Brighthelmstone Rally

18th January 1985 - Brighton & District MCC

Although I had been to the B&DMCC's Devil's Weald rally here at the Brighton Racecourse a couple of summers previously, I had no great desire to attend the same location in the middle of January, but that was before I started all-year rallying.

Due to the small area available for tents, coupled with the deep snow usually found in said area, we were allowed, for a small fee, to sleep in the, suitably cleaned, but still a bit whiffy, stables. Obviously, this was more economically viable for your whole club to hire one or more stables and pile as many of you in there as you can comfortably manage, (usually about half a dozen). This also helped make them a bit warmer and protected you from was the wind, rain and snow. The hay baskets made a useful place to stow all the helmets.

Although this was at the same location as the Devil's Weald, it was, in fact, in a different part of the Racecourse grounds. The entrance was a good half-mile from the main entrance the summer rally used, almost at the rear of the property, and the bar was at the other end of the Grandstand. There was also a small cafe, where most people gathered between opening hours, as it was heated. The bar eventually opened and was soon warming up as a good number of people wandered in.

On Saturday some people went on the ride-out, but most were put off by the snow everywhere. Later on there were some games, but the throwing contest was made difficult as the object kept disappearing in the snowdrifts. Naturally, there were a few inter-club snowball fights as well, but not, I think, a tug-of-war.

Back in the bar, the increased number of people soon warmed the place up, to the extent that some people even removed some clothing, (well, OK, one girl).

A fair bit of dancing went on to help warm up further and they even managed to persuade some girls to enter the wet-t-shirt contest, I think all contestants were awarded dry club shirts to wear afterwards.

After a quick warming hot choccy back at the cafe we all returned to our stables, or tents, for a bit of a chilly night.

The weather was reasonable for the trip home on Sunday, after the prize-giving and raffle in the cafe and it made a nice change not having to pack a tent up, or dry it when I got home.

- Phil (the Spill) Drackley