Report on Bokkerijders Treffen, October 1972 + 1973 held at Camping-De-Boskant, Geulle, Holland, organised by Peter Leers, Moto Club De Flits, Meerssen Holland.
Well it all tied in. I could do the Poachers Rally on the Friday morning then nip down to Dover and get into Holland for the Bokkerijders Treffen at Geulle, Limburg, just north of Maastricht, wait around for the week and do the Lion at Zolder in Belgium and return home on the following Sunday. Great, a whole week on the continent. But what do I do for food? What happens if something goes wrong or breaks down. I'd better be prepaired for all eventualities.
I had my trusty B.S.A. A10 combo but the dynamo was a little hit and miss. Not to worry, a friend offered to lend me a battery from a lorry. "You can use half the battery and get 6 volt using the three self-tapping screws. Loads-a-lights." So that was put into the boot of the side-car along with the foot pump for the igloo tent, socket set, a box full of tools, 2 pairs of stilsons, spare chain, bottle jack, spare mag, spare bottom end, a pair of barrels and pistons and a back wheel with a good tyre, a ruck sack full of clothes and water proofs. The topbox and panniers held my sleeping bag, cooking and eating impliments, washing kit and enough food for a ten man polar expedition.
I had had the sidecar off the bike to change the clutch and a few other jobs that needed doing the week before and it was all very much a last minute job before I set off on Friday midday for the Poacher Rally. I was the first person there, then after an hour or so came another lad shortly followed by Yorkie with his burger van towed by what you could only discribe as a Reliant minus the bodywork, and a little while later came the organisers. I signed in and left for Dover.
The outfit was being a pig to drive. I must have not set it up correctly. I was aware that I was heavily ladden but I had to lock out my left elbow and haul in on my right arm. Too late in the day to sort it out now, got a boat to catch. I hauled ass down towards London and for my sins of badge burglaring I got caught up in the rush hour (sorry, 3 hours) on the north circular on side lights (I hope that battery holds out). I eventually made it down to Dover where I filled up with petrol but the drag of the steering had taken it's toll. I couldn't reach my money. I could not get my right arm up to my left breast pocket. I had to ask the assistant to get my money and passport out (good job I didn't need a leak). I was going to adjust the alignment on the boat but the car deck crew wouldn't allow it, so I'll have to do it tomorrow in Belgium.
Zeebrugge, 04.30 am, misty. I'll clear the docks and have a coffee at one of the all night truck stops a little way up the road and adjust the set up. But what's this? Perfect hands off steering. We are now on the opposite camber, problem solved.
A steady 4 hour run saw me in Maastricht. Just a few miles from the camp site I had a lot of problems trying to get directions to the camp site caused mainly by asking for directions. The dutch pronunciation of a word is so different to ours, its far easier to have the name written down and show it to them. GEULLE the area I was looking for we would say as goole, in Dutch it sounds nearer to cheulla.
I got there anyway around 10.30 am, signed in and went looking for a place to put my tent (could you call an igloo that?) I spotted a couple of English registered bikes and thought that's about right, here will do, tent up, wander around. There was a run out to Gulpen a few miles away to a trout farm. Interesting tour, a couple of beers, a nap in the afternoon and a coffee before the evening session. Then I met the neighbours from hell. Norman and his wife / partner, from Blackpool, 750 Honda 4. "What are you doing?" "Having a coffee" "Oh that's a good idea, got any sugar? Well coffee as well? We ran out a few days ago." The bells started to ring. I could not get rid of Norman. I went in to the bar and ordered a round of drinks. Norman didn't. He started talking to some Dutch people. One of the lads told me of the Najaars Treffen to be held the following weekend near Utrecht. They got the next 4 rounds in then he was talking to some Swedes. They got the next few rounds in. It was most embarasing. There was an organised walk through the woods, torch lit, proper torches, flaming things. We watched them go from the cafe and as they returned later the torches were used to light the bonfire which is where we finished up. Norman had not bought a drink all night. Be damned if I was going to crack before him but I wanted to get a round in for these Swedish lads as it was evident that Norman wasn't about to. Then I remembered the PARTY SEVEN in the sidecar. I got the tin out and opened it in the time honoured way, screw driver, and filled everyone's glass including Normans. I felt a little easier now. The one Swedish lad I was talking to could not comprehend the size of the can and that an Englishman could drink this much beer in one sitting. He asked me for the empty can to take back home with him.
Most of the rallyists made their ways home on Sunday after a local priest had blessed the bikes, showering them with holy water. This ritual happened every year.
A few rallyists stopped on at no extra cost, the owner must have thought "Well they have spent enough the last few days". Norman kept the fire going for the next 3 days and was roasting potatoes. Every time I moved it was "Where are you going? We'll come." or "What are you doing?" I thought I'm not opening the top box or Norman will be freeloading on my food. He was already giving my coffee a good bending.
On the Tuesday night I hatched a plan to get away on the Wednesday morning. I'd wake early and pack everything away silently, the last thing being the igloo. As you undo the pressure release valve at the top there is one almighty hissing and at this Norman's head came out of his tent "Where are you going?" "I'm going to nip into Germany and do some shopping in Aachen." "You can leave your tent here, I'll look after it." "If the bike breaks down I'd rather have every thing in one place." At which I rolled it up sharpish and left. Done it.
Away at last I nipped into Aachen as planned, headed north in the afternoon and found a camping platz where I stopped. I cooked a meal of bacon, egg, beans and boiled potatoes. I was famished. Then it started to rain. I nipped into the bar on the campsite and had a few beers. About two hours later on returning to the tent I startled a cat that had climbed into the tent, opened the tupperware box and had finished off my bacon for breakfast. I was up and away the next moring for the rally in Holland where I met up with Dave Wood, Alan Giddens and the other lads. Later that weekend I mentioned Norman from Blackpool and they knew him and told me of Norman running out of petrol on the M6 going around the services at Knutsford begging from the car drivers to get home.
- Les Hobbs