While I am a regular attender at the races and have been since the Dublin and District Club were running the event, I have never been to or taken part in the classic parade. I decided to put this gap in my CV to rights this year. My steed of choice for the run was a 1976 Honda CB200 – an overhead camshaft twin from, in my view, Honda’s golden era when their motorcycles, compared to the opposition, were like high-end Swiss watches – superbly engineered and oozing quality.
The sign-on spot for the classic parade is in the car park of the Skerries Mills complex at the southern end of the town. The Mills are themselves worth a visit, lovingly restored by Fingal Co. Council and the local community, and containing two windmills. The day of the parade had been overcast but the sun broke through just as the bikes were gathering in the car park – making for a perfect evening for the run. The car park was a cornucopia of classic machinery, the majority of which was ridden to the parade by their owners with the balance arriving by trailer. From the British manufacturers there were BSAs, Triumphs, Nortons, AJS and a Vincent present. Italy was represented by such aristocrats as Gilera, Ducati and Moto Guzzi singles from the late sixties onwards. German examples included NSU and BMW and makes perhaps closer to our hearts like the MZ. An enjoyable evening became even more so by the impromptu meeting with Pavel, Ivan and Peter. Pavel’s magnificent Jawa 350 Californian model was attracting a great deal of attention and some confusion about the age of the bike. As the bike does not sport the oilmeister pump, the front disc brake is perhaps the only giveaway that we are looking at a “modern” bike.
The talking done we mounted our bikes for the classic parade through the streets of Skerries, following part of the original race circuit, which passed in earlier days through the village with the start/finish area located on the main street. The parade consists of two gently paced circuits through the town and environs. There is a tremendous festive atmosphere, with what seems like the entire population of the area lining the route, waving and taking photographs. The scene reminded me of old wartime footage of allied troops driving through recently liberated towns and villages to the delight of the local population. Having completed our circuits I peeled off for home under the railway bridge following Pavel on his 350 with Ivan thundering along behind me on the Norton. The old CB lives life these days in the lower rev range so I soon had to let Pavel and Ivan disappear into the distance. The evening was highly enjoyable and I came away with the first medal I ever received in my life, an acknowledgement of my participation in the parade courtesy of the Loughshinny Club –Hussah!
Regards. Ian Bridge
When I purchased the Snail (JAWA 250 Travel) in 2010 it was my intention to recapture some of the craic of years gone by. I had the bike I rode as a kid, got involved with the club I hung out with as a kid. Next up was to put a bike on a ferry and go to the UK National Rally. My first overseas run was to a JAWA national rally. I was not active in the club when Gerry Power was around but regular travelling companions were Pat Brennan, Brian Moore, Gerry Quigley and his brother Brian, Pat Fanning, Paddy Blake, Leo and Nuala in 1981, the year of the snow, a true gent Coleman (RIP). The 80’s and 90’s were a strong time for Jawa. The Irish visitors were but a drop in the ocean that was the Jawa Club UK and Eire, we were prominent enough to become a noticeable (noisy) part. The UK run became a yearly event and a high point in the biking year.
Alas responsibilities were not willing to let go of me and so I missed the 2010 rally, then 2011 slid past hidden behind an Everest of must be done. 2012 I decided it was time to be selfish. So as the reasons why I should not go mounted, I studied various routes. On Wednesday night I booked the ferry, 96 euro return. On Thursday I gave the bike a once over and packed her up. On Friday morning at 7.30 I pulled up at T2 Dublin Port on a fully loaded Snail. On checking in I was sent up to the head of the line and straight onto the ferry. A long standing two wheel advantage on ferries. I would not have minded strolling around the port smelling the salt, savouring the achievement of finally getting here. But as I was first on I headed to the galley ordered a breakfast and settled in a nice seat for the crossing.
On arrival in Holyhead I went down to free the bike. She looked neatly packed considering I had a tent, sleeping bag and mat, solid fuel stove pots, spare clobber and wash gear. The load was mounted as low as it could be and nothing was loose. Everything was wrapped as the forecast was wet. I had 3 google routes, and Sally the (Navman) a car sat nav. At 11.30 the rain was already falling as I left the boat. As I headed for Bangor I realised that the motorways in England are slower then Ireland. The inside lane travels at 90 to 95k. The middle lane 110k plus. Also the lane discipline is fantastic. So the Snail would be able for the motorway. However with the rain mist and spray off the trucks visibility was an Issue so I turned off onto the A55. This was a good move and put some pleasure into the trip. The next problem was the sat Nav. I had it placed in the tank bag. The heavy rain and mist caused the top to fog over so I could not see the route. I turned the volume up which worked but at higher speeds I could not hear the instructions. The route worked out well and I was making steady progress. As I approached Northern Birmingham the road turned to motorway and I stopped for lunch. My gear was holding up pretty well but it was great to dry out, then back to the road. With the increase in speed I was unable to hear Sally the sat nav. Being motorway every time I missed a junction I had to drive to the next, cross the motorway and backtrack. On large sections of the M6 motorway the traffic was heavy to stopped. I kept filtering my way till i found the M1, when the rain stopped. The road cleared and I gave the bike her head. I sat with the trucks in the slow lane doing 95k, every now and then I slipped into the middle land and wound her up to 110k to overtake a truck. The warm air dried out my gear and I was covering real distance. I kept watch on the clouds, fought the numb bum and hoped I would get the tent up in the dry. Junction 12 gave me the chance to leave the motorway again, the bike hit reserve on the last few miles into Pulloxhill.
