I do hope that you enjoy reading the following as much as I am writing and recalling what was a fabulous weekend.
Firstly thank you.
A big thank you to the ATR team for organizing everything, Dan and Tom for the trail rides, and booking the site, plus Dan's BBQ, also thank you to Graham and Denise for the road rides and putting a roof over our heads in the shape of the event tent and also for the use of their BBQ ; plus Nick for having the foresight to bring along his electronic goodies and keeping us in light.
Also to the guys from both the XRV and ABR forums for joining us.
The hardest part of this is going to be doing the weekend justice, because as I write I'm still buzzing and although I can recall most of it, little snippets keep dripping into my memory and altering my take on things, so forgive the lateness in getting this together.
A very special ride and camp for at least one of us.....
As some of you know this was my first real outing in what seemed to be a lifetime, so for me this one is very special; not least because I got to share you guys with my son Ben, and I was both pleased and proud to introduce him to a truly great bunch of people.
Friday morning dawned and I couldn't wait to get started; strewth I even had the two bikes packed and ready on the drive in anticipation for the off before Ben arrived.... It's a miracle!
A pleasant and uneventful ride over saw us arrive at approx 13.30, to which we were greeted by the huge smile on Nicks face, as the chat started flowing it seemed as if there wasn't a year or so since we'd last met.
Ready to unload.
I enquired as to whereabouts of Dan (DanH) and Tom (Twintech) to find that they were out reccying the trails, ahead of the ride out planned? and to be led by *** "Nick aka "East Coast"
In the distance we could here the familiar and distinct engine tone of a BMW, across the fields Ben could just about make out the shape of what he thought looked like a 1200 GS, which as it drew closer morphed into SGR's 1150 GSA followed by Denise in her car full of kit.
Graham (SGR) and Denise erecting their tent.
The pathfinders soon returned and greetings were once again exchanged, and like a little boy at Christmas I could feel the excitement rising in anticipation of the next few days.
All hands on deck and we started to erect the event tent, now at this stage my timings could be a tad out however it doesn't change the fact that it then started to rain (Oh dear and there was me enticing these poor innocents to make the trip with promises of fine and glorious weather) Denise you are a star as the tent gave us somewhere where everyone could sit in the dry and enjoy a chat and a beer.
Looking out at the site from the event tent.
James "Ipswichbiker arrived and then Martin "Cabbage", who paid us the compliment of riding for 7 hours from South Wales to join our merry band of men and women, top man, followed by Nev and Jed from Hertfordshire.
Sat around the BBQ's it's funny the things that get discussed from Bikes and travel to Tanks, and Tanks to musical instruments in the form of Trombones!!, the craic was fantastically humorous and very diverse; there were also some stunning revelations when it was discovered that Ipswichbiker had beautiful blue eyes... (I must hasten to add that it wasn't I who discovered it! no names no pack drill but you know who your are :silly: )
Getting a little damp and cold we retired to the pub which was just across the road for a warm up before resuming back at the event (main) tent, which saw yet more great banter.
If I could bottle the atmosphere I'd be a millionaire ten times over.
Hanging around enjoying the craic
It was soon time for bed and at around 01.30 I awoke to the unholy din of the all Britain snoring team doing their best in their quest for a gold medal, loud? I knew it was reaching deafening proportions when at 02.25 a Lion came over from the zoo to complain about the noise.
The ride outs
Saturday dawned dry but overcast, somewhat perfect for the trails as the sand had received a good dampening, plus there was enough standing water in the deeper ruts to keep the mud seeking missile (myself) happily amused.
Ray aka Howlingmoon and Marc "Quadder" arrived, and duly unpacked / unloaded their bike - tent respectively had a quick breakfast and were ready for the off; it was then that we discovered that East Coast must have been trained in the art of suggestion by a Jedi Master *** because in an almost biblical turn ..."he who is first shall be last and he who is last shall be first " suddenly became tec and Dan took the mantle of ride leader, just how Nick managed it I don't know but I'd like him to accompany me to my next pay rise interview.
SGR departed for deepest Norfolk leading the road ride out, to my shame I never managed to get a photo of them before they departed but fingers well and truly crossed there will be a next time and I'll atone then.
