By Daz hill
“I swear I was there”
The Rally started for me a few weeks back trying to get the pile of bits that were in my garden into the resemblance of a roadworthy Lambretta, those that saw it know how much I needed to do, I didn’t want to attend the AGM being know as Van-bretta man.
At this point I’d like to thank a few people for their help and push, Treacle and Dickie for the push, Gaz for the carb that I’ve not used yet, Mik for the top end and the loan of a 22mil Jetex, getting me a few bits that I’d forgotten from BEEDSPEED, and a few hours of his time helping assemble the Dog while Sue sat bored in my messy house, and Bagzy for the bits that he let me have, your all stars thanks very much and if ever you need a hand with anything just give me a shout.
So come the Tuesday before Skeggy the Dog is running, ok smoking a bit but running, so out with the crank and replace the gearbox side crank seal, still smoking but not as much, nothing left to do but pack the thing. Thursday: How do I get panniers on full of tools as I’m not running side-panels as time and paint dictated not to, only to find it cant be done, so its time to spray the panels badly without sanding them back from the rusty state they’re in, 3 tins of black gloss later and they are ready to go on, who cares if they’re dry or not times running out, and Smudge is due here soon.

4.30 the phone rings “Daz I’ve had a blow out 13 miles from Wantage” “ok” I reply “I’ll be with you shortly”. Jumps in the Van-bretta and drives to where I think Smudge is as I’m driving the phone rings again “Daz my spares flat too” good job I carry a mini compressor in the boot, Smudge rescued and on route to my house.
Friday 5.45am ding I’m awake, gets up kettle on, bacon under the grill, phone rings and Dickie’s voice says “Daz get up” (I’m not the best at waking you see) then my mother rings as I’d asked her to give me an early call, leave my house dead on 7am to RV with big Ian Duffin at Didcot services, on arriving we then find that the rest of the SD are running slightly late (that’s usually me)!!! So a text to young 2 Coats and we’re on the A34 on the way to Chez Dickie to save a bit of time.

5 miles up the A34 all of a sudden the Dogs back tire locks at around 55-60mph, first break down of the day the Dog’s heat seized, a quick 5 minute cool down and we’re off again, arrive at Dickie’s and drink a cuppa, smoke some fags, and fill the gearbox of the Dog while waiting for Treacle et al to arrive, 2 hours later the rest arrive and all the pleasantries are out the way, i.e. meeting new faces and greeting old friends, as well as annoying Dickie’s neighbors, so its now time to hit the road again.
We arrive at the DZ in Market Deeping and the scoots are all checked a few need kicking a few times and the Dog needs a bump start after first starting and then coughing and spluttering and dying away, ride all of a mile and the side panel handle falls off, so run back to get it from the hard shoulder and the Dog decides it wants no more for the day so sweating like the proverbial the Black Mutt is loaded back on the van, and off we go again!

Next stop is a fuel stop at Spalding where I make the suggestion that Gaz rides his scoot and I take over co-driver for Anne Summers. Big smile on Gaz’ face, and everyone else’s and we’re off again on route for Boston; this is where we’re hit with traffic that’s worse than the M25 car park, next a text from Sue saying that the Ginger one had said cancel the RV come straight to the site, so out I jump and brief everyone, or what I thought was everyone, sorry Gnome and the girls in the van, the scoots fly past us and turn up on the A52 towards Skeggy, and wait for the 2 vans in a lay-by, well only 1 van arrives and no Gnome either, various phone calls and text messages later and we find that they’re heading for the RV point on the A158, so tells the Gnome to carry on to camp site and that we would meet them there, so of comes Anne’s Vespa as this is his first rally and id agreed en-route with him that I’d drive back up, so of we set again, only to be hit by Smudge having the second blow-out of the rally, the rest of the scoots in the distance, so out I jump and assist Smudge in changing his rear tire.
We finally find the rest of the SD 1 street up from The Ship, not sure of where they’re going, so after asking some lads where the site is we’re off again, only for one of the lads to tell me “shit I meant left then right not right then left” so there’s me ragging the truck to catch the scoots that had left me in a cloud of 2 stroke.
We finally arrive at the site and I off load the Dog and then it’s a round of all the pleasantries again, finding people you know and people you don’t and having a few beers together, generally having a craic. Si C eventually persuades me not to strip the Dog that night but leave it till the morning, the evening went really well starting firstly at the site then onto The Ship, The Castle and various other places, and lastly for a Kebab, those that came into the Eses and said go round the corner that ones empty found out why the following day, especially Anne.

