Swanage Rally 2004


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Event Report

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

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