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Newton Abbot racecourse
Helen Beer reports
I was really privileged today to attend Newton Abbot and see the White Helmets Display and enjoy the company of so many classic bike enthusiasts. It was a really special day out .__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-
Saturday 24th June 2017
Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th June 2017
For this year's Slimbridge Rally we decided to move the date to June, as in August the site was just getting far to busy for our needs and it turned out to be a good decision as the weather was glorious, if anything too hot to do very much. Debbie and myself arrived on the Thursday as did a few of the others. On the Friday morning three of us, Dave Charlton, Debbie and myself went for a ride to Minchinhampton for a brunch breakfast and a walk on the common, then on to the viewing point at the top of the Air Balloon Hill before returning to the site via Gloucester as the M5 was closed Southbound, as I heard later that a lorry had lost it's load.
There was twenty seven people that came, seven in camper vans of one size or another and all the rest came by bike and even two outfits loaded with all of the home comforts you could want. On the Saturday ten people on six bikes and one trike set off on the ride out, but for the first time ever we lost Jim in the first half hour as he thought we had not left the site yet, and all the time we had been sat outside the site entrance waiting for him. After waiting for ten minutes we decided to carry on. Our first stop was just outside of Monmouth at a National Trust place called The Kymin which is at the top of a hill with a great view of Monmouth and the surrounding area. After a few photos it was on to Raglan with a fuel stop,that was after we fought our way through the traffic in Monmouth. Once we had passed through Raglan we carried on untill we came to the B4598 and found our lunch stop a bikers cafe called the Steel Horse Cafe.We all had some lunch inside as it was cooler than outside.
After lunch we made our way back to Chepstow on some very nice roads, and then over the old Severn Bridge and picked up the A38 back to the site. Most of us stayed on site in the evening enjoying the lovely weather and having a well earned drink, and a few went to the pub first. On Sunday morning most of us headed for home, all but two couples that decided to stay a extra night. It was a very good weekend, and we would like to thank everyone that came and made it so enjoyable and Dave for acting as sweeper on the rideout. Hope to see you all again soon.
Thanks to you all. Debbie and Phil.
Tues 13th June 2017
On my first trip to the Engine House for three months, it was a very nice sunny day and a total of 18 made the trip, a few of who I had not seen for a long time, one sidecar one car and the rest on bike's. We all sat inside although it would have been very nice to sit outside, I think most people had something to eat and drink and a good natter, my only problem is someone left without paying for two coffees and as I was the last one to pay on that table it cost me £4-00 extra, and this is not the first time this has happened so whoever the one or two people are you now owe me, it is partly the Engine Houses fault as they will not take your money when they order but they don't care as long as someone pays, and when you have been sat chatting for a hour or two it is easy to forget that you haven't paid rant over. That's all for now hope to see you all soon regards Phil.
Section member Helen Beer writes....
I have to confess to being a little nervous as I rocked up in the layby at 0630..... I'd agreed to go away with 19 folk I hardly knew. Some would look at this as total madness but if we are all motorcyclists then it would be fine..... I repeatedly told myself. I started to wonder if I was lurking in the wrong layby but I was just early and the others gradually arrived and we set off to Fleet Services. I soon settled down - this lot were great - courteous riding with each other and to other road users. By my first holiday coffee I was very happy with my new riding gang. Maidstone services to gather some more and on to the tunnel.
Hot sunshine as we rode across France into Belgium. Antwerp was our first overnight stop and I would be delighted if I never went there again..... the traffic was awful - huge lorries mainly but with good fortune and a touch of magic we managed to filter and gather safely at the Ibis Hotel in the centre of town. Tony, our leader, is a very experienced guide and was like a Mother Hen with his chics..... checking we were all together and pulling over where safe. Dinner outside enjoying the warm summer evening with plenty of noisy banter. The following morning there was time to see the Cathedral while a new tyre was sourced for one of the group. This gang were mainly very experienced travellers and quietly adjusted their agenda and sorted any problems. No dramas.
Escaping Antwerp, where the traffic chaos was worse than yesterday, we headed to Rotterdam. Another Ibis by a canal for cold drinks in the sun before dinner on the deck of the V11 - a boat built in Dartmouth in 1951. One lady on the floor - she maintained she missed the seat but possibly the result of too many G & T's...... no damage and time for photographic evidence before assisting. An after dinner stroll then back to the hotel to watch the barmaid massaging the single men and bets were placed to see who would get lucky...
Saturday started at a leisurely pace - time to explore the local markets. The displays of fresh fruits and flowers were stunning - I was just tasting the Dragon Fruit when Carol informed me it looked like frog spawn - lovely! As we sat outside having coffee the local security police stopped by to warn us to keep all valuables out of sight (Brits abroad stand out a mile!). Obviously there was an unsocial element around. Fine Dining included various salad pots eaten on the pavement in the sun followed by a nostalgic trip to C & A. We then had to have a tour of the CUbe Houses - the sign said you had to be special to live there and that was so true. A strange sensation - plenty of head ducking but a feeling of spaciousness due to plenty of natural light and minimalist design. Some of the lads visited the Keringhuis Lock and enjoyed this magnificent feat of engineering. An evening at the Italian where we raised the noise levels and then back for Jazz Night in the hotel.
Sunday and off to Delft by train. Stroll through the city and Delft Pottery Tour which was fab and then we were collected by a Canal Boat (how do the lads do it?) for a Tour before lunch in the main square listening to a Beatles Tribute Band. The evening saw the group split as it was hard to find somewhere for 20 - walking deep into the centre smelling heavy of something you just don't get in Budleigh!