Saturday morning arrives to the sound of people burping farting and snoring in their scratchers, and I jump out of mine and ask for a cuppa and a fag and pull my panniers from the tent and start the arduous task of stripping the engine on the Beast, thanks Dai, Sue and anybody else who made me brews as I worked away, engine stripped parts and torque wrench borrowed and the cranks out again, on inspecting my crank a calls put to Ital scooters for the price of a crank, a few expletives later and its decided ill bodge it till I got home why buy new when you got new ones and a spare old one at home, so cheers Dave Plenty and Sally-Anne and Bootie for getting me some araldite. 15 mins before the ride and its all most finished, however it never made it, another 30 minutes and I’d have joined the only ride out of the rally, it was noted by other clubs that the AFSC were the only people to do one.
On their return it was then time for the round of drinking, eating and general happiness again, with the late arrival of Trifle, and then back into the town where as Mik’s already mentioned Treacle’s little go on the Karaoke, the moon milk etc and me lending my jacket to Murphs missus Emma, only to lose my cigs and then lose the 2 pint pots that I’d secretly hidden in the inner pockets cos at the time they looked pretty. So a wander back to the site again with Plenty and Smudge and various others, finding the queue in the Kebab hut was miles long so it was see what we could scavenge back at the AFSC HQ, 3 tubs of coleslaw but no spoons or forks, so using a knife each as a digger we stuck in.
Sunday arrived, Bagzy and I shot out for a ride to make sure the Dog was running ok, to get some smokes and a few cuppas and a bacon sarnie, (it was his turn to cook breakfast for his missus and Pompey crew), and a quick look round the smaller parts fair, we arrived back to find Big Gaz and DI teaching Bill how to ride a scoot, his first rally and never ridden before but by the end of the day he was all over the site and all thru the gears. At this point the majority of the AFSC were packing up ready for their long rides home, a die hard core of heavy drinkers, Bagzy, Pauline, Dickie, Dee, Pete, Di, Dave, Bill, Joyce, Carol and myself decided we were staying the extra night, so the fair wells and good lucks were paid. The rest of Sunday was a blur of eating and drinking followed by the trek into town again for a not heavy night of drinking as we’d be riding in the morning.
Monday arrives and sore heavy heads arise from the small area of tents left, after sorting the admin out and breaking camp and loading the van, Bagzy, Dickie, Dave and I start the long ride home, closely followed by Dee in her trusty (free) car and Di in the back up van, the journey is going well when it starts to get cold, and with the cold came the wet stuff too and the wind, we pull into a garage under the cover only for the ignorant owner to come out and say “oi move your scooter’s cant you lot read”. To which Bagzy says we will if you ask nicely, I then find out that Dave had almost had a near miss on a corner after getting caught by a gust of wind, apparently he had a 50p 5p arse for a little while, but give him credit, thanks to Dickie’s words stay on till we get to the Little Chef at Boston, he rode an extra hour.
I was the next for the arse to start twitching, on arriving in Boston I’m a little bit in front of the rest and I turns a round about and wait for them, next to come from off the A52 is a police car that slows and pulls up in front of me then a little bit of traffic, followed by another cop car with blues and 2’s on, I’m sat thinking here we go some body has told them my scoots not from Germany, the car comes past and the leading car pulls out in front of some illegal driving a car and trailer combo, so thru Boston we drive and we arrive at the Little Chef for well deserved breakfast, here Dave’s P2 is loaded onto the van, the lad had no wet proofs.
Fed watered and warmed we set off again, heading now for Peterborough, the Dog is still running but starting to run badly due to a very coked up plug, piston and probably exhaust, Bagzy whips past me opening up dressed to kill for a little breather, mile and a half later I spot Bagzy sat on the kerb of the A16 trying to start her up, thinking he’s ok I carry on past and Dickie passes me, but then I pull in as the Dog is really lurching now, so I decide to refill the box, the girls who by this time are in Dee’s car because of the addition of Dave’s scoot meant there wasn’t much space in the van decided they needed the loo, I take a leisurely walk back to where Ade’s sat on his scoot only to find his compression is like a 50cc Vespa PK, naff all there, so of comes Dave’s P2 again and on goes dressed to kill, and of we set again, heading the last few miles to our next fuel stop which is going to be the Texaco on the A15 roundabout, we arrive and the Dog is running worse so I change the plug, she runs a little better, here I must add we notice that a certain car with 4 females in isn’t around so a phone call later we find that they carried on along the A16 instead of turning, finally they arrive with Dickie’s cash and we head of thru Peterborough en-route for Northampton, our next scheduled stop.
As we drive over the A1 (M) the Black Mutt is rougher than a badgers arse so we pull into the services, where its decided the Bajaj Cheetak is going to have a run, so of comes dressed to kill, where Bagzy decides to try a kick on it only to find he had more compression, but nope it wouldn’t run, so of comes the Blue Vespa clone and the other dead and dying scoots are loaded back on. Off we set again, direction Northampton, only 2 more stops and well be home, or so we thought!!
Again I lead of and we’re nearing Northampton, the little boy racers are out in their modded up Scooby’s escorts etc when I go round a round about and the cheetak dies, turns out the mixture screw had worked lose, so scoot fixed and we carry on, into Northampton and onto what has to be the worst part of dual carriageway going it’s a 3 laner and it was Dickie’s turn for twitchy ring, thru Northampton we go, and onto the A43 where we have another fuel and smoke break. Almost home in Oxfordshire we can see the sun shinning ahead, the last stop is at Bicester services for a quick ciggy and Dickie to take the lead, for any body that’s never sat behind Dickie, make sure you got a set of glasses on, you don’t half get dazzled by his mirrors. It was here Pauline came out with if you’d gone another 10 minutes we would’ve done our first full section of riding for an hour.
Quickly we arrive in Oxford and pull into Dickie’s road, where the farewells are bade and Dickie opens his first beer of the day. Down to 2 running scoots and an overloaded van we head off for my house, 25 minutes away from Dickie’s, a very quick fuel stop on the way, and we arrive in Grove at 6.30pm a quick off load and the use of my loo for those that needed it and the last stragglers left mine for Pompey.
Id just like to say I’ve had a great weekend with the best group of people imaginable, would’ve liked to have had a run out with you all on the ride-out, and a chat with a few of you for longer, but hey the next time is not long away. A big thanks to Mik and Sue for all the effort in sorting the site etc, Si C, Dai, and all the lads who played a part in organizing this without your help and input it would have gone to the rats, look forwards to seeing you all soon ride safe and for those away for a while have a good tour in Canada.

“I swear I was there”