Pilgrims Rally

44th Pilgrims Rally, August 2019.

After my surgery in 2018, I was happy to attend this year's Pilgrims Rally with my motorcycle friends. In January I had already taken part in the Force Ten Rally at the Mayflower MCC together with Walter Trappe. Registering with the Mayflower MCC, booking the ferry and booking the hotel in Dover for the journey home went smoothly.

On Friday, August 16th, the following motorcycle friends met for a trip to England. Walter Trappe (BMR R1200GS), my cousin Udo Domgörgen (BMW R850R), Michael Brockhaus (BMW R1150GS), Rolf Schumacher (BMW R80RT) and me Hans Mondorf (BMW K100RS). Our usual route took us to St. Ghislain motorway service area in Belgium, where we met Heiko Werner (KTM 1190 Adventure) and drove with him to Calais to the port. During the crossing our obligatory lunch with fish and chips.

After we arrived in Purleigh we first registrated and then set up the tent. This year the Scouts were again represented with a stand. There we were once again provided with good food. While we comfortably enjoyed one or two pints, we were amazed when Axel Bodeit appeared with his wife Bettina. He had arrived without our knowledge. We all spent a cozy evening in the barn.

On Saturday morning, we first had a delicious English breakfast at the Scouts. In April of this year I was in London with my family for a weekend. Among other things we visited Camden Market. So I made the suggestion to my motorbike friends to go to the Ace Café by motorbike (you can hardly believe it). Park the motorcycles there and walk about 300 yards to the nearest subway station.

Everyone bought a day ticket and off we went towards Camden Market. In a train station where we had to change to another line, Heiko noticed that he couldn't find his motorcycle key. After a moment's thought, he realized that he had left it attached to his KTM. Luckily he speaks very good English. In order to call the Ace Café, however, he had to go to the surface because he had no signal down in the subway station. He reached a nice waitress in the Ace Café and explained to her where his motorbike was parked. Well, there weren't that many KTMs with German license plates there that day either. She took the key and Heiko was able to pick it up from her when we returned. So, as Heiko then returned to the underground station, we could see his relaxed face.

Our journey continued to Camdon Market. Everyone loved this because there was something for everyone to explore. After a final visit to a pub there, it was time go back to the Ace Café.

From here to a nearby Aldi supermarket. Because Walter was supposed to bring a bottle of what was said to be the best gin in the world for his cousin. Not that we don't have Aldi stores in Germany, but they don't have this particular gin.

Back in Purleigh we first had a refreshment with the Scouts and then we went into the fun with the Mayflowers, cold beers and live music.

On Sunday morning after breakfast we said goodbye and drove to Brighton. There we had a short break to cool off a little bit. It was a busy weekend. As you can see from the group photo, I needed a short nap.

From left to right: Heiko Werner, Michael Brockhaus, Walter Trappe, Udo Domgörgen, Rolf Schumacher, lying Hans Mondorf.

From there on to Rye for a quick stop for ice cream. Then the final spurt to Dover to the marina. At the Cullins Yard Restaurant we were once again treated with excellent food and drinks. After lunch, we drove tot he Leaf Hotel in Whitfield (formerly the Ramada Hotel).

We spent the evening in The Archer pub, not far from the hotel. Not all of us are proficient in the English language. But everyone (except me) has such modern phones (I think they call themselves smartphones). You can speak a text German into the phone and the thing translate it into English and vice versa. It was a cheerful evening in the pub with other patrons and staff.

After a quiet night in the hotel, we set off Monday morning down to the ferry. Of course not without our obligatory English farewell breakfast during the crossing. The outward and return journey went without complications.

- Hans Mondorf