The 1975 NCC Poole Run……….
The Poole Run was on the August bank Holiday 1975, we all met up at the Reps house at 10:00am.
Me (Bern), Matchless 350, Andy, Panther 600 Sloper, Paul, 650 metallic purple Triumph, Bunny Og, BSA A10, Keith, Triumph 650, Monk, Triumph 650, Brian A, Harley 45, Brian F, 650 Thruxton Engined Triumph (Very fast), Steve & other invited guests, Jools Holland was one of them on his Velocette 500. Johnny on his Norton 750 and his Missus in an old ford Popular 100E sidevalve motor bringing the tents and bags etc.
So we all set off from Catford on the south Circular heading west and arranged to stop at a petrol station just before we joined the A30 at Chiswick. We got to Forest Hill on the south Circular and somehow or other Johnny managed to fall off and break a foot peg off Of his Norton so we all pull over, the Ford Popular catches up, and is steaming a bit from the radiator, so we top that up.
Meanwhile Johnny has managed to bodge repair the foot peg with an old box spanner, some wire and a bungee elastic, so off we go again. We get to Chiswick without too much problem and the Ford Pop has caught us up and is steaming again. We put some “Rad-Weld” gunk in the radiator to try to plug the leak, top up the water then with instructions to his Mrs. to keep an eye on the temperature guage, and to stop and top it up if it got a bit hot. By then everyone had filled up, had a fag break and so we set off down the A30 at a steady 50 mph so the Ford pop could keep up.
This worked well, until just after Basingstoke where we left the A30 and joined the A33 where there is about a 10 mile stretch of perfectly straight Roman road, the 50mph soon became 60 then 70. I was flat out at 70 on my Matchless 350, and the others were disappearing into the distance ahead of me and the Ford Pop disappearing behind, a few miles further on I caught up with them in a petrol station, and eventually, the by now very sick Ford pop spluttered in smoking badly, we had a look under the bonnet and it was a disaster area, the engine head was cracked & blowing steam out of the crack, it looked terminal.
Johnny was saying to his Mrs. why didn’t you stop and put more water in?, she was saying why did you go so fast when you know I don’t know the way? He was getting in a flap, the motor obviously wouldn’t go any further without an engine rebuild, and it was full of our kit which we were not equipped to carry.
Then along comes this bloke in a Ford Zodiac, fills it up with petrol, then asks us what the problem is with the Ford Pop.
“The engine is fucked”, we reply, “oh dear”, he says “were you going far?” “yes we are camping near Wimbourne Minster”, he says “I’m going to Weymouth, I can give you a tow if you like?”. The guy was very generous and without hesitation we agreed.
“Have you got a tow rope?” was the next question, “no, the garage might have” but they didn’t, so we had to make do with a bit of washing line.
We were back on the road, bikes in front, motor behind. We thought that we would keep the speed down to 50 as towing was a bit tricky, then next thing we knew Mr. Ford Zodiac was passing us and pulling away with the Ford Pop with Johnny’s Missus in it.
Having a white knuckle ride, we flew down the rest of the A33 towards Winchester only to catch up with Mr Zodiac and Johnny’s Mrs with the tow washing line shredded, Johnny ever resourceful, remembered seeing some fencing wire a way back so went back to get it.
We waited for him for ages, then others went back only to find him being carted off by the law for nicking fencing wire, we bailed him out of Winchester Nick with an appointment to appear before the local magistrate at a later date and got a sensible tow rope from another garage and went back to the Ford Pop, the rest of the towed journey for the Ford was not quite so fast, as the Traffic had built up a bit.
We left Winchester on the A31, went down though Romsey, Cadnam, Ringwood and finally Wimbourne Minster, the Ford Pop arrived about an hour after us at the field gate, where we all had to push and pull the thing into the field.
Then the fun of putting up tents…………. Each county made a circle of its tents and built a fire in the middle, and out came the frying pans and grub. Yes we actually cooked our own food, all fry ups of course. If you didn’t fancy that there was the Wimbourne Minster chip shop about 10 minutes ride away.
Having eaten, we wanted drink…………
Jools Holland, Andy and myself decided to go to a pub, so we got on our bikes. It was then that I found that my Dynamo had ceased to function, so the lights were U/S Courtesy of Joe Lucas The prince of Darkness. Andy and Jools set off for the pub, I went to the Club Marquee (which was about 25 foot long by 18 foot wide) where the contents of the Ford Pop were on sale. Home brewed beer and herbal smoking mixture. No bands, a couple of members with Guitars and maybe a radio, we all got shitfaced and had a good time, testing out motor cycle boots by walking over the red hot ashes of the camp fire, Ashmans on test, Goldtops on test, Lewis leathers boots on test……….. oh fuck me!! Jeans are on fire!!!!!!! My jeans fire was put out by willing volunteers throwing beer dregs over me!! Some over my head, hey its me jeans not me head!
More drunken revelry and staggering off to my tent in the small hours.
