Sidecarland

FED Annual at Driffield

by Roy and Chris, pictures Skip and Roy

This year’s rally was held at the Driffield Showground in Kellythorpe, near Driffield in Yorkshire. Chris and I arrived on Saturday morning, and I got talking to Paul Ennis, who showed me an early 1950s bike magazine which had an article about sidecars. There were pictures of the sidecars and you were shown the dimensions of the various models, seat heights and amount of leg room, etc. I have some older bike magazines and when they tested an outfit, they would state how the bike went pulling the sidecar and then they would do a write up on the sidecar.

I hoped to get a lift in a chair to go on the ride-out. Luckily Dave with the R100 and Velorex had a space in his chair; those air-head BMWs go very well and we had a good run to the “Flower of May” at Scarborough Fair. Approximately 50 outfits took part in the ride-out, plus several solos. It was nice to see the line of outfits stretching out in front of us. Just before we got to our destination the view out over the coastline was terrific. It was nice to see Lesley enjoying a ride in Mark Fowler’s outfit.

The Scarborough Fair Collection is one man’s collection of Fairground Rides, Steam Engines, Vintage Vehicles and Mechanical organs, but there is plenty more to see as well. Parking is free, however there was a small charge for entry. It is open to the public from 28th March – 28th October, but it is closed on Mondays (except Bank Holidays) and Tuesdays. However, beware because the collection can close for private functions, so check before you go. I had a quick wander round and then spotted that the café/coffee bar was fairly quiet so I dived in there for a piece of cake and a coffee. There were plenty of seats and I joined some Fed members at a table. In this room there is also a dance floor and several organs which struck up with rousing popular tunes. They also hold tea dances here so the Wurlitzer organ gets plenty of use.

Having finished my snack I wandered off and spotted a collection of classic cars and motorcycles; these were in first-class condition. I must admit that all the exhibits here appeared to be in fine fettle. For a small fee you could have a go on some of the fairground rides. The dodgem cars were great fun, as was the merry-go-round; these proved very popular. Amongst some of the vehicles was a BSA Gold Flash complete with sidecar; the sidecar also had BSA badges on it. The attendant I spoke to was not aware that BSA also made sidecars. This outfit was well checked over by our members!!

For the very young visitors there was a hand-wound merry-go-round, and the attendant kept the speed very slow so the parents could walk around with their children. The whole collection is well worth a visit if you are in the area. The official time to ride back to the showground was 2.30 pm; however Dave and I pulled out a bit earlier than that and had a good run back.

Look mummy, the ride is all full of adults, some even have bus passes!!!

Back at the campsite I caught up with Lesley and we were talking when I heard the engine of an older English single motorcycle; at a distance it looked like a 1950’s model, but then I spotted the girder front forks so it was 20 years earlier. The rider was Dave Wilson, who lives a couple of miles away – he had spotted the sidecar signs and decided to pop in for a look. He was very impressed and rode home to get his Panther outfit. He has only had this outfit for a few months, but it also has the Panther chassis plus a spare wheel. The sidecar was a double-adult Rankin, complete with some rally stickers on the back. Dave and his wife both ride outfits and they own a couple more. He showed me a picture of her riding their 1921 BSA rig, and it looked in good condition. He picked up a Fed leaflet and signed in as a day visitor. He was surprised at the number of people and outfits on the showground.

Five o’clock on Saturday afternoon saw lots of champagne being poured out in readiness for the Federation’s Jubilee Champagne Toast before dinner. The evening entertainment – a band called “Dave Dee & the D Tones” supplied the music, and I was told that they were very good.

Sunday morning started nice and dry but a little breezy. Lesley, who was running the Highway Code Quiz, had a windbreak up to stop the question papers blowing away!! The maintenance test was well supported, with a long line of outfits awaiting their turn.

The next bus into Driffield is the 13:15, Mick.

The testers were very thorough and professional, finding, amongst other things, a wobbly sidecar wheel. The driving test was hotly-contested, with lots of fun here. Helen was doing really well with great clutch control towing five tennis balls on a plank of wood until the plank dug into the ground; the elasticated towing strap then expanded until it reached its limit and then the plank shot forward and dumped the balls on the ground.

Whilst all this was going on it started to rain; this meant that the silly games, usually held outdoors moved indoors, but this did not stop any of the fun. .

During the day a nice 1950 Sunbeam outfit rode in; this was ridden by a South Yorkshire member and it was in a very nice condition – a credit to the owner.

On Sunday evening the raffle was drawn; Mike Priestly got volunteered for this job as he has a loud voice!! There was a great selection of prizes, and the raffle went on for quite a time. Many thanks to our sponsors for their support, and to George Cousins for all his efforts, and also to the people attending the rally who brought along some of the prizes.

Later the evening quiz, organised by Martyn and Lesley, was well supported, with a large number of teams taking part.

Quiz winners Jan, Ian, Sandy and Rodger.

Monday morning saw the presentation of the trophies, with Dickie Jones wearing a hole in the lino as he collected quite a few awards, including “Overall Rally Winner”. An Australian member won “Overseas Long Distance”. John did admit that the winner had not ridden all the way!! John Hind then closed the rally and wished everybody a safe ride home.

I have had a thought – the next big rally will be for the Fed’s 70th anniversary, and some of us will definitely be senior citizens by then, so I was asking for ideas for this rally. I got a few suggestions, including that the LSC could hold a Zimmer frame race, and another suggestion was that people’s carers should be allowed to attend the rally free!!

Well done and thanks to everybody – including the Committee, the people running the maintenance test and the driving test, Linda Cheer for staffing her stall of goodies for sale, and to everyone else who had a hand in making this a great weekend. Also thanks to Jill, who proved to be a dab hand with the Hoover, just proving that you can’t get away from the housework, even if you go to a rally!! Also, as John Hind said “All the people who turned up and made the rally what it is“. Just over 100 units turned up.

Thanks to you all and hope to see you all again at the 70th anniversary do!!

For details of the collection see   www.scarboroughfaircollection.com

Now let me explain Chris; A doohickey is a blunt object you use, the whatchamacallit is to fix stuff and thingamajigs always break.