Pilgrims Rally

The 43rd, in Essex on the first weekend in August.

This year should be a normal year. But, in life, you don't always direct your fate. After registering our group with Mayflower MCC for this year's Pilgrims Rally in May, everyone was looking forward to the August travel date. I had already booked the ferry. I usually reserve the hotel at the beginning of July.

One morning in late June, I was walking up the stairs to the second floor at my work place when a stabbing pain in the chest area and shortness of breath become noticeable. I immediately went to my family doctor and from there by ambulance to the nearest hospital with a cardiology department. Then, a few days later, was transferred to the university clinic in Bonn. There I had to go through triple bypass heart surgery.

After three weeks in the hospital, a three-week rehab in Bernkastel-Kues on the River Mosel followed. It was not possible for me to take part in the Pilgrims Rally this year.

There were a few phone calls to my biker friend Walter Trappe regarding the trip. Katja, the wife of my cousin Udo Domgörgen, took over the reservation for a hotel, this year a hostel in Dover.


On Friday, 3 August, Walter Trappe (BMW R1200GS), Günter Reuter (BMW F800GT), Mathias Bongarts (Aprilia SL1000 Falco), Udo Domgörgen (BMW R850R), and Rolf Schumacher (BMW R80RT), met to drive to England.

The motorway service station in St Gislain (Mons) in Belgium was their meeting place with motorcyclists from the Trier area. The group was not able to welcome our motorcycle friend Kurt Remmel. His boss had once again put a spoke in his wheel. He had to work at short notice. However, Heiko Werner (KTM 1190 Adventure) and his girlfriend Isabel Caunes (KTM 1290 Super Duke) were waiting to greet them. Together they drove to Calais and the usual traffic jams on the way to Purleigh.

I was told that, after registering and setting up the tent, there was a cosy evening in the barn.

At breakfast on Saturday morning, it was decided to drive to Windsor Castle. Isabel stayed in Purleigh and had great conversations and a pint or two with other rally participants.

Arriving in Windsor, the group looked for a parking space. A visit to the castle was out of the question because of the crowds in front of the entrance. So they were content with a tour of the city and a short stop with a cooling ice cream in a café.

Then, like almost every year, the group drove to the Ace Cafe for a short stop.

Roll mouse-wheel to zoom. From left to right:
Rolf Schumacher, Mathias Bongarts, Walter Trappe, Heiko Werner, Udo Domgörgen, Günter Reuter.

Every now and then, during my convalescence in Bernkastel-Kues, I received an SMS or a phone call from my motorcycling friends.

After returning to Purleigh, first a refreshment at Suzie Moos's food truck and then the best part of the trip, a cold beer and live music in the barn. However, I only got a glimpse of that.

On Sunday morning, after breakfast, the group said goodbye to the Mayflowers. Isabel and Heiko had stowed all their camping equipment in a large packing roll. Chairmen Terry Reynolds sent this roll back to her home address in Germany. Isabel and Heiko began a Bed & Breakfast trip to Scotland from Purleigh. Once again, a big thank you from both of them to Terry Reynolds. The rest of the group drove towards Dover via the motorway.

After a short detour to St Margaret's Bay, they then drove to the hostel in Dover. It turned out to be a small, winding building with very narrow and steep stairs. My motorcycling friends told me that it wasn't possible to carry a suitcase upstairs next to you. They had to perform acrobatic feats to bring luggage upstairs to the room. After everyone had showered, they explored Dover on foot. At the marina they found the Cullins Yard restaurant. There they were spoiled with delicious food and cold beer.

Following a quiet night, they went to the ferry on Monday morning. After loading the bikes, the last obligatory English breakfast for this weekend.

The outward and return journeys went without technical problems. When everyone had arrived home safely, I received a text message from Walter Trappe that everything worked well.

- Hans Mondorf

On Friday night it was into the barn to sample the ciders on offer. On the way back to the field I walked into the ditch despite the path being lit!

Saturday saw a bus trip to Malden to sample some seafood. Then I met up with members of the Panther 100 Club from Durham to go round some pubs and then back to the site.

There was a decent band playing that night.

The rally and organizing was up to its normal high standard and even the weather played ball!

- Dave Ranger