Shakespeare Rally

This winter Axel Bodeit drove his Moto Guzzi T4 and I was his passenger in the sidecar. Early in the morning on Friday, 3 January 1992, our journey began for England.

THE SHAKESPEARE MOTORCYCLE CLUB has pleasure in inviting you to their 1992 Winter Rally 'KING JOHN' January 3rd - 5th, 1992, (£5) at The Gaydon Inn, Gaydon, midway between Warwick and Banbury on the B4100 (formerly A41), junction 12 on the M40.

There is nothing worth mentioning about our outward journey. Then two evenings in the pub, as every year, in good company by the open fireplace with a pint or two. However, the journey home on Sunday would be a little different from what is normally the case.

In Dover, Axel filled up the Moto Guzzi again. In the port we were allowed to pass the line of cars until we pulled up to the loading ramp of the ferry.

Since it was raining heavily, we kept our rain suits on.

The loading workers let every car drive into the ferry first. We stood there in the open without a roof and were then allowed to drive in last. While we were lashing our outfit, the ferry cast off.

We then took off our rain suits and Axel noticed that his wallet with money and documents was lost. He had probably accidentally stuck it between the rain suit and leather suit after refueling. Apparently, unnoticed, it slipped down the leg and got lost.

That could be exciting, there were now three national borders in front of us without Axel's documents.

In Calais, snow was already mingling with the rain. Fortunately, while unloading the ferry, the customs officers waved us through without checking.

Next the border station between France and Belgium. In heavy sleet we drove up to the small border house where the customs officers were sitting. They shook their heads. They didn't even want to open the sash window let alone leave the heated room. They waved us through without control.

We thought great, at the next border between Belgium and Germany they can understand our language.

Somewhere on the Belgian motorway, the lights on the Moto Guzzi went out because of the sleet and salt on the streets.

Axel drove to a rest stop and started looking for the fault. Meanwhile, I thought driving on the highway at night without lights was life-threatening and looked for a piece of lawn on which we could pitch our tent. But Axel at least made it onto the parking light to get going. So we drove on and the illuminated motorways in Belgium were a big advantage.

At the home border we were waved through without being checked. For us that meant a 100km drive from the border in Aachen, about an hour's drive home.

Arrived there Monday morning at 1:00am, first a hot shower and then to bed.

But unfortunately the alarm went off at 6:00am and work was calling because the money for such beautiful tours has to come from somewhere.

Oh yes, we also received the tankard for the longest journey from the Continent, and we won another award. However, I no longer recall what for. I believe it represents Mr Shakespeare.

- Hans Mondorf