Words by Roy and Chris. Photos by Roy / Slasher / Tank Master / The Bard
The Tri-Anglia Wheels Sidecar Club again held their rally at the Top End Farm Camp Site at Little Staughton, which is situated on the North Bedfordshire / Cambridgeshire border. The campsite is family owned and run and it covers an area of eleven acres. The site is not far from the old market towns of St Neots, Bedford and Huntingdon, which have plenty of things to look at in each.
Chris and I arrived on Thursday afternoon, having had a good run from home. In the field next to the campsite the combine harvesters were working flat out and the dust from the crop was blowing our way, covering the field and the outfits with dust. Later Rebo and I talked about the benefits of using a higher grade petrol in our machines; in my Yamaha a higher grade fuel gives me a few more miles to a tankful.
Friday saw Chris and me having a ride out to Finedon to photograph a public house for this year’s Round Britain Rally. Whilst I was taking the necessary snaps a local chap came over and asked what was going on, as he had seen several motorcyclists stopping there and doing the same thing, and he said that the one thing that all of these motorcyclists had in common was the Control Card, which has to appear in all of the photos.
The chap gave a good description of an outfit towing a black trailer, and I was pretty sure that this was Mike Priestley’s. Riding away we soon stopped at a café for a bite to eat; one of the locals in there said that it would be raining in a minute; the rain held off until we walked out of the café and then it started!!
Whilst refuelling on the way back to the campsite, the petrol pump attendant told me that the high street in Kimbolton, a nearby town, was flooded with several inches of water; she said that the shopkeepers had placed sand bags outside their shops to try to keep the water at bay.
James and Katie Levene got a good thing going in the afternoon, when they started washing outfits to remove the dust from the harvesting. They practised on Martyn’s adopted pensioner’s one first, and they made a good job of it. Then they moved on to my outfit – Chris said that she has not seen it that clean in a long time!! Later on I spotted them beavering away on Mike Priestley’s BMW, with Kayleigh’s help. Dave Levene reckoned that the children will now have a bucket and wash-cloths as part of their rallying kit.
In the evening Ken had brought along two sets of “Jenga” for us to have a game with. This proved to be a highly competitive game, requiring a very steady hand. Young James Levene did very well; he kept saying “I have not lost yet”. The game continued to be played for more than a couple of hours.
On Saturday 12 noon saw Dickie leading the ride-out. John kindly offered me a ride in his Triumph outfit. This was a twenty mile run, through some picturesque villages, bendy lanes, and past lots of cornfields; some had already been cut and others were waiting to be harvested. We ended up at Roxton Garden Centre. Seventeen outfits made the trip, and we were allowed to park on the grass. There was a maze, which was free to enter. Most of us wandered into the café, where plenty of seats available, and there were some more outside. The cooked food looked nice. By the outside seats there was what they called a beach hut, with loads of sand and pebbles for the children to play with here.
On the ride back I spotted the clever use of space – on one football pitch there was a set of rugby posts welded onto the top of the goal mouth, which allowed either game to be played on the one pitch.
Later in the afternoon the children’s Grand Prix took place – Rebecca was the eventual winner. Rebo had set the Adult Quiz; this caused quite a bit of head-scratching, and lots of people said that they knew the people in the photos, but they could not think of their names.
The chip van arrived before the end of the quiz; Lesley and I spotted the van at the same time we had a bit of a race to get there first – Lesley won!! She warned the chippie that when the quiz finished in a few minutes’ time, he could expect a bit of a rush of customers
The evening started with the raffle, with lots of prizes here, followed with tank racing. This was funny – lots of work had gone into these machines.
The final of the tank racing was held after the famous Tri-Anglia Wheels “Grand Prix Racing Tournament” for adults; this was fast and furious as usual. Clubs and Spades were good suites to have this time. Jane was the eventual winner and received a bottle of whisky.
The final of the tank racing was between Dennis and Ozzy, and this was going to be held over the best of three races. Health and Safety got involved here – earlier some of the tanks had not always gone in the required direction. Because of this possible danger to spectators, a safety barrier was placed around the track!! Dennis won the first race, with his tank going well; in the second race his tank was a bit slower and Ozzy’s tank was slightly quicker – his tank had just touched the finish line and Mark the referee had just blown his whistle to say the race was finished, when the winning tank did a handbrake turn and headed back towards the start line. The final leg was over in a flash, and I am not sure what Ozzy did to his tank but it flew across the finish line and won by a mile. This caused a great laugh.
The very wet weather promised for the weekend had not been too bad; however Sunday started very wet, and, as one rider said, “Let’s hope I can get home before it stops raining!!”. We had a good run home, with plenty of standing water in places; the waterproofs did very well, and as I am writing this they are still hanging in the conservatory trying to dry out.
Another good rally, nice site, a total of 30+ units booked in over the weekend, and several day visitors also turned up. Well done to the club for the great organisation and also thanks to all those who attended. Roy and Chris
After giving out nearly 40 self-assembly Tank Kits over Friday and Saturday morning, it was great to witness the campsite busy honing/modifying the kits into F 1 racers!
The heats and the final couldn’t be better written, turning out like a Hollywood Film!
The heats- All set off without many problems until the turn of ‘Lord Greystoke’. With the cocky statements throughout the day about his “Highly Engineered Machine” it was slightly pleasing after he had taken it out of its protective box, and started to wind up the extended bands, they decided to snap!
The heats also got too exiting for some with JB John having to rush off to have a poo! (He is now known, and forever will be, as ‘ Sticky John’)!
The Final- As I said before it couldn’t be better written. Denis facing Ozzie. Denis’s entry, a strong plodder. It would climb and go through anything. Ozzie’s the ‘Highly strung Race Horse’. It was quick, but you had no idea where it was going to end up! Set over three races, all was equal after two, leaving a decider. This was won by Ozzie with a dramatic leap of his tank, making him champion ‘Tanker’ of 2014
Finally “Mr I need a drink” after that lot.