Isle of Wight Camping

28th August 1981

A group of friends from various clubs realised that they hadn't done the Isle of Wight on an August Bank Holiday for a few years, so why not do it this year? So it was that, after work on the Friday, a group of bikes from the Mitsui Diehards MCC, Borderline MCC and Ressurected MCC assembled at the ferry terminal in Portsmouth, only to be confronted by a few policemen. As I had never witnessed it, I didn't realise that, in some peoples' eyes, Bank Holidays always meant running battles between Mods and Rockers on beaches. We had to unpack our panniers, topboxes, tents and even open our tool kits to prove we weren't carrying offensive weapons, (Bantam's dirty socks excepted). I don't think that sort of attitude still prevails. At least, I hope it doesn't.

Once on the island, we made out way to the campsite, where we were allocated some space in the corner far away from 'decent folk'. We sat around chatting for a while, before crashing out, having not yet determined where the nearest pub was, and our own supplies were just about sufficient for the day.

One guy did his party piece, which was telling the story of Cinderella and the Ugly Sisters entirely in Spoonerisms - Randycilla and the Sugly Isters. I can't remember if we had a bonfire or not - even in summer, bikers seem to prefer one as a focal point.

Bright and early-ish in the morning, we all crept out our tents, one Borderliner doing his morning exercises, (one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, then repeat on the other fingers.) After a bit of a ride around the island, (doesn't take long), and a few hours in a pub, we found a Bucking Bronco ride on a sea front, (might have been Ventnor?), where, after a few rides, one girl challenged the operator's girlfriend to see who could stay on the longest - for £10. Quite unsurprisingly to everyone except the challenger, the girlfriend won quite easily. We thought we had better leave when she started shouting about cheating, (really?).

We went to a different part of the beach for a relax in the sun. On the way back to the campsite we did see a couple of scooters going in the opposite direction. Somebody claimed they threw a bottle at us, but I don't recall seeing this.

The next day we did a bit more riding about and pub-testing, having located one close to the campsite, before retiring.

The trip home was fine, and trouble free for most of us. However one member, who required glasses for riding, and had the visor on his helmet raised on one stretch of the A3, turned his head to look behind him before overtaking. The wind caught the glasses and whipped them off, never to be seen again.

Phil Drackley - Phil the Spill