East of Essex Rally

30th June 1984 - East Essex MCC

I still hadn't got the fairing replaced since the crunch before the Simmer Dim rally, (well, it was only ten days ago), and the rear tyre was ever-so-slightly illegal after the trip to Shetland and back. But these things could wait until I had a break in my rally schedule.

When I got to this one, I was mildly bemused as we had been cornered off in the top end of the field we normally used the whole of. The advantages of this were that the ground was flatter and everything was considerably nearer than in previous years. We were no longer visible from the main road, though, and this may have been the reason for the shrinkage.

The weather was not as hot as it had been before, which was no bad thing. Les Lumps turned up with his wife, Suzee, and almost immediately started stripping off, but it turned out this was only to change into his new Rally Review T-shirt, which he was also selling alongside the magazine. A bit later on, several young ladies individually started stripping off in front of me, (and my camera), for reasons that escape me.

There were some silly games on the Friday night, the only one I remember, though, was 'feeding' your partner beer from a baby's bottle. (The male recipients were required to wear safety head-gear.)

On the Saturday, I decided to make use of the tyre-selling/fitting van that had been arranged by the club. I trusted this one more than I would normally trust other itinerant tyre-selling vans, as some of the organising club were in the Met Police, and were unlikely to take kindly to somebody selling sub-standard items.

A bit later on, Julian and Lee from my club were relaxing in their tent, when an apparently inattentive rider managed to drive through the end of it. Luckily, nothing of importance was in that part of the tent at the time. Julian had to head off to the nearest town to get some tent parts repaired or replaced.

The games, I recall, were well attended. The only one I took picture of was the four-man-ski-race, which had the usual ratio of face-in-the-grass moments.

After another spontaneous exposure, I met a rider I knew from the Shetland rallies, who was, I assumed, taking his wheel off to get the tyre replaced. He was, in fact, filing new teeth in the sprocket, something he apparently did regularly.

The rest of the day passed pleasantly enough and, in the evening, there was a planned T-shirt removal contest, followed, (and probably preceded), by much drinking.

Towards the end, there was the obligatory straw fights, before it was all piled up together and burnt as an offering to the sky-gods, (hopefully, the rallyists had been removed). I seem to recall a fire engine turned up, as the bonfire had been reported, a frequent occurrence in those days.

On Sunday, the previous night's offering had obviously pleased the deities, as the weather for the journey home was quite pleasant.

- Phil (the Spill) Drackley