Robin Hood

If you typed 'Nottingham Forty One MCC' into a search engine in January 2023, absolutely no information on this club is available. However, in the 1960s and 70s, this club, well known in British motorbike touring circles, had a formidable reputation, still remembered to this day by rally enthusiasts of the period.

Ivett J Wright - leader of Nottingham 41 MCC

The most ardent readers of rally reports from this period, (not least those that appear on LMPCC), will likely have heard the name Ivett 'Ivor' Wright, one of the most charismatic members of the Notthingham 41 MCC.

1969 Robin Hood - rally flyer header, presumably printed by Ivor himself

In the late 1960s, Ivor was the person to contact at his address in Bilborough, Nottingham, if you wished to get information on the club's annual Robin Hood Rally.

Badges of their annual rally

Whilst I'm unsure of the exact year of the very first meeting, (since the commemorative badges for the rally don't mention it), one can speculate that it was probably 1966 or 1967.

I hope that one of our older readers who may indeed have attended the rally; or perhaps a former member of the 41 MCC, will contact us and update us about this gap in my knowledge.

These badges, for 60s and 70s rallies, were provided by contributors. The four round ones in the top row, dating from the 60s, are the oldest.

How much to enter?

For this meeting, as you can see below in this clip from the 1969 Robin Hood flyer, the five shillings (25p !) cost of admission was eminently affordable, even by the less well-off participants.

The commemorative badge was priced the same as the admission.

For 1969, the organisers had again chosen to keep the badge in the circular shape, familiar from previous years; this time though opting for a black background.

1969 Meeting - When and where?

The 1969 Robin Hood meeting was held in mid-May, specifically the weekend of 16-18th May.

As for the exact meeting venue, popular myth would suggest that it took place in a secret location hidden under the ancient oaks of Sherwood Forest. This is of course a nice idea, but unsurprisingly not the case. It actually took place 7 miles north of Nottingham, close to the small market town of Arnold, Notts.

From Notthingam, the rallyists headed to Ollerton via the A614, then onto Burnt Stump Hill, before arriving at the rally site at Cockliffe Farm.

Cockliffe Farm

It's said that the legendary outlaw hero Robin Hood, accompanied by his band of outlaws the Merry Men, of whom the earliest known tales date back to the 15th century; stole from the rich to give to the poor,.

In the same spirit, although fortunately in a much peaceful and bloodless fashion, Ivor and his band from 41 MCC achieved the feat of being able to 'borrow' for the weekend, the grand 17th century estate: Cockliffe Farm.

This was quite a coup for the organisers at a time in the 1960s when the overall reputation of British motorcycling in the press and by the public was rather negative.

Rockers and ton-up boys did nothing to help the public image of motorcycling in the UK. The media immediately targeted them, creating fear in the public through often very exaggerated and ill-founded representations.

The Cockliffe Farm

A few lines are needed here to describe what was then a historic property dating back to 1678. Two cottages and a granary were built at that time; one of the two cottages was later extended in 1725, to create a larger farm breeding woodcock in the surrounding woods for the wealthy local merchants, hence the name Cockliffe Farm.

In the 1900s, due to its proximity to Sherwood Manor, the farm was purchased by the Seeley family and converted into a hunting lodge for their guests. Notable visitors in the 1930s and 1940s included King Edward VIII and Sir Winston Churchill. When the Seeley Estate was wound up in 1948, the house became a private home and then a heritage centre open to the public.

Cockliffe Country House today.

The estate was bought in 1995 and has been transformed into a restaurant with accommodation. The house is now used for weddings, conferences and various business events.

Today in its modern guise one would never suspect that 50 years ago it was the scene of a formidable motorbike rally organized by the legendary Ivett 'Ivor' Wright and the Notthingham 41 MCC.

- Jean-Francois Helias

Start of quotation I was a member of the 41 club from 1976 till about 1980. I was Rob, "Hank " Smiths girlfriend , Kim. Rob had a Duo Glide Harley.

Obviously I knew Ivett, Bob Brown , Bristlehound and Elaine and others whose names now escape me, it was a long time ago.

I rode a TR25 Triumph.

XXX End of quotation

- Kim Danter

Movie by Roy Dudgon

This 8mm film was saved by Les Hobbs who thinks this could be the Robin Hood Rally.

If you can provide any information on the date, location or people, please get in contact.

Served via YouTube.