Mick has written about our trip through Tullow, Carlow, Kilkenny and Clonmel to Clogheen, so I won’t say much about it here. That was one wet journey. If I could only have matched Mick’s speed I’d have called it The Boat Race. And yes, I did fancy stopping off at Cousin Miriam’s in Kilkenny city, though I suspected (rightly) that she was away at that time. How she’d have loved to see two soaking motorcyclists dripping rain water all over her polished floor ...
Anyway, we made it to Clogheen. Ger had a HQ caravan, Margaret and the ladies gave us tea and sandwiches and we quickly got stowed away in a caravan of our own. Shortly after, Brian Moore showed up on his 1977 BMW R60. He’d resurrected his 1980s orange fisherman’s waders as waterproof trousers, which brought back a few memories of British rallies long ago.
Soon we had Pavel and Jana (JAWA importers) with their kids, plus Miša & Martin on a Honda Africa Twin, and Zuzana from Slovakia on a Yamaha Fazer. Jim and Catherine Walsh came too, though only for the evening thanks to work commitments. The rain continued. We had good food from Ardfinnan thanks to Jim. It was too miserable to walk to the pub, so we sat in the caravan and had a few ciders and a long chat till the small hours.
On Saturday it continued raining. Darren Walsh came up on his Suzuki Bandit 600 – very tidy. Then there was a group of folks we came to know as the Cork Czechs, plus Irishman Miki from Dublin. As often happens at these bashes I didn’t get their names apart from Marek Chalupa, of whom more later. A gentleman arrived with two 50cc Hondas from the Seventies, and he also had a more modern Honda step-thru. John Kitney rode a long way from Galway on his JAWA 650 Style.
The run began when the rain eased off for a while and people figured it would continue holding off (usually a triumph of hope over experience). Still, it held off till Ardfinnan on the way back, so they weren’t far wrong. The route taken was from Clogheen over the Vee to Mellary, Newcastle, Clonmel with a stop at the Barn pub on the Clonmel to Cahir road, on to Ardfinnan after lunch and then back to Clogheen. There were around 20 bikes taking part in the run.
Pavel and Jana had brought along the RDS Show JAWA 660, and lots of us tried it. Not me, though. I was offered more than once, but I’d had a bunch of spaghetti and sauce plus a bottle of plonk for a cheap dinner, so no ride for me. However ... I sat on the machine the next day. Sat yes, tested no. Why? Short legs flapping in the breeze, that’s why. Couldn’t reach the ground. Major disappointment. Still, all the reactions I heard from the normal-sized people who’d tried it were very positive.
Two couples visited us from the Gold Wing club and stayed for a while. Very tidy machines, if hardly middleweight. I doubt I could get my feet on the ground on one of those either (sigh!)
At the awards ceremony Ger made one of his rousing speeches. The awards were:
Then Mick presented some clever Photoshop portraits to various deserving people. The recipients’ faces had been superimposed on cartoon character bodies. These went to Ger (Batman), Margaret (Wonder Woman), Jim and Catherine (The Flintstones), Pavel & Jana (Pirates), Miša (Pippi Longstocking), and one to me as Spiderman. The awards all went down very well.
Ger had T-shirts and polo shirts for sale, very high quality. (He still has some polo shirts. They’re illustrated on the site. Go on, contact him and buy one!)
Later on, many of the gang went off to Brendan’s Bar in the village. This included Gerry Quigley, who’d turned up in his van after a hectic day. As ever, Mick, Gerry and Brian provided the music there, Brian and Margaret providing the background vocals.
Next day was Sunday, and goodbyes all round. Mick led a group of us – Pavel on the 350 Chopper, Jana and the little ones in the van, plus Martin & Miša, Zuzana, and myself – to Castlecomer for a lunch, then on to Athy and Naas. Mick and I left the group at Naas, then rode on to Blessington where Mick turned off for home. I returned to Bray via Valleymount, over the Wicklow Gap. And it was a lovely day for a bike ride, bone dry all the way and the sun shining.
Well done, Ger & Margaret, not to mention the other young ladies of the Duhig party. Mick too, for his hard work and navigation skill. Here’s to the next one!
