Thursday, August 22, 2019

International West Kent Run 2019 pt2

Seems like ages ago now but the IWKR was only three weeks back. Here are some more images from a very excellent long weekend...

BSA ZB32 Gold Star, one of several at the event.

Lovely Nimbus Sports over from Holland. The bike deservedly
picked up a prize in the show concours.

Nice line up of machines from French club
Lisieux APAPA in the campsite.

Magnat Debon with the French line up. Also a
concours winner and a very game entrant in the
bike gymkhana.

Late thirties Rudge Ulster. A very sophisticated machine.

The Eastern Bloc!

Pat Gill with his incredible 1st World War 1914 Matchless
machine gun combination has a crack at the Gymkhana.

Worth another photo.

Rare and luxurious Raleigh flat twin.

The Raleigh boasts rear swinging arm suspension controlled
by leaf springs.

Norman motorcycles were the local brand being
produced just down the road in Ashford. They
were well represented at the show.

Sweet collection of unusual Teutonic lightweights.

Shiny blue Harley.

More of the shiny blue Harley.

And a not shiny AJS. Quite fantastically not
shiny and fully roadworthy. Excellent.

Eek! Pink Gilera CX 125.

The CX is a very striking machine boasting
some unusual design features. Here the single
sided front fork.

1910 Douglas Model D. A veteran of 17 Pioneer Runs with
the current owner on board.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Powers the Pot Royal Enfield gathering pt2

More pictures from Powers the Pot. Each picture caption tells the story. Big thanks to John Nicholls for organising the rally and being such an excellent host. The event really is a gem, a proper old school, friendly bike rally in a fantastic location. Hopefully it won't be another six years until I make the next one. And hopefully I'll sort out my Enfield to ride there...

Jacqui Furneaux's world travelling Enfield. Been a while since
we last saw each other and great to catch up. Check her website
and buy the book if you haven't already done so. 

Ready-ish for the the off on the Saturday run.

Dan took a ride in Matt's outfit for the run so we get 'sidecar cam'.

Not often you see pictures of yourself riding. The BMW
R100RS is very much the wrong bike for damp Irish country
roads. In fact they are perfect for an old Royal Enfield...

Sidecar cam in action again.

Quick stop up in the Comeragh mountains.

I think that's the Mahon Falls in the background.

Yours truly lining up the Beemer for a ride by.

Brian on his Continental GT.

Jason's freshly restored '54 Bullet gets his
bike blessed by Al Sunday morning.

The event started off as an MZ rally then shifted to Enfields.
All are still welcome.

But if you have an MT350 you apparently
have to camp well away from everyone else.

Sad news for Dan when he found on Saturday
eve that his Bullet had stripped the oil pump
worm drive. Game over.

Bit of a mystery. The bike has stripped more
than one pump worm, but on two different

Dan resigned to a ride home with the
recovery truck. 

We were recommended a scenic route back to
Rosslare that took the Passage East Ferry.
It was a cracker and we even managed to stay
dry all the way to Rosslare.

Loneliness of the long distance rider. 1am
Swansea M4 services.

A great weekend. All in about 800 miles
covered. Yes, it rained, a lot, but that
just added to the adventure.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Powers the Pot Royal Enfield gathering pt1

Dan and I last made it along to the Powers the Pot Royal Enfield gathering back in 2013. It was a great event even though we had a couple of breakdowns on the way and managed only to turn up late Saturday night, drink too much home made scrumpy, and then wake up after most had left the next morning. All the same very memorable and I made a promise to myself to make it back sometime in the near future. The near future turned out to be six years later and I didn't have an Enfield in running order but I did have a clear weekend...
Laugharne, Pembrokeshire. I made this detour
following an erroneous petrol station signpost.
Worth it as the place is rather scenic.
Dan signed up to make it over once again and regular riding trip buddy Matt was in too. Matt's sidecar passenger Gary broke his wrist a few days earlier so was out but still, a team of three was an OK turnout. I pledged to ride my Norton Dominator, Matt his BSA A10 outfit and Dan his old faithful 350 Bullet. Just before leaving on Thursday afternoon I looked at the weather forecast for the weekend, didn't like what I saw and made a last minute switch to my BMW R100RS...

The switch to the BMW was an almighty cop-out but I didn't feel too ashamed as somehow the ride to the ferry at Fishguard, South Wales, from home was significantly further than I had remembered. Last time I split the journey with a night at Dan's in Bristol on the way up. I managed to hit Bristol in rush hour and the motorway was backed up all the way from Bristol to Cardiff, I was slowed down but at least could lane split and didn't have to sit it out.

