I was more than a little surprised, when Mac and Sue turned up outside my workplace in Uxbridge on the Friday, in order that we could go up to the rally together. I was also a little confused; (i) that they were both on Mac's Guzzi California III, whereas they told me they would be going on their individual machines and, (ii) that the Guzzi was sitting there ticking over while Mac and Sue were sitting down on the grass eating a takeaway as they waited for me to come out.
Mac explained that this was because (i) his intended bike was in bits. No surprise there, as anybody who knows him would agree. (ii) because the Guzzi was big enough to take both of them and their gear it would be easier, and (iii) his bike was having difficulty starting, so he thought it best to keep it running, thereby avoiding having to start it.
He also said he was having trouble with his clutch, so we decided that I would get us to the M40, he would take the lead on the motorways and I would take over again from the M1 to the rally at the other end. As my memory of the other year had faded, (that year I went on Mac's pillion to this self-same rally), I agreed to this. BAD MOVE!
How Sue puts up with his driving I will never know. On the open stretches he rides pretty much as I would, even when overtaking on the inside if the car driver refuses to pull over, BUT in the built up sections I had trouble keeping up with him. 60mph+ down the white lines is far faster than I am comfortable with and he kept going through gaps that disappeared before I could get to them. I decided not to get too worked up about this, let him have his fun and just catch up on the open bits. Luckily the Norton is quite capable of this.
I took over once we left the motorway, as agreed, and the rest of the trip passed at a far less frantic pace, although not much slower in places.
It took quite a while for us to get in, as we arrived just after what seemed to be an entire club, but once on the field it was easy enough to find a space to set up our tents, which we did with the aid of Mac's headlight and my (t)rusty old gas lamp.
That done, we set off for the marquee where we found the party well under way. The food extension of the tent provided a welcome free cup (or tankard if you could persuade them) of coffee, and some wonderful burgers. Usually I am a bit wary of food at rallies, but the selection offered by this club is always well received, (by my stomach, anyway).
WMAMCC's two newer members, Euan and Val, arrived a little while before us and had set up on the opposite side of the field. I found out exactly where when I helped Val carry Euan back to their tent after becoming a bit 'tired and emotional', later in the evening. Apart from him our club suffered no other casualties on Friday.
I think Neville must have thought the food was good as well - at one point he was debating whether to have another burger or another pint!
I think Euan made it back to his tent under his own power as well. I had no way of telling, as I didn't see them before they left on Sunday.
- Phil (the Spill) Drackley