1975 & 1976
I did another couple of Dragon Rallies in the mid 1970s, '75 + '76 I think, with Alan Giddens. 1976 we tossed the tents over the wall left the bikes in the road and didn't bother signing in. We had been rallying for years and had never seen or heard of a Conway Club member attending any other clubs events. The Dragon Rally was a hyped up cash cow and the Conway Club have milked it for years. OK that's my view. Other people might see it differently but at the end of the day we had fun doing it and that was all that mattered.
- Les Hobbs
The following note arrived with a Five Star award.
The write up brings tears to my eyes, mate. Some of those you mentioned have now passed away but those memories of that part in all our lives will remain and that's what life is all about.
Now happy memories.
Don't remember too much, but it would have been the 1975 rally (Never did get a badge).
A friend and I from Canada were planning an overland M/C trip from Wales to S Africa (on Commando Interstates no less).
My friend was originally from Porthcawl, S Wales, and still had family there so that's where we met up. Problem was, neither of us had ridden bikes seriously before (other than a Honda Dream back in Canada) and didn't have driver's licences. So before being able to ride the Nortons we were limited to 250cc and "L" plates. Don't know what it is like now, but in '75 it took 3 months to to get a booking for a road test. Made arrangements with Waterton Cross Motors in Bridgend to buy the Nortons, as well as a 250 Honda for me (I'm 6ft 6in) and a Yamaha for my buddy so we could learn to ride.
Hayden at Waterton Cross told us about the Dragon, so we decided to go. Don't remember too much, but it was wet and on the way there I missed a curve and came off once. Into a soft spot off the road so no road rash.
The rally was an open field, wet, cold, somewhere up near Carnarvon I think. Felt a little silly with my 250 Honda, got wetter, colder, seemed to be raining all the time.
After leaving the rally rained all the way back to Porthcawl. Got more wet and cold, electrics on the Honda fried in Carmarthen (looking on the map not sure why I was even there), got separated from my buddy and got lost.
Did eventually get back to Porthcawl. Loved every wet and cold minute of it!
I have my Dragon Rally site entrance ticket, but it says "Thirteenth Dragon Rally 1974". It has a red X through it, so maybe they used leftover 1974 tickets in 1975?
Did pass the test so graduated to the brand new Norton and we made it into Africa with the Nortons as well, but that's another story*
Still got my Norton here in Canada almost 40 years later!
- Nick Vandervelden
* It's a story we want to hear, Nick!