Friday the 6th March saw the Snail loaded up with guitar, sleeping bag, some rally prizes, the basics for the Jawa Cz Club Ireland Rally. Sitting in the Emo petrol station in Hollywood waiting on Pat, I checked tire pressure and enjoyed a coffee. The last time I met Pat here the sun was shinning and we were driving to Lisdoonvarna for Big Jims MZ do. Today the sky was not as promising. Dark clouds seemed determined not to make liars out of the weather man. At Pats arrival on the Scorpion (MZ660) we decided to head and get as much of the road past the wheels as we could before the weather broke. The road from Baltinglass to Carlow was fine but Carlow town greeted us with the first showers of rain.
We were already suited up and the rain looked like it was settling in for life, so we gunned our way down the old N9. It was not long before we were questioning the quality of our water proofs and sanity. The downpour was steady as the road disappeared under the onslaught of rain. With only our tires as buoyancy aids we held a steady 80 to 90k or 44 knots. I will not exaggerate and say the bikes performed like Olympic butterfly swimmers, but the front crawl was very impressive. Old map makers when unsure what lay ahead drew sea monsters. But the Snail and the Scorpion met nothing on the road. Conditions too foul for the monsters from the deep.
As we drew closer to Kilkenny I could tell from Pats headlight in the mirror that he was considering stopping and visiting one of his many relatives in the county. A dry kitchen and warm welcome would have made sense. But the Scorpion remaining true kept pace behind the Snail, through the roundabouts of Kilkennys ring road onto the N76. There was less water on the road as we approached Callan. I relaxed enough to consider that no other vehicle had overtaken us all day, when on the Callen by pass a VW Golf sped past. It woke me up, I swear that Bin Laden was driving it. The blond wig, did not fool me, nor did the mobile phone and red lipstick. Whats more the chap cleaning the AK47 beside her looked very like Elvis.
Climbing the hill to 9 Mile House, I looked up at the Slieve Bloom Mountains and my heart froze. Sitting on top of that Great Mountain was Dia an bháisteach, the Irish God of Rain. He was in a very dark mood, who knows how many souls he had drenched already. He was right in our path. So I offer a small prayer up to him and mentioned that my wifes family were already granting him hospitality (their Home House is on the mountain side.) It seemed to be enough homige for as we passed Mullennaglogh starting our decent into Clonmel I could see we had been granted safe passage.
As one problem passes another appears. Looking at the Scorpion’s headlight i could read that she was in trouble. The bike needed Coffee, as did the Snail, reactions were getting slower. So we manouvered our way into the one way system of the fortified town of Clonmel. We parked up by the bank. Pat was a little worried about parking on the pavement. But I reminded him that we owned the bank now. It was no different then parking outside your house.
Both of us plus our gear took up 6 seats in the othewise empty restaurant. The chance to get some warm food coffee, discussion on the trip were all very welcome. So it was a well nourished crew re mounted their machines and enjoyed the last few k to Parsons Green and the warm welcome of the Ger and Co. I will leave the photos and others to tell you of the rally.
As for the trip home if I was to tell you the Snail lead a convoy of 6 bikes and a VW support van back through Kilkenny, Athy, Kilcullen, Naas, to Dublin on dry roads in sunshine you would not believe me. So I will save it for another day.
Thank you to all we shared the road with me.
Two lucky JAWA Pilots can be seen here enjoying their new mounts. Garry Mc Ginley has the lovely Pearl outfit many will have seen in the RDS. Keneth Emmerson is now strutting his stuff on the stylish Black solo. Both of these machines are a credit to the talented hand of Pavel in JAWA IRELAND. He does not just supply a bike, you also get a Style.
Welcome to the world of JAWA.
We are hoping that all these Jawa's taking to the road will increase support for the Club. If you are a Jawa Pilot or fan we look forward meeting you, and we hope the site and e-mag will make your experience even more rewarding.
