Salford Knights @ A2 Aces rally Northern Ireland 2017 | RALLERY
I prefer the smaller club events to the Nationals, so when I heard that Rodney and the boys had secured the Magheramorne site after a two year absence it was a no brainer for me to attend a sought-after club rally. Gatz and I agreed to go straight away and put it to the rest of the Salford Knights. With the LCGB Cartmel event on the same weekend, some members on holidays, starting back at school, college and/or university – it was never great timing for all to attend. With everything going against us, we had the ferries booked for 12 members and an extra couple of lads riding with us.
Three wheels on my wagon
It was an early start for me down the East Lancs Road, as I had to get the Lambretta sidecar outfit through the Liverpool traffic at rush hour. Thrashing it down to Liverpool it did very well – the statutory sideway slides when braking at the lights, always add to the fun. Then the worst thing possible happened. It may have been poor maintenance but the roads by Goodison Park and between the Wallasey Tunnel were terrible, I sheared all four studs on the rear hub. With my passenger, Colin’s weight in the sidecar balancing my Lambretta (with stabilisers) we stayed upright. After trying everything possible and running short of time I couldn’t get the studs out to change them. By the time the main group arrived, I had to tell them to carry on and get the ferry. Huey took Colin as pillion and Duncs took all his gear. My replacement ferry would be 12 hours later, 10:30pm, meaning I’d be missing the whole first day and the fun.
How many scooter boys to change a wheel?
Recovery truck came and a ‘light bulb momemt’ whilst being towed home, call the ‘legend’ that is Harry Barlow at H-Bomb scooters. In we go, he didn’t have a spare new hub, but leant me his wife’s new powder coated one to keep me going. Removing the hub, he decided to first swap the studs, heat, welding torch and sheer initiative, there was no way of removing them. Earlier 12 ordinary scooter boys thought we could do it on the roadside! After riding the sidecar home – I decided to “rack up” the GP. Then spent the day twiddling my thumbs before heading back down to Liverpool.
The coast road
The next bit was told to me second hand. The guys started drinking on the boat – then all fell asleep on the 8-hour journey. They got off the boat and headed down the stunning the A2 coast road. One of the most beautiful roads to ride. If continuing, you would hit Larne and the “Giant’s Causeway”. Some lads got there on the Thursday, just to take some extra sights in, around Belfast and the surrounding areas.
It’s only 18-miles from the ferry and the club arrived at 7:30pm, the place was rocking by 8:00, a great DJ, great sounds and a lot of fun. From the mainland were lads from Bangor, Dave & Karen from the Essex Road Tramps, Dutch from the Aces, Yvonne from Size of a Camel, Halifax Elite, Overnight Division, Wrighty from Glasgow, Cunny from the Oldham Globetrotters and in total 30 clubs in attendance. The Animals fae Naboombu were by far the biggest club there and rightly took their trophy home.
My lonely overnight journey consisted of cans of Kronenbourg, pints of Heineken and watching Spike Island on my phone, then a 5:30am alarm call, woke from my sofa, bacon bap and disembark.
I had a leisurely thrash down Shore Road, stopping at a Spar garage to get fresh milk and some ‘Mickey Mouse’ money in the guise of “Bank of Ulster”. I hit site just before 7am and it was an absolute morgue.
What happens in the girls toilets?
Not knowing where everyone was camped, as scooters were all parked on the hard standing – I set up my trusty stove and had a brew. Then Sarah Foss arrived – from partying all night in the girls toilets/showers – so I ending up doing a brew for all.
Game of Thrones
The site is in the Blue Circle Boat Club, by the side of the old Blue Circle factory, famous for filming “Game of Thrones” and other films. It has a football field, showers, kitchen, two music rooms and everything you need for a rally, including a train station! The guys started waking and I found Colin and decided to pitch the tent up. I then set about playing a bit of ‘Sound of the 60s’ from my phone and rallying the troops. We were all off to Carrickfergus to see some culture.
Stall Holders started arriving, a special effort from RPM Scooters from the South Coast who brought enough spares to get everyone home, Albert the tattooist, all the clothes, badges, bags and patches were there in abundance too.
The black stuff
As everyone was setting up, we all took the 10:35 train to Carrickfergus. There must have been half a dozen clubs, about 30 plus in numbers. The idea was to be back by 2pm for the Custom show, the gymkhana and all the other games. In Carrickfergus, everyone split up to view the castle, the history, the charity shops and the Weatherspoons. Most of us then indulged in a full Ulster fry, awaiting the 11:30am legal serving time for the drinks. Everyone started raving about the Guinness – I stuck to lager like any decent southern softee. A final drink in Dobbins, watch a bit of football, before the train back to the site.
The site had filled up with day trippers and Saturday night party people. There were said to be 500 paying people over the two nights. The DJ was playing his tunes in the smaller bar, whilst the custom show, tattooing and stalls were in the main venue. The food was served by the venue, with local delicacies, classic burgers and curries. Value for money and filling.
The gymkhana then took place, on a 50cc twist and rip. Obviously, this was biased to all Scomadi and GTS riders, so no-one with a classic geared Lambretta stood a chance. The most embarrassing contestant was from the Salford Knights, our very own ambassador, Aussie. Firstly, not collecting the ball, not riding on the plank, not going through the chicane and just riding back, at a very slow speed.
Next was the trophy giving, furthest travelled were Karen and Dave from the Essex Road Tramps, best turned out club was the Animals fae Naboombu and a great showing of Custom scooters taking their well-deserved trophies.
Kiss me quick
We had now been drinking for some seven hours straight, so some people went and got a kip, whilst some others went and got the obligatory tattoo and photos taken in the ‘kiss me quick’ style postcard photo booth. A quick wash and change of shirt then straight into the evening do. There were two bands, The Modfather, who did everything Weller and classic 60’s and Doghouse Ska, one of the premier ska groups in that part of the world. Both groups got the floor filled until the early hours. The bar seemed to manage a decent service and pints were at a premium at £3, everything you needed under one roof.
Obviously, some people managed to have a kip in the middle of all the dancing, but that could be expected after being up for 36 hours. I was put to bed by Gatz, somewhere between 10.45 and 11.30 according to social media, which isn’t bad for me. Others within the club between 12.30 and 1.30 as we were up early for the ferry the next morning.
Wake me up before you go, go
Exactly as per my arrival, our departure would be noisy. There were about four clubs on the same ferry as us, and all leaving between 7:45 and 8am. everyone said their goodbyes, tents packed away, started up around 20 scooters, met the BB crew and the end of the road and made the ferry without incident.
A non-assuming time on the ferry home, quite quiet as you can imagine. Jimmy Bingham befriending some local uni starters and breakfast, Sunday dinner and a couple of games of footie on the box.
Feeling run down
One sad incident on disembarking, a port worker was run over by a colleague, thoughts go out to family and friends. It delayed the disembarkation whilst ambulance and fire crews attended.
Then it was time to head the 30 miles or so home, as soon as we came out of the Mersey Tunnel, it was like Wacky Racers, everyone going in different directions, but everyone getting home safe. Special thanks to Rodders, Brian, Stuart, Jonny, Ivan, Alan and all the Aces for making the rally special, next year, same date, same venue – their 10th Anniversary
Words and photos: Doug Turner
Rallery by Doug