Potters Wheel Rally
Organised by Potters Wheels MCC (of Stoke on Trent), at Ipstones Derbyshire from 1975 to 1979.
The first rally was held in a field about a couple of miles north of the village and the walk to and from the pubs was a bit of a trek. Being experienced walkers we attempted it via the direct route across the fields and ended up lost and walked at least twice as far as the sensible road route!
There was the usual booking in tent /caravan and a whole field to pick a flat place for your tent!
Subsequent rallies were held just outside the village, again to the North, opposite a farm paddock which the Dean Valley MCC used quite often for camping weekends.
Due to those camping weekends and the fact that the Phoenix rally had been held there for a number of years I was treated as a regular at the Old Red Lion, one of the village Pubs.
Joan the landlady had a relaxed attitude towards licensing laws. If you wanted a drink she was prepared to serve you with one, no matter what time of morning it was!
The local chip shop was also very friendly and, being used to the late sessions, quite often sent someone down to the pub to take our order and then deliver it if we looked to be staying in the pub past their closing time.
The Old Red Lion was a Burtonwood Ales Pub and besides the standard bitter sold a brew called Top Hat Bitter. This was stronger than normal, almost a barley wine. If you managed to down ten of them in one session Joan would let you have any further pints for free. She never to my knowledge gave any away, despite a lot of people attempting it!
There was usually a good attendance by both the Dean Valley MCC and the Potteries Phoenix, so I had plenty of fellow club members to meet up with.
The rally went along OK for a few years, but in 1979 for some reason, after the pubs closed, (normal hours) the lads heading back to the field were almost rioting. Quite a bit of damage was caused to gates and fences on the route back to the rally site and there were several fights. I was with a few of the Dean Valley lot in the fish shop early for a change. Joan had sensed the mood and had closed at eleven. We took refuge in the café attached to the chippie until things calmed down and had a sit down meal and a couple of bottles with the owner. Knowing the locals paid off that night.
I don't know whether the rally was ever held again.
- Ted Trett