Captain Cook Rally

Tees Tornadoes, held at Roxby, North Yorkshire

Having attended last year and enjoyed the event so I'll do it again. The first mistake I made was to not look at the map and remember where we were on the calendar. Yep, August bank holiday weekend. I intended to set off around about 11.00am for a nice leisurely cruise up the M6 to junction 38 Tebay turn right and head east, but things seldom go to plan and today was going to be one of those days.

I started to get towards Kendal. I don't think I've ever seen a bigger, blacker cloud.

- Les

I got up late, was not packed, no petrol in the tank, a little house work to be done and the food I was taking with me was yet to be cooked so I was under no pressure as I ran around like an idiot. I finally got away around 12.30pm.

Just up the M6 between J13 and J14 was a small accident followed by another, the normal type of thing caused by inattention, so we are reduced to a crawl as was the south bound traffic rubber necking. Most of the drivers are, as a rule, pretty good, moving over a little to allow bikes to filter up between lanes 2 and 3. But there are always the odd Pratts to be found and most of them must have been heading to Blackpool this weekend. One thing I did notice was these new "cat's eye" things, the hemispherical ones about 70 mm diameter, they don't half cause the front end of the bike to kick over at low speed. I hit more traffic at Knutsford and again south of Preston where the M61 joins up with the M6. After that it was plain sailing until I started to get towards Kendal. I don't think I've ever seen a bigger, blacker cloud. The weather forecast had said there might be showers blowing in from the west. I had been struggling with strong cross winds all afternoon. Just by J37 it started to rain and within moments I was forced to reduce my speed down to 45 mph and tuck in behind a lorry, which is where I stayed until the next junction where I turned off. Then within minutes it stopped raining and brightened up.

Heading east towards Barnard Castle, never been here before, but on seeing the place I have made a mental note that next time I'm passing this way I must make the time to stop and look around. I pressed on towards Middlesbrough then once there found the A171 Whitby road. Spluttering onto reserve I knew that 3 miles from the rally site there was a petrol station where I filled up. I finally got to the pub at Roxby just after 18.00pm, 5½ hours to do 200 odd miles without stopping - shameful.

Choosing a nice spot on the wind swept field - all the sheltered spots had gone to the early arrivals - I was close to the spot I had camped the year previous. I went to sign in and have a pie to eat. I was famished. It was washed down with a coffee (free all weekend, thank you Tornadoes) I had a pint and look see who else was here then walked back to my tent to find myself almost hemmed in. In fact I found it necessary to move the bike to ensure that I could get it out if needed. I then thought to myself just where had all these teenagers and shrieking girls come from? Damn good thing I had packed my ear defenders. Time to seek refuge in the pub.

Sid and Christine Beaumont were hard at work serving up the grub, stew, curry and chilli. I had a laid back evening evening chewing the fat with old friends in one of the tents while (not by choice) inhaling herbal substances that some other person was smoking. I went back to my tent around 1am. That's when I noticed my second mistake, not bringing a sweaT‑shirt or pullover. The night was chilly.

Saturday morning came far too soon. A walked around the campsite to blow the cobwebs away, another free coffee and a spot of breakfast, before joining the queue for the coach to take us down into Whitby for the day. I was lucky to get onto the first coach at 10.30am. Dave Honneyman just failed. He also just failed to get on the second coach an hour later, so they walked down into Staithes for the afternoon. The ride down into Whitby was made easier by the knowledgeable coach driver who knew a short cut through a housing estate. Before we got into Whitby one or two of the lads had got out the hip flasks. We were dropped of quite close to the harbour and all dispersed into groups. I paired up with a BMW owner called Tony (I didn't catch his surname) We had a walk around, a couple of pints and a meal and before you knew it, it was time to catch the coach back to Roxby and get stuck into tea and an evening session. That bloody cold wind was still blowing so we made a grab for some chairs inside the pub.

Not too sure what time I left the pub, but I know that it was after 12.00. The band kept on until about 2.00am and there was noise on the site till about 3.00am when a group staggered past my tent. THUD! I felt it more than heard it. I lay still for a short while as it sounded like a body falling then I thought it may have been my bike going over. I opened the tent and shone my torch out. Bike was still upright and I could hear nothing else.

I had been awake for quite a while when, as it got light, I got out the trusty Optimus petrol stove and fired it up for breakfast. As it started to roar I heard someone in the next tent groan and say "oh no" It was my turn now to disturb their sleep. I had my breakfast, washed up and packed the tent away. I had to walk on the tent to expel the air from it, it's a tight fit in my kit bag. It was only a short time later that it dawned on me ... I had left my glasses in the pocket of the tent! No point in trying to get them out now.

The trip home was a lot better. It took the same amount of petrol to go home but 1½ hours less to go south to pick up the A1/M1 and down to A38. I didn't have a good look at this year's badge until I got home. The quality is superb.

All in all another damn fine rally, looking forwards to the next one.

- Les Hobbs


Start of quotation The 2011 rally will be my 10th Captain Cook. It's always a great pleasure to spend the weekend with such a friendly crowd. Looking forward to it as usual. End of quotation

- Andy Wilkinson, Hull.
Triumph 1050 speed triple.