Dragon Rally

Heading for Pentir

Today, I'd like to take you on a trip back in time, to be precise almost 40 years ago, to take part in the 1984 Dragon rally via a few photographic documents.

That year, the famous Welsh motorcycling event took up residence for a weekend in Pentir, a small community in the county of Gwynedd with a population of just 2,500, located 124 miles (200 km) from Cardiff.

View of one of the hills overlooking Pentir

As you can see from the photos below, that year's winter weather, cold but dry for the time of year, had no desire to roll out its snowy white carpet to cover the asphalt on the roads leading up to the event.

The snow, the hoped-for accomplice of winter rallyists, was nowhere to be seen.

The annual pilgrimage to the Dragon rally would not be what it is without the minor breakdowns and makeshift repairs that some of the participants have to make along the way.

A machine, en route to the 1984 Dragon rally, that seems to be thirsty.

Motorcycles and dry stone walls

Despite the occasional minor incidents, which, thankfully, did not significantly affect the overall enjoyment of the adventure, the majority of participants ultimately succeeded in reaching their objective: the rally location situated amidst the Pentir countryside.

View of the camp where the first arrivals have set up their tent.

The most modern machines and their older sisters now took a well-deserved rest; their engines still warm, after so many miles, cooled their metal in the low temperature and dry air of the Welsh winter.

What could be more Welsh than dry stone walls, seen behind these motorcycles, built by the expert hand of man to define plots and serve as fences?

Among the steel steeds of modern-day riders who made the trip to the 1984 Dragon, some were less common. A few were unusual enough to catch the eye of custom motorcycle enthusiasts.

A Triumph in chopper mode. Fortunately for its owner, the snow and ice of yesteryear were absent in 1984. Riding such a machine in extreme conditions would have imposed a serious challenge...

When jeans and leather were kings

The clothing shown in these photographs was commonly worn by motorcyclists in the 1980s. Within just four decades, it has largely been replaced by modern outfits that are considerably lighter, more comfortable, and provide better protection against the elements, abrasion, and impacts.

A participant dressed in his 'uniform' of the time. Motorcyclists of the 80s were gregarious animals that liked to adopt an accepted style while retaining some originality.

After this brief pictorial overview of the Dragon Rally 1984, if you took part that year, please send us your photos or your comments, to complete this page for our loyal readers.

- Jean-Francois Helias

Start of quotation The place was teeming with bikers from all corners, and the beer was flowing well.... End of quotation

- Phil Wilkinson

(From Phil's intro to the Dragon 1980 passage in his book "It's Only The Dirty Ones We Don't Want.")