Sunday morning, my head was throbbing, my long hair all gummed up with beer residue, some inconsiderate bastard was revving his bike up outside my and Andy’s tent, thank fuck he drove off.
Had to get up or risk pissing myself, ahh that’s better, back to my pit and sleep a bit longer. Then up, stir up the ashes of the fire and get it going again, out with the frying pan eggs, bacon and bread…… perhaps a tin of beans opened with a knife and put onto the fire to cook, and the camping kettle for a cup of tea, great! I’m feeling a bit less hung over now, I use some of my precious water to rinse the sickly smell of stale beer out of my hair, that’s much better.
I’m feeling benevolent so I boil the kettle again and take Andy a cup of tea, and shake him to wake him.
“Wassermaddergwonpissorf”, “Tea Andy”, “Oh Cheers”. But now he is awake, he has to get up bent double busting for a pee and dump, off into the bushes, (we had no proper toilet facilities on the early runs other than a shovel to dig a hole for the conscientious, others were not so fussy and were cursed by those who accidentally found their business by treading in it in the bushes).
What time is the run out to Poole?…….. Ahh!!! the Cops say that we can’t go to Poole as the locals are terrified we will rape all their women, and generally trash the place, but the don’t mind us going to Weymouth as its been trashed already by the Navy, and there are plenty of whores there.
So off to Weymouth via Wareham, where one of our number broke his bike frame going over a level crossing (early Custom Frames were sometimes a bit weak). The back up van, an old Bedford Dormobile 3 speed column change, with sliding Drivers and near-side doors, remember them?
We stuffed the bike into the back of that and then continued our run out, past Bovington Camp Army Tank Museum, then on to Weymouth where we were herded by the local Police onto ground behind the sea wall before the main part of Weymouth, (this site is now occupied by The “Sea World” Aquarium).
We then looked for a friendly pub chip shop etc, had a dump on a proper loo and washed my face and rinsed my hair properly in the wash basin in the Karzi. Having the piss taken out of me by my mates insults like “you hippy poof, scared of a bit of dirt?” etc. At last I got rid of the sicky smell of stale beer off my head, and looked and smelled a little less like a vagrant.
After some time in the pubs, (they all used to shut at 3pm) the cafés and the sea front amusements etc. were our target. Some went looking for whores, some got pedalo boats out, others such as myself were a bit pissed and content to watch the piracy on the high seas of the lads on the pedalos and of course some of them fell in, then time to return to the site. I don’t recall much of the ride back other than the Police being glad that we were going, they weren’t too bad, I guess that they had seen it all, and worse from the Navy.
Back on site we got the fire going again and I cooked up all the food Andy and I had left. It probably wouldn’t keep another night. Suitably refreshed, Andy suggested the Pub again, having been pissed at lunch time I declined and stayed on site, 5 minutes after Andy, Jools and his mate left, it started to rain so those left on site made for the marquee.
Og, one of the pedalo buccaneers felt ill, and was really pissed off with it raining as he had been sleeping in the open, he built a sort of bivouac out of some planks and a cupboard door, he was sneezing and shivering still in damp clothes from his dunking at Weymouth.
The rain got steadily heavier, most of us were too pissed and shit-faced to care. Andy, Jools and his pillion got back and joined in, I sloped off to bed about 1am and went to sleep listening to the rain on the tent. Around 3am we were woken up by a knocking on the tent pole, Keith and his wife had abandoned their tent as it was leaking like a sieve, we let them in, and sat up talking and smoking all of Keith’s fags for the rest of the night.
The next morning it had stopped raining, but the field had turned into a sea of mud, I thought I would try to get my bike out before the rest of the lads were up but churned it up even more! Fortunately my bike started easily and I managed to get through the mud at the gate without too much bother, and parked it up at the side of the lane.
Paul was up too, his metallic purple Triumph would not start, I helped him drag the thing through the mud and out of the field. I then towed him up and down the road, to try and bump start his bike. This went on for about ten minutes without even a cough from his bike, he tried taking a plug out and kicking it over, there was no spark, he then took the HT brush boxes off his magneto and a load of water dribbled out. No wonder there was no spark, he eventually got it dried out and working.
Andy and I then packed up the tent and our kit, we then noticed Jools Holland and his friend emerging from their tent, they both had literally blue faces. They apparently had been so pissed when they went to bed that they had slept through the rainstorm, their tent had leaked and the blue dye from it had stained their faces! We fell about laughing at them, I guess they were the original blues brothers!!…………..I think they were so pissed off with the tent that they left it there and just packed their kit and took their bike out onto the road.
Eventually after several other damp starting problems we were all ready to go, (except the Ford Popular which as far as I know is still there), and the London contingent of the NCC set off for home. Og still shivering and sneezing, wrapped up in a blanket on his bike looked like a refugee from an American Indian reservation.
The journey home was much quicker than the journey out, I was home to Putney in four and a half hours, that was with a stop for breakfast at the café.
That was my first Chopper Club Run, and I really enjoyed it, some of the detail is a little muddled but it is largely correct.