Eight Castles Rally

Held just outside Vorden, Holland organised by VAMC De Graafschapsrijders at Vorden on the last weekend in July.

Well how do you fit nine years at one event into an article?. I'll try.

First some background. There are 8 castles or rather grand houses in the area around Vorden in the province of Gelderland. The first year you attended the rally you got the main badge, the second year you attended you received the first of 8 named castle bars (date bars) and a 6" square ceramic wall tile with the picture of that named "castle" on it. So it took you 9 years to collect all of the date, or rather name, bars and wall tiles and, as there was no date or year on the things, if you missed a year or two it made no difference.

On signing in at the event you also received a plastic carrier bag full of goodies a packet of mints, a sweet company called "O K "were one of the main sponsers, a biro, a local map, a couple of balloons, all sorts of stuff or freebies that the organisers had gathered as sponsership - nice gesture - and a sticker.

Having no dates on the badges makes it hard to remember just which year was which. Being traditionally held the last weekend of July nearly always ensured good weather. I can only remember one year it rained and that was on the Sunday as people were leaving. It also meant that ralliests who were already on the continent attending other events could drop in either going to or coming back.

The rally was held at a bar/restaurant just east of Vorden. There was a pull in in front of the pub so you were not on the main road. In the same building was a small shop selling food and other bits and peices. There were fields at the rear of the pub to camp in which you could not enter or leave on a bike without producing a pass given to you on signing in. The field had what I imagine was chicken sheds on the left hand side painted green. A free standing round stainless steel 8 man sink was connected to a hose pipe and it was a pleasure to watch un-inhibited, hairy armpitted continental female rallists strip to the waist to wash! There was always a large tent in the field for the overflow from the cafe. A few miles down the road was an open air swimming pool where on one particular year about 20 of us went to splash about and cool down.

These are Les's eight tiles. Click on the tile to see the next.

There were often large metal bins on the field which we would fill with water and cool our bottles of beer down. Some years we would be in the restaurant, some years on the field. The one year one English club was going around all the arriving Brits and asking them to sign in as a member of their club and on the Saturday evening the prize giving was held in the restaurant which had a proper stage. Someone got up for the long distance award and they played the Italian national anthem. Someone else got up for the female long distance and they played the Danish national anthem. It was all very proper and orderly and we had been tipped off that the English club had won the largest club turnout, so we were all set. It was announced and about 20 of us got up and filed onto the stage, the cup was presented and as they started to play God Save The Queen we all turned around and dropped our trousers! The place was in uproar! Only the English could do something like that. Well mooning was in vogue at the time.

Moira Jackson (Mo Boswell) recalls the people: Andy Hutchinson, Christine Taylor and Mac the Black.

Dave Gladstone from Portsmouth and his girlfriend turned up one year. They had been down to Italy and just as they were leaving said place some kind person stole some luggage from off their bike and it was mainly their clothes. So for the weekend all they had was what they stood up in. See photo ... R to L Dave with mouth organ, Fred Flitney, Codge and Dave's girlfriend.

Bob Lee was another regular with girlfriend and another chap I can't forget was Deaf Billy from the London area, always rode his BSA A65, never went over 60 mph. Others were as usual Roger Halfyard, wife Julie, Kelvin Clouting, Tony Cormack, Keith Arthurs, Del Cooper, Phil Guy and girlfriend, Dave Wood, Stewart Paice, Sid and Christine Beaumont, Alan and Sylvia Giddens. Loads of English clubs, Mayflower club , Dover 69 club, anybody who was anybody. The one picture shows Brighton Bob and Steve Cawthorne sat in chairs at the front of the restaurant wet. We had been playing silly buggers with balloons filled with water.

There was always something laid on by the organisers one year it was a local troup of clog dancers. We were in stitches, they could hardly walk in them you could noy really call it dancing, more like stomping.

Sunday mornings always saw groups of small boys milling around as we started to pack up. They were too young to be interested in the bikes and it didn't take too long to find out what the interest was. The empty beer bottles. There was a 10 cent deposit on the empties and the shop was closed until Monday. We could not take them back. It was strange, they would never steal them, but wait until you had left or told them that they could take them and they would not ask or pester you, so polite and well behaved.

Still, like most good things it all comes to an end. I was passing through on my way back from Latvia last year and I thought I'll take a look at the bar/restaurant, perhaps have a beer to absent friends and remember the best times. The bar was closed, the shop no longer open and the restaurant was now "Papa Bear's Pancake House". It looked as though it had not been opened for a long time. I walked around the back to see the rally field only to find that it had been developed into a cul d sac of houses. I came away feeling a little sad.

- Les Hobbs