By John Murray
Well, another Ragged fringe rally done and dusted. To all those who attended, thank you for coming and making it the great time it was. For those who couldn’t make it, the weather was fantastic and you missed a really good rally. Hope you can make it next time.
I set off with a number of others from the Pie In The Sky on the Friday morning for the run up through Wollombi, Cessnock, Branxton, East Gresford, Dungog etc to Gloucester. Phil Field, who we all owe a big thanks to, brought his own ute with a trailer and the rally gear on board to Gloucester where we added sundry items (grog, food, toilet paper… the necessities of life) for the trip out to the site.
I really enjoyed the ride up, just one of those days where the motor pulls well, the temperatures great and the weather is sunny. No problems at that stage except for a close shave with Mr Plod outside Wollombi. We went past him at about 90 in the 80 zone but he decided to send a message through to us (Tell your mates to slow down!!) via Lincoln who just happened to be at the back of the group at the time and trying to catch up. Lincoln must have been a smooth talker because he only got a warning for 101 in an 80. A better man than me Gunga Din.
On we progressed until Andre, on passing another bike heard a BANG and his leg started twitching. Closer inspection revealed his RH spark plug had stripped the thread and tried to do a runner, only the plug lead was stopping it and it was flapping about and dissipating it’s you beaut, high energy electronic ignition into his leg. Oh, what a feeling!! A bit of foil from a cigarette packet lasted about 500 Mtr. Removing the washer and squeezing an extra turn of thread lasted till Dungog. The good old Coke can strip wrapped around the thread lasted to the rally.
Friday night was interesting for Andre and myself. You see… we invested in a good bottle of Rum in Gloucester which we consumed a high proportion of by the end of the night. This was good for me as I had forgotten my mattress (don’t ask). The ground is a whole lot softer after ½ bottle of finest Jamaica and a few beers I find. Steve and Joy made an excellent Thai curry for a group of us. Thank you again Joy for the Friday night food. Steve also had a brand new fire top espresso machine to try out which made getting up on Saturday much more civilised.
The weather on Saturday was bright and sunny with most of the riders coming in around 2 – 3 pm as per usual. A few kids on a bloody loud quad bike with no silencer running up and down the road were given the message in Teutonic fashion that they may find the bike in the river unless they cease and desist. Things were a bit quieter after that.
The rally itself was great. This year we had a few games such as the slow race, crankshaft toss, shock absorber toss (won by Sandy) and the loudest Guzzi (won by a Harley with straight through pipes unfortunately). Great participation and thanks for being good sports to all who competed.
Interestingly Andre, (of the stripped spark plug fame) decided to have a go at the loudest Guzzi as well. There were a few very nervous movements away from the right hand side of his bike I noticed. The possibility of being shot between the eyes by a spark plug tends to increase your awareness of where you’re standing I find.
I won’t try to recall all of the prize winners but the new trophies went down really well, (again, thank you Phil) especially the Hard Luck trophy which had actually been broken by accident but the recipient (who suffered four flat tyres getting to the rally) went for the broken one rather than the good one. I don’t know how you’re going to replicate that trophy Phil but it was good. Brett Rosenthal was inducted into the “Order of the Ragged Fringe” for his long service as trophy maker (since the beginning of the rally I believe). This doesn’t entitle him to anything really but he at least can wear the badge with pride.
The Pizza man did a sterling job supplying the food and was quite happy with the results. I think he sold a total of around 130 Pizza’s all up. About 125 rally badges sold and we made a modest surplus of around $345 but that doesn’t take into account the substantial increase of merchandise stock this year so we actually had quite a good result. The rally plus membership fees keeps us going so thank you for both. The new web site is getting very near to being online and when it does, the merchandise will be sold through it and we can start to get some interesting things happening on line.
Saturday night was good for catching up with people from all over. There were people I spoke to from Queensland, Tamworth, Victoria, South Australia plus a few new attendees who will hopefully come again. Brett and Sandy got an earful of Douf Douf music for both nights and I think there may have been a couple of kids unaware of how close they came to life threatening injuries at the hands of the winner of the shock absorber toss.
Thank you for all who helped on the Sunday to pull all the gear down. It really makes the job a whole lot easier when everyone participates. In the process we presented Dave Pratt with his very own “powder blue” rally T-shirt which we know he really likes. He told us…honest.
I went with Andre back through Singleton and down the Putty. Of course, 5 minutes down the road from the rally the Mk 3’s plug really did a runner. Fortunately Andre had another and this time used a screw driver jammed in the fins against the plug and held in place by zip ties. Bush mechanics at its most innovative and no more jumping out of the plug. The run down the Putty was completed pretty rapidly as we had to meet Phil with the trailer who was coming down the highway. My old “Scarlet Tart” LM850 let me know I need to attend to some things at the servo by dropping a fair bit of gearbox oil from the bell housing so I think it may be time for a motor/gearbox freshen up. No noises or nastiness…just letting me know. After all, she’s done 110,000 hard and fast miles after the last rebuild so she’s done well over 350,000 on the one motor and gearbox. Not a bad effort. After unloading at the lock up I headed home to a really long hot shower and a (soft) bed.
I hope everyone got back home safe and sound and we look forward to seeing you on club rides and at the next rally