Early start on Monday for Amsterdam - all on the train were trying to tick the box of seeing windmills - locals assisting us! A walk round the city was very educational ..... canals, old houses and the red light district where girls were selling themselves. We ventured into a Museum of Prostitution where the story unfolded of how this line of business became legalised giving the girls protection along with paying their taxes. Some visited the Heineken Factory. Another canal trip in the sunshine and then back to the hotel for dinner and presentations to our tour leader and birthday cake for one of the lads.
Someone stole the sunshine on Tues so various plans were made and I linked up with two of the lads for a mystery ride...... think it was a mystery to the leader too but all very relaxed and I fell into normal holiday mode - my plan is to keep up - simples! We headed for the Dams via Rozenburg where we were the first tourists in a local cafe..... they made us very welcome although their English was limited and our Dutch non existent. They had never put a bacon sarnie through their till and they served buttered toast with side salad. We stopped to admire a windmill and then had a ferry crossing to some lovely scenery and very challenging winds. My little bike with her big metal panniers acting as sails ended up on the wrong side of the road but I managed to get her back before the oncoming traffic became an issue. The car behind was considerate and gave me plenty of room - guess I was providing good entertainment.. We stopped to admire a plane - known as the Widow Maker due to its small wings..... one of the lads thought it was going to be a museum but it turned out to be a scrap yard.... they know how to treat a girl! There was payback in mickey taking when he went to pay for his fuel and hadn't taken the pump number - he told the girl it was the red bike..... no wonder she looked confused - they were all red. I was glad to get back into the city (don't say that often) where the buildings provided respite from the winds and over celebratory drinks for arriving safely back I was told I was officially one of the lads in this gang now - I took it as a compliment! Our last dinner altogether as 3 lads were off on an adventure to Iceland. We dined on a floating hotel and the laughter just got louder and louder..... at one point a lad asked for Tena for Men - the tears were almost rolling down his legs. It was all to do with sharing a cheeseboard and you really had to be there to appreciate it. The music was good accompanied by drunken swaying.
Wednesday and we waved off the lads and 3 girls were heading home by train - one was poorly and the other two escorted her safely back ... again quiet efficiency - no drama just practical tlc. The remaining bikes split into two groups and after a wild, wet and windy start our gang moved swiftly on for lunch at Jabbeke and were in Dunkirk by mid afternoon for a stroll around and all gathered for dinner in a lovely restaurant.
Thursday and two groups headed for the tunnel - each getting on earlier trains and all landing safe and sound. Many thanx for a fantastic week - your company was brilliant - a kind, caring crowd who all got on well together, mucked in and certainly made the most of the break. Looking forward to next year!
The weather was warm and sunny, a lovely evening as lots of people arrived to enjoy their fish and chips and have a natter in the evening sunshine. Yeah, I can tell fibs aswell, just like the Politicians. The weather was more like November, cold wet and windy. Pete Frost and Keith Davis were mad enough to arrive on their bike, Grandma and Grandad went in the car. We eat our fish and chips sitting in the bus shelter out of the wind etc, watched by 2 or 3 very damp seagulls. Gave Keith the £10 for furthest travelled and we all headed home to get warm. Will find somewhere warmer for next time. How about the south of France?
Chris Rogers writes:
What a rideout you missed! I nearly did as well. Despite darkening skies at home I grabbed just my summer jacket and on the way to the rendezvous at Phil and Debbie's in St Austell got soaked to the skin. So persistent was the rain I contemplated ducking out, but the thought of bagging four Peninsula Challenge points and the promise of a bacon bap thankfully kept me going.
On arrival the rain had stopped but I was the only one who turned up. That didn't faze Phil, so at 10.30 it was two identical, turn-of-the-millennium, silver R1150RS bikes that set out for St Mawes Castle. Phil has encyclopaedic knowledge of Cornwall and I soon realised he had selected the biking roads the tourists ignore when they take the straight line to the beach. Past Penzance into the far wild West of Cornwall and the cliffs where only America beckons. Ballowall Barrow could easily be missed but Phil had been before so it was easily bagged. On to Cape Cornwall and heading northwards past Geevor Tine Mine, now a musem but where in 1986, when it was still working, I went a mile underground filming a documentary on tin mining and realised what hard manual work looked like.
The Hell's Mouth cafe offered tea, sandwiches and cake for lunch, sitting in sunshine watching clouds depart the blue sky. Walk to the cliff edge and feel the apprehension, looking at the sheer drop, and if you Google " Massive Cornwall rockfall captured on video", see why you should be fearful. On to Thor Motorcycles near Bodmin, the third point and worth a return visit on a weekday, when they're open.
Finally a trail north to the mythical North coast and a welcome cuppa at The Arthurian Centre, all four points visited and recorded. I arrive home having done 275 miles door-to-door, mainly in unexpected blue sky and sunshine. It was a special day, discovering Cornwall's hidden roads and with the flavour of an individual guided tour. Many thanks Phil, and before I forget, to Debbie too, because the bacon bap was magnificent!
Saturday 22nd April 2017
On Saturday April 22nd 2017 we hosted the annual National AGM at the Bedford hotel in Tavistock .
After the meeting I led a ride out over Dartmoor departing from the quay car park quite close to the hotel. Eleven bikes initially joined me and spotting Ray Cawte from the Oxford section in the garden of his B&B he quickly tagged on behind.
We climbed up over towards Princetown passing the huge stacked rocks of Merrivale Quarry, from here we turned right into Princetown getting a good view of its famous prison.
Then we headed pass the clapper bridge at Postbridge then the Warren House Inn where reputedly the fire hasn't gone out in over 550 years.
We then headed towards Moretonhampstead before turning off right heading pass Kitty Jays grave and then pass Hound Tor of the hound of the Baskervilles fame.
Turning right we made the steep descent into Widecome In The Moor then out towards Ponsworthy with its infamous narrow bridge ! No problems for us of course as we then turned left down into Poundsgate and down towards Spitchwick.
