Window Lickers Rally
Dregs MCC - Nottingham 16 Sept 1994
My trip to the rally didn't go too well due to a combination of several diversions due to road works and insufficient signage. I eventually reached the A1 and got moving. A while later, having stopped at a Little Chef for a welcome warm cup of coffee, a thought struck me - no matter how many times I mentally retraced my steps, I couldn't remember packing my tent pegs! Searching through my luggage, I realised that, in my hurry to pack the bike after work, I had indeed left my entire set of tent pegs at home! For a few miles I considered turning round and leaving it until Saturday, but in the end I decided to carry on and, if possible, borrow some pegs when I got there, or maybe somebody would have some space in their tent?
It was about this time that I noticed that the petrol was getting a bit low, but the A46/A617 turn-off was approaching, so off I went into the wild black yonder, eyes peeled for a petrol station. The road went on; the petrol went down. When suddenly I saw it - another diversion! Not having learned from my previous failure, I determined to find an alternate route using the pinpoint accurate navigational skills for which I am renowned. The inevitable happened, and I spent what seemed like hours wandering around the countryside looking for a signpost to anywhere on my map. A while later, after passing only closed garages, I managed to find the A617 again, at a point past the diversion, so continued my journey to Blidworth, where the rally was being held. A mile down the road I found an open garage, just as the engine began to falter, and filled up, (17½ litres), saved! Charged with renewed enthusiasm I set off again and got to Blidworth by about 22:30.
Much to my relief, I managed to scrounge enough spare tent pegs from one of the organisers to keep the tent up, as long as it wasn't too windy! That done, I wandered over to the marquee and found it was virtually empty, everybody was in the pub next door. I set of in that direction, got halfway there and met people coming back because it was chucking-out time, so back to the marquee. The organisers had realised that the warm pub would be preferred to the cold tent, so arranged for the entertainment to begin after the pub shut. There were two bands on, the first, 'Bad Axe', were very loud, very crude, and only vaguely amusing, (they certainly lived up to their name).
Between bands they had a sort of cabaret type act, called 'Accident & Emergency', which consisted of one guy doing a jokey running commentary, while his partner banged nails into various parts of his anatomy, stapled a £20 note to his forehead, had darts thrown at his back and laid down on a bed of nails. (Weird, Weird, Weird!) The second band, 'Blind Drunk', were a vast improvement, and played on until about 01:30 when the disco took over. I decided I'd had enough by about 02:30, and crawled into my tent.
Saturday dawned, but I didn't notice because I slept on through till about 11am, I must have been more tired than I thought. After visiting the pub for lunch, and listening to the well-stocked jukebox, I went to watch the silly games. And they were quite silly! The first was intended to be a timed race between two Honda C50s with the riders scoring points by dropping rings on pegs in a couple of paddling pools, but during the first run one of the bikes broke its chain, so they resorted to just judging it on the score, (the best bit of this game was when the bike fell over, depositing both rider and pillion in one of the pools).
The next game started out like a pillow fight but the opponents had to use giant cotton-buds, like on ITV's "Gladiators" program. Eventually, one of these broke as well, but most people that wanted to try the game had done so by that time.
The last game I saw used both the C50s again, this time being pushed through a slalom course.
The first few hours of the evening 'shift' were spent in the pub, as expected. I am still very impressed with the contents of their jukebox, I don't think it was silent for more than a couple of minutes all evening. Then we all trekked over to the marquee and partied on some more. The Saturday band were superb, 'Blind and Dangerous' by name. They certainly kept the party going with good solid music. In the gap between their sets there were the usual drinking games, and some other bits and pieces, including the prize giving. I was cheered up no end when I won Long Distance with 175 miles; sometimes it pays to get lost - the next furthest was 160 miles and when I did the home run I only managed 152. I partied on with the rest of them, giving up at about 03:30 this time, but only because of the long run in front of me, honest!
After handing back the (cleaned & straightened) tent pegs in the morning, I rolled the bike out onto the road, hit the throttle, and away I went, keeping my speed down to nearly the limit all the way home, after my recent encounter with the 'Boys in Blue'. (Although I did show some plastic racer types just what a Norton rotary was capable of, even fully laden, between some sets of traffic lights in Nottingham!) I decided to use the M1 for the home trip; although I was sure there would be road works, I was equally sure there would not be any diversions. When I got home I found my tent pegs exactly where they shouldn't have been - there is now a large notice in my garage, stating simply: TENT PEGS!!
- Phil (the Spill) Drackley