Yamaha Owners Club Rally
It is a fact about the YOC that some detractors loved to point out, that the initials really stood for Yamaha OWNED Club, as it was financed, to a large degree, by the company. I am not aware of how much other manufacturers used to put into their owners clubs, if anything, but I was largely unworried by this. One good side of this was that they could hold two rallies a year, without worrying too much about the money side. The club was based in Ludlow, Shropshire, so that is where the rallies were held, (up to this point - see later).
The Surrey Section (aka Mitsui Diehards) were among the first to arrive, so we had to help the organisers sort things out, mostly carrying stuff from the muddy gate at the bottom of the field to the marquee at the top and put the finishing touches to the branding decorations.
Although they were, as I have said, 'comfortably' financed, they hadn't gone overboard with the facilities. A couple of loo tents in the corner, beer in cans on sale in the tent and a small stove for burgers was about the extent of it, although the factory did let us play with a three-wheeler on the Saturday, as a sort of PR exercise for the machine. (I don't think it ever did sell well.) Many of us, (myself included), were unable to control the beast, ending up hurtling to the lower end of the field instead of driving round some bollards. It kept flipping over so much I think we broke the suspension, or final drive, or something. At one previous YOC Rally, (presumably the one I missed), they had loaned a couple of trials bike and let people hack up and down a muddy ditch.
There were no (other) games organised, so the Diehards stepped in with a few improvised competitions, made up from what was available. I don't think we could find a tug-of-war rope, but the tyre throwing was well received. And we were really very sorry the marquee got ripped during the 'get the beer cans from the top of the marquee pole' game, when somebody tried to climb up the outside of the tent and grab it from above.
I think we experienced a distinct lack of organisation, due to the club management not knowing what the membership expected, so when it was announced that WE would be running the next YOC Spring Rally, we started making plans almost immediately.
I think we got lumbered because we were the most numerous, capable, or at least vocal, section that turned up. Also there were rumblings that the rally, being held 'Up North', (don't blame me - their words!), was putting off many of the southern members and it would be fairer to have one down that way. Nothing to do with them being fed up having to pander to the likes off us in their area, honest!
- Phil (the Spill) Drackley