Captain Cook Rally

The first Captain Cook Rally was in 1968 at Swainby (not far from Stokesley, on the top edge of the North Yorks Moors). Then to Whorlton Lido 69 & 70. Then to Witton Castle, then Reeth, 73 to 75 was Sedgefield then from 76 to 83 Shildon, 84 to 86 was the infamous bunker at Tow Law then Glaisdale from 87 to 02 and since then is at Roxby near Staithes.

O.K. that's the factual bit over! Back to memories!!!

I met up with the Tornadoes as a Club in the early seventies. It was not hard to do as they were at nearly every rally I did and seemed to have their share of "characters"!! e.g. Johnny Croxson (The Vicar), Mad Jim, Arnie the Farmer, (to name a few). The first Cook Rallies I did were at Sedgefield and all I can recall (from 75) was the awful stubble on the field and the torrential rain on the Saturday night that made my side stand sink in, resulting in the bike trying to join me in my tent!

The Shildon site was just out of town and camping was on the top of a railway tunnel. The rally was based in the Community Centre but there were plenty of pubs to try out and even a working mans club (where the beer was even cheaper!!) We always tried to get back to the hall for the last hour or so, to see the band and meet up with everybody.

I took some good pictures one year in the bar of the hall. A lady friend of mine had been bragging about her holiday in the south of France and she agreed to show us all how much of an all-over tan she had. Unfortunately I didn't actually have a camera ... but conveniently there was one on the table next to me, so I used that and put it back without telling!!! You used to have your films developed at the chemist in those days ... I hope whoever owned the camera enjoyed the surprise extras!!!!

In those days time was called at 10.30 UNCIVILISED!!!

The last song from the band always seemed to be "Freebird", then we made our way back to the site, either via the Chinese Chippy, or trying to sort out which pub was doing "afters"!

In later years the walk back to the site could be a bit risky if you were on your own. The local "youths" had taken a strong dislike to having "their" territory taken over by a load of Bikers, so it paid to keep in large groups. These problems led to the move to Tow Law.

The Bunker

The site was an ex MOD bomb proof storage depot. The camping was on what appeared to me to be an ex tank driving track or an assault course! At least with it being out of the way we were unlikely to disturb anybody. Not my favorite site, but it kept the rally going. I seem to remember having to collect the water for the site from a building site next to the A68. Twenty years later you can still see the large unfinished house at the side of the road as you head north out of Tow Law.


The rally site was on the camping field behind the Anglers Rest (later called the Moon and Sixpence). There were two other pubs in the village, and an additional late night bar/ disco in a marquee in a valley behind the camp site. It was a matter of pride that we never closed until the last customer fell over! Part of the entertainment for the bar staff was watching people attempting to climb back up to the camping field after a few too many. It was sometimes easier just to stay down in the valley by the camp fire for the night!

There is a station in Glaisdale and most people took the train into Whitby to see the sea (or the inside of a few more pubs!!).

John ("Mavis" the train driver) had gone to work from the rally and drove the train into Glaisdale station wearing his full face crash helmet! The trains were always crowded, but we all managed to squeeze on somehow! Not everyone managed to get the last train back, as trains do not wait while you "just finish another one!" but no doubt the Taxi drivers thought it was OK. People were a bit surprised when the man who had originally given them the invite to the rally, who they had sent their money to for the rally, and had booked them in on Friday night, served them with beer at the marquee, then served them with breakfast the next morning, was on the train collecting fares!! It was a busy weekend for Jim Waugh, as rallying always had to fit round his shifts as a railway Guard!!

The site tended to get very crowded, so people started to turn up early to get the best pitches, in fact it turned into a week long holiday for several and included the Whitby folk festival for certain "Kean" rallyists!

At that time, the club ran their own food tent, with the breakfast of ham and eggs being popular. Frying hundreds of eggs for a breakfast session was a demanding job. Derek and Anne Lockwood were the usual team, although it was possible to move from bar duty straight onto breakfasts as Derek (2) proved on a couple of occasions! He CAN cook with his eyes closed!!!

The set up at Glaisdale was hard to beat for a rally site, but when the pub changed hands, it was a slow decline, but again it was time to move, this was in 02 so it's a bit too recent to start telling tales!

- Ted Trett