your lack of privacy.

After a while crammed into the tea-room, the grandstand bar opened. It was still fairly chilly in the bar, but this improved through the evening as more people arrived. Although the swing doors that allowed people in also let in the cold wind every time.

At the appointed time, we all wandered briskly back in the direction of the stables, spending a short while in the tea-room and finally crawling, mostly fully-clothed, into our multiple blankets.

I didn't get the camera out into the weather during the day and I can't remember if we walked to the nearest pub for an afternoon session, as we seemed to most other times we were there. There were probably games, as in other years, with tug-of-war ropes coated in snow and ice, and throwing objects into the drifts. I do remember we spent a lot of time in that tea-room, before trekking across the arctic wilderness to the bar.

A lot more people tonight meant it got warmer quicker. It was certainly warm enough for young ladies to remove clothing. That, along with the disco, meant everyone was bopping away for the rest of the night, although that might have been to build up some body heat before retreating to our blanket-rolls in the stables once more.

An unsurprisingly chilly ride home on the Sunday, after the trophies and raffle, and more tea.

- Phil (the Spill) Drackley