Laugharne Castle. Just before it started to
rain, and rain, and rain....
My satisfaction in having a bike with a fairing was compounded as it started to rain stair rods in the last thirty miles of the journey. We had all agreed to meet up at the Gwaun Valley Brewery just outside of Fishguard. I got there first quite damp in body and spirits and didn't relish putting up a tent in the Welsh Hills in the rain... Luckily the rental cottage was empty and the lovely folks at the GVB took pity on us and let us have it for just the one night. So, a dry night in a comfy bed it way. Beautiful!

Thank you Gwaun Valley Brewery. A very cosy cottage.
The next morning it was still raining and amongst the group there was a vague hope that the ferry was cancelled and we could feel justified in staying in the cosy cottage all weekend and sampling the labours of the brewery. However it was not to be as the text came through that the ferry was running. Back in to soggy bike gear it was for a run down to Fishguard for breakfast. On the ferry the bikes were well secured for a rough crossing. And rough it indeed was, luckily I have good sea legs but it all started to go wrong in the passenger lounge after an hour or so when one chap wobbled in to the room grabbed a barf bag, missed it and chundered all over the floor. That set off a domino effect in the room and from that point on it seemed prudent to spend the rest of the journey out on deck in the fresh air.

Well secured down for a rough crossing.
At least the ferry arrived on time. Powers the Pot is only just over a couple of hours away from Rosslare even on an old bike. Mercifully the first half of the journey was dry but thereafter back came the rain. Now, Powers the Pot is atop a mountain so damp weather is not unexpected but when we pulled up our hosts advised to set up camp sooner rather than later as proper rain was going to come in shortly.

Camping spot at Powers the Pot.

Pitching under trees seemed like a good idea. In practice
there was no shelter from the fury of the mountain top rains. 
With tents pitched it was time to hit the bar. A great night in great company and the cider of the previous visit was not on hand so we didn't even get the chance to repeat past mistakes.

Yes, it rained a lot during the night and it was drizzling in the morning but by the time Saturday's ride out left at the crack of noon the lightness of the mizzle compared to previous downpours meant that it felt positively dry. A lovely ride down to the coast on a drop off run so little chance to get lost, a hearty lunch and scenic ride back made for a decent day out.

Pt2 to come...

Lunch stop by a choppy sea.

Salty spray on shiny bikes..

Yours truly on the Beemer. A good choice for motorway
blasting but a terrible one for bimbling around on narrow,
damp and mossy Irish country lanes.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

International West Kent Run 2019 pt1

Home yesterday from my first International West Kent Run and what a great event it was. Up there among the best old bike events I've ever been to, a wonderful location, great rides, an interesting selection of machinery taking part and a friendly multi-national bunch of riders. The event was fully booked within two days of entries opening and it is easy to see why.

The event is held at the rather special location of The Friars at Aylesford, a community of Carmelite friars dating back to the medieval era. Camping is available as are basic rooms, facilities are good and there are restaurants on site if you don't want to cook for yourself. The IWKR has been stretched out to five days from Thursday to Monday with three social runs, the main run on Saturday and a show on Sunday on offer.

We went along as a family and treated the event as a mini holiday doing some local site seeing and dipping in and out of the runs. Saturday's run attracts some really interesting machinery and the show on Sunday has a lovely village fete feel with club stands, an autojumble and bike gymkhana.

Highly recommended, I hope to be back next year and would wholeheartedly recommend to any other enthusiast to get an entry in and experience the IWKR. A big thank you to the good people of the West Kent section of the VMCC for organising such a wonderful long weekend of motorcycling.

Big port AJS parked outside the accommodation.

Triumph Tiger 80.

Very characterful and well used /2 BMW.

Puch split single 'twingle'.

Cracking BSA sidevalve sloper from 1931 ended up justifiably
winning a rosette in the concours at the show.

Flip side of the sloper.

Super rare optional instrument panel on the Sloper was offered
for 1931 only as far as I know.

Indian (Royal Enfield) Woodsman loaded up and ready to
head home after the run.

Late thirties Matchless Model X. Nice to see one of these in
its original paint.

BSA Bantam green laner and Triumph Tiger 100.

A good number of bikes were out on the run that you don't
so often see on the road, one of which was this MV Augusta
two stroke.

Blue suits this Indian Scout nicely.

Another view of the Scout.

Stunning Henderson Four. I followed this for a while on my '27
Triumph. A mistake as it was slightly too quick for the two up
Triumph and we overheated! I just couldn't help myself, so
good to see an American four on British roads.

Also out and about was this Ace four.

Another Indian Scout. One of the best vintage bikes there is.

Detail on the Scout.

My star of the run was this Coventry Eagle Flying 8 side
valve. The bike has recently been sympathetically refurbished
keeping its original finish where possible after languishing
dismantled for a good  number of years.

BSA A10 and Swallow Jet 80 make for a very stylish combination.