Pilgrims Rally

42nd Pilgrims Rally, August 2017.

This year six motorcyclists met in front of my house for our England tour. On Friday, 4 August, Walter Trappe (BMW F650GS), Günter Reuter (BMW F800GT), Mathias Bongarts (Aprilia SL1000 Falco) my cousin Udo Domgörgen (BMW R850R), Hans Rolf Trappe (Honda CX500) and I, Hans Mondorf (BMW K100RS) drove our usual route towards Calais.

In Belgium we drove partly in the rain. At the St Ghislain (Mons) motorway service area, we were able to meet up this year, as agreed with our motorcycle friends from the Trier area. Arriving at the service area, we welcomed Heiko Werner (KTM 1190 Adventure) and Kurt Remmel (BMW R1200RT), then drove to Calais together. Fish and chips during the crossing for lunch.

On our way to Purleigh we had to go through the obligatory traffic jam in front of the Dartford Tunnel, like every year.

After registering and setting up the tents, we went to dinner. This year also the scouts were absent. The Mayflower MCC organized two food stands. We found the right food at Suzie Moos's food truck. Afterwards we spent a convivial evening in the barn with music from a CD player.

During breakfast on Saturday morning we talked about where to go. Since we liked the Brooklands Museum so much last year, all participants agreed to go there again this year.

After visiting the museum we made a little detour to the Ace Cafe. On the way there I got lost and left the motorway one exit too early. During the stop and go in city traffic the cooling water in the Honda CX500 belonging to our motorcycling friend Hans Rolf began to boil. We had no choice but to let the motorcycle cool down on a pedestrian path. Apparently the radiator fan stopped working. Since it was a hot weekend, everyone had a bottle of drinking water with them. Everyone donated drinking water so the engine and radiator could be refilled. In the meantime the traffic was moving again and the Honda got enough headwind again. After a break at the Ace Cafe we went back to Purleigh.

On the Arriving at the camping site, Hans Rolf looked for the fault on his Honda. Our group had already emptied a few pints in the evening when Hans Rolf came in after trying to repair it. He had discovered a loose fan blade on the fan motor was the problem. With the resources at his disposal, he had fixed this as well as possible.

An exuberant evening followed with live music and more pints in the barn.

At breakfast on Sunday morning everyone agreed, like last year, to go straight from Purleigh to the International West Kent Run in Aylesford. This year it was again a fantastic event. From Aylesford the journey continued via the A229 to the pub at Bodiam Castle for lunch.

Then over the smallest country lanes to Rye with the small car park by the River Brede, only accessible by motorbikes, to enjoy an ice cream. We continued along the coast towards Dover. After a short detour to St Margarets Bay, we checked back into the hotel in St Margaret's Holiday Park. Booking in advance for this hotel worked out complicated this year. It was no longer possible to book by email. You had to call there. This was not possible with my knowledge of English. Luckily there is an Englishman living in our village who did this for us.

After a quiet night in the hotel, we went down to the ferry on Monday morning. After loading the motorcycles, wee had our obligatory last English breakfast on board the ferry again.

After leaving the ferry in Calais, we had to go through a long construction site in stop-and-go traffic. This is where Hans Rolf's Honda CX500 started to get hot again. We made it onto the a petrol station in Calais and drove to the parking lot. Here Hans Rolf removed the cooler fan and was able to fasten it far enough on the engine shaft that it lasted all the way home. Since this repair took a certain amount of time, our motorcycle friends Heiko Werner and Kurt Remmel said goodbye and drove, via Luxembourg, to their homeland in the Trier area.

From left to right Günter Reuter, Hans Rolf Trappe, Mathias Bongarts, Heiko Werner, Kurt Remmel, Hans Mondorf, Udo Domgörgen, Walter Trappe. Another photo to zoom into.

After the successful repair of the fan, we were able to continue our journey home. Despite, or because of these mishaps, all participants fondly remember this beautiful weekend in England.

- Hans Mondorf