Climbing up we now headed towards Holne and over the Dam at Venford Reservoir , we eventually stopped for a short break at Combestone Tor which is point 13 on the South West challenge.
Leaving we now took the steep descent down pass the Forest Inn ( 1 in 4 ) outwards over the West Dart River and back very briefly into Princetown.
Now it was down into Dousland and onwards through Yelverton before joining the A386 back into Tavistock were we all dispersed.
Many thanks to those who joined me and especial thanks to Jim and John who acted has sweepers on the rear end.
Over the Easter weekend 13 of us on 11 bikes camped at The Blue Hills Touring Site near St. Agnes, Cornwall. The weather was quite kind to us because although there was a chilly wind for most of the weekend, the showers that we awoke to on Saturday morning dissipated and the rest of the time was dry and occasionally sunny. Some of us sampled the beer and food at Wetherspoons in Perranporth (well, you've got to haven't you?) on Friday night then Saturday saw us watching the Blue Hills Stage of the Lands End Trial which is staged every Easter by The Motorcycling Club. The camp site hired us a gazebo which was great for getting out of the wind and gathering in in the evenings. The 130 mile Sunday ride out took us to Smokey Joe's for breakfast and then to 2 of the SW Challenge points; Bollowall Barrow, which was a bit of a sod to find, and St.Mawes Castle, which wasn't! Thank you for your company, those of you who attended, especially first timers Jill and Kevin. I hope to see you at another of our events soon.
Take care and ride safely, Jim.
I had been enjoying the BMW Club South West Challenge and with just seven left I decided a short break would be an ideal opportunity to celebrate having my bike licence for 40 years and enjoy Cornwall before it filled up with visitors for the season.
Roping in some willing suspects we set off from Exeter Services on Friday 17th March 2017. I chose my company well and one of the lads offered to lead. We headed to Bovey Tracey and up over Dartmoor, past Haytor and on to Widecombe-in-the Moor - we had clear blue skies and wall to wall sunshine - perfect. Then the road was blocked by a very large lorry - it had managed to jam itself in a farm gateway - as we turned around I could hear the cab crushing and crumbling on the stone wall opposite the farm - whoops. This meant the very wiggly route to Combestone Tor and new roads within a few miles of home which was wonderful having lived in Devon all my life. After our first photostop we enjoyed coffee at the Police Station Cafe in Princetown. There was an abundance of daffodils, primroses, snowdrops and almost a tunnel of yellow gorse along the way.
On to Yelverton and Bere Alston for a photo of the Weir Quay Boatyard before skirting Plymouth City and on to the Torpoint Ferry where Dave got into trouble with the lovely lady in charge....he thought it was a racing start and tried to disembark before the safety gate was locked in place.... I'm not sure who enjoyed the chastisement more....
On to Rame Head for a photo of the National Coastwatch Institution Building and a break at the Cliff Top Cafe, Whitsand Bay where we enjoyed lunch with sea views chatting to the Mum of the Cafe Owners - a lovely lady who's hubby had had a BSA.
On to Taphouse, St Austell, Tregony and to our last photo of the day at St Mawes Castle - a stunning location. Along the way we enjoyed Magnolias, Camelias, fields of Daffodils and even Rhododendrons - they have their own tropical climate in the far south west! Then the King Harry Ferry across to Falmouth for some filtering in the Friday afternoon traffic to Tregaddra Farmhouse B & B, just outside Helston. We received a warm, biker friendly welcome from June who showed us around and served tea by the wood burner. We took a taxi to the Ship Inn at Mawgan - an excellent recommend - for a relaxing evening.
Sadly the weather took a turn and we had wind and mizzle as we set off to meet Rod and Chris who were joining us for Ballowall Barrow at St Just. This would be a stunning location if you could have seen the views! Up the coast road to Hayle for coffee before heading to Thor Motorcycles just outside Bodmin. Dave didn't want to make it too easy so we had more green lanes and a U turn in a farm with copious amounts of slippery cow poo - John said he could smell it cooking on his exhaust - luverly! We received a friendly welcome at the bike shop and enjoyed their mixed collection of machines especially the Nortons.
Our last photo of the trip was the Arthurian Centre at Camelford (which is closed until Easter) before heading across country to the A30 and farewells at Whiddon Down before home and some serious bike and kit cleaning. Thank you for a great couple of days!
You will have seen it advertised - Tim's South West Challenge - 20 places to visit in the 4 counties of our beautiful corner of England.
Well - we all like a new reason for a day out and here were several gifted to us and you can see the photographic evidence from those participating on our website.
Mark - one of the salesmen at CW's - offered to take us round the ones in Dorset - he's proud of where he lives and wanted to show off his patch. But like all the best laid plans of mice and men we were thwarted - the day before the forecast was for very strong winds so, having been blown off before, we turned to Plan B and number 12 on the list - Lovacott Chapel in North Devon.
We met at Exeter Services as I was the nominated run leader.... how foolish were those lads! Off we set up the A377 through Crediton, Coppletone and Umberleigh. Spring was evident with daffs and snowdrops, the sun was shining and not in our eyes - all just perfect. Then my sat nav said left...... apparently the others didn't but like good boys they duly followed. The road then got very narrow, very twisty, very hilly, very potholey, very muddy, very gravelly and very wet.... a few glimpses of tarmac were seen in about 5 miles. On one very steep downhill tight left hand bend, where luckily the mud was dryish, a lorry was trying to negotiate the curve...... the driver was a good egg and manoeuvred into a gateway - possibly prompted by the strong look of fear in my eyes. Eventually we came to the B3232 (please note this if you are going to Lovacott - this is a fully tarmaced road between Barnstaple and Great Torrington) and crossed it to arrive at the chequered flag.
