Pilgrims Rally

45th Pilgrims Rally, August 2022.

Unfortunately we had to bury my cousin and our motorcycle friend Udo Domgörgen on 1 February 2021. He was one of the victims of the coronavirus. Udo has been riding with us to the Pilgrims Rallies since 2016.

As is well known, there is nothing to report about motorcycle rallies in the years 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. This was also the case with the Mayflower MCC. In 2022 the 400 year celebration of the first pilgrimage, which should have taken place in 2020, was made up for.

I received a message from the Mayflower MCC that the Pilgrims Rally was no longer at New Hall Vineyards in Purleigh / Essex. A new venue was found in Wiltshire near Chippenham. After a trouble-free preparation, registration at the Mayflower MCC, booking the ferry and the hotel on the return journey, all participants looked forward to August.

Bad luck followed me again this year. In mid May I caught a running hand-held circular saw with my left hand while doing DIY work. I was taken by an ambulance to a special clinic for hand surgery in Bonn. During an 8–hour emergency surgery, three hand surgeons made it possible for me to still have all the fingers on my left hand. After four weeks in the hospital it was clear that I would not be able to pull the clutch for a long time. Negotiation with the Committee of the Mayflower MCC allowed me to drive a car to the Pilgrims Rally this year as a "disabled person".

Two days before our trip, our motorcycle friend Arno Kistenich noticed that brake fluid was dripping from the foot brake cylinder on his BMW K100RS. The attempt to install a used one from the store also failed due to leakage. Since I was forced to drive the car this year, I offered Arno my BMW K100RS for the tour at short notice.

On Friday, 5 August, the following motorcyclists met for the England tour: Walter Trappe (BMW R1200GS), Arno Kistenich (BMW K100RS), Rolf Schumacher (BMW R80RT), his son Malte Schumacher (Honda CB500F), Axel Bodeit (BMW K100LT), and his son Thorsten Bodeit (BMW R1200GS). At a motorway service area in Grande Synthe (Dunkirk) they met up with Heiko Werner (KTM 1190 Adventure), who had been to a Ramstein concert in Ostend the day before. Together they went to the ferry.

Meanwhile, my wife Ute and I drove the same route in our car. We met the others at the ferry. Axel and his son Thorsten drove on to the Eurotunnel and took the train. On the ferry, like all the years before, our group wanted to enjoy fish and chips during the crossing. But on this new ship (Spirit Of Britain) of the P&O ferry company there was no longer a kitchen. We were forced to buy packaged food. This however, tasted like the paper they were wrapped in. This year was my 34th year travelling to England and almost exclusively with P&O. But I have never experienced anything like this. All fellow passengers had same opinion; this is catastrophic passenger hospitality. If this is the future, look to other ferry companies, or use the Eurotunnel.

Once in Dover, my wife and I continued our journey by car. Our group of motorcyclists met Axel and Thorsten at the Eurotunnel and also continued the journey.

We arrived at the venue at the same time. The motorbikes drove directly onto the large tent meadow. Chairmen Terry Reynolds helped me and my wife bring our luggage from the parking lot to the tent area with a small handcart. Thank you again for this.

A food truck for feeding the participants and a large trailer with several showers were on site. We first spent the evening outside and later, when it got noticeably cooler, in the hall with a few delicious pints. Since it had been very sunny and hot in our home country and in England for a few weeks, everyone had light summer sleeping bags with them. The weather took it's revenge that night. It was far too cold for everyone.

The next morning after a hot tea or coffee we slowly thawed. I was amazed at the food stand's ability to stack a full English breakfast into a large hamburger bun.

After breakfast we parted ways. Ute and I drove to Caen Hill Locks near Devizes by car and walked uphill past the 29 locks. Afterwards we visited the Westbury White Horse. Axel and Arno stayed in town and spent lunchtime in the pub over a delicious lunch.

Heiko drove to Avebury to see the stone circle, on to Stonehenge and then to Glastonbury. The rest of the group made their way to London to the Ace Cafe.

Left to right: Arno Kistenich, Walter Trappe, Hans Mondorf, Ute Mondorf, Thorsten Bodeit, Axel Bodeit, Malte Schumacher, Heiko Werner, Rolf Schumacher

When everyone was gathered again in the afternoon, delicious cakes and jams were offered for sale by the local housewives. The proceeds went to charity. After an evening refreshment at the food truck, it was time to have fun in the hall with delicious pints and a live band.

Heiko received the award for the "Long Distance Overseas". Luckily it wasn't that cold the next night.

After breakfast on Sunday morning, Ute and I drove directly to the marina in Dover. Once again we found the right food at Cullins Yard restaurant. From there to Whitfield to the Hotel Holiday Inn. (formerly Leaf Hotel, formerly Ramada Hotel). The motorcyclists agreed to ride to Brighton. After a break on the promenade with a delicious ice cream, they continued along the coast towards the hotel.

On our last evening we all ate together in the hotel's own restaurant and ended the evening with a few pints.

Monday morning down to the ferry and how lucky for us it was an older P&O ferry company ship that had a food court. Here we were able to enjoy our beloved last English breakfast for this weekend. There were no technical problems on the outward and return journey.

- Hans Mondorf