Dog Diggers Rally

Report from Les Hobbs on the Dog Diggers Rally 1978 organised by the Morecambe And District Motor Cycle Club.

Well I'd been working for about 8 months in Germany, the winter was over and it was time to bring the R90/6 and sidecar home. I'd put 73,000 miles on the clock in 4 years so it was time to get rid of the old girl and try an R100/RS, I'd been on to Ron Slater at Hughendon's and the deal was struck over the telephone. So after the removal of the sidecar and a damn good clean and polish I was off to fetch the RS. As I parked up outside Hughendon's the RS stood outside gleaming in the early spring sunlight. I went in, gave Ron Slater the keys, logbook and a wedge of cash. He came out gave me the logbook, keys and a strange look and I was off. Off to Alan Giddens' at Oldham. It was a Friday, the White Swan was calling, that Robinson's Bitter was beckonning and, on top of that, there was going to be THE DOG DIGGERS RALLY.

We drove up to Morecambe on Saturday morning. The weather had gotten a little damp so we got of the M6 at junction 33 and joined the A6. We called into a public house just south of Lancaster to warm up with a pint or two, then pressed on for the last ten miles or so to the campsite which I think was near Torrisholme, a mile or two to the north east of Morecambe.

After pitching the tents we drove into town and had a look around and then someone suggested trying out the go-kart track at Heysham. The weather had brightened up by now so off we went. We were all hareing around this track when, just as I was getting ready for a right hand hairpin, I was rammed and shot into the crash barrier. As I rebounded off that the same person rammed me again. It hurt that time (I know where you live). We tried a quick pint in the pub in Heysham then it was back to the campsite for a nap.

I think that there may have been an old bus to take us all down into Morecambe on the evening. The organisers had gotten a bingo hall or some kind of a nite club at the northern end of the promenade laid on for us. We had to queue up to get in and in we got, eventually. We tried a couple of pints and the beer was gopping so, as the lads had been here before and knew the place, we walked out along the prom past all the arcades and trinket shops until the cry rang out "There's a Boddington's pub down here!" The Bath Hotel, Central Drive, {5 years later it became my local) We managed to get in and get seats. It must have been about 8pm. We stayed there until closing time and then went looking further down the prom for a place to eat.

We finished up in an Italian Resturant where we had some pasta and more beer. Alan Barclay (The Banker) had a bottle of wine while waiting for the meal, then he went to the toilet to talk to God (see pics). We rescued him and got him outside and tried to get a taxi but each time the driver saw the state of The Banker they sped off. We eventually wised up and got a passenger inside the taxi before we picked up the now unconscious Banker and got him back to the campsite. He tried to tell us it was the sea air the next morning.

Another good do. All the photos were taken on Steve Giddens' camera. Nice to see Alan and Dianne Dunnicliff there; they are now living in New Zealand.

To round the tale off Keith Arthurs (KIT) had been thinking of getting rid of the Guzzi T3 he had and trading it in for a BMW so a week later he had a phone call from Hughendon's to come and have a look at a bike they had that might suit him. He arrived a while later and looked around the showroom then asked about the bike in question. "It's not in the showroom it's in the workshop" On seeing the red R90/6 he looked at the number plate ONH 90M. "OH NO! I'm not having that. That's Les Hobbs's old bike, it's been thrashed mercilessly!" Ron Slater said to Keith "Thirtyfive years I've been in the trade and thats the first time I've been sold a dog." They advertised the bike for months in the Motorcycle Weekly then they finished up rebuilding it and repainting it green. Someone out there finished up with it.

- Les Hobbs

Start of quotation Hi, I attended a Dog Diggers Rally the year of my 18th birthday, so 1975.

The campsite was next to the graveyard and the entertainment was a rock disco (or band) in a pub down the road, followed by an exotic dancer.

Walking back to the site, one of the lads found a young woman sleeping rough in a bus shelter and offered her a bed in our shared tent. Kept me awake for a good while :-)

I was a Tees Tornadoes MCC member and there was a group from The Monkey Hangers MCC too. End of quotation

- Mike Wilkinson