We couldn't see the Chapel so I asked someone who thought I might be getting married - nice they have a sense of humour in the sticks! We soon located our destination and took the obligatory photos. Fortunately a local recommended a brilliant nearby pub - The Hunters Inn in Newton Tracey - which was perfect for sustenance and some serious mickey taking.
Luckily the lads still love me but John did say the tyres on his RT felt like slicks when they filled with mud. In my defence I asked if they enjoyed the stunning views but apparently all they could see was the muck from my rear tyre. We had a good laugh as we dissected the journey and funnily enough I wasn't nominated to lead home! We had a lovely ride back via Torrington, Hatherleigh and Okehampton and waving the lads off on the M5 I had time to clean Daisy before dark. Another fun day out.
PS One pud was enough for 3 with racing spoons.....
Tues 14th March
Here is just another short report on the Engine House, on a reasonable day for March we had our best turnout of members at the Engine House that I can remember, I think it was ninteen or twenty and most came by bike, we had members from as far afield as Hayle,Torquay, South Molton, Camelford, Taunton and everywhere in between. After we all had plenty to eat and drink and a good natter we all made our way home and still in dry weather that's all for now hope to see you all again soon.
Sunday 12th March
Here is just a quick report for Jamaica Inn on Sunday 12th March, the weather was fairly favourable and we had quite a good turn out, I think we had about 18 or 19 turn up altogether mostly on bikes and some by car, I think the furthest travelled was Pete Frost from Weymouth or possibly Tim and Anne Wellock from Ilminster. I think everyone enjoyed themselves and after about two to two and a half hour's we all headed for home, it was good to catch up with some members that we do not see very often, hope to see you all again soon.
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY of the SOUTH WEST SECTION
Sunday 5th March
Just a couple of weeks earlier, I threw in an extra ride out for Sunday the 5th of March, of course not knowing what the weather would be like that far in advance. As it came closer to the date the forecast just got worse and on the day they were right. I did not expect any one to arrive at the start, The Engine House Callington, but 3 members appeared, Phil, Charles and Dave Fox-Spencer, who had just arrived back from spending the winter in the sun in Australia. After a coffee the 4 of us set off, in heavy rain and high winds, for the first of the Challenge points of the day, number 15, the Boat Yard at Bere Alston, a long winding road, a bit tricky to find the right location of the yard but 4 photos later, job done, and all on the way out again. On to the next number 14, The Pigs Nose Inn at East Prawle near Kingsbridge. No need to use the sat nav to get to Kingsbridge but once there, on it went, and that’s where it went wrong, the machine took us down roads which can only be described as narrow, rough tracks, rutted, muddy, steep, nadgery and still raining heavily! It would have been fine if we were on enduro bikes, but we were on an RS, RT, LT and a scooter, and on arrival at the Pigs Nose Inn I was much relieved that all were unscathed, what was said under those helmets, best I don’t know, but after the photos we made sure we headed back on proper roads. As time was not on our side and every one had had enough, we decided to cancel the last visit, that will come next time. I would like to thank those who were brave enough to accompany me on the day and very pleased there were no tears before bedtime!
Helen Beer reports
Storm Doris caused havoc on the Thursday so we postponed our journey to the beautiful village of Beddgelert until the Friday. The Chain Gang met at Abergavenny for hugs and coffee before Sally led us over hills and down dales in glorious sunshine. The Talgarth Twisties always bring a smile, over the little wooden suspension bridge near Erwood . Builth Wells, Rhayader, Llanidloes and a break at the Llyn Clywedog to enjoy the views. On to Staylittle and the mountain road that dropped us into Machynlleth for lunch.
This annual gathering is very special - we don't ride together often enough and there are precious memories here. Passing the Corris Craft Centre and Dolgellau we take the longer route through Blaenau Ffestiniog and Betws-y-Coed and as we descend from Capel Curig we stop to admire the snow capped mountains and the fast flowing river - we have landed again. We have stayed at the Tanronnen Inn, by the bridge, for several years now - always a warm welcome, log fire, comfy rooms and scrummy food. Bike parking at the rear and, if I'm lucky, a room with a view up the Aberglaslyn.
A pleasant evening catching up with friends and Saturday an early start to join the CW Rideout from the Royal Goat. There was a flexible plan which turned into visiting two bike shops followed by The Ponderosa. This was ably led by Stuart in his new toy - a sidecar outfit - lovingly crafted by himself and Wally. I understand his arm muscles doubled in size over the weekend. First stop was Colwyn Bay Motorcycles (many of you will know this used to be a BMW Dealership). The welcome from both KTM and Honda was fantastic. Traditional shops with a healthy mix of old and new machines. They made us very welcome as we used their facilities and emptied their drinks machine of free hot chocolate! I think a few purchases were made in their clothing sale too - bags were spotted being hurriedly stuffed into panniers. The second stop was A & D Motorcycles in Denbigh who were able to oblige with new tyres for one of the gang. The weather was mixed but we enjoyed stunning scenery including the Horseshoe Falls, a healthy mix of roads and the naughty guy who jumped the red light (maybe the colour didn't suit him?) missed a great catch up play.
It was a shame more rally attendees didn't gravitate to the main venue for the Saturday night - especially after Mark's efforts to try to gather all together again. But a fun night was had with plenty of banter and chatting with friends old and new. The Royal Goat produced a delicious dinner served by friendly and helpful staff.
Sunday and an early start to try and get ahead of the promised strong winds. Fond farewells before we rode the wiggly route via Nantmor through to Rhyd and on down past Rhayader for coffee at Builth Wells before Tretower, Crickhowell and Abergavenny for final fuel and the bridge to England. Thanx to all for your company, to those who led and swept and especially for the laughs and new memories.
