Maggie & I set out at about 1pm on the Friday looking forward to a steady ride to the rally site.
All went OK until we approached the Catthorpe Interchange at the M1/M6/A14 junction. Where we came across a two mile tailback to leave the M6 to join the A14.
The M6 overheads said the A14 was closed from J23 to J27. Not knowing where the A14 J23 is I took the decision to follow the M1 & hook a left onto the M25.
We had not gone far down the M1 when the overheads announced that the eastbound slip onto the M25 had been closed.
The overheads were still giving the same message when we reached M1 J15 so I followed the diverted A14 traffic signs over to the east to join the A14 at what turned out to be J13.
I turned right onto the A14 & headed toward Cambridge. It was not long after this I realized that the A14 junctions are numbered from the M1.
J21 is where it passes under the A1. Even though it had been over an hour since we left the M6 there was still a dirty great queue from before J23. The traffic eased & by J26 it was running freely again. Apart from the M11 slowing down every now & again the rest of our trip was uneventful.
I only achieved an average of just over 30mph & we finally arrived at around 6pm. We booked in then put the tent up.
The Mayflower have found a cracking site for the rally. There is a good flat well drained field for camping with a couple of large predominantly brick built buildings that house the bar & food hall.
The site also has 24 hour bogs plus a couple of Turdi in the centre of the camping area for that middle of the night express job.
The Scouts do sterling service, providing refreshments from breakfast until about midnight. The amount of equipment they bring in is really impressive. It even included a bank of UV insect killers.
The Mayflower also have the beer sorted. The barrel covers have internal piping. The piping is connected to a large cooler unit that keeps it just right.
Friday evening passed while the disco played at a level that allowed us to have a natter with people we had not seen for some time.
We had good weather on the Saturday when a number of of us took advantage of our bus passes & went into the nearby town. The tide was out which is a pity because the river looks nicer when it's full of water rather than large expanses of mud with just a narrow channel of dirty looking water.
The local carnival followed it's usual pattern. About three floats padded out with carnival queens & attendants from surrounding towns plus groups of young girls twirling batons.
Back to site on the bus for a very nice chicken curry that had obviously been freshly prepared.
The band. Blue Bark put out a very professional set of bluesy rock. I would not mind seeing them again.
Sometimes a problem with an outside bar & the fact that a lot of people arrived on Friday the drink lasted just as long as it needed to. But it was shorts only at the death. Graham Butler did say that they will order a couple more barrels next year.
Sunday morning & Maggie & I did not arise until about 8.30am. Quite a few people had packed up & left, possibly due to the forecast rain.
Down to the bar area for the awards. I made some notes of the award winners. I hope I wrote them down correctly.
They were :-
- George Ritchie from Scotland won the long distance male.
- Oil Alko from Finland won the overseas long distance male.
- Ninna Jukinen also from Finland won long distance female.
- The best bike was a FJR Yamaha.
- The worst was a BMW (Not Puker's.) The owner received a couple of lemons to go with the plaque.
- The tail of woe went to two chaps who had not checked their tickets properly before setting off. They traveled from Kent to Devon to find they had turned up at the wrong place. They had quite a trip before ending up in the right county. Perhaps they just did not want to visit Essex.
Graham Butler finished of the proceedings by calling the raffle in his own inimitable manner.
The Mayflower put a lot of effort into their events & as usual it was a well run & enjoyable rally.
Next years rally? We will be pre-booking early to avoid disappointment.
- Dave Cooper
The Pilgrim Rally this year took place at the same site in Essex as usual.
Friday night was spent sampling the ciders and Saturday saw us go to the local pub for a meal and to try one or two of the local real ales on offer.
Back to the site and the ciders were attacked again.
Saturday night saw a good live band as well as the disco.
The rally was up to its usual high standards.
- Dave Ranger
This year, Walter and I convinced two other motorcycle friends to come to England with us. On Friday, August 5th, Walter Trappe drove with Justin Reuter (10 years old) (BMW F650GS), Günter Reuter with son Sven (Honda CB600S), Jürgen Krechel (BMW K100), and me, Hans Mondorf with my daughter Franziska (10 years old) (BMW K100RS) towards Calais.
At a motorway service station in Belgium, Jürgen noticed a smell of rotten eggs on his BMW K100. In the parking lot, he first decorated his helmet with tape for "inexplicable reasons". Then the repairs of his motorcycle followed. The culprit was the regulator of the alternator. Since this had happened to Jürgen years ago, he had a spare regulator and a bottle of distilled water in his tank bag ever since. The controller is easily accessible on the BMW K100 and was replaced, distilled water filled up and the ride could move on.
Up to the arrival in Purleigh everything went as in the years before. Arrived in the "New Hall Vineyards", the same procedure as every year.
We enjoyed a cold beer with the Mayflowers. When setting up the tents, our motorbike friend Günter noticed that he had packed an insulating mat and a sleeping bag for his son, but not for himself; he had packed two insulating mats and no sleeping bag. The first night was probably a bit fresh for him.
On Saturday morning, after a delicious English breakfast with the Scouts, we drove to Southend on Sea. There we took the Southend Pier Railway out to the Pier Head and then Justin and Franziska were able to let off steam a bit in "Adventure Island". We did the same with their siblings in 2007.
On the way back out of Southend on Sea we passed an outdoor shop. We stopped briefly and Günter quickly bought a new sleeping bag. After that we drove to Maldon and looked at the carnival parade.
Back in the "New Hall Vineyards" we spent the evening first with a meal at the scouts and then for the cozy part in the barn with live music and a pint or two of beer.
Sunday morning, after the annual raffle and award ceremony, we said goodbye to the Mayflowers.
Our usual route took us to Bodiham Castle. There we took a short tour all around for the young participants and a visit to the pub opposite for the older participants. Then continued to Rye for an ice cream at the harbour. At a junction on the country road towards Dover, Jürgen's BMW K100 suddenly jumped. Everyone was wondering what is going on now. Jürgen stopped at the side of the road and said that his clutch cable had snapped. He also had this as a spare in the tank bag. It was quickly changed on the BMW K100 and the journey could continue.
From left to right Walter Trappe, Günter Reuter, in front Justin Reuter, behind Franziska Mondorf, Jürgen Krechel, Hans Mondorf.
Roll your mousewheel to zoom in.Photographer Sven Reuter
In the late afternoon we arrived at Hawthorn Farm Campsite & Holiday Park. After setting up the tents, we made a short detour to St. Margaret`s Beach. On the way there, we noticed that our beloved pub, not far from the campsite, was closed. It was converted into a house. We then had to move the obligatory meal in the evening to the “Swingate Inn” on the A258. Unfortunately, we had to do without our evening pints that evening, because we drove there on our motorbikes.
Monday morning down to the ferry, of course not without our last English breakfast during the crossing. From Calais our usual route home through France and Belgium. The return trip went without any technical problems.
- Hans Mondorf