Thor - the
patron God of HOG rallies truly smiled on us this year as folk travelled from
near and far (well Bournemouth and lots of other very interesting places north
of Watford) to attend this years Swanage Carnival Rally. The Worcester posse
were especially hot and bothered having taken well over four and a half hours to
make the trip in the 70+ degree heat. However once they had pitched camp
everyone was smiling – ‘cos everyone remembered the monsoon conditions we
endured last year. The site quickly filled to capacity with increasing numbers
of happy campers shedding their leathers for shorts, T- shirts and cossies then
wandering around catching up with friends old and new over a cool beer. All
happy to chill out and relax into the weekends events.
First night we took a very leisurely stroll along the prom with Bob n’ Sue,
Karen n’ Mark and Richard stopping along the way to chat to fellow bikers. Fish
and chips were duly purchased – with only minor disgruntlement from Mark who
insisted that the two chipolatas he received as a substitute for the Jumbo
sausage he actually ordered simply wasn’t cricket and successfully negotiated
four stonking porkers!
Dusk had set in by the time our little group walked back to site and we were
mightily entertained to spot an amorous couple getting ‘frisky’ in the 3 foot
gap under the platform upon which the beach ice cream kiosk was supported. Their
silhouettes clearly visible as the young studs’ buns pumped up and down !
However we were unable to confirm the identify of said arse as a Harley rider
tempted as we were to sneak up and take a flash pic of what would have
undoubtedly been a grin worthy of Grommit ! . Further entertainment for the
evening was provided by the tried and tested Blues Bruvvers. Always popular but
as they were ‘the turn’ last year maybe we could have a rota of some kind like
one year on and one year off ? Otherwise events start to feel a teensy bit
"Ground Hog Day".
As always Saturday morning dawned too early for those of us (most of us ?) who
had over indulged the night before. By 8.00a.m. it was hot and sweaty (the
temperature that is let’s not get smutty) – and it just kept climbing. Fragile
people duly sought sustenance from their breakfast fry up or an egg ‘n’ bacon
bap from the burger van. Having consumed a full monty 3 course breakfast cooked
spectacularly on single camping gas ring our neighbour Mark was duly baptised
with his new biker name .. ‘The Grazer’.
With the official ride scheduled for 4pm various town centre shopping frenzies
ensued. Intrigued to spot one man band ‘Don Partridge’ (who had a number 1 hit
in the 70’s with ‘Rosie’) busking in the town centre. Bung him a quid for being
a rock n’ roll survivor. We head back having procured shorts, swimsuits, hats,
nail repair kit and a matching pair of kiddies concertinas to entertain our
fellow campers … you’d be amazed how many tunes Karen and I managed to play with
just one note and how far sound can travel down a football pitch to the obvious
delight of fellow campers who directed verbal support and other things our way
as a worthy token of their appreciation!.
Come the afternoon we gathered en masse in the car park for the ride to Wareham.
It was incredibly satisfying that as we rode along the prom every man, woman and
child stopped and turned to watch the ride past. A single Harley can turns heads
– its impossible to ignore a hundred. Grabbed a swift half at ‘The Station’ pub
whilst awaiting closure of Wareham High Street. Locals were welcoming but a
number of stray cars trapped in the high street after they sealed off each end
caused unfortunate bottlenecks in both directions minimising the amount of
mayhem we were able to inflict on the ancient market town. Heading back to the
coast the marshalls gave the horses a sound thrashing recognising they were
escorting some seriously dehydrated riders. Back on site it was inevitable – yup
- a water fight. Wonderful spectator sport on a scorching day though - feet up
and obligatory chilled beer in hand.
The hot afternoon dissolved into a sultry evening as our band of happy campers
partook of prime nosebag in a Pizza parlour before joining the throbbing masses
to enjoy the fireworks against the stunning backdrop of a full moon. Amazing how
a relatively small seaside town puts on such a dazzling display. Show over we
wound our way to a marquee overlooking the bay to enjoy Mafia who worked the
crowd to perfection as always. Events became a little hazy for this scribe
during the next hour, (a little ‘tired and emotional’ as us hacks would say or
‘decidedly ratted’ as most of you would), - so recovered after staggering back
to site lets fast forward to the young Billy Idol lookalike chatting to Les
Williams, nervous at the prospect of his first HOG gig. Ah bless !. " We won’t
throw bottles and smash up your gear if we don’t like you – we just won’t book
you back" I motheringly reassured him.
‘Steve’s Bike Shop’ as they were aptly named soon found their feet - realising
quickly what songs filled the dance floor with Hogsters eager to party their
last night away. The songs came thick and fast and soon the dance floor was
solid. The band played several encores - delighted in the fact they’d got it
right. I suspect we’ll see more of this band at future HOG events. The nude
girls football match didn’t happen which was a shame given we had kept all tents
off the pitch as requested – still it saved having to explain that complicated
offside rule to us didn’t it lads ?. Long after the live entertainment ended HOG
folk drank, ate and chatted into the wee small hours.
Those of us foolish enough to stay up drinking until 3.30am soon regretted our
actions on Sunday as the hot morning sun began systematically toasting the side
of the tent forced vacation in search of shade for many by 7.45am. However the
11.30 a.m ride to Corfe Castle woke us back up as we roared across the Purbeck
ranges enjoying stunning views across to Corfe Castle and beyond. At the Bankes
Arms Jim Etherington and his band did the business in the beer garden whilst we
chatted with those who had ridden in from Dockgate. Then word goes round that
having been barred from taking part in the carnival for the past 4 years a
police outrider has been dispatched specifically to invite us to head up the
carnival parade. Conditions apply - helmets must be worn, and we’ve got to
stop/start behind a marching band dressed as clowns who have already snuck out
along the seafront to warm up the 80,000+ crowd. It’s HOT - it’s SLOW - but THE
CROWD LOVE US and Les considerately orchestrates each stop near an ice cream
kiosk to keep the troops cool.
Grateful thanks to all involved in the organisation of this rally - it was truly
SPANKING but please, please, please … can we have a rally pack next year ?. It
doesn’t have to contain anything expensive - just a bog roll. After a skin full
on the Friday I’d run out of clean socks within 24 hours !
Lippy NF HOG #211a