Kents Cavern & Buckfast Abbey Wednesday Feb 22nd 2017
On Wednesday 22nd Feb eight members on six bikes and a trike met at Haldon Grill on top of Telegraph Hill near Exeter for a fine cooked breakfast . I decided to take a twisty wobbly route to Torquay as the new road from Penn Inn in Newton Abbot to Torquay would have only taken 15 minutes from Haldon ( for now anyhow as a practically new town is planned on being constructed around it !!!) So we headed through Mamhead Forest and then on through Cockwood towards Dawlish Warren. From here, it was on past Teignmouth railway station across Shaldon bridge and out through Ringmore and Combeinteignhead. From here we headed into the top of Newton Abbot with spectacular views across the town, the Teign estuary and Dartmoor.
Onwards through the villages of Coffinswell and Daccombe and eventually passing the cliff tops at Babbacombe and through the very upmarket area of Wellswood to its most famous property the UNESO world heritage site of Kents Cavern. The fully guided tour took around an hour and the guide explained to us about the caves history and its importance on early British man , in fact the early human remains found here are amongst the earliest know in Europe.
The caverns and passages were formed in the early Pleistocene period by water action, and have been occupied by one of at least eight separate, discontinuous native populations to have inhabited the British Isles.
After exiting the caves we enjoyed a coffee and a snack before heading off to another ancient monument Buckfast Abbey. Again we chose an indirect route passing through Cockington and Berry Pomeroy, through Totnes and Dartington before following the River Dart to the Abbey which is gearing up for its one thousandth birthday.
Unfortunately we arrived just as service for hot food was closing but did manage to bag a bowl of chips and grab whatever else was on offer. From here we dispersed and made our way home.
Thanks for coming
Engine House Compton Park Tuesday Feb 14th 2017
Engine House 14th February. On another dreary Tuesday a total of fifteen turned up at the Engine House at Callington for our monthly brunch meet, I was late arriving as I had mechanical problems so made it just in time for lunch.
It was good to see Colin out on his bike for the first as he is getting over a knee op, after we all had a good natter eight of us on seven bikes decided to go to Rame Head and tick off another of the points on the Southwest Challenge the National Coast Watch Station, after that five of us on four bike's went to Thor Motorcycles so that they could tick that one off the list as well.
It was another good day out with like minded people, so hope to see you all again soon
The Dolphin Hotel meet on the 12th which was moved a week as the pub was fully booked out, it was a success as I booked for 15 and 15 arrived ideal. We all enjoyed the lunch and the general banter, the Dolphin always put our party up out the way which nice for the group, or is it because they don't want a bunch of hairy bikers in the middle of the pub? It works for us. The menu is varied so suits all tastes not just the roast, hopefully we will visit them again later in the year. It was dry but cold ride, full thermal and the bikes full heating arrangements, were very much required and appreciated, it's a nice ride for us, as we travel through the eastern edge of Dartmoor from Okehampton down to Bovey Tracey, the bit from Camelford to Okehampton is on the dual carriageway very quick, but boring and even colder.
Engine House Compton Park Tuesday January 10th 2017
On Tuseday 10th. January another wet and windy day ten people still braved the weather to come to the Engine House for a natter, five came by car but it seems that the rain was a lot worse in some areas than others, we even had Keith who belongs to the Western Section turn up in his car all the way from Taunton where he now lives.
After a couple of drinks and a good breakfast for most of us some even had cakes as well, after we all had a good chat mainly on bike related topics such as planed holidays and rallies for the year, we headed our separate ways towards home I was lucky as I made there and back without getting wet that's all for now hope to see you all again at the next meeting cheers Phil.
A conversation at the Fishermans Cot meet regarding a ride to one of the South West Peninsular Challenge points on New Years Day – a suggestion, why not make it a ride out then? - so with some trepidation I volunteered to organise it!
I didn`t think many would be up for a cold, wet and muddy ride – how wrong I was, 13 people on 11 bikes turned out for a gentle ride around Dartmoor.
Starting at Whiddon Down, to Bovey Tracey up on to the moor and a stop for photos at Coombestone Tor and the first Challenge point in the bag. On to the Fox Tor cafe at Princetown, very busy, bit of a wait for food but warm and dry and nobody seemed to mind the delay. Off the moor and finish with a coffee at Sourton.
My first attempt at organising a ride so thanks to all for their patience and support but mostly for their company, what a great group. Special thanks to Phil for sweeping and his encouragement and Don and Jim for their help.
Have a great biking 2017 and hope to see you on a ride somewhere
Engine House Compton Park Tuesday 13th December 2016
Hi all just a short report on the Engine House for Tuseday the thirteenth of December, the mid week meets still seem to be quite popular, and we had twelve turn up again on what was a wet and miserable day, five came by car and seven by bike we all had plenty to eat and drink and most of us stayed untill about 1 o'clock before heading for home.
We also had a new member from Okehampton turn up I think he is called Colin but am I sorry to say that I didn't get a chance to speak to him as he didn't stay long as he had to go somewhere, so hopefully we will see him again soon and I will get a chance to speak to him then.
While I was on the way home I had to stop off at Bugle and when I went to get on the bike the rear tyre was looking a bit soft, I managed to get to a friend's place and put enough air in it to get home, and then on Tuesday morning I removed a 50mm. nail and plugged the hole ready for the MOT in the afternoon.
That's all for now hope to see you soon regards
The Fishermans Cot Bickleigh, Saturday 10th December 2016
Sunday 4th December 2016
On a very cold and dry day eight people turned up at Jamaica Inn for the lunch meet, most came by car but two hardy souls came by bike, one a new member called Pete Lomax from Port Isaac and the other was Chris Rodgers from Loddiswell.
After spending a enjoyable couple of hours having lunch a drink and a good natter, it was good to meet Pete and have a chat with him at his first club meet and hope to see him again soon.
I then spoke to Alistair and found out that his bike is still at Ocean BMW Plymouth awaiting repair after it was damaged about six weeks ago when a car reversed into him, I hope he gets it fixed soon.
