Thursday, August 22, 2013

Powers the Pot Royal Enfield Rally Ireland

Yours truly on trials Bullet arriving at Fishguard ferry terminal.

Been a little while since last loading up the bike and riding to a ferry for an overseas adventure. A few months ago a plot was hatched, a date decided, a suitable event located and folks pledged allegiance. Time moves on, we're all older and commitments grow so in the end participants were whittled down to myself and Dan.

This is the sign you want to see welcoming you to a campsite!
We chose the Irish Royal Enfield Rally at the Powers the Pot campsite as it looked like a good event, the date was right and the location was realistic for a slow bike out for a long weekend. I planned to take my Bullet combo but was a bit worried that starting was not quite right after being laid up for a few months so did a last minute substitution with the long distance Bullet 350 trials. Prepping the trials bike consisted of putting a regular Bullet road tank on and crossing fingers.

Thursday eve and I set off up to Dan's in Bristol. Just a couple of miles from home I stopped for a lad on a CG125 who had run out of petrol then later encountered a ludicrous and lengthy diversion around Castle Cary. By this point the bike was showing signs of fuel starvation. Every so often it would stutter and eventually it started cutting. It was getting late though and I decided to press on to Dan's. Arrived late and we drained the tank to clean the fuel tap filter out the next morning.
Gwaun Valley brewery. Well worth a visit and
a stay.

Early rise and we cleaned the filter, filled the bike with petrol and fuel was still struggling to get through. Then we changed the in-line filter. Doh! All was fine. We managed to hit the road relatively early, Dan on his trusty 350 Bullet and both bikes were running a dream.

Heading to the ferry terminal at Fishguard from Bristol there isn't much to do apart from grin and bear the long motorway stint. We managed to average 50mph for a couple of hours so it wasn't too bad. Then about 12 miles from the Ferry I thraped the Bullet to overtake a lorry, made it past and the engine cut. Pretty embarassing. I cut in in front of the lorry, it roared past and I cruised to a halt. We had a quick check over the bike, there was an hour and a half till we needed to be at the terminal. I kicked it over and reluctantly it started up again. Something wasn't right though. We decided to try for the ferry. A couple of miles on it cut again. Various fettles and plug swaps were tried. Eventually Dan suggested the ignition coil was at fault. Seemed plausible so we asked at the farm we happened to be next to when the bike cried enough. There was a motor factors just up the road. Dan rode on, bought a coil, it was fitted and normal service resumed. We had now however missed the ferry by an hour.
Loading up the Bullet the next morning.

We went to the ferry terminal all the same and the guy there was really helpful. Despite it being a non-refundable, non-amendable ticket he changed it to the next day's sailing in good cheer. Great service, thanks! I've always believed that some of my best motorcycle travel experiences have been a result of breakdowns. It's those times that you are actually put in a situation and have to seek out local folks for assistance. There was certainly a silver lining to this breakdown cloud as we had a good meal and wander around Fishguard then a scenic ride over to a campsite in the Gwaun Valley. A farmhouse campsite in beautiful countryside and the killer selling point was that the site is part of the excellent Gwaun Valley Brewery. There could be no sign more welcome on riding a bike in through a campsite gate than 'Campers please report to brewery'. So report we did in the knowledge that there was no early start the next day.

Dan goes in for surgery.
The crossing was nice and smooth and got us over to Rosslare early evening. We had to press on as there was a fair way to go and now, having had an extra night in Wales, we only had one night in Ireland. Dan's gearbox had been leaking slightly so we stopped to top it up. After that good progress was made until I missed a turning and on turning around to retrace steps Dan's clutch cable broke. This should have been a quick fix but the new cable, despite being bought as the correct one was a difficult fit. Still, at least we had a spare.

Topping up.
We used a sat nav to help us find Powers the Pot. Good job we had it as it would have been tricky to find in the dark but it took us a strange and circuitous route that had us riding a green lane up the side of a hill in the dark. All good fun though. Finally arrived gone ten o'clock. We were warmly greeted, put up the tents and went to the bar to partake of the home-brewed cider.

The cider was powerful stuff and we awoke the next morning with thick heads in an Irish mountain drizzle. Some folks had already left but we hung around for a chat with the remaining folks. There was a good turnout, probably just over thirty bikes and a friendly crowd.

Powers the Pot.
With tents packed down we took the scenic route back to the ferry. The Irish roads were perfect for gentle riding on an old bike. I resolved to return for a longer stay. The ride home was uneventful. Another night at the Gwaun Valley brewery but arriving late at night the bar was already closed. Both bikes performed faultlessly. The only snag I noticed was that the Hitchcock's trials subframe which is billed as 'not suitable for pillion passengers' is also not built to carry a pair of heavily loaded panniers as it had started to fracture. Not surprising really as it only meant as a mudguard hanger. It made it home all the same. Altogether a 700 mile round trip in four days.

Powers the Pot. Stunning location.
All in a great mini-adventure. A rally well worth attending and fantastic riding in Ireland. So a big thanks to rally organiser John for a top event.

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