I reached the site around 7.30, spotted Mally, Sandy, Chuck, and Harry. Mally got me a board for the stand and I knew I had arrived. I got the tent up dry and was quickly surrounded by familiar faces. Well I was at a UK JAWA rally 20 years ago. Ian Bridge, big Dave, Pete Edwards, Jack, Matthew. It was a very warm welcome and for many it was their first time to see the JAWA 250 Travel. The greetings continued over a few pints in the pub. In the Pub I met Nick from Mates from Prague, Czech Republic, and his girlfriend who drove two outfits over from Czech. The night ended young by Irish standards but it had been a long day. It rained overnight yet the Saturday started dry. After Breakfast I wandered the camp and found John Osborne. John was on his 650 Custom outfit. He had supplied us with 3 great reports on the bike which looked even better in the flesh. I then checked in with Pete and received my badge. Pete would not let me pay a rally fee. As well as talk about the old times I was asked to say hi to Pat Brennan Gerry, Brian and the old gang. Also to Martin & Miša, Pavel and Ivan who had met up in Holland. It had started raining again, I went for petrol and supplies. By the time I returned the bikes had gone for the spin to a museum. I followed and met up with them there. There was a varied collection of bikes cars, models. After a coffee Mally lead the way back to the camp. Which was a lot more direct then the one I had followed. While the club held its AGM I cooked dinner. Terence, Gary and I had a good chat. Terence supplies many of the videos I use on the newsletter, he also helped Pavel on his trip back from Holland. The field was getting muddy with the rain as we headed to the prize giving, auction and raffle. I was generously given two awards, Best bike under 10 and longest travelled. Well it did take me 20 years to get there. Now that I had the goodies I let the hair down, Chuck and I had a sing song. At one stage we nearly got a céile going, the Siege of Ennis. Ahh Just like old times.
Sunday and the sun came out. I packed and had breakfast at a leisurely pace. I received great advice on a route back from Mally and John. A goodbye stroll around the site in dry sunshine. Farewells over I drove to the A5 and followed it all the way to Holyhead. It is a lovely route with lots of turns straights villages and little traffic. Not too much motorway, Many bikers out on runs. Mally had even advised me where to stop to eat.
A trip dreams are made of. Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome. I hope to do it again. Never know there might even be enough of us to form a posse next year, and finish that ceile.
PS (The world did not end, nobody died, no houses burnt down, the country did not sink, I was right to go away).
There is so much on this August that it will be impossible to make all the events.
Big Jim is holding the MZ and friends weekend, back in Balacolla. This is always a good event with good company and a chance of a sing song. It is hostel or camping with self catering.
John has the Enfield weekend up in the clouds of Powers the Pot. A friendly venue, camping only, usually a good ride out on the Saturday and a group meal Saturday night.
On the same weekend the Red Star Rally in Market Harborough. Our own Sandy is one of the chief bottle washers. This event is only held every few years so so it should be a good one.
But don't just take my word for it. This video gives a second opinion.
Eagle is a firm favourite with Bedfordians and surrounding counties! So as they say "when in Rome"
In addition to this, Wells Eagle uses 100% farm assured barley and has received the coveted 'Red Tractor' mark of accreditation.
All of this makes it well worth a ferry ride. So I will not apologise for suggesting a beer you may find difficult to get in Ireland.
A group of us went from Scotland to the 'Coupes Moto Legende' in Dijon, France in May. This is a HUGE motorcycle event held over two days at the Dijon-Prenois racetrack, and there were thousands of classic bikes there. I've attached copies of the Jawa related bikes I saw there:
'Jawa1', race bike B111, was listed as 'Jawa 350 VA 1969, ridden by Peter Ketelsen.
'Jawa2', listed as 'Jawa 350 DOHC 1965, ridden by Jan Bednar.
An interesting modification to a JAWA 500.
The direct injection system D.I.C.C. (Direct Injection Combustion Control) engineered to introduce into the cylinder thru an injector the fuel needed only at the end of scavenging. With this method the injection is done only with air and not with mixture. The idea is to obtain regular condition with lean mixture (excess of oxygen) realizing stratified charge status inside the combustion chamber, in all working conditions. Leave out from the combustion most quantity of lubricant. This system achieves all those aims with a simple and economically advantageous layout from the industrialization point of view, with standard “off the shelf” components.