That's it till next time Phil.
On cold and overcast day ten members turned up at our monthly Tuesday meet, five came by bike and five by car, it was good to see Dave Charlton on his bike again now that he his feeling better. Jim even came down from South Molton on his bike as there was not the frost that had been for cast, and Alistair was riding a Suzuki as his BMW is awaiting repair afer they were knocked off of it, when a car reversed into them a couple of weeks ago.
After we all had plenty to eat and drink we all headed for home by about one o'clock as by then it had started raining, it was good to have catch up and good natter,thats all for now hope to see you next time
Sunday November 6th 2016
On Sunday the 6th. November we had seventeen turn up at Jamaica Inn on cold day with heavy shower's, but that did not stop eight people turning up by bike and the other nine on four wheel's. As usual we where made welcome at the Jamaica Inn, and most people had the carvey while the rest of us had snacks or in some case's just a drink. After about two hour's and we all had a good natter and catch up we started to go our own way, some for a walk on the way home and the rest just trying to get home without getting wet. That's it for now hope to see you all again soon.
North Tawton RFC 21st -23rd October 2016
Well I think we got it right again this year. Following the same format seemed to please the 54 souls who attended The 30th Hippo Rally, at North Tawton Rugby Club for the second year running. Our ride out to Ocean BMW in Plymouth for coffee and then The House of Marbles for lunch was enjoyed by 16 bikes. Pete brought us back across Dartmoor. Thanks to Pete and Jon for your ride out support, as usual.
Bideford Town Band entertained us on Saturday night with sing along songs, dancing and general hilarity. It made a great change for them to perform to a fun bunch of bikers instead of their usual formal events.
Kirsty from Kirty's Kitchen in North Tawton catered for us and did a grand job. That chicken curry was probably the best I've ever had and fortified by a hearty breakfast each morning - nobody went hungry! Thanks Kirsty and team. Loads of Club members helped out on the Rally and I must thank all of you. Naming individuals is always dodgy because if I forget somebody, I might offend them. However, I must name Gemma and Chris for their assistance at meal times. They seemed to spend most of their time in the kitchen! Well done and thanks.
The Hippo Rally is probably the South West Section's primary event and I'm proud once again to have organised it for you (if a little relieved that it went well and is now over!) but it totally depends on our Club members getting stuck in voluntarily. It's great to count you all as friends.
Tuesday 11th October 2016
On a cold but dry day with some sunshine, a total of twelve people turned up at the Engine House for our monthly meet, coming from as far as Poole and Veryan to Okehampton and North Tawton and everywhere in between.
We had a perspective new member from North Tawton called Ken that came to his first meet, and a member that I had not met before called Paul from Veryan on a very nice R100RS.
After a good natter and plenty to eat and drink people started to head for home at about twelve thirty and the last of us by one fifteen, so another good turnout for a Thursday and two new faces, hope to see you all again next time regards Phil.
Saturday October 1st 2016
Healey’s Ride out, Saturday 1st October. The start was from Morrisons carpark Bodmin 11.00, but unfortunately heavy rain was forecast by the weather man, and this must have put a few off. For the 3 bikes and 5 club members, who had more confidence in the weather, it was clearing from the west. We left the carpark in sunshine, we did encounter an odd light shower on our way down Cornwall but we manage to arrive at the Healey’s Cider Farm dry.
After an unusual cream tea which included savoury scones with pickle down to the conventional scone for lunch, and a trip around the animals and then the shop, we headed off on a route to Padstow via Perranporth, Rod and Chris at this point peeled off and headed back to Hayle, Bryan and I headed to Newquay via the coast road, the forecast of the high wind did prove to be correct as we were buffeted all the way to Padstow, we decided leave the Fish and Chips and to just have a cup of tea and then we headed home.
Saturday 24th September 2016
Eight bikes and eleven people left Exeter Moto Services for CW's via Colyton, Kilmington, Birdsmoorgate and Beaminster to be greeted with coffee and a huge selection of cakes. John my sweep had a puncture just after he left home early in the morning and had to swap his GS for his RT....which meant the tyres he was saving up for became an imminent necessity and were changed swiftly while we all relaxed and browsed the shop. We then headed to Martinstown and over HardysMonument to Abbotsbury and along ChesilBeach to WestBay where they had kindly reserved a table for us. Those that didn't go straight home enjoyed a wiggly ride via Axmouth, Seaton, Beer and Branscombe (believed to be the longest village in the UK) back to Budleigh for more tea and cake. A relaxed fun day out - many thanx to those that came to play.
Saturday 17th September 2016
Exmoor ride out starting from The Sorebutts Rally, Don Rabson reports...
The Sorebutts Rally is one put on by the Western Section and they regularly hold it at a campsite in Ilfracombe, it is well attended, with some from other sections. They asked if we could lead an extra ride out as we are local to the area, as Dave Fox Spencer is very local and was already running a ride out for the South West Section, he agreed to change his Saturday ride to coincide with the Sorebutt ride. Nine of us left the campsite at 10.30 for a ride around Exmoor, Dave’s home turf. Up to lunch time the ride went well with no incidents, exploring deep into the Exmoor back roads, including, Lynton, Countisbury Hill then left into Brendon, on to Oare (Lorna Doone Fame) over Robbers Bridge, onto Porlock Bay lookout, where we stopped for a quick viewing out to sea.
Our next stop was for lunch at Dulverton, we all squeezed into the Tantivy Café for lunch, with the tourists that are still around, we made them very busy for a while, but they managed, and they sorted a very nice lunch. The afternoon started marginally later than Dave planned, and we set out for even deeper parts of Exmoor, including Withypool, over the common onto the Sandyway. After The Sportsmans Inn (birth place of the Hippo Rally) then on to the high moorland roads with spectacular views of the moors, we then worked our way back to Lynton.
