Riders RallyThe Riders Rally is a 600 mile checkpoint type rally, organised by the Dublin Motorcycle Touring Club, on the weekend of August bank holiday, the first weekend in August in Ireland.
I last did this Rally in 1993, but I believe the DMTC still hold it.
I went over with Derek Faulkner, he was on his CBR 600 and I was on my R100RS.
We had planned to stay over for a week and, after the rally, go back to the West coast then move up North to take in the Ulster Grand Prix before catching the Larne to Stranraer ferry home.
We went over from Hollyhead to Dunlaoghaire, but we didn't get in to Dublin until the Saturday morning, so missed the Friday checkpoints, but we went to the rally control and got our directions and set about finding our way round the Saturday route.
Ireland is a wonderful place to ride; you really have to re-programme your entire mental approach to getting anywhere.
First of all distances may be shown in kilometres or miles and of course may just be wrong! Signposts are not usually to be found until you are just about to pass the turn you should be taking. Also back then the road surface, especially out West, could be challenging, with bumps fit for a motocross circuit. We followed the directions on the routecard; this meant taking mainly back roads, (worse than our B roads!) It was possible to cut out a lot and go on the main roads, but that would defeat the object of the Rally which took you into bits of Ireland you would never normally see. Everyone sets off at different times, but you tended to see the same bikes regularly, going in the opposite direction to you, but heading for the same checkpoint!
The majority of people were staying bed and breakfast, but we had decided to camp and there were only a few tents on the designated camp site. We had arrived later than planned and had not had time to stop for food before the evening break. We had expected to get a meal in one of the local pubs but we were out of luck, only crisps and not even a stale pork pie! We went back to the campsite and attacked our "emergency" tinned rations. (They may have done thousands of miles in the panniers, but they saved us from starving!) We were visited by a young local lad while we were cooking and he offered to go home and get a tin of beans from his mam for us, 2because sure and you can't be doing the camping without a tin of the beans inside you." We thanked him but declined. Beans were not a good idea as we were actually planning on putting a few pints of the Guinness inside of us which with added beans could have been a risky business! When we finally got into the pub I met up with an old mate Jack Doyle from the Sandymount Club, so the night went in a bout of catching up with news of mutual friends and tales of Rallies we had done since we last met.
The next morning I had to find somewhere with welding equipment to repair my pannier frames, (too much weight and too enthusiastic over the bumps!) This was no problem and we were soon back on the route again. We passed a few groups of bikes again and as before it was difficult to tell if we were doing the same event. One group of Italians took great exception to being overtaken and made a great show of re-passing us, but they soon decided to stop for a scenic photo, when we upped the pace and started pushing them a bit! The ride that day was mostly out west and again took us out and about on the back roads - hard work at times but great fun.
The Sunday Evening was at a large Hotel, with a Gala dinner for all the rallyists; again we were camping, but this time in the hotel grounds. This was the first time that we saw all of the rally participants in one place and we were surprised by the number of continentals taking part.
The shower facilities were in an outbuilding, I think it was a squash court. We were unsure which room the showers were in but we decided that the ladies were the ones with the girly screams and squeals coming from them and found the gents' washroom round the corner. The facilities were pretty basic but better than the night before which had none at all.
There were a couple of shower cubicles but no curtains but that was no problem. However the next chap in seemed a bit embarrassed by this. We had just got dressed, when he became even more embarrassed; one of the Dutch girls who were doing the Rally walked in and caught him just as he got out. She was not at all put off by this and took her time telling him that she was sorry and that obviously she must have come into the wrong door and that they really should have put signs on them so that people could tell which shower was which. During this one sided conversation the poor chap only had his hands to cover his modesty! By the time she left we could see that he was blushing all over his body. We had to leave quickly as we needed to let the laughter out and he seemed to be in no mood to be laughed at!
The evening meal was a grand affair and afterwards the club presented the various trophies for the best performance etc. We kept away from the Disco later on as you were quite likely to be attacked and made to dance by Dr. Margaret OReagan who was on fine form (as usual).
While we were sat in the bar I spotted the chap who we had seen in the shower and he was with a large group of friends. I said to Derek, "Do you think he will have told his mates about the Dutch girl in the showers?" He hadn't, but we saved him the trouble, after all that's what friends are for!
I can't understand why I haven't been back to do this rally again. I can see a holiday in Ireland might be on the cards for next year!
- Ted Trett
Another fine report from Ted, only lacking a picture or two. Can he be goaded into digging a few out?
You're only after the shower photos, aren't you missus.