Big Three Rally
Stanford Hall 27 June 1971
I had been out to the Stag Rally and this was a one day (Sunday) event held at the well used site Stanford Hall, home to many one day and club events. I had been told of it and as it was on my way home I thought that I would drop in to see what it was all about.
I was BMW R60 mounted and had a few days earlier been pulled up by the local gestapo - sorry, police - for having no front mudguard. As I explained, this had been removed two days earlier to be stripped and repainted and, as it was not yet finished, I had no guard fitted. "You will be reported"
I could get to like this, anybody got a brandy?
- Les Hobbs
That was it, can't take the chance of being caught again, so I looked around my fathers garage and I found this piece of plastic covered hardboard about 3½ inches wide that would do for a couple of days. Four holes later it was fitted and off I set for The Stag Rally.
I arrived at the Big Three Rally around 11.00am and although I had owned a couple of Ariels I did not have much affection for BSAs or Triumphs. I stopped a couple of hours, had a wander around and then left. This was not a real rally, no camping, no beer. All in all, boreing, but let's face it, I was just 21 at the time and each to their own. These lads here must have been having a good time in their own way.
As I travelled my way home I passed through Birmingham city center and out towards my parent's house on the A4123. I was just overtaking some cars on the Hagley Road when this make do front mudguard gave way, leaving the front stay to go forwards and lock the front wheel. The resulting locked front wheel threw me down the road. As I rolled down the center of the road I could see the BMW going away in a shower of sparks. The cars following me swerving to avoid running over me and the oncoming cars doing the same.
Five or six people grabbed my clothing and picked me up in the horizontal position and removed me from the center of the road to the pavement. A rolled up coat was placed under my head and a cigarette was placed in my mouth. I could get to like this, anybody got a brandy? Within two minutes an ambulance was here and I was whisked off to A&E. I had skinned the palms of my hands and knocked up both knees and elbows, a meer triffle, compared to what was to come a week later, that would put me in hospital for two months with a shattered knee joint.
- Les Hobbs
Les, this was a rally for the BIG 3 manufacturers clubs of the time. BSA had put up the Transatlantic trophy for the winning teams from the three clubs, on a Gymkana style games event.
They also sent along the winning BSA and Triumph triples and Ray Pickrell, Percy Tait and Paul Smart were there as guests to talk to the clubs members.
I was chief marshal for the day, organising the various competitive events.
The BSA club won the trophy and still have it to this day.
- Polly Palmer