The road ride was approx 150 miles, taking in Sandringham House for morning tea (very posh and a pity that I didn't know of their plan in advance, as I'd have had a word with Her Majesty and gotten them an invitation to dine with her; more bare faced lies I hear you cry just like the weather that you promised, and your wife and sister!)
Denise posing with a life sized model of Norfolks famous giant squirrel
Then it was onto Sunny Hunny (Hunstanton) for a fish and chips lunch overlooking the pavillion and sea
Remember the line above concerning the tanks? well after lunch our intrepid group headed along the North coast road A149 towards Muckleburgh and it's collection of Armour and other military items, hearing about it when they returned we could tell that they'd had a great day out, with the added bonus of clear roads as the usual Summer traffic for one reason or another wasn't out, including the return leg taking in Holt and Dereham = Result!
Not only armour on display, here are some fine knives and bayonets
And assault riffles and RPG's.
A heavy field artillary piece
A nice 8th Army BSA side valve, just guessing but perhaps there is a local link, in that they trained in and around the forest during the war.
Bren gun carrier
Nev and Jed next to an American half track
Wall to wall Tanks.
Possibly one of the greatest ever aircraft built and designed in the UK, the Harrier; shown beside a Bloodhound missile?
Getting down and dirty
We set off and the first priority was to make a fuel stop, which according to our resident Jedi
was just a mile or so down the road, about 7 miles later we eventually pulled into Attleborough, perhaps Jedis have alternative methods of measuring distance?
Fuelled up Dan made a swift alternate calculation to the route and we headed off out of town and along the A11.
Our first stretch of off road was soon upon us to which I asked Dan to hold the crew up for a couple of minutes so that I could get a couple of snaps of the boys ducking under the duck yer head railway underpass. I will admit to having a queasy moment waiting for Ben to arrive, as I didn't think that he believed me when I told him just how low the bridge was, and I had visions of phoning Mrs P informing her that her son's face had been re arranged and was now rather flat.
Howlingmoon with Ben in the background.
What a feeling, it's hard to describe to someone who doesn't ride off road but to be out in the countryside on your bike with a great bunch of guy's is something else, the foliage was greener than I can ever remember, and the condition of the trails absolutely superb, being firm and fast if you wanted it, and the whoops giving the suspension a nice work out, combined with the feeling of the rear tyre hooking up and the bike moving freely beneath you, just witting this I wish I was back there right now.
At one stop Ray " Howlingmoon" removed his helmet and expressed his delight at the riding and I must say that all I could do was emphatically agree as I think that I was wearing a grin even bigger than his, looking around everyone seemed to be in the same state of euphoria, and up for more.
The next group of pictures don't realy require captions, just the lads having a great time on the trails
Dans new tyres hooking up
Just before the next set of pictures I had a little smile as the scene that greeted me reminded me of the Weston beach race, when Quadder came to an untimely stop due to him getting cross axled with Ben coming up behind him and due to the narrowness of the trail I think that between them they held up the rest of the following riders giving me time to jump off the bike and get an unexpected photo opportunity further up the trail.
Quadder depth testing
This one was taken on Bens phone
And now for some individual non action pic's.
Trevor Pastrami- me
Finally because it's difficult to get an action shot of yourself here are a couple of me playing on the XR kindly taken by East Coast.
The choke on the XR started to play up so time to work out a bush fix
Feel the force
As with all good rides it's not quite as good unless the group make a sacrifice to the dirt god Trailus, but who was to sacrifice himself on this pleasant day? read on.
As I was stowing the camera Nick being tec beckoned me to go, but I being a perfect gent?, said after you old boy or words to that effect, I was a little surprised to see another side to our Jedi's quiet and gentle riding technique when he took off like his hair was on fire, but as he did so his water bottle came flying off of his bike performing a triple Salco and landing in the dirt, so I stopped to pick it up.
While doing so I looked up the track and at about 300-400 mtrs out I could see him standing but no bike, a closer scan and I could just make out his bike on it's side,
WARNING BS ALERT WARNING BS ALERT!!
