Rotary Owners' Club Anniversary

24th May 2003

Although not a real rally, since it was open to club members only, this was a fairly enjoyable weekend. There was limited camping around the edge of a cricket green in Margaretting, Essex, and the entertainment was in the clubhouse. If you didn't fancy the idea of sleeping in a tent, there was space for some indoors. The music was just a cassette player in a corner, but this was just to fill in the background to the friendly banter about various trips and problems people had been having. The food was supplied by one of the organisers popping to a nearby chippie in their car, but there WAS beer.

I don't think anyone could describe the Norton Commander was the best-looking bike in the world, (well, not with a straight face, anyway). Despite this, that was the machine of choice for the majority of members of the ROC.

There were, of course, some non-Nortons present, a clutch of DKW Hercules and a Suzuki RE-5. (There was also a non-rotary Norton.)

Several machines had BMW fairings, left over from the time Norton were trying to convince police forces to use the bikes, dubbed "Interpol II", before designing their own and choosing the name "Commander", much to the annoyance of "Commando" owners everywhere.

The Mk1 Commanders had an all-enclosed type fairing, which included fixed panniers including immense light clusters taking up much of the room inside, and were pretty much all grey in colour.

The Mk2, which had an even shorter production run, came in more colours and had removable Krauser panniers.

There were a few unfaired, air-cooled, "Classic" machines, which somehow are now regarded as such. Also at least one stripped-down bike that was used for racing.

There were a couple of the race-styled F1/F1sport models, bur none of the actual racing machines for us to stare at.

On Saturday, there was a trip to the Cold War relic, the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker, (nowadays signposted, so not so secret), where the Government would have hidden in the event of WW3. It was a rather depressing place, especially the revelation about the "Euthanasia Squads" that were to have been sent out to end the suffering of injured people. It was still in development as a tourist attraction, meaning facilities were somewhat limited, so the route back for some was via the chippie.

Later in the evening, awards were given based on votes from those attending.

Phil Drackley - Phil the Spill