The Sidecar Soiree 2018

by Roy and Chris…… pics by Skip, Shark, Roy and Ann


What a great meeting again at Top End Farm in Little Staughton in Bedfordshire. This is a family-owned site that doubles up as the village store. This year the weather was interesting; we arrived on Friday in a temperature of 30 degrees and left on Sunday to steady rainfall and 16 degrees, so you could say that you roasted one day and got rusty on the way home.

For Friday evening Martyn had organised a musical quiz, this was very good;   some campers on the other side of a hedge chimed in with some of the answers!! Chris and I arrived after the quiz had started (having been to the pub for dinner with the owners of our B&B) and, listerning to the questions, we quickly realised that we would not have been an asset to any of the teams. Martyn stated that if your team had not scored at least 20 points you were not in the running. The winning team of Rose, Linda and Mark Fowler scored 26 points. Listerning to the answers Chris and I felt that we may have scored 10 points at the most!!!

Saturday morning was a bit cooler as there was a stiff breeze blowing; it even lifted a paddling pool which landed on top of Dave Bakers latest outfit. Several of us lifted it off and placed it by the owner’s tent. One local chap came up to the site with two photos of his father’s outfits; he was interested in knowing the make of one of the sidecars – this was a large family saloon, which he used to travel in and apparently only a few were made. We had a few ideas about the make but this will need some research. The sidecar took up a lot of space and he gave it to a museum a few years ago, and they are doing it up.

As usual at the Soiree there was a rideout, through the country lanes and picturesque villages; however there were plenty of bits of trees brought down by the wind to navigate around. I believe one or two riders were struck by pieces of wood on the trip. This year we went to Johnsons of Old Hurst. This is a working family farm that was established in 1899 and it is only a few minutes’ ride from St Ives and Huntington. Twelve outfits and some solos enjoyed the rideout. It was well worth a visit, as there is a variety of traditional and some more unusual animals to see, ranging from cows and pigs to parrots and crocodiles. There was a well laid out children’s play area and plenty of little ones were enjoying themselves. You had the choice of places to eat; we chose the tea room; however there was a steakhouse and “Jiggers Bar” as well. Free entry and parking is a bonus and the owner could not have been more helpful when we arrived. This farm is well worth a visit, but beware – it is shut on Mondays. For more details see their website   www.

We headed back to the campsite in the mid-afternoon. The fish and chip van had been warned to put extra fish on board as there were over 150 units on site – this camping ground is very popular.

At 6.30 pm the raffle started, and there was a great choice of prizes to win. Many thanks to everybody who brought prizes in. After the raffle came the Children’s Grand Prix; this was great fun and it was won by Reanna – she was delighted.

The World Tank Racing Championships took place next.   Karen was the race scrutineer and Mark was the race marshal and placed you under starters’ orders. Lots of closely-fought rounds took place – some tanks flew and others flopped. Pink Power won the day when Cass won the final.

The Tri-Anglia Wheels “Grand Prix “ racing tournament was the last thing on the programme; this again was hotly contested and very popular; with Martyn being the starting marshal. Again lots of rounds and lots of fun, with a tot of whiskey if you wanted it. The more rounds you won the more you drank – all part of the fun. Eventually Dennis was triumphant – well done.

Over 40 units turned up plus several day visitors, one being Steve Wood, who arrived on one of the new 400 cc Jawa motorcycles. Steve Lucker also has one of these, and they are both impressed with the ride-quality of the Chinese tyres with which the machines are fitted. Steve Lucker is delighted with his Jawa – 70 mpg at 70 mph and very comfortable to ride long distances.

On Sunday morning Chris and I arrived on site just before 10.00 am to find that quite a few units had already left. It was raining fairly steadily, and full wet weather kit was needed. In spite of this I had a great ride home, with some standing water on the roads, but nothing serious.

A brilliant rally yet again, well done to all the organisers and to everybody who turned up and made it a success. Let’s look forward to next year’s “Sidecar Soiree”.

Ian and Jan’s Booze cooler.

Outfit in the cool.

Tank fettling.

Blimey it is serious stuff.

All systems go for Roger.

The man is nervous.

The referee looks a little tense.

It is just for fun, don’t be fooled, it is the world tank racing championships.

I can beat you lot, even with one arm tied behind my back.

Trophy in had and her winnings of Gin and Tonic (kindly donated by Michael) on the table.

I know it is “Hogwash” Pauline but it isn’t that bad, is it!

Laughing juice.

OK old chap, fire up the spit and lets have one for the squadron.

To the regiment lads.

Oh dear this isn’t going to end well.

Would said women can’t drive, Jan can do it one handed while holding a whiskey and not spilling a drop.

Ozzy with his ladies.

Some made it to the final, but were in no state to even win it, good job he did have 2.

Denis wins and thank you to the Ozmyster for donating the prize.