Wiltshire Rally 2024

So, the site was booked – as was the time off work needed to set up and pack up. With members spending the Thursday before the rally checking tents ⛺️ and camping gear, not to mention bikes, 🏍️ we were good to go!

Fast forward to the following day and we’re off to collect Wilt’s marquee from storage. Dave, Jimmy, his son Andrew and Andrew’s wife Katie, helped load the van and the intrepid quartet drove the 12 miles from Tidworth to set up at the venue; The Golden Swan Pub in Wilcott, Pewsey, SN9 5NN (aka a very muddy field behind the ‘Mucky duck’).

Met there by South Wales’ HOC’s Murray Wiltshire, we had the marque, electric hook up, tables set up and more importantly, the Burco boiler tea urn boiling in under an hour.☕️

All this was necessary to present a (false) but calm impression of efficient organisation prior to booking in the first rallyists and giving them their handouts about the weekend’s activities. Fantastic effort and well done Jimmy, Andrew and Katie!

Individuals, couples and families arrived and set up their respective accommodation for the weekend, albeit in a ‘slightly damp’ field!

Although there was more rain 🌧️ to come ☔️ generally, conditions did improve over the weekend. (It wouldn’t be a Wilts rally without cold nights and at least one, wet 💦 ride out)!

After an evening of ‘meet and greet’, no lesser exalted member than our recently elected Chairman, Marcus Moulson and his good lady Mary, graced the club with their presence. Some other senior (older) members were also spotted slaking their thirsts whilst putting the world to rights.

Having socialised enough for a first night, tired but refreshed people retired to their respective tents ⛺️ and vans for a good night’s sleep after long journeys. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case for some, as the temperature dropped close to 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 a quick ride to Chopper’s Café and back and a few self cooked breakfasts; it was time for the ride out brief from Jimmy Young.

With Jimmy ably leading and his ‘lad’ Andrew gainfully bringing up the rear of the column as ‘tail-end Charlie’, 17 riders and one pillion (‘up for the challenge’ Mary Moulson) set off.

As readers can see, the scenic route took in 3 x Café stops and an opportunity to re-fuel. With only one or two slight ‘deviations’ from the route (missed junctions), all (eventually) made it to the lunch stop… 😆

The run was approximately 175 miles and as far as I know, everyone who went out made it safely back or peeled off for home and no one had any mishaps – always a bonus.

Upon returning, it was a case of sort out the bikes and ourselves and stroll across the field (swamp) into the Pub where Katie had helpfully forecast the orders to the kitchen staff. Here, diners’ expectations were met with a fair selection of reasonably priced, tasty food and drink.

Hot on the heels of the evening meal was another superbly prepared quiz, which was again brilliantly delivered by Darren (‘the music master/charades expert’) Offord, aided and abetted by his Oscar nominated sidekick, Jimmy. Thanks again Daz and Jimmy. Great performances!👍

Following the quiz was a charity raffle (thank you Claire, Jimmy, Sean E and ‘Big Jim’ for sourcing the prizes and arranging the raffle).

Then followed more rehydrating and socialising and a warmer nights sleep than the previous one in the tents. ⛺️

Sunday dawned cloudy and threatening rain – which thankfully held off until the 13 riders (and several car drivers) were safely ensconced in the Rowdey Cow Farm Café for the planned lunch stop.

Here, Katie had again helpfully phoned through the rally’s lunch order so long delays were avoided. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t kind to the rally for the rest of the day and it rained from then, on and off until late into the night.

Sunday evening was a quieter affair as the longish rides, open air (and not to mention the booze of course) found most people running out of steam. Darren (Daz) Offord again generously acted as head chef at the open air BBQ he provided. His kind offer of left over sausages, burgers and baked spuds was too good to refuse!

Monday was strike the tents, strip out, pack up and squelch off the field to dry out and clean equipment prior to the next rally. Thank you all for coming and for helping Wilts Branch celebrate.

We hope you enjoyed it and that next year’s rally will build further on the high standards set at this one. A big thanks to: Jimmy, Andrew, Katie, Darren (‘Daz’) Offord, Sean Emery, ‘Big Jim’, Claire and everyone else who helped organise, gather raffle prizes, set up, strip out and assist in any way.

Write up by Dave.

Photos courtesy of Claire, Katie, Andrew, & Charles.