Salford Knights invade France – Kanards Saols Delire Waben rally | RALLERY
As with every year, the Salford Knights members vote on an overseas rally based on a choice of about four. This year it was won by a margin and the majority voted for Kanards Saouls Delire SC (Drunken Ducks) to Waben, Northern France. The nominal 20 people got their names down, we usually take about 28 (including the four Lincs Lads).
The route was then planned for M62 to Hull, getting the four departure groups meeting at Hartshead Moor, then on to the Sportsman in Hull, followed by the ferry. Into Belgium, then A roads from Zeebrugge to Dunkirk (50 miles) on to Waben (80 miles). Return trip to Menin Gate, then back to Zeebrugge. With the possibility of paying our respects to our brave ancestors – the numbers swelled to 48 with 47 scooters, Colin on the back of my trusty GP.
There were some last-minute extras and drop outs, but the final numbers were 46. This put some of the regulars off with so many first timers and loads of shiny Vespas going, the fun had to start – “Chrome won’t get you home Darren”. A big shout out to Dave for swapping bikes to take his sidecar and Aussie, also to Sean for taking Eric ,as the week before he got knocked off his Lambretta, and Sykes for taking Chelsi – four scooters two up
First stop Sportsmen at Hull, the bar staff were run off their feet, a bit of drinking, loads of food, lost Lambretta keys and a couple of Vespas in bits – both made the trip there and back, albeit one in a recovery truck.
With the need to break the back of the route, no stopping until Dunkirk – with everyone with a full tank of petrol, it was motorway to Bray Dunes and then coast road to Dunkirk. Doing the A roads, we ended up split into three groups. The main group were at the British and Commonwealth Cemetery, laying wreaths and crosses, obligatory group photo and then looking for family names, local regiments and “holding back the tears”. Next stop Dunkirk beach, photos on the beach, beer and chips.
We of course had lost our leading lieutenant, Aussie. Being our number two and a master of organising things, his phone was dead, he/they didn’t grab a map handed out at the ferry port, got lost, cautioned by the police for no helmet in sidecar (illegal in France), cautioned by the “Fashion Police” for his shorts and white spindly legs and stuck in the sidecar as it was a gargantuan effort getting him in and out.
We went off and rescued Aussie and Dave, then carried on to the next stop. 50 miles on the motorway. Big Bri had one job to do, not to lose Aussie and Dave again… ONE JOB. “Where’s Aussie?” rang out. When we caught up again, it was all laughs, as he had a map, had a portable phone charger and they were making good time.
Here and there
Has anyone tried getting 44 bikes through a French road toll? Not recommended. Going through the toll, we were two men down. Darren and Alan, Darren’s LML was making an horrendous noise but got picked up by a van going to the rally, with Alan following . We had a call, Paul Lynch’s T5 exhaust was now in three places. Quote of the rally; Paul “I broke my exhaust in two places”, Paul Thwaites, “Where? Here and somewhere else.”
During the last 6 miles to the site, we found Aussie and Dave playing with oncoming traffic, traversing around the urban roundabouts the wrong way – no one hurt. Arrived at the small, but welcoming site, where Welsh George and a couple of GTS’ got there before us. Darren behind us. Everyone arrived in one piece. That was it, scooter locked up and not touched for two days.
No tax, no recovery
About seven members stayed in town, the rest of us got the tents up and beer flowing. One of the French lads took Darren’s LML apart. The fan had disintegrated and threw parts out of the flywheel cowl, breaking that too. Parts couldn’t be found, so for a cost of £10 for parts he could have ridden home, but recovery was arranged for Sunday. The numpty with the broken exhaust was panic stricken. The Kanard boys found a mig welder in Boulogne, so we were off there on Saturday with Sean to weld it. We called the recovery service just in case, realised that his tax and MOT had run out months ago and the insurance company said he should not have ridden it and wouldn’t cover him. Let this be a lesson to us all.
Hook a duck
Friday night was various DJs, with Olivier Bille from Liege, Mark from the Dirty Devils and of course a couple of locals. We were drinking with Patrick from Jersey, Area 51 SC Worthing, Mark from the Gelvum Stax and loads of others. Drinking was a card with 10 duck tokens for 15€, so equating to 1.5€ a half or 3€ a pint. Compared to 7.30€ in the local resort of Berck-sur-Mar for a pint – the prices were “bob on” at the site. There was a huge swimming pool erected (for gold fish), which over the next two days was frequented by various members (excuse the pun), naked and clothed. It was an easy way of cooling off, especially with temperatures averaging around 28-30 degrees and the embarrassing make shift showers.
