Mendip Rally

1972-73

Norton Owners Club, held at Priddy, Somerset
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It must have been advertised in the Motorcycle Weekly or on Pete Whitesmith's monthly rally lists. I was doing nothing, had a few quid in my pocket and had never been down that part of the British Isles, so off we go for another weekend of fun.

1972 I remember I went alone and had a good time. I was on the A10 combo, steady run in both directions. I was most impressed with Cheddar Gorge. I came home with a thick head and some clotted cream for my mother, so I didn't get the normal "What time do you call this? I've been keeping you dinner warm for hours". After a few years she learned to not bother putting my dinner up as I could arrive home at any time.

1973 was a whole new ball game. I went with Pete-the-Snuff (ES2 NORTON) Steve Porter (650 BSA combo) Geoff Fulford (500 Triumph) We set off Saturday morning early and as Steve had not yet past his driving test we took the old roads south to Bristol taking in a visit to see I.K.Brunnel's Great Britain that had recently been returned to it's home port and restoration had started.

We had a couple of pints just short of the campsite and rolled in around 16.00. After pitching the tent it was time for the evening meal before the night's drinking and merry-making. That new stuff had recenly hit the market, Cadbury's Smash so it was going to be peas, sausages, onions and mash, only I boiled an estimated amount of water and added the whole packet in one go and I finished up with weak potato soup that even effin Gordon Ramsay couldn't have reduced to anything like potato puree. Lesson learned - add the water to the what ever bit by bit. Pub time.

The camp site was a good walk, at least 1½ miles down hill to the village of Priddy where there was, I think, only two pubs. We got in to the one and the beer was absolute rubbish and we took great delight in telling the landlord what we thought of his ale to which he replied "Yes it's not like the Banks's you lads normally sup." We were speechless until he told us that he had originally lived in Hendesford, Cannock and had recognised our Midlands accents "You might be better off drinking the cider (scrumpy) besides that it's a lot cheaper." So we all went on the cider and liked it even though you couldn't see through it.

It was a long up hill climb back to the site and it had started to drizzle. We flaked out without any rocking.

After a late breakfast we thought the best plan was to go home via the M5 and as Steve was a little the worse I would drive his combo. We had only just got on the motorway and we were pulled over by the police, L plates, I happened to have all the docs with me so there was no problem.

- Les Hobbs

Start of quotation I can only remember one thing about the 1973 Mendip, I was on an A10 and my mate Nog was on a 175 CZ. Because it was a Norton Owners Club rally and we were not sure if it was Nortons only we stopped a couple of miles from the gate and spent quite a while drawing the Norton logo on both sides of both petrol tanks with a chinagraph pencil. It gave the boys on the gate a laugh as we went into the field. End of quotation

- The Black Russian