Snowman Rally

A winter rally held by the Hubspinners MCC Lincolnshire. I went to several 70s Snowman rallies and a couple in the 80s.

I went to one at the Park Drain hotel in 1975, the same site as they used for the Aegir rally. I went with Barry Warrener, it was not far for us on the Friday night after work so we got there in good time for a session with lots of friends from the Denholme & District MCC who in those days did tend to swamp rallies, they were such a big club. On the Saturday I had to pack up and head north to Strathyre in Scotland for the Thistle rally where my other club, Dean Valley MCC, were all headed.

Next year (1976) saw a change of date from February to the end of March and a move to Keadby off the A18, not far from Scunthorpe. It was at the Friendship Inn. I had never actually been to Keadby before but knew where it was because of the large bridge nearby over the river Trent at Gunness Wharf. There used to be lots of large boats moored there with heavy loads of pig iron in those days.

The rally that stands out in my memory was the February 1979 one, held at The Bishopsbridge Inn, not far from Market Rasen. I had not intended going that year but after battling through the snow on Friday to get to the Crooked Spire rally we were told it was cancelled. Quite a few of us uncancelled it, at least for Friday night. Because the pub was open we dug the snow out in the garden/field behind and put the tents up!

Saturday we headed off to the Snowman, the only time when you could have actually built one at the rally. A gang of us set off together but before long, due to the bad conditions, it was 'every man for himself'. I had to wait for, and then follow, a snowplough at one point and I was on my Honda 125 trail bike!

I seem to remember having a good Saturday night there and on Sunday helping to get bikes off the field and onto the road. I think John Flitney from Luton was there on a nearly new R100T, rather him than me. The only other anecdote I remember from the Snowman was at the '87 one at Caenby Corner. The Moncks Arms had a separate room or hall where they had a band and disco on but they were charging for entry. When you came out intending to go to back into the pub they stamped your hand for re-entry. A few of us in the pub fancied a look in the disco but didn't want to pay so a spot of 'forgery by biro' was attempted. We didn't fool the bouncer on the door however. I suppose he had seen it all before and also he was a bit more sober than us. He let us in free for the cheek of it.

The 1987 one cost £3.75 to pre book, that will not often buy you a pint of beer nowadays.

- Ted Trett

The day after I wrote this we had the opportunity to revisit Keadby and Gunness Wharf. We talked to someone who was working on what used to be the Friendship Inn and he told us it had gone through a few changes since I had last been there 44 years ago! It had been renamed first The Friendly Fox then The Barge Inn but now it is in the process of being refurbished for housing.

Keadby has grown a power station too since I was last there. Keadby Bridge is still as impressive as ever even though it has not 'opened' for many years. There were still piles of pig iron at Gunness Wharf although it looks nowhere near as busy as it was in the 1970s. We talked to the Landlady of the Ironstone Wharf pub and she remembered the bike events years ago at the Friendship Inn.