13th (& Last) - 10 March 1995This rally was held by the long established Brighton & District MCC in the grounds of Brighton Racecourse, as was their Summer rally, The Devil's Weald, held in July, which ended some time ago, after a run of twelve years, when the area of the grounds we traditionally camped on was 'redeveloped'.
Before that one closed, this rally was held in January, and this, being their Winter rally, the organisers managed to get the owners' permission to hire out the stables, (suitably cleaned out, thankfully), for us to sleep in, affording us greater protection against the harsher weather. Several times there has been deep snow all over the place, making the stables even more appealing. Even though it has moved to March the stables are still used, due to there not being much space for pitching tents.
The weather on the Friday, however, was alarmingly warm. I had been fortunate at work, and again had the Friday off-duty, so I had a nice easy trip down the A23 at that time of day, hardly any traffic got in my way. With all this luck on the roads I got to the racecourse in the early afternoon, there were very few people about, certainly not my old bike club, Telstar BC of Guildford, the people whose stable I was meant to he sharing, so I had to wait for a while before I found out into which stable I could chuck my luggage.
The bar for this event was in the Grandstand, as the usual one had just been renovated we weren't allowed in it, so we were relegated to the hall just above the old bar. Interestingly, this was the hall that the summer rallies were always held in.
Saturday arrived and people assembled for the run out to a country pub somewhere. I didn't attend this due to my bike's problems, so I had some time to kill before the evening jollities started - there have been no silly games held at this rally since the all-day opening of pubs started - so I wandered around talking to people I hadn't seen for awhile, some for years.
When the music (and drinking), actually started, it turned out to be rather 'normal', as opposed to the special status some of us thought it deserved. The rock music disco had a rest after a while to allow the Folk Band, and female Morris Dancers to 'strut their stuff' as it were.
I have experienced this particular disco before, so I was not as surprised as some others present when his equipment 'exploded' during an unpopular record, but it was still fun to watch his pyrotechnic display during the record "Fire", by 'The Crazy World of Arthur Brown'.
Novelty bottle opener.
On Sunday, I strapped what little gear I had brought onto the bike and set off. In the middle of Brighton the engine stalled, and refused to start for what seemed like ages, but could have been only minutes.
Later, just outside town, I had to stop for petrol, and to reinflate my front tyre, which was looking a bit sad. After doing these, guess what? It wouldn't start again! I made sure there was a nearby phone, in case I needed to call the RAC then sat down and waited for the bike to cool. After about half an hour I tried again and, after some persuasion, it roared into life. I kept the motor revving fairly fast all the way home, especially at junctions, and it didn't stall again until I got home.
- Phil (the Spill) Drackley
Here are Phil's videos of a couple more Brighthelmstone Rallies.