35th Pilgrims Rally, August 2010 - Mayflower MCC

This year we were just two motorcyclists again. On Friday 6 August, Walter Trappe (BMW F650GS) and I drove to England. Since my BMW K100RS had problems with the engine running / injection system, my brother offered me his motorcycle for this weekend. A new BMW R1200GS Adventure.

Up to the arrival in Purleigh everything went as usual. After we arrived in the "New Hall Vineyards", the same procedure as in previous years. We enjoyed a cold beer with the Mayflowers.

On Saturday morning after a delicious English breakfast at the scouts, Walter and I left for the ACE-Café in London. Here we took an extended break for tea and cake over lunchtime. A constant coming and going of great bikes. Mostly modern sports bike or an original café racer. Everything was on display.

On our way back to Purleigh we came upon a roadworks site in the London suburb of Ilford at the junction of Eastern Ave (A12) and Beehive Lane (B192). I was the first to stop at the traffic lights, Walter behind me. When the light turned green, I drove off and concentrated on the narrow construction site road. Glancing in the rearview mirror, I noticed that Walter was no longer behind me. I immediately pulled over between Construction site barriers and waited for Walter. A quarter of an hour must have passed, but my motorbike friend didn't came. Thoughts like, "Walter knows the way to Purleigh better than I do," ran through my head. But in the end, reason prevailed, according to the motto "whoever sets off together, returns together".

I cheated my way through the construction site into the oncoming lane back to the intersection where I had lost Walter. There he was standing on the sidewalk with his hands up and he was obviously glad to see me, since, you know, I have difficulties with the English language and Walter hardly speaks a word of English.

After a short search for faults, it was clear to both of us that the battery was defective. Walter pulled out his mobile phone and called the ADAC in Munich. Answer from Munich, "we will let our colleagues in London know."

We thought that this could get chaotic. That was around 2.30pm. But, we could hardly believe our eyes, because after 30 minutes an RAC vehicle was standing next to us.

A friendly roadside assistant checked the battery and then confirmed officially that it was defective. He explained to us that he was now driving to his son, who had batteries suitable for motorbikes at home.

After about an hour he was back with two batteries. Unfortunately we were unlucky, these were also useless. We explained to him that he should call a colleague with a tow truck. "That is not possible" he replied. For this, Walter had to call the ADAC in Munich again. They then ordered the tow truck from their RAC colleagues in London. This came just before 10pm. Then Walter's BMW F650GS was loaded. The driver was using GPS, but did two laps of honour in the Ilford area.

Eventually he got us safely to Purleigh to the New Hall Vineyards. There we pulled into the yard at 11.30pm with the yellow lights flashing. The party in the barn was in full swing. Many came out and made witty remarks.

But you don't stand a chance with a defective battery on a modern motorcycle. When we had parked the motorcycles we allowed ourselves exactly two pints each.

The next morning after breakfast the Chairman Graham Butler telephoned a Hein Gericke shop in Chelmsford for us. His wife Elaine drove us there with her car to pick up the new battery. We were very surprised that this shop was open on Sundays. We don't have that in Germany.

Back in Purleigh, John Flitney helped us when installing the battery and disposed of the old one.

At this point, thanks again to everyone who helped us. Walter received a consolation prize at the award ceremony that morning, the "Tale of Woe".

After we took down our tent, the battery was ready to go and we said goodbye to the Mayflowers.

This year we drove straight from here to Hawthorn Farm Campsite & Holiday Park. The obligatory evening meal and a few pints at the nearby pub.

Monday morning to the ferry, of course not without our last English breakfast during the crossing.

Got home from Calais as fast as possible. The return trip went without any technical problems.

- Hans Mondorf