Monday, February 13, 2017

Dragon Rally 2017 pt1

Last time to the Dragon was 2015. We were lucky enough to have beautiful clear skies then. A magical ride up through the Brecons and Snowdonia with white capped peaks fantastic quiet twisty roads. Mind, it was bitterly cold.

This year was a lot milder as Dan and I set off from home in Dorset. Dan on his 625 Bullet and myself on BMW combo. Once again we stayed in the Hampton Hotel in Llandrindod Wells as a well priced stopover halfway on the journey. At £30 for a single room with morning fry up included it is brilliant value, plus there's somewhere to lock away bikes for the night. Call them up direct for best rates... The ride up was uneventful and only very slightly damp. The only noteworthy event being yours truly realising that tickets were still on the dining room table having gotten forty miles up the road from home. Generously the better half volunteered to drive to meet me halfway so only just over an hour was lost.

Matt joined us with his Guzzi combo soon after we arrived in Llandrindod. Tidy looking bike the Guzzi and somehow, though in theory a similar package, way more compact and sporty than my Beemer. We had a meal and a few ales and still managed to get a decent night's kip in. Next morning we woke to light snow which then turned in to a proper blizzard. Proper Dragon weather!

As we put a few miles under out belts the snow eased off. Of course it was better that way but some serious snow would have given a proper adventure. A stunning ride up to the checkpoint just outside of Bangor, we made good progress and arrived just after lunch. It was beginning to get fairly wet the last half hour of riding so we were grateful that it turned out the checkpoint was only a few minutes away from the rally site itself.

Conwy MCC had promised a 'back to basics' site and they delivered. No complaints though, I prefer it that way. A decent sized field with plenty of space, well waterlogged so there was good sport in watching bikes arrive and negotiate the mud. The rain continued for most of the rest of the day and the wind didn't let off either. Spirits were good though. Phil and Karen arrived a little later with the Kwacker combo along with John on his Harley and they all joined our encampment. It was Karen's first rally and with the promise of camping, bar and band she had been under the illusion that it was going to be sort of like a music festival with bikes. Despite arriving to a cold soggy field full of bearded bike nerds she didn't make her disappointment public.

Phil had cannily spotted a pub up the road on the way in and promised it was walkable. With nightfall we headed there and found a cozy warm local with a good vibe mostly full, but not crowded, with rally goers. Food was fully booked but they had sausage baps laid on for the rugby match on tv so all was well. A bloke on the table next to us then produced a lot of cheese that he shared. Pretty random but very welcome all the same. Back at the site the band played, folks got in to the party spirit and I wandered back to my tent broken by cold weather, plentiful beer and a long ride. The night's sleep was sound and the dawn chorus of revving bikes not particularly welcome but here's some folks like to make an early start for the journey home.

Nowt much to say about the ride home. A nine hour ride back down to Dorset, plenty of drizzle along the way and a good bit of sleet and snow to add in to the mix. Something like a 550 mile round trip. Not everyone's cup of tea but a great weekend and I'll be back again.

Now for a few snaps of bikes of the rally. Used as they were intended to be one and all.

Oil in frame Triumph.

Looks like a Tiger 750 but with different forks and wheels.

Bathtub Triumph 21.

Wot no engine! BSA / Mini special.

And here's the rear view. The business end. Must handle OK
as it was ridden to the rally. Didn't see the owner around to
have a chat but wonder if both rear wheels are driven or not.
They aren't offset so guess so.

You don't see many MZ Rotax around. Should be a very nice
good old school bike.

Quite a line up of combos in the background. A lot of Urals
this year.

Tidy A series Beesa.

Lovely MZ with period fairing and panniers.

A trio of trials Bantams turned up. These were amongst the
oldest bikes at the Rally. Didn't see anything pre-war at all
this year.

Unit Beesa and Panther.

Really like this subtly modded Yamaha SR500.

There was a lot of work gone in to this Suzuki Bandit combo.
The sidecar chassis and fittings were all home made.

Even the forks were home made. Nicely done sir!
Sweet Harley shovel.

Pair of Monkeys over from Ireland. One with trailer!

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