Another wet and windy Friday afternoon and the occasional glance out of the office window did nothing but reinforce the fact that I was in for a soaking. It had been raining all day and showed no sign of stopping, so leaving work it was time to get home, make the final preparations to leave and get the trusty waterproofs on. Luckily I wasn’t going to suffer alone as Rob Da Rudi had travelled up from Bicester earlier that day and collected his scooter from me. At least we only had about 60 miles to ride and the ‘how wet can we get’ scenario was played out between us as we set out. Before arriving in Catterick several people had commented on the place having its own rain cloud. Over the last 4 weeks since I moved I was beginning to believe them as I’d only seen a few days when it hadn’t rained. The rain cloud theory was born out when we got about 3 miles outside Catterick and the rain stopped! For the rest of the journey we had a great ride with some picturesque scenery, nice little villages and one particularly enormous hill dotted along the way. So it was that we arrived at Pickering totally dry and unscathed (apart from one of the bolts holding my fly screen on going AWOL). The site chosen for the weekend was the Northern Events Arena, with plenty of room to camp (to say the least!) and an enormous hall that would easily encompass all the events planned for the weekend. Unfortunately, previous deluges had resulted in a lot of flooding throughout the grounds which meant we had to be careful to judge how deep the lake-sized puddles were we had to ride through and scout around for a dry bit of ground to pitch our tents. Both these phases accomplished I thought I’d give Lisa Botham a call and see if she’d arrived yet. Lisa was indeed present as was Ian (who’d managed to get time off to travel on Friday as opposed to Saturday), so Rob and I wondered over to the arena for a quick beer before erecting our tents. The friendly banter began straight away with Ian and Lisa introducing us to Tony and Andy who were also from Catterick but whom I’d never met. We managed more than a little restraint with only two beers downed before we went to sort out our tents and generally prepare for the night ahead. Of course it wasn’t long before we were back in the drinking zone, despite Rob requiring a little assistance with his new tent! I started bumping into friends almost straight away and I have to give a mention to the Beer Pigs SC who never cease to amaze me with their capacity for alcohol consumption as well as their sense of humour and friendliness. After a couple of hours I had a phone call from Rob 88 who had ridden up from Nottingham in some truly appalling weather and was anxious to get himself sorted out before joining us on the lash. I guided Rob to our chosen camping area and he quickly got his tent up and began the drying and thawing process with a beer in his hand. The rest of the night was a blur with more AFSC members meeting up as well as the usual dancing, drinking and tomfoolery! Big Al and his good lady mentioned something about a certain individual’s backside appearing on Facebook shortly after Whitby but, in the finest traditions, I’m denying everything! I crossed paths with Danny, RAF Daz, Jonno and various others during the night and I must apologise to Jonno (and all the other Teesiders) for not knowing where the bridge pictures on his T-shirt was! Apologies also to Lisa for the wedgie – it was too tempting to resist!
For some strange reason I was feeling a bit rough the next day, I can’t imagine why. My physical condition wasn’t helped by the sun beating down on my tent in a boil-in-the-bag stylee, which forced me out of my pit and off to the showers. I must admit I wasn’t hopeful of any hot water or much cleanliness as it was about 1030 hrs, but I was wrong on both counts. The showers were clean and the water piping hot. Showered, shaved and teeth brushed all I needed was a cup of coffee and something to eat and I was fighting fit once again. The YSA had organised a parts fair for the morning with a Battle of The Bands, Pickering SC rideout and Custom show all starting at 1300 hrs. We certainly had plenty to keep us entertained and I chose to kick off with a look around the Custom Show, which was in the arena close to the stage meaning I could keep one eye on the bands as they came on. I didn’t catch them all but one outfit I did catch was three teenagers (lead guitar, bass guitar and drums) who pushed out a superb set and drew a huge round of applause from those watching. Talk about future talent. If anyone caught the band’s name, please let me know so I can give it some “I was there watching them in 2008” when they’re rich and famous! The Custom Show was excellent and grew in size throughout the day until there must have been over 30 top-notch scoots on display. I was particularly impressed by the fact that virtually all of them had been ridden (the mud splatters telling their own story) although one individual was spotted on Sunday morning loading his scooter and side car onto a trailer! The parts fair was also very impressive with a great selection of dealers. ‘Respect’ to the guys selling the ‘YSA Help for Heroes’ patches for charity and the stall that sorted me out with a bolt to replace the one that had come adrift from my fly screen – result! The YSA stall did a roaring trade all day and several of us availed ourselves of various YSA bits and bobs.
Later in the afternoon we welcomed Si Cuerden who proceeded to cut about like only Si can, interspersed with introducing AFSC members to each other and generally enjoying himself. For a man who’s been under pressure for the last few weeks, I think Si had a great time, although I could have done without his snoring waking me up throughout the night! My night consisted of more drinking, dancing and laughing and I have to say the friendliness of those I met for the first time (both AFSC and other Scooterists) was fantastic. There had been a lot of arrivals on Saturday and the drinking area outside the arena was packed as well as the area inside put aside for Ska and Northern Soul (dished out in equal measures throughout the night). There was hot scoff available until the wee small hours and the bar staff (there were loads of them) worked hard to ensure we were never left queuing for a beer for too long.
The next day arrived far too quickly with quite a few people leaving early in the morning and the sound of scooters filtering into my tent. Resistance was soon revealed to be futile so I dragged my self out of my pit and packed for the ride home. Rob and I had a great ride back with the sun shining and the scoots cruising along beautifully.
Everyone one I spoke to during the course of the weekend said how very impressed they were with the whole event and I would like to personally congratulate the YSA on hosting a superb rally. If I forgot to mention anyone, please fell free to chastise me when we next meet but I thoroughly enjoyed the company of everyone I met over the weekend, God bless you all! Yorkshire Invasion 6 – bring it on!
Dave “Ravey Davey” Gibbs