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The Isle of Wight Scurry - August 2009
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Terry H and Dilys with their Ariel, along with Jean myself and our Indian were booked to ride in this event. It was based at the Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park and whilst Terry took his Motorhome, Jean and I had booked a chalet. Entries had to be in quite early and we sent ours in back in April. This was mainly due to the need for the IOW section to be able to negotiate free ferry crossings for us all and to organise everything else, of course. We booked our chalet and received our free ferry confirmation, so it was then just a case of waiting for the day. Saturday the 19th arrived and we set off for Lymington and the Wightlink crossing to Yarmouth. Jean and I were soon settled into our accommodation for the next four nights, all a bit sparse, but comfortable. Terry and Dilys had managed to get on an earlier boat and had been on site since mid morning.

There was a limit of 50 entries from the mainland, topped up with more riders from the Island. Saturday evening saw a get together in a room arranged just for us. A buffet was provided and I must say we had a pleasant evening. Sunday morning dawned nice and bright and after Jean and I had had a breakfast in the camp restaurant everyone gathered for a drivers briefing before setting off at minute intervals to ride the 80 mile Scurry course. This wasn't a road trial at all, just a pleasant ride around the island - as Reg Glading said "It's not so much a run more just fun". There was a lunch stop organised in Cowes where we all had an excellent ploughmans lunch. On the return to the Holiday park we stopped at a local pub and booked a table for an evening meal. Must say that the steak that I had that evening was one of the best that I've ever eaten.

Monday was the day when we travelled from one end of the island to the other. We were to see the 'Needles Old Battery' and the Rocket test site and have guided tours of both. They are places that are owned by the National Trust and well worth a visit if you are on the Island at any time. Riders assembled and set off in groups being led by one of the local members. I decided that I'd make my own way there as the Indian with it's foot clutch and only one brake - that also worked by a foot - was not an easy thing to manage in the middle of a bunch of other machines all wobbling about in front as we negotiated Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor. I legged it back to the chalet to get my map of the island and by the time I was back at the bike everyone else had gone. I plotted our route so as to miss the towns and Jean and I had a very pleasant ride out through Godshill and on to Chale the other side of Ventnor. As we joined the coast road we found ourselves right in the middle of one of the bunches of riders that had left long before us. Must say that the ride along the 'Military Road', as it's called, on the south west side of the island, was most pleasant, especially as the Indian motor was bedding in nicely and taking us up all the hills in top gear.


Soon we were at Alum Bay car park and waiting for the rest to assemble so that we could be escorted up to the Old Battery and Rocket site. Normally there was a shuttle bus service but we had permission to ride our bikes up to the headland, provided we went in one convoy. I started off, on the flat, at the bottom of the car park and headed uphill whilst trying to dodge the other bikes. One prat, riding a BSA and sidecar decided to go left as I was coming up on that side - and he nearly had us off as he did a sweep of the car park completely oblivious to our existence and the fact that I couldn't stop. Still, after me shouting a few expletives at him, that he didn't hear, we made it all the way to the top of the headland. We had a long walk downhill to the Battery, which wasn't a problem - it was the walk back uphill that was knackering - hence me not looking too good in the picture that Terry took - I shall still talk to him though.

The guided tour of the Old Battery was very interesting. It was built in 1862 and last manned during the last war as a lookout post. The rocket test site I found even more interesting as I never knew of its existence before. It operated from 1956 to 1965, testing and developing the Black Knight rockets that were then shipped to Australia and launched at Woomera. The site closed and then re-opened in 1969 to develope the Black Arrow rocket - one of which is seen in the photo on the right. All work was stopped in the seventies after the satellite 'Prospero' was launced on the 28th Oct 1971. Just in case you're curious you can read all about Black Arrow and Black Knight here

After the visits we headed for the Pottery at Chessil and a well earned late lunch. Both Terry and I decided that we'd head back to the other end of the island and Bembridge, where the holiday park was, by following the coast. That meant negotiating Ventnor, Shanklin and Sandown. Ventnor was interesting and as we were coming out of the other side there was a hill that went up and to the right before turning left uphill around a building. What I didn't know was that the left uphill was a 360 degree corner. As we were heading uphill I had to keep the power on and it was a bit disconcerting to see the stone wall that we were heading to as we rounded the blind corner. Not being able to throttle off it was a case of scrapping the footboards to miss the wall - all very exciting. Shanklin and Sandown were a doddle after that, I can tell you. We rounded the evening off by eating on the camp and the food turned out to be quite palatable.

Tuesday dawned all nice and dry yet again, although there was a bit of cloud about. We were to visit the Ventnor Botanical Gardens and then the Isle of Wight Glassworks for a guided tour. The gardens enjoy a nice warm micro climate and various rare plants are grown. After a short walk about we had a coffee and then headed back to the bikes for our short ride to the glassworks. We were warned that the road to the glassworks was full of potholes - my comment to Reg Glading was that it wasn't too bad as most of the roads on the island were worse. If you've ever been to the IOW then you'll know what I mean. The council don't seem to re-surface roads, all they do is apply patches. Anyway, the Glassworks visit was very interesting, I must say. We headed back up the pot-holed road and on to Niton and the Buddle Inn for lunch. It was a good feed and nice to sit out in the garden to eat it. After lunch we set off to walk to St Catherines lighthouse as a request to ride the bikes there had been turned down by Trinity House - a prime example of a jobsworth saying 'no' as it was the easiest option. Both Terry and I climbed the lighthouse and listened to a very good talk by one of the 'Friends of St Catherines'. Then it was back to the bikes and ride back to the camp. This time I was ready for the 360 degree corner in Ventnor and again managed to avoid running into that wall.

Tuesday evening and there was a cold buffet laid on that did leave a bit to be desired, but we had a good time with over 100 present as everyone sang 'happy birthday' to our Terry. I won't say how old he is but he looks younger than he is. Funny thing but it wasn't until we were on our way home the following day that Dilys said that we had all got it wrong and that his birthday wasn't on Tuesday, it was the following day. Oops!!

Certainly the IOW lads put on a good event and I'm sure that Terry and us will have our names down for next year.

BP