Overnight, there has been more snow, but now the sky has cleared and there is a breathcatching frost. It is half-past six, the sky is as black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat, with stars you could almost touch, and I must ride thirty five cold miles to work. There won’t be many other people on the road. Thank God I have the sidecar on the bike, because it stands up on its own. I’m an old hand at this game, and can balance wheelspin and steering to go broadside under perfect control if I have to. It helps going downhill in loose snow …
Suited and booted, gloved and helmeted, I shuffle and slip my way to the garage. The thermometer on the outside wall insists that it is ten below. The bike, however, is warmed up: when the weather is like this, I leave an old hair dryer plugged into a timer underneath it, set to come on at six o’clock. I switch off the hair dryer, unplug it, and mount up. The bike starts with no fuss, and I listen for any hint of a misfire. We set out up the road.
Fifteen minutes later, my hands are already numb, and I stop in Naseby High Street to warm them on the hot engine. Coming towards me up the road, treading gingerly, is Piggy West, the local pig farmer, a Wessex man marooned for thirty years in Northamptonshire. He is wearing his customary old army greatcoat, indescribable hat and trousers, and a pair of boots that could have seen service at Mons – or Agincourt for that matter. He is a big, gentle man, the best you could meet – but you don’t stand too close to him. Village legend has it that he once went to a Christmas fancy-dress party at the Royal Oak, wearing his usual clothes, not realising that it was a fancy-dress occasion. He won first prize – a 15 pound frozen turkey -- which he was told to take home at once, as it was thawing…
‘Marnin’!’ ‘Morning, Piggy!’ ‘Where bist goin’ on that thing, then?’ ‘Coventry, Piggy. It’s where I work’ ‘Thee bist bloody mad, ‘snow,* in this weather!’ ‘Well, you’re out early yourself, Piggy!’ ‘Ah, well, one o’ my sows has just farrowed, an’ I wants to go an’ put my coat over the little ones till I gets a pig lamp in town this mornin’.
It’s well after seven now, and I must press on, up the old Leicester Road, past Bosworth Airfield where I go gliding, on to the main road to Coventry. Here, there is more traffic, and the soft snow has packed to a hard crust. It is easier than the three or four inches of soft powder on the back roads, so I press on, clearly more confident than the occasional motorists I meet, with their worried little white faces peering over their steering wheels. But, oh God, it is cold – a penetrating cold that strikes through my gloves and boots, and I have to stop again to warm my hands on the engine before I tackle the A5.
The A5 is a desert of white; the snow has blown against the Armco barrier and lies in deep drifts against the footings of the bridges. The occasional truck rumbles towards me, the sound of its passing curiously hushed. One driver flashes me with his headlights – a comrade in this wilderness. I flash him back and wave, and feel good. Soon, the turn south, that takes me down through Wolvey Heath and Wolvey to Bedworth, where I am working. As I get further south, it seems there has been more snow than there was at home, and the wind has piled great drifts in the lee of the hedges and across the road. I’m really feeling the cold now, and am just planning to stop yet again to warm my hands and stamp my feet, when I round a bend, and there before me is a scene of devastation. Nothing is moving: the road is deeply drifted, with trucks abandoned during the night well-nigh blocking the way forward.
But, here is the second bit of good news about using a sidecar outfit in this weather. In deep snow, you can get off, put the thing in bottom gear, let the clutch in, and run alongside pushing it. Pushing it past the trucks, pushing it past the cars, pushing it through the snowdrifts, and suddenly I am completely past, with an almost clear road ahead. Almost as suddenly, the sun rises behind me into a pure blue sky, and the way is clear down to Bedworth. The day is won.
*‘Thee bist know’ - Still the strong West Saxon speech, fifteen hundred years after the Saxons came – and thirty years after Piggy came to Naseby…
Some members have voiced a protest. They are finding our suggested samples hard to find. This month that should not be a problem.
My preference for drinking this stout is at room temperature. Pours a very dark amber-black with a three finger head that holds up over four minutes and has a fair amount of cream. Nice thickness, smooth and no bitterness. Chocolate and toffee hints. A bit of caramel. Mostly roasted barley. Pleasantly smooth with a decently built body and a wonderfully roasted finish.
You are right I have not a clue what I am on about but it sounds better then Wonderful Stuff
At the price 1.99 Euro, it's quality at a decent price. Being sold in Aldi makes it pretty much available nationwide. For stout lovers like me, it's worth trying.
The source is not mentioned on the bottle but some research suggests the Carlow Brewing Company.
One of the jobs that everyone feared. The risk of dropping a roller into newly assembled crank cases caused many a shiver.