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The Flat Tank Section weekend, Tewkesbury - 2012
(Click the photo to see a larger picture - then just click your back button to come back to this article.)

Terry and Dilys, plus Jean and I had entered this event yet again. Terry was to ride his recently re-restored Precision engined Beardmore Precision and I'd entered the 1925 Indian. The weekend programme included the Road Trial on the Saturday followed by a social run on Sunday.

Terry made it to the camp site at the Haw Bridge Inn, Tirley by mid afternoon on Friday, 6th July. Jean and I were a bit later getting away from home and had to pass through some foul weather conditions - at least the Indian was tucked up nice and dry in the covered trailer. Our first problem arose when the GPS started to tell us that there were traffic delays ahead, the M50 was closed from junction 1 to 2. Not a problem I thought, as we were intending to leave the motorway at Junction 2 anyway. What I hadn't allowed for was that all the other traffic was also having to do that . We sat in the 2 mile queue for well over an hour and by the time we got off the motorway our time schedule was out of the window, so we headed straight for the Lower Lode pub and hotel where we had a B&B room booked for two nights. The pub is right on the banks of the Severn and things didn't look too bad with the fast flowing yet swollen river. We booked in and collected our key before setting off to find Terry and Dilys. I was able to park our trailer alongside Terry's Motor home and we were all soon in the bar and ordering a meal. The evening in the skittle alley took the form of a quiz - which we didn't win.

Saturday morning dawned and on looking out of our bedroom window the slipway, that had been uncovered down to the river for a good 20 yards when we had arrived the day before, was filling up nicely. During breakfast the water crept up the slipway another 2 foot or so. We did wonder if we would be able to get back that evening and the landlady advised us not to bring the car down to the pub but to park it up along the lane on higher ground.

We arrived at the Haw Bridge Inn, signed on and extracted the bike from the trailer. Not so many entries this year, a mere 29, no doubt due to the weather and the fact that the event was on the same weekend as Mallory Park 1000 bikes. The weather didn't look too good so it was a case of wet weather gear and after signing on we were soon away. The route took us out towards the Malvern hills and it wasn't long before we were at the first checkpoint. We had to tell the checkpoint how far we'd travelled and what our average speed was. This system was in place of specifying an average speed at the beginning, a better idea I reckoned, as you didn't have to try and make up time by riding like an idiot if you went off course or had any problems with the bike. I estimated that the morning route was about 48 miles, we'll see how good a guess that is when the results come out.  Back on route and we arrived back at the Haw Bridge Inn for lunch. 90 minutes later and we set off for the afternoon leg - another checkpoint, and after approx 30 odd miles were back at the finish. A quick check of the river level and I must say that it looked as though it may well overflow and drown the campsite - however, think positive, we had only had to endure one shower so felt quite lucky, although the bike was pretty dirty.

The evening consisted of us heading for the usual chinese restaurant in Tewkesbury, taking Wilf Banks along with us. Wilf is from Northumbria, or some such place up North. We've known him for some time as he also rides the Anglo-dutch events on his Veteran Rover, but this weekend he was on a Model H Triumph.


Sunday morning and the car was still on dry ground, although Paul Button, who was camping next to our pub at Lower Lode felt it necessary to pack up his tent and head home as the river level still didn't look as if it was receding and in fact seemed to be rising still.


At the Haw Bridge the sun was out and things looked a lot better so I took a couple of photos before we set off. The route was lovely, nice dry roads and no lanes and after a fairly short time we were at the morning coffee stop. I managed to get a few photos here - one of Wilf and his 125 Honda which had been pressed into service as the Model H gearchange was beginning to play up and it was a case of either first and second and no top, or second and top but no first.

Bob Ashwin's Jarnett is an interesting special - a 500cc 1930ish vee twin James engine squeezed into a vintage Francis Barnett frame. It was built as a special back in the early 50's for grass track racing and it equited itself very well, so I'm told.
From the coffee stop we set off for the rest of the morning route that took us into some 'orrible country lanes. Not my sort of riding, they were wet, dirty with mud, gravel and all sorts of other things. We were up and down hills and encounted three cars - all on bends in a single track road. I was beginning to wonder if the cars were laying in wait for us. Just gave me that sort of feeling as each one only appeared as we were rounding a corner. Not pleasant at all. Anyway, eventually we reached the lunch stop and as we sat outside in the sunshine with a drink, a Spitfire passed overhead emitting that wonderful sound that only a Merlin Engine could make.

The run back to the finish went via Tony Wright's house for afternoon tea and a look around his bikes etc.

The run back to the finish at the Haw Bridge was very pleasant on nice dry roads. The trailer was loaded and we were soon all packed away before retiring to the pub for all the farewells etc. Then it was a case of head for home leaving Terry and Dilys who were staying another night. The drive back was a bit of a nightmare when we were on the A449 near Usk, as the heavens opened and I found myself driving through some horrendous conditions. I was about 50 yards behind a Jaguar and that became hidden within the deluge, so it was a case of slowing down and hoping that the artic that was behind wouldn't catch us up too quickly as visibility was practically nil. Luckily the rain didn't last too long and was over almost as quickly as it came.

Another event over with the next job being to power wash the bike, get the tank repainted (that's all another story) and get it ready for the Scottish events.

BP