The numbers from our local Suzuki Owners Club group had dropped considerably since last year with just three of us on the run from the Kent with another member, Graham Reynolds, already there as a marshal. In the end Ian Gardner had to drop out so it was just my brother and me at the Oakdene with about 25 KAMG (Kent Advanced Motorcyclist Group) members on a run to Shoreham.
At the Oakdene by Invicta Moto, on Flickr
“Where you off to?” asked one. “Wootton Bassett” says I. “What’s there?” he replies.. I explain and still he has no idea what we are doing.
Our run along the M26/M25/M3 to the pit stop at Sainsbury’s in Bracknell goes off well and we make good time. The M4 is relatively calm with the occasional car driving nutter right up your arse when in the fast lane at more than the legal limit. But what the heck, we are above these idiots.
On arrive at Hullavington the first person we spot waving his arms like a windmill is Graham. I stop to have a word and a pat on the back.
Then we show our bike passes and join the runway wide group. We are about halfway along as we come to a stop and it’s 1105. This year is better organised as the bikes are in blocks of around a 1000 bikes with a big gap. As the riders depart on their run, the blocks edge forward about 150 yards.
The reason why we were there!! by Invicta Moto, on Flickr
At 1315 we are off. Not quite the 1100-1200 slot but they had had some incidents (their words) on earlier runs.
Our run went off without incident. I managed to get stuck behind some bloke with a Czech SOC hi-viz and a Triumph Tiger. Try as I might I couldn’t get alongside to see who it was but the occasional glimpse in his right mirror looked like Les Bensley’s moustache! Somewhere in my SOC archive (actually a box in the garage!) I have the original artwork for that style of logo!!
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. A trio of fat blokes on Triumph Rocket-Threes seemed to have problems with balance and/or clutch control and we had to slip past as their barges blocked the road on any one degree incline.
On the way to WB, loads of people were outside their houses, waving and flying flags, plus the occasional raised glass, toasting our health.....
The ride through WB was very poignant and even had an old git like me with a tear. The people thanking us for our being there. Being thanked by someone wearing a t-shirt showing the face and name of a relative killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan seems the wrong way round somehow.
Once clear of the hand slapping and waving we joined the M4 eastwards for the sprint to Membury to make a lunch and loo stop. Here were reunited with one of the Triumph barges making a turn that would put an oil tanker to shame!
From then on we went with the flow to top up again in Bracknell for the last bit of the way home.
I arrived home in time to watch WSB race two from Donington and eat the pork pie that had escaped at Membury.
A superb day and a chance for us to give something back.
See some of the pix from the day on the Flickr group I set up last night.