Please close your eyes for this next bit if you don't like fibs or are offended by untruths as the Jedi's excuse was that he deliberately sacrificed himself to Trailus! what a load of Bullshi * I think that he took his powers of suggestion so seriously that he attempted to ride the trail at break neck speed with his eyes shut while attempting to feel the force!
Trailus is pleased
ALL CLEAR ALL CLEAR
At the King George memorial we stopped for a break, and also to wait for Martin "Cabbage" and Tom "Twintech" as they had stopped to help a chap on a crosser fix his broken chain, then Howlingmoon suggested a group picture so we lined our bikes up for the photo, East Coast did the honours, unfortunately he's not not in the following shot but fingers cross Howlingmoon used the timer on his camera and has captured the whole group.
This one is now my screen saver, happy days.
The last trails
All good things must come to an end, and sadly so did this fantastic ride but not without one or two last trails, and a last photo opportunity of the gang enjoying themselves.
So they launched themselves down towards me to which I sadly took the last of the action pix all the time wishing that it could just carry on; but hey there will be other days, weekends etc or at least I hope so.
Tom on one of my favourite trails.
As above but this time our ride leader Dan.
The last opportunity to get dirty....
Last but by no means least Twintech
This last trail related picture is of Nick "East Coast" I think that the face say's it all, grubby and very happy.
Back at camp
There were a couple of people who sadly couldn't attend, and who were missed by us all; after getting back and sitting down to a beer and bollox chat about the day we were delighted to see a familiar face turn up for a beer .... Come on in Norm De Plume, it truly was great to see you again and I'm sure that the rest of the crew hope that we can get out and about very soon.
A well deserved beer
Beer and talking bikes etc what more can anyone ask for?
Who's that centre stage, why it's our Norm (red top)
Another one from the circle of wisdom
As said above Graham's group recounted their ride out with great enthusiasm after having a great day , well done mate your efforts are very much appreciated.
The BBQ fired up, and more than a few beers and wine consumed another great chat along with hilarious banter, accompanied by the tunes from the Eurovision song contest (don't ask but I think Denise reluctantly put her radio on following a request from some of the lads) which was enjoyed in the main tent until the day caught up with everyone and people started to retire, I think that Ben and I turned in at about 12.45, leaving one or two behind and talking until the small hours.
Sunday 04.55 and I awoke to the sound of the animals both the ones sleeping loudly in sleeping bags and tents and the real ones over the fence in the Zoo, I believe that we all agreed that the most prominent were the sounds of Howler Monkeys, and Seals which historically is why we call this rally the Safari, now you won't get that anywhere else.
With eyes starting to open I noticed a thick mist hanging over the site, and dew everywhere.
The following are a couple of snaps of the camp as requested by Nick.
The mist around the camp
Ipswichbikers bike and tent
Quadders set up with Nev and Jeds set up far background.
Howlingmoons set up, makes me wish that I still had a 4X4
The event (main) tent and SGR's GSA, once again a big thank you to Denise and SGR for bringing it along.
Worthy of another picture I think.
No introduction required, simply the best!
But all this damp was doomed to evaporation because just like Norm De Plume yet another friend arrived; Nick got up for a while to greet him and we were both happy to see......
Mr Sunshine, and boy did he make his presence known radiating warmth from the outset.
A couple of hours later and the camp started to come to life with our happy bunch exiting their cocoons like butterflies (more like moths really with the exception of Denise of course)
While striking camp yet another ATR rider arrived who sadly couldn't be present for the whole weekend in the shape of Paul C; his effort in riding over to say hello was appreciated by all (well done mate)
Despite the sacrifice to the trail God the previous day, there was only one minor mechanical / electrical failure to which Denise's car suffered a low battery, so Ray duly obliged in giving her a jump start, and all was well.
Paul C, foreground vizzy jacket
East Coast and SGR
So guy's that's it until next year:- and if you have read this and wished that you had been there, visit www.ivemadearightfookinmistakeandimkickingmyself.com
One last thing, if there are any pictures that anyone wants please advise and I'll e mail them over to you.
Thanks to all of you for coming until the next time...