The huge Salford Knights flag was erected in the hall, northern soul ensued, and the Knights were dancing the night away, with some classic ska, Motown, punk and not forgetting a little Plastic Bertrand and other French tasteless classics.
The Kanards sorted a typical French butty wagon, which unfortunately went home around 10.00 ish. Friday was pork, salad and/or chips, breakfast, typically French and a rotisserie for Saturday with half a chicken 3€ and/or salad and chips. Sunday breakfast was laid on free of charge by the Kanards.
Saturday Sean and I, with a couple of Kanards hit Boulogne to get Lynchy’s exhaust fixed. Downfall of the campsite area, no shops, no spares and no dealers. Got the exhaust fixed and Jan (Kanards) and myself indulged in a classic French breakfast of espresso and Heineken. Can’t thank the guys enough for taking us there. Back to the site (via McDonald’s) and then into town.
Joe no taxis
Second downfall of the weekend – No taxis, a bit of a mess. Two lads decided to spend the second night on the site and gave up their digs. We all hit town, with its beautiful seafront, it was scorching but expensive. France always will be, you can often pay 9€ for a Kronenbourg in Paris.
Back to site, as the local hotel could not get us a taxi back, he kindly drove us – top service. Games and custom show started. There was a beautiful original GP there, which came second to the Rallymaster as best Lambretta, some great original French models and a good variation of ridden scooters and Scomadis.
Drinking started to get heavy, with the weather, everyone was outside the venue. There was a great rock and roll band called Tabazco, 3 piece 50s style, female lead singer/guitarist, bassist and drummer. They dressed and sounded the part, I felt for them as everyone was outside in the sun, listening. Look out for them on Facebook, if I was part of a Southern Club, I’d definitely try and get them over for my rally. Another Vespa down, Chris with his P200, clutch constantly engaging, we had all the tools and Sean and Mike sorted it and for the first time in three weeks, it was going to kick over.
Next was the trophies, furthest travelled was Scouse Dave from Wrexham, best turned out was the Salford Knights, best dancing was some French bloke. Then it got heavy… Huey from the club thought he was the best dancer, then it turned out to be “Best dancer to the Birdy Song”. The trophies were rubber ducks, with a difference – “Duck with a Dick”. Saturday night just never stopped, drinking, dancing to the sounds.
Sunday breakfast, de-montage and meet at local McDonald’s for 10.00. The plan was to go straight to the Menin Gate and then Zeebrugee. Thirty minutes in, a disaster struck, Chris’ clutch was playing up, the group split into two, but we did manage to get Mike back with all his tools. 45 minutes later, produce a set of clutch plates, three with no cork and completely stripped to a circular disc. It was time to get a recovery. No phone coverage, in the middle of nowhere. We finally got hold of the RAC and we left him.
The front group had issues too, so they were going to Boulogne and taking the A16. We turned back to the A16 south of us and we all met up later, which was incredible. In the interim, Arthur’s P200 was seeping petrol through the bottom of the crankcase. Three Vespas down. Fluke of nature, the LML from Friday and Arthur’s were relayed together. It was an eventful journey back to the ferry, everyone, including the sidecar, relay and main group arrived at the same time. On the ferry, beer football and well-deserved showers.
Chris and his P200, the RAC and P&O let us down. RAC recovered him, wanted to fix it and then ship it to the UK. Taxi from Northern France to Zeebrugge to get to the ferry by 5.00pm. The taxi was late and ferry was early. Poor Chris was the first man we have ever left behind. RAC then paid for his overnight accommodation in Bruges, new ferry and cabin, plus a hire car from Hull – not good.
The final part of the journey, watching Spain and Denmark exit the world cup, Bullet seize his Lambretta down the M62 (recovered), meeting up with the ‘car w@nk3rs’ having their scooters vanned back to Manchester and finishing where we started – in The Greyhound for a beer near my house.
All in all, a great rally. Loads of first time overseas rallyists, no falling out, great club camaraderie, meeting new friends and catching up with old mates. The Kanards Saouls Delire rally can only grow, but special thanks to how they looked after us as a club personally.
Words and photos: Doug Turner, Salford Knights
Rallery by Doug
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