Camber Sands June 30th – July 2nd 2006

I had high hopes for this rally as I had heard it’s one of the better ones for kids. Now whatever you think about kids at rallies, it’s very simple, I don’t care. I don’t mean that in a particularly rude way, I just mean I’m not here to debate the pros and cons. I know what my opinion is and seeing as I’m writing this, that’s the opinion that counts and you can read it as a footnote to this page.*

So, I met up with Simon, Rachel, Chalky, Pete, Robbo and Mojo on the A1 and we were off. Mucho fun was had down the A1 on the way to our first petrol stop somewhere near the M1 junction where we met up with Boxer and Graham and also caught up with several of the Stevenage crew where one of the lads was having a few problems with running a little lean. Didn’t take too long to sort and he and Chalky swapped scooters for the next section just so Chalky could be sure that it was running ok.

Off we went and onto the M25 which soon became a car park with us lot weaving filtering through the traffic, but it was hard work making progress on such a hot day, still, progress we made.

After some miles it was time to come off the M25 and onto the M20. At this point I seemed to be ahead somehow with one of the other lads called Mason. We sat, waited, had a piss, waited a bit more, Mason had a fag and at this point it was obvious that someone had most likely broken down so a text was sent to Old Pete to let him know we’d see him at the next petrol station, which as it turned out was only another 15 miles or so.

We had enough time to fill up, grab a drink and relax for 10 minutes when everyone arrived. Turns out Mojo had some problems with his scooter, still all seemed well and once everyone had a chance to top up and have a drink and a fag we were off again. Another 20 odd minutes of A roads saw us at the venue, we’d made it!!

After we’d all settled in, including the kids and partners that had come in cars, it was time to catch up with everyone and suss out the site. It wasn’t too bad to be honest, after all, as long as you have a bed to fall into after a good night out, somewhere to eat or cook and a bit of space you were happy.
Friday night saw us at the main venue early to get a decent organised group table as per the “Quincy Plan” which always seems to work. I have to admit there’s a lot I don’t remember about the night other than it being great craic with good music and good mates all round. I did feel slightly guilty sitting beside The Pancreatitis Kid (aka Big Rob), but it was very short lived and I’m sure he’ll forgive me. Music on the night consisted of Wella Live, The 23rd Issue and The Bright’s all of which were on top form and seemed to go down well. Even the kids enjoyed it.

Saturday morning was soon upon us and my bad knee was killing me, it turns out I was on the dance floor more than I should have been, both in terms of my knee and because I dance like an epileptic chicken!

Today however was the big day for the English footie team and so preparations were under way for a BBQ later that day during the game. The rest of the day consisted of checking out the trader stalls, but if you wanted any proper spares they were sadly lacking seeing as all the space was taken up with mugs, shirts, badges, camos etc. Don’t get me wrong, that’s all well and good, but if you were looking for say, a carb atomiser, you were screwed.

Asides from the stalls there was of course also the custom show and I thought I’d have a laugh and put mine in. Of course I got what I expected, sod all but I’m glad to have raised a few eyebrows anyway.

The rideout to the pier was next with everyone gathering at the gate for midday, luckily I managed to find our lot or I would have been lost. Ailish my daughter was on the back and was grinning from ear to ear! This was her first big rideout. There’s something about a rideout for me, I just love the feeling of riding along with others, known or not, all enjoying the same thing. It just feels good when you see others admiring the groups of scooters riding by. It was a good ride of only about 20 miles ending at the pier, there were no incidents as far as I know along the way, other than when someone else on a ratty series 2 (which could have been the twin of mine) sped past me as if I’d just stalled! I later found out it had a TS1 for a heart. Want! Want! Want!!!

We met up with everyone at the pier where much food and some drinks were consumed, there was also much admiring of scooters going on by other scooterists as well as the public at large, but before long many were heading back to camp aware that the footie would be on soon.

Suffice to say, England lost which even I, an Irishman, found disappointing. Ah well, on with life.

That nights shenanigans consisted of Dean Parrish and The Complete Stone Roses. Dean was on form and The Roses were ok too. it seemed a quieter night though to me I have to say, good fun all the same though.

Sunday morning came quickly and it was time to pack up and get out. We left at about 10am and headed for the motorways, the trip back plagued with traffic, roadworks and Mojo’s scooter breaking down sporadically. It seemed the only way to fix it was to keep swapping over the spark plug each time it happened, so god knows what’s causing that? Still, it was easy enough to pull over onto a hard shoulder. Except for one thing. There’s no hard shoulder in the Dartford Tunnel!

Yes, you guessed it, it happened right in the middle of the tunnel and we had little choice but to carry on to the other side and wait. you could hardly have 10 or 15 scooters all stopping now could you? Apparently Pete tried towing Mojo but this didn’t work, and Chalky was going to try to walk back down the tunnel toward them with a long chain lock, but decided it would be suicide to try once he looked at the trip. A guy in a pick up stopped behind them and offered to take the scooter to the other end which I thought was very decent of him, though before anyone could think about the logistics of lifting it up onto the flatbed, Mojo somehow got it started and he was away.

The rest of the trip all the way home was pretty uneventful other than a few articulated lorries playing silly buggers and driving right up behind us after waving us into their lanes to allow us to overtake. Oh and of course Mojo’s scooter played up a few more times, though with luck, as he set off after the last time on the A1, he noticed an odd wobble and on investigation had a flat! Whether he picked something up in one of the many laybys he visited, or it was coincidence that he broke down as the tyre was deflating, I guess we’ll never know. One things for sure, if Mojo has a specialist round on Mastermind, it’ll be “Layby’s of the A1 and M25 between Sandy and The Dartford Tunnel”

*Kids at rallies? No problem as long as the parents bother to actually look after them.