We were travelling down a narrow lane, and met a lady with a very highly strung horse, whilst trying to pass the very considerate group of BMW motorcyclists, three bikes managed to get past and then the horse panicked and knocked over the woman and escaped! As I saw this in my mirrors, I stopped and parked and blocked the horse’s path as the riders from the other end managed to rescue the beast, help the lady to her feet and reunite the lady and horse. As she walked past the other bikes she explained this was the first time the 8 eight year old horse had been on the road, and she plans to ride it across Europe!! We collected ourselves together and carried on, when next we met the Stag hunt followers on the narrowest of lanes, it would be no exaggeration to say we met 50 plus vehicles, I never knew they had so many Range Rovers on Exmoor! Ron, with his Trike, had the hardest job to try and negotiate the oncoming charge, who seemed so surprised that anyone else was on the road, let alone not following the hunt. The excitement over, Dave had to reassess his route because of the time lost and had to leave a visit to the Valley of the Rocks. We travelled on to The Old Station House Inn at Blackmoor Gate for a very pleasant cream tea which Dave had pre ordered. After discussing the day’s trauma, the campers went back to Ilfracombe and the visitors went home, a very nice day had by all, thanks to Dave for planning the route.
Sunday 11th September 2016 Harford Bridge Tavistock
GUEST JUDGE GRAHAM PARSONS of GRAHAMS MOTORCYCLES TAUNTON
THE CLUB CUP FOR BEST PRE 2006 K SERIES
THE CW TROPHY BEST AIR COOLED
OCEAN CUP FOR BEST OIL HEAD BOXER
CHRIS CROCKER AWARD FOR BEST THREE WHEELER + DAVID HORNSBY AWARD FOR BEST MODIFIED
HOWARD TRUSCOTT AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING BOXER
JAMES SHERLOCK AWARD FOR BEST K SERIES POST 2006
GRAHAMS MOTORCYCLES FOR BEST GS
FRED SECKER CUP FOR OLDEST BIKE
PAUL TOWNSEND AND HIS OUTSTANDING R80RT
MEMBERS CHOICE FOR THE SECOND YEAR RUNNING !
The Concours Bike Show 2016
The nice dry weather ordered for the day turned up on time, inviting the members to come along and show off their bikes. Held for the second time on the Sunday of The Dartmoor Rally weekend on the 11th of September, with more bikes on show than last year, has proved it is a popular venue. Graham Parsons from Grahams motorcycles in Taunton judged the bikes in the eleven different classes, a difficult job as there were a lot of nice bikes on show, they were the bikes that members attend meets on not ‘show bikes’, so next year your pride joy could be there in the mix, it’s more of a social gathering. All the winners keep the award for one year and also a small replica for you to keep polished in your trophy cabinet!
While the Judging continued we were delighted to sample the Hog Roast supplied by Hungry Hogs Southwest which went down very well. The weather stayed nice all day but the club have invested in a new domed shelter and with the older pop up gazebos we would have been Ok, even if it did turn a bit damp. And finally thanks to the committee for the work involved to put on the event and to Graham, who came in at the last minute to do the Judging.
Thursday 8th to Monday 12th September 2016
Debbie and myself arrived at Harford Bridge campsite near Tavistock at 12-45 on Thursday 8th September for the start of the Dartmoor Rally.We were not the first to arrive as Rob the Dog dancer from the Northern Section had arrived on Wednesday, and John and Sally were already on site but had not yet moved on to the camping field.
As the afternoon progressed more turned up and we finished up with sixteen on the Thursday and a total of twenty two all together, ten in vans and the rest in tents, some stayed two nights and some as many as six nights.
On the Friday, Debbie and i went off on the bike to Buckland Abbey for a cup of tea and a walk,Morrisons for lunch and supplies, then filled the bike with fuel ready for Saturday's ride out before returning to the site.
After seeing the other new arrivals Debbie had to start getting the pasties, chilli and puds ready to feed all of those that had ordered them, and the first group had theirs at about 6-15 and the others not long after. The rest of the evening was spent chatting and drinking.
On Saturday morning it started wet with very low cloud on the moors but by the he time we left the sun was out and the cloud had lifted, so nine bikes and one trike and eleven people set off at 10-30 for the ride out, first we headed to Tavistock, Yelverton, Princetown, then towards Mortenhamstead. We then went down some narrow roads to Chagford and on to Whiddon Down, North Tawton and Okehampton for lunch at the old railway station café.
After lunch we carried on to Sourton Cross, Launceston then to Callington and the engine house café for tea and for some cakes as well, we then headed back to the campsite via Morrisons for people to get supplies and fuel.
At six o'clock I went into Tavistock and met Debbie and we collected 17 lots of fish and chips and 1 lot of sausage and chips, and delivered them back to the site. When all of us had finished and all the empty boxes collected for binning, we returned to chatting and drinking, by this time it had started raining again and the wind was getting worse, but most of us managed to squeeze into the gazebos for a bit of shelter.Later on some went into the game's room where it was a lot warmer,the other hardy souls stayed put for the rest of the evening with the weather getting worse, but it was still a very enjoyable evening.
On the Sunday we held our annual Concours bike show and hog roast.There will be a separate report for that.
After the show some of the people went home but a few stayed on until as late as Wednesday.
The weather could have been better it was still a good turn out and i hope everyone enjoyed themselves.We have already booked the site for next year's rally and as there is now a catering van available on site we shall be changing the hospitality arrangements so hope to see you there. Many thanks for supporting our event. Regards
Phil and Debbie.
Saturday 13th August 2016
Almost ready to leave Morrisons in Liskeard .
By the canal in Bude .
Enjoying coffee by the canal .
Ok you can open your eyes now !
End of the ride and pasty time !
Enjoying the lovely Cornish weather.
