Cotswold Rally

These replaced the Dean Forest Rally after trouble.

                   

- Catweazle

1975 Rally (left over Yellow Dean Forest Rally badges engraved Cleeve 1975) Was held on Aggs Hill, I managed to get out of hospital in time to attend, with the help of Terry Bond, Splodge and Fatty Annis. It was a bit tricky hobbling around on crutches in all that mud.

1976 Rally (Dark Blue Cotswold Rally Badge) I think was held on Aggs Hill again.

1977 Rally (Red Cotswold Rally Badge) Was held at Upton St. Leonards next to the M5. We drank the pub dry on both nights and someody stole some of the farmers cider, which he though was quite amusing, as it wasn't ready to drink. The culprits were highly visible the next morning!

1978 Rally (White Cotswold Rally Badge) Held at Naunton near Andoversford, again we drank the pub dry, but it had a lovely open fire which was a welcome sight after trudging through the snow!

1978 Summer Rally (leftover White Cotswold Rally badges engraved Summer Rally 1978) Held at the Clubhouse in Arle Road Cheltenham. We had a film show (American Graffiti If I remember correctly) live music & the usual bonfire. A fantastic weekend was had by all.

1979 Rally (Brown Cotswold Rally Badge) The last rally we held, again back to Aggs Hill. It was raining on the Friday night, as per usual. I remember slithering back down the hill on my chop and passing a guy on a Honda cafe racer in the ditch after the over night snow on Saturday.

Cheltenham Echo

Cossack Club Origins

Those were the days.

Biker Les Sanderson made Cheltenham Cossack Motorcycle Club rise from the ashes once and is reigniting interest again. Deborah Shannon talks to him.

The club was formed in December 1966 to give the bikers, often maligned by other sections of society, somewhere they belonged, a clubhouse, land to ride on and a workshop to learn about mechanics and safety.

He said "It was to get these young men together and off the streets, to give us a clubhouse and the ability to run it ourselves without being told what to do."

Geoffrey Allen, himself a biker, was the driving force, and their first temporary base was at Northlands Youth Centre in Pittville Circus.

With help from Cheltenham Corporation, the Youth Service and the National Association for Boys' Clubs, they secured a permanent base.

The corporation bought the old police station in Tewkesbury Road to demolish it but instead let Cheltenham Cossack Motorcycle Club move in. It made the Echo's front page on September 10 1966.

Opening the base, the then Mayor councillor Bertram Taylor said "I congratulate these young and often criticised motorcyclists for their initiative in forming this club. They have set an example to the town."

The club was on the move in about 1970, to a new base off Arle Road behind St Benedict's School and Sports College.

By 1974 it had started running into trouble so Les was called in.

He said: "It was down to about a dozen members and the National Association of Boys' Clubs was going to pull the plug on it.

"I was asked if I could save it. We got Scottish & Newcastle Brewery to refit the bar and started running discos and rallies. It soon rose like a phoenix from the ashes."

In its heyday the club had 100 members and opened four nights a week and weekend lunchtimes.

Lee ran it until 1978 and his wife Jill often helped. He moved on to set up a custom car club but the Cossacks remained close to his heart.

The Arle Road clubhouse burned down in November 1981.

But the embers are starting to flicker again. Les organised a 40th anniversary reunion at the Lower Lode Inn in Apperley and about 30 seasoned bikers turned out.

Many were eager to meet more regularly or at least have an annual get-together, possibly at Christmas.

1980 Basically a continuous party every weekend at the Clubhouse, with many clubs visiting.

1981 November the Clubhouse was burnt down, during our closing down party, as the council closed us down and built a housing estate (called the Saxon Quarter) on our land.

1982 - 2013 Various reunions one organised by Goeff Fitts at Cheltenham Motor Club and the rest by Les Sanderson and his wife Jill, mostly at the Lower Lode Inn. Sadly Les passed away in September 2014.

I then started arranging quarterly reunions via the Cossack MCC Memories page on Facebook, at the Swan in Cheltenham, which are continuing to this day.

Al Walker - Catweazle

Open quote Get your facts right before publishing on line. Do NOT use the name of a club, especially negative publicity if it had nothing to do with them! Close quote