Yamaha Owners Club Rally

Spring Rally - 10 April 1981


- Phil the Spill

It wasn't our intention to run a rally so soon after the club had started, but it was rather dumped on us by YOC Head Office. We had to ask other clubs what we should be doing for pretty much all of the run up to the weekend, but somehow we managed to get it all together in time. (Except the drink licence, but we didn't cause any trouble, so nobody came looking.)

It was difficult finding a field in Surrey in Spring that wasn't being used, so we strayed a couple of hundred yards into Sussex, directly under the take-off path from Gatwick Airport for the weekend. I didn't make it there until mid-morning Friday and the marquee was already up, but we still had the game of erecting the control tent, which none of us had ever seen before. After a few hours of moving poles around, it vaguely resembled a tent-shape, so we settled for that and started booking people in (two had arrived by then).

These punters had already helped us with the tent and then helped us dig the sh*tpit at the lower end of the field, for use later on. Despite being at the top of the field, the entrance was still very squishy and a few vehicles needed assistance, especially the van with the supplies in. We sent out a straw party first thing on Saturday, but they only managed to get a shopping trolley-full, (we never found out where they got the trolley from), but this seemed to be enough.

Friday night seemed to go off without a hitch, which both surprised and relieved us.

Saturday morning brought more punters, including our friends from the Border Line MCC. We also had a visit from representatives of the YOC Office, (in a car and not staying), who left the badges, which we had been waiting for and a couple of dozen YAMAHA stickers, most of which got stuck on rallyists' faces, (but no bikes to play with).

One of the funniest moments was when one of the Border Liners, Bantam by name, stood behind one of the club's bikes, which then sprayed him with mud from head to toe. He then decided to wash the mud off in the pond across the road. He didn't want to get his jeans wet, so he stripped off first, (this is normal behaviour for him) and waded in. Then he discovered that the pond was surrounded by nettles. Oh how we laughed!

We had games sorted out, egg and spoon (on bikes), sack race, mini caber tossing, tug of war etc. and these seemed well received. During the day we checked out the direction signs to the site as people were complaining about getting lost. We found that council-workers had been taking them down, so a few paying guests may have given up, but nothing was heard in relation to that. We asked them very nicely to leave them for the weekend and they seem to have done just that.

The rest of the evening and night went off equally as hitchless as the first and we didn't run out of food or drink! (Except corn-on-the-cob, which we insisted on only because the Rally Sec was dead against them.) This obviously meant that a few of us didn't need to go down the pub for a week or so, but no real hardship there.

Clearing up on Sunday didn't take as long as we thought and we had the help of a couple of the early-arrivals, some of which stayed with the club for years afterwards! I had work early on Monday morning, so I didn't stay to the bitter end, but apparently the marquee truck had a bit of trouble getting in and out of the field after a hundred or so bikes had churned up the entrance.

Other than that, not a flicker of a problem. And, best of all, it didn't cost us a penny, as it was financed by the YOC/Yamaha.

- Phil (the Spill) Drackley