Dean Forest Rally
Les Hobbs remembers what he can about the rally in 1973 and 1974.
The Dean Forest, or Forest Of Dean as most people referred to it, was held in the winter after Christmas I think. I believe it was organized by Cheltenham and Cossacks MCC and a name that springs to mind is Andy Stephens, but I think there was some sort of falling out and Andy later ran a rally at Staverton Airfield which may have been the Sprocket Rally and also the Airport Rally. Can anybody confirm or amend this as the beer has taken a lot of my memories away.
I attended two, 1973 and 1974. Both were held on Forestry Commission ground. There was a wooden building that was used as a reception and one year, 1973 I think, the weather was so bad they let some of us sleep inside.
The following year there was a fair bit of trouble when a group of "hells angels" tried to gate crash the rally and the organisers had to telephone for the police to eject them. These prats (no not the police) hung around and re-emerged after most of us had gone back to our tents leaving just a few people around the remains of the bonfire. A fight broke out in which one ralliest was hospitalised.
These "hells angels" were chased into the woods leaving a transit van and a small 2 stoke motor cycle behind. The police and ambulance were called and some of them were caught.
The feelings the next morning when people awoke and were told of the happenings was untrue. One lad from the Midlands picked up a huge log and threw it through the windscreen. Within a couple of minutes the transit (a works vehicle) was a total write off. Tools looted, battery removed, not a single panel without a hole in it, all glass gone, dash destroyed, thirty odd people just trashed it and the bike.
People who where there Phillip Hogg, Steve Porter, Pete "the Snuff", Gordon from Tipton (can't remember his second name at the moment)
- Les Hobbs
The so called Hells Angels were actually the Scorpions from Gloucester.
The rally was moved to various locations around Cheltenham and became the Cotswold Rally held usually in February in and around Cheltenham in the Cotswold Hills.
The Cossack MCC is still going strong and we had a reunion at Lower Lode September 2007.
- Al Walker (Catweazle)
Life Member - Cossack MCC
I remember this because there were two people hospitalised and I was one of them.
We were sat around a campfire minding our own business when we were attacked for no reason. As I say, two of us went to hospital and my mate was told he might not ride a bike again. (he did) I had to travel to the Cossack Clubhouse a couple of weeks later to pick up his Commando.
The worst thing was, one of our mates was on his first rally - and his last because of the trouble.
I was the only one of our club who went the next year.
- The Black Russian
I too was at this rally. It was 1974 and I still have my badge.
As stated, we were sat around the camp fire when all hell broke loose. I was kipping next to Snuffy Turner as we'd come down together. Pete began shouting at the idiots who were swinging logs around their heads and as soon as they came, they went, leaving some poor blokes on the ground.
The bike was a rat with a Villiers 250 2T engine and the white Transit van had the owners tools of his trade in and a fly rod ... well ... did have ... it was smashed to pieces with a pick axe that was inside. It ended up looking like it was riddled with machine gun bullets, every window was smashed, every tyre slashed.
I believe the Police caught them. Hope they got a good long term as well.
- Nigel Caddick
As Les, I did the rallies in 1973 & 1974. The year of the trouble with the hells angels was 1974.
In 1973, the organisers put on a film show for the rallyists and it was not porn etc. It was a film of Morecambe & Wise - "The Riviera Touch". Not hugely popular as you can imagine but the bonus was I got to sleep in the hut and not in a tent during a snowy January night!
- John Scotcher
I have only two Dean Forest badges, 1972 round red one, that was the year we slept in the hostel, and the notorious one in 1974 (blue triangle badge, they customised mine by putting my name in the date space).
I was there when the Scorpions attacked. We were down the bottom but we saw what happened. Their van got trashed and I think the gang had a gold Zodiac as well, which they may have got away in. I'm not sure about that though.
- Alan Rogers
I always thought until now that the very first meetings of the Dean Forest rally were in the very early 1970s. The only evidence I had in my archives to confirm this assumption was a photo of a 1971 rally badge that was put up for sale on eBay a few years ago; this was the oldest one I had ever had the chance to see.
Well, I must say that I was wrong!
It turns out that a meeting of this rally took place much earlier in the late 1960s - more precisely 1969 - as shown by hovering your pointer over the photo of the commemorative badge of this one which I have just acquired for my collection of motorcycle memorabilia.
As the older rallyists still around know, the number of motorcycle rallies held in Britain during this period of the 60's is very limited compared to the large volume of events in the decades that followed.
With this proof that the Dean Forest was already in evidence in 1969, the name of this rally can now take its rightful place in the selective list of honourable 1960s organisations.
- Jean-Francois Helias
Get your facts right before publishing on line. Do NOT use the name of a club, especially negative publicity if it had nothing to do with them!