I won a furthest travelled prize for our club in 1992 when I went to the 1st Arran Rally. I arrived at the same time as Hurricane Andrew!
But here's how the biker community is and why I loved it and felt like a part of something special - The rally was being held in a large field by the side of a river. I pitched my tent and headed straight for the bar where I discovered Glenfarclass 105 whisky, only two shots later I also discovered that I couldn't walk anymore. A call went out in the bar that a hurricane was about to hit the Island and that anyone who could, should pack up their tents and race back to the ferry to get off the Island as they doubted the ferry would be able to run again for a few days.
I staggered back to my tent and hunkered down, waiting for the worst. The hurricane arrived an hour later and tore my tent to shreds in minutes, tossed my bike on to the ground and then destroyed everything in its sight all night. It was terrifying! The field was a mess of destroyed tents the next morning, those who could afford it booked rooms at Hotels in Brodick, the Island's main town.
What was left were those of us who didn't have enough money to do that. I ended up meeting a couple of bikers who'd come from Manchester for the rally and were also stuck like me. We went around what was left of the campsite and gathered up any bits of broken tents that we could use and made ourselves a makeshift home until the ferry could run again. His girlfriend stitched a ground sheet across the middle to separate us and stitched "Home Sweet Home" on it.
We survived for four days, sharing food, wine and stories, making fires, drying our clothes around it, strangers, totally naked at times and not a single issue!!
I never saw them again, despite visiting hundreds more rallies after this one. I always said, and this still holds true, If I ever win the Lottery I'm going to pay The Royal Navy to sink the Isle of Arran and good riddance to it!
My friend reminded me that we came off the bike whilst touring the Island after hitting a patch of wet cow shit! We weren't hurt, just slid off the road and in to a field. Another good reason to have it sunk.
We visited Machrie Moor Standing Stones too, again it was wet, misty cold but very special being there.
- Tom Smallbone