Free Miners Rally

Some time ago, quite by chance, I came across a badge I'd never seen before; that of the Free Miners Rally.

The existence of this meeting was a complete mystery to me as was the organisation and club behind it. Perhaps the clues to these mysteries might come from the initials appearing in chrome lettering on the badge itself: S & D. M.C.C

Even though I say it myself, and speaking as a foreigner, I am proud of my knowledge of motorcycle rally badges, especially those celebrating British rallies.

Not only am I an avid and passionate collector of badges, but my archive currently contains over 12,000 badge photos from all around the world, mainly commemorating rallies but with some speed races as well.

...not only am I an avid and passionate collector...

I am really only interested in badges from these two motorcycle disciplines, ignoring others such as speedway, enduro, motocross and trial.

Of all the photos in my collection, over 5,000 are British motorcycle rallies. This perhaps unsurprisingly constitutes by far the largest group, with those from Germany numbering around 2200, and France coming in third at around 1600.

Never having seen this Free Miners Rally badge before, I am struck by its aesthetic nature. The logo is distinctive, well designed and totally original.

To endeavour to learn more about this rally, I immediately turned to the internet. But alas, total failure. There seemed to be no available information.

On the other hand, this fruitless research proved pleasant enough since I discovered much about the curious history of free-mining in the Forest of Dean. Mind you, although my research into the rally unearthed nothing, (no pun intended), I discovered a fascinating documentary made in the 1960s.

After my failure on the internet, I contacted the only person among my English friends that I hoped could possibly know something about the Free Miners Rally or the S & D Motor Cycle Club; my friend Heather MacGregor!

Heather and Ted Trett have spent much of their lives immersed in the world of rallies and their knowledge in this area has almost no equal. If I was to gain any information on the subject, they seemed the most obvious people to contact.

Unfortunately Heather and Ted had never heard of this rally, so it's very likely that it took place only once.

So, my friends, if any of you reading this now can shed any light on the origins of the Free Miners Rally or the S & D MCC, please get in touch. It would be very much appreciated and the mystery may yet be solved!

- Jean-Francois Helias

I was at the Free Miners Rally, it was held at a pub called The Orepool Inn, which is in Sling, near Bream in the Forest of Dean.

It was a one-off rally that was organised by the Severn & District MCC, mostly from the Coleford / Forest of Dean area and shortly afterwards they split up and a group of them started the ANON MCC.

The rally was held the last weekend of May 1984. in the field immediatly behind The Orepool Inn. There were about 150 at the rally.

A few from our group who were there include myself, Shaun Bruno, Kendrick, Yeti, Marie, Bubble, Lurch, Alison, Wag, Judith, Bev, Mushroom, Brian Robinson, Vorn Jenkins, Woody, Beaker, Kev. There were also a few of the Taff Riders.

It was a good rally weekend which unfortunaly ended sadly for us because, not long after our return home to South Wales on the Sunday afternoon, we lost one of our group in an accident.

- Phil George