Stormin' the Castle
It just gets better
When Pete Walker asked me to come up and do the report for Stormin', I wondered what sort of plague we would be facing this time. First we had the mud at Into the Valley and then the water at the Farmyard. Taking no chances I put my tent up and hastily painted a red cross on the door, just in case.
Our esteemed editor had requested I take the photos for the report as well ramble on trying to remember what went on. To this end I brought along the old trusty brownie, found a grown up to put the film in and headed off to the gate.
The start of a rally is something special, Friday afternoon is far better than Sunday morning. An intense feeling of excitement and anticipation hangs in the air, there is no finer place to feel this than standing on the gate taking pictures.
Everyone is trying to get in as quickly as possible, find a decent pitch, get the tent up and start the party almost all in the same breath really.
Mr Mutch gave me some advice on taking pictures of the bikes coming in, namely to lie on the floor, look up at the bikes and not to worry about getting run over. I followed his advice to the letter, however at four the next morning I couldn't get very many decent shots because of the mist.
The light began to fail and I hastened back to the MAG tent to see how things were going, it was pretty packed.
Because I was taking the pictures for the report I had a press pass hanging around my neck to enable me to access various areas not open to the public and was able to go back stage to get some shots of the bands.
After Hayseed Dixie had finished their very long set and I had got my breath back from dancing, I staggered around the back to meet them and get a photo for the magazine. They signed autographs for ages and then went into party mode, myself along with them. What a great bunch of lads they are, one of them drawled to me "what paper are you from?" 'Horse and Hounds' I replied in my best accent. Whether they had heard of that particular publication I know not, for I laughed and told them the truth. However a theme had been set and over the weekend I claimed to be reporting for everything from The Rangoon Morning Examiner to the Hamster and Furry Rodents weekly. That was a mistake, I knew I was up north but little did I expect to be confronted with a chap with ferrets down his trousers. At least he claimed it was a ferret and kept shouting why-aye to everyone who passed whilst he gripped his orchestras.
Admittedly I never actually saw the ferret but took it as read from the noises he was making. I told some folk that I was from the Sunday Sport and the ensuing photo's would shock and astound to say the least.
There was a film crew there all weekend shooting one of those reality TV. shows about people that swap holidays. I kept seeing them wandering around behind the contestants for want of a better word. I don't know how everyone took it but I would imagine there was at least some playing up for the cameras. On Sunday morn one of the organisers (no names no pack drill) popped into the marshal's tent asking for condoms. He promptly squirted some shower cream into them, tied the ubiquitous knot and set off to plant them where the said contestants could find them. Apparently they were helping with the post rally clear up. I bet they wished they had gone to Spain or wherever it is they usually go.
The bike show was pretty amazing to say the least. I never usually bother with bike shows at rallies, unless they happen to be in front of the bar. so it was a real eye opener for me doing this report. I saw loads of stuff I never even realised went on. For example at the Farmyard the other year I didn't even realise there were any stalls there, despite apparently wandering around them for a while.
A veritable village of stalls presented itself when I ventured into the hinterland beyond the MAG tent and bar, there was even a falafel stall, great food to counteract the cumulative effects of alcohol, dancing, trying to hold sensible conversations and of course the occasional fall. I met the famous Morph and Audrey from Fife, which for those of you unfamiliar with our Scottish brethren is in Scotland and not where bananas come from. There was even a fairground, which we visited very late on Saturday evening. It was here that the expected calamity manifested itself on the Walker fella. After we had torn around on the dodgems smashing hell out of each other, the hapless Crown Prince of Yorkshire complained that his buttocks had parted (that's moved apart not partied you fool) most painfully every time another car hit his. It must be something to do with age and muscles relaxing but the poor lad was in some discomfort. I hate to admit it but my own Khyber suffered much the same fate, I know not why, myself being in the prime of life.
The winner of the raffle for the Buell was a chap called S. Jolly from Nottingham ticket no 03984 (for the anoraks among you).
I can honestly say that The Stormin 05 was one of the best weekends I have ever had and that really is saying something. It was superbly organised, marshalled and put together. I understand it was the 15th one, I have always missed it before because it clashed with other events. Having at last made it up there I cannot for the life of me comprehend how I have never been before.
The curse of Walker struck about twenty miles down the road when a bee flew into me, it not only stung me but also left half its arse sticking out of my face. I knew somehow that I was not going to get away scot free.