Saturday 13th Camelford Pasty ride started from Morrisons Liskeard, nice to see four lady pillions plus a couple of new faces, all assembled we set off. I had planned a route to keep out of the way of the holiday traffic but unfortunately so did half of Devon and Cornwall so we had a very busy wet ride ride up to Launceston, then on to Red Post and we headed towards Bude and beautiful blue sky and sunshine!
We stopped for a coffee break on Bude Wharf, and all rain was forgotten in the beautiful setting of the Canal and Harbour, we did stay a bit too long in the sun and had to cut out the Crackington Haven part of our journey, however we did take in Widemouth Bay with brilliant blue sea and lots of people on the beach and Boscastle, before ending up in Camelford for Pasties and Cream teas. The lovely sunny weather held and everybody enjoyed a very sociable get together.
Friday 5th to Sunday 7th August 2016
The sections new gazebo
On Thursday 4th August Debbie and myself arrived at Tudor Campsite Slimbridge to find that five others from the Southwest section had
already arrived, we had a couple of showers on the way there but the weather for the weekend turned out to be excellent.
We had 29 turn up all told some for 1 night and others for 2- 3 and some even for 4 nights, we had 3 from the East Anglia Section 1 from the
Northern Section 21 from the Southwest Section and 4 from the Western Section plus 2 day visitors.
People did their own thing on Friday while Debbie and I went to recce the rideout ready for Saturday, When we arrived back on site quite a few more had turned up, Jim and
Hilda had brought the new section gazebo and two new tables which Jim had already erected with the help of Pete.
The evening was spent drinking and chatting all in excellent weather, I think most had gone to bed by about eleven.
Saturday morning it was arranged that the ride out should leave at 10-30am and Jim had already agreed to be sweeper, so seven bikes ,one trike and twelve people set off for a ride around the Cotswolds, first to Cam then Wotton Under Edge through to Tetbury, Malmesbury, past Kemble airfield with all of its planes parked up then on to Cirencester, and a lovely
village called Bibury where it was too busy to find any parking, so on to Bourton on the Water for fuel then lunch at a nice pub where we sat outside as it was so lovely & warm.Although the food was very good, the service for some of us was slow as alot of customers arrived behind us
and the staff lost the orders as they should have come out.
After lunch it was back to Andoversford, Birdlip and then onto the M5 for one junction then the A38 and into Attwolls camping shop as we
needed a new kettle then back to the site.
The evening was again spent chatting and drinking untill about 11-00pm when we all went to bed. Sunday morning was again nice and sunny as most people started packing up to go home, all but two couples were gone by lunchtime.
We have already booked the site for next year, but have moved the rally to the weekend of the 23rd June as we feel that it is just too busy in August.
Lastly we would like to thank everyone that came and hope that you all enjoyed yourselves.
We would also like to thank Jim for acting as sweeper on the rideout and hope to see you all again next year.
Phil and Debbie.
Sunday 31st July 2016
At Hellsmouth Cafe
Another group shot at Hellsmouth
Into The Abyss at Hellsmouth
Rockpool Cafe by the sea in Mousehole
The last ride out of July on Sunday 31st was a trip down to Mousehole in the far west of Cornwall. After some confusion as to where the start was, due to wrong post codes and the difference between old and new Services, eventually we all got together on a pleasantly warm day, to start a scenic ride down through Cornwall via Ladock onto Truro, then heading towards Falmouth before peeling off for Helston, then after Penzance looking for the Newlyn turnoff for our destination of Mousehole.
We picked out the Rock Pool Café for lunch as they had a convenient car park but as it was we had a nice snack on their outside eating area overlooking a sparkling sea. By this time it was quite hot with a clear blue sky. After lunch we had a change of planned route by heading towards Lands End and taking the St Just road, we took in the picturesque coast road to St Ives then onto Hayle, then following the coast to Gwithian and Godrevy, stopping for an Ice cream break at Hellsmouth Café.
The change of route may have been a bit too much for some as they still had a long ride home, we then made plans for the different routes homeward, the last few continued on to Portreath then joining the A30 for home. A big thank you to Phil for being tail man and Dave for guiding us through the extra routing, and to all those who came along.
Wednesday 27th July 2016
Wednesday 27th fish and chip meet at Bude with a new venue 'Rosies' just off Crocklets Beach with a handy car park. This was fish and chips with a little style, on china plates, nice piece of fish with chips and with a bit of side salad, plus a varied menu for those not wanting fish and chips. It was nice sit outside on what turn out to be pleasant evening, everyone enjoyed their grub and banter. Dave Fox Spencer earned the £10.00 for the furthest travelled, we eventually all drifted off homeward, thanks Dave, a good choice.
Saturday 16th July
Starting from the Lifton Farm Café on Saturday the 16th, six bikes left and headed towards Holsworthy, we left Phil behind to wait for a member who was held up on the A30 road works. After Holsworthy we made our way up to Torrington through nice biking roads, this is where the drop off system went wrong and unfortunately we lost Bryan and Charles, after leaving messages on mobile phones with Bryan and now Phil we headed back down to Winkleigh through to Copplestone, with the hope of meeting up with our lost comrades. On arrival we found Phil and Paul waiting, but no Bryan or Charles, after another desperate phone message, we left for our final destination The Stoke Cannon Inn near Exeter. Two years ago this pub had closed down, and with help from the community it has been renovated and become an active part of the Village, it is worth a visit or to make it part of a ride out. Checking the mobile a message from Bryan to say all Ok, at least they were lost together, so not really lost, just not with us! We left the Stoke Cannon Inn and headed back with Phil taking the lead to show us some short cuts around Crediton and eventually arrive at Sourton Services, we went our separate ways home. A big thank you to all who came and for your patience in trying to get things sorted out. An apology to Bryan and Charles for losing them off the back of the ride.
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