The site was booked – as was the time off work needed to set up and pack up. With the Thursday before the rally spent checking over the tent ⛺️ and the rest of the camping gear, we were good to go!
Fast forward to the following day and Barry ‘Jimmy’ Young and his son Andrew were first on the scene at The Golden Swan Pub in Walcott, Pewsey, SN9 5NN (aka as a field behind the ‘Mucky duck’) and were working like ten men frantically setting up the Wilts marquee and electric hook up, the tables and of course the essential Burco boiler tea urn ready to book in the first rallyists and hand them their info packs about the weekend. Fantastic effort and well done Jimmy and Andrew!
Individuals, couples and families arrived and set up their respective accommodation for the weekend. Here’s a particularly ‘snug’ example that our very own General Secretary, Graham Seymour brought with him in his trouser pocket, it’s like a tent – only smaller!
The remaining tents were a little larger…
After an evening of ‘meet and greet’ where Graham S, Ted German of the Oxford Branch and a few others were spotted letting their hair down in their natural environment:
Having socialised enough for a first night, tired people retired to their respective tents ⛺️ for a good nights sleep after long journeys. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case for many, as the temperature dropped well below freezing 🥶 in the wee, small hours.
The following morning was bright and dry but a bit nippy to start with. However, it soon warmed up and after self cooked breakfasts and a ride out brief from Sean Emery, the run set off, ably led by Sean and assisted by ‘Jimmy’ around this route in an anti-clockwise direction:
The route took in The Classic Motor Hub, Old Walls, Ablington, Bibury, GL7 5NX…
… And stopped for lunch at Cotswold Airport, formerly known as Kemble Airfield, Cirencester, GL7 6 BA:
Here, we can see Marcus Moulson straining to hear the (very) distant rumble of the sea shore!
I know Sean didn’t want to use motorways and used as few ‘A’ roads as possible and he IS commended for his ‘interesting’ route selection….
However, Dave Jolly, Darren Offord and Graham Seymour will all testify that a ZZR 1400 and two Honda Blackbirds, are NOT ideally suited to prolonged ‘green laning’! 🥴 (Thanks Sean)!🤣
The run was approximately 132 miles and as far as I know, everyone who went out made it back and no one had any mishaps – always a bonus.
After the run had returned, it was a case of sort out the bikes and ourselves and walk across the field into the Pub where most people had chosen to eat. Here, their expectations were met with a fair selection of reasonably priced, tasty food:
Hot on the heels of the evening meal was a superb quiz, which was again brilliantly delivered by Darren (‘the music master/charades expert’) Offord. Thanks again Daz!👍
Following the quiz was a charity raffle (thank you ‘Jimmy’ and Big Jim for sourcing the prizes and arranging the raffle):
Then more rehydrating and socialising and a warmer nights sleep than the previous one in the tents. ⛺️
Sunday dawned overcast and dark and then it rained on and off until after lunchtime. There was no official ride out planned which was probably fortunate as the weather wasn’t kind that morning. So individuals went off and did their own thing with some taking their cars to other local eateries and one or two short bike rides after lunch. This intrepid trio visited a particularly charming location in Stockbridge:
Sunday evening was a quieter affair as the open air (not to mention the booze of course) had most people knackered. Darren (Daz) Offord acted as impromptu head chef at the BBQ he provided. As tempting as the proposition was, his kind offer of tenderised down your pants, ‘butt-crack’ steak 🥩 WAS an offer that COULD be refused!😳🤣
Monday was strike the tents, strip out, pack up and say farewell until the next rally. Thank you all for coming and for helping Wilts Branch celebrate. We hope you enjoyed it and that next year’s 30th anniversary rally will build on the high standards set at this one. A big thanks to: Barry (‘Jimmy’) Young, his son Andrew, Darren (‘Daz’) Offord, Sean Emery and everyone else who helped organise, set up, strip out and in any way.
Claire & Dave