The Irish Rally

I missed the first Irish Rally. I had some notion about going to Thailand, witch in retrospect didn't turn out to be such a good idea.

So it was a year later, I signed up for the Irish Rally. Brian for some reason was trying to persuade me to meet at his place, but it just makes more sense to go and see the folks, since they are nearer Holy Head than Brian is. As usual, we never confirmed anything, so Brian never bothered to send off my ferry ticket. Oh well I thought. I'll just meet up with him before getting on the Ferry.

On the Friday morning, I got in touch with Graeme & Joe. Since they live just up the road (relatively speaking). We arraigned to meet at the first garage on the A55 into Wales, which amazingly enough, we did, within minutes of each other. A few miles later, the heavens opened, and we where in the middle of a rainstorm. Immediately we pulled off and up a side road, so Graeme& Joe could put on their waterproofs, and I could just get wet, and wish I'd got round to replacing my waterproofs from the last time I lost them. Within seconds the Sunderland contingent of SPAM turned up. Small world, this Wales me thinks. Now very unusually for SPAM we are actually quiet a big run out. Next Stop, Holly Head.

A small amount of confusion, at the ferry port, sees Graeme and I watching the rest of SPAM ride strait past, as we quaff our first pint on beer of the weekend. Next comes the mild panic as the traffic starts moving through the barriers, and Still Brian & Jack haven't turned up with my Ticket. No probs though, just at the last moment, they appear, after taking the "scenic" route though Wales. But once through the other side, we just get stuck in another Queue, because our ship is late. Even more SPAM people turn up, and then I start thinking to myself, this is really quit a big SPAM turnout, despite this Rally being the most expensive of the year, because you have to buy a ferry ticket. Eventually the Ferry turns up, and we are forced to limp across the Irish sea at 30 Knots, because only 3 of the 4 engines are working! (Only 30 Knot's, I want to do Naval Architecture again. This thing is a giant speed boat)

We hit Ireland in rush hour, which is a bit of a contradiction in terms in Ireland. No one is exactly sure of where we are going, reports vary wildly from it was only a few miles inland last year, to it's about 50 miles away. What's more Being in Ireland, there is more than one place with the same name, so even a map isn't that useful. But we get there, and arrive a very quirt camp site, full of English bikers. Apparently the host club was confused last year, because they don't do Friday's in Ireland, this year they where just resigned that some mad English people might turn up. Friday night, was quirt, and full of Guinness. A beautiful summer evening, after an varied and interesting journey. What more could a biker ask for.

So Saturday, we decide to explore Ireland. There seems to be some discussion, as to what color roads we should be traveling on. Predictably, Jack wants to ride down tiny pot hole infested roads at stupid speeds, while the rest of us, just want to ride at stupid speeds. Some degree of compromise is reached, and SPAM "Do" southern Ireland. Jack leads the way down the small country roads, while the rest of us stop for petrol. It's about then I notice the nail in my Tire, but I can ignore it, errm, honest. The incident of the run for me was the point when we turned of onto a dead strait road. Brian was in front, and it had been a while since we had been able to open up. Seeing at least 2 miles of smooth dead strait road was just too much for him, and I followed as he gave it a bit of full throttle. Only trouble was, it turned out that it wasn't dead strait, well at least not in the vertical. There was this hump back bridge you see, So after Brian had eventually landed again, and flapped his wings some more, we all had to stop to calm down. I slowed down quit a lot, and still managed to get some serious air.

When we got back to the camp site, it was suddenly packed. Everyone was relaxed and having a good time, watching the people trying to show off, by falling off their bikes. Most entertaining. Another usual evening in the pub, but a bit more restrained than can be expected of SPAM. Well you see, there comes a catch with the Irish rally, that being, you've got to get up at some stupid hour in the morning to catch the ferry home. So even though we made it to the fire, you might notice Brian is drinking Coke.

And my god, yes, wake up, and no time to think, just start packing strait away. Soon as the stuff's on the bike, we are off, and in a ferry rush. That's when I'm still desperately trying to forget about that nail in my back tire. By the skin of our teeth, we manage to get the ferry terminal, with only an hour to spare. Seems the Ferry was late again. This time it was fog that kept the speed down to 30 Knots. (Now I know this thing does 40, but I've yet to see it). Back in Wales, it suddenly occurs to me, to put some air in my Tire, that was was currently not behaving very much like a tire should. Why this didn't occur to me while we where waiting in Ireland I don't know? The upshot of this, was that I lost contact with the rest of the SPAM column, as it headed of through the god awful traffic, that was snarled up on the A5 through Anglesea. I hadn't really made a plan of where I was going to spend the night at this stage, never mind how I was going to get there, but as the sun was out, I decided it would be nice to "do" Wales, having done Ireland the pervious day. And I had a gorgeous explore down to Pershore, where Cas & Hannah put me up for the night.

So probably over 1000 miles of riding, taking in 3 countries, and including two trips out on the sea. What more could a SPAM member ask for. A brilliant rally. Go for it, and get a ticket from Brian Now.

Here's the Photo's.