Robin Hood Rally
Another nice rally, good friends, loads of beer and not a long walk to the Man of Trent pub. I used to go to this rally and The Goose Fair and if my memory is right, the first Muffin The Mule rally were also held on this site. Never any trouble, they were good days. Back in my earlier rallying years I seem to recall as you signed in you sometimes got given a load of tickets for free tea or coffee, free hot dog and sometimes even your first pint!! And then there was the raffles. The organising clubs would get some of their better looking females to go around selling tickets. It all counted in gathering club funds.
Ivor (Ivett Wright) always had a hand in sorting things out for the Nottingham 41 Club. In fact he helped me with advice when I organized the first Golden Eagle Rally. He used to write to firms for sponsorship for the rallies and there would be a board put up with the names of the companies and the things that they had donated, something like this:
|Deb Chemicals||three tins of swaffega|
|Loctite||loctite maintance kit|
|Scottish & Newcastle||no reply|
|Lewis Leathers||2 silk scarves|
|Belstaff||set of over mittens|
|Swagman||set of throw over panniers|
|Rocol||2 tins of chain spray|
|Reynolds||5/8 x 3/8 chain|
|Terry's||voucher for valve springs|
|London Rubber Co||no reply|
Ivor always had a wicked sense of humour and people used to ask "What does the London Rubber Co make? ... tyres?" - "Nah, French letters" would come the reply. I doubt if he did write to them but it always got a laugh or two. As a lot of people will remember, Ivor got a load of ex-army gear for us. There probably was a good ex-army store in the area. I had a tank suit from him and a jeather jerkin, but he also used to get Two Pint pewter tankards which several of us used.
Back to the rally. Saturday midday we had set off from the Springhill public house in Wolverhampton, where we had gathered, having a pint before we set off. But Gary Williams was on one of his benders again. Not content with just having a pint before we set off he was on the quadruple Bacardies to fire up Friday nights left overs that was still in his system, and he'd found someone brave enough to go in the sidecar, Neil Avery. John Boswell and wife Moira (Mo) Steve Porter, Pete the Snuff, Pete Birkitt, Gordon Harris and another couple or three were going. Rather than setting off in a big bunch we split up as most of us didn't have road tax.
A couple of hours saw us at the rally site. It's only 50ish miles but back in the good old days your average speeds were quite slow. We had got the tents up and were socialising when Gary and Neil arrived. Gary had slid his outfit off the road into a ditch! They were just trying to get it back on the road when a police car arrived on the scene. They told the police that they were going to a rally in Nottingham and had slid off on the wet road! The two policemen helped them get the combo back on the road. One even asked Gary if he was hurt, as he looked to be shook up, to which Gary told him he was tired and had been up all night getting the bike ready. Bike started, the policemen waved them away with "Take it steady lads". Proper old time coppers. Gary sadly died of a heart attack at the age of 45 but we would like to think that's the way he would have liked it, another Oliver Reed.
We had another damn fine evening in the Man of Trent, flitting from the bar to the car park to the function room and finally dodging the cars to cross over the road back to the campsite.
- Les Hobbs