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2004 National Rally

The main event in this year’s calendar for me was our 50 years celebration rally. The plan had been to go to France a few weeks earlier but I did not get organized in time so I decided to take two weeks leave with the rally during the middle weekend.

I had really looked forward to this event for months and the little boy inside me was getting over excited as the time got closer. This was so much the case that although I intended to leave home on the Wednesday morning, getting packed up took me until Wednesday night. 

I would be covering a fair amount of miles as the intention was to make this my main holiday and stay a week or more. In the back of my mind was the thought of taking my 650 BMW instead of the Jawa 638 which could do with a re-bore. The decision was made for me as the steering head bearings were worn on the BMW which was why it had been difficult to travel in a straight line at low speed. I thought it was the unevenly worn front tyre.

I set off Thursday morning just after 7:00 a.m. The weather was dry and pleasantly warm. It was a good ride using quiet roads. I try to avoid busy roads and places.

Several times bridges passed over motorways with lanes full in both directions. There was hardly a vehicle on the roads on my route. It felt as though I was in another country on the last few miles to the rally site.

 The road was straight, flat and dusty and the sun was shining. Time taken for the journey was a few minutes over five hours.

JAWA-CZ Owners Club National Rally - 75 YEARS OF JAWA

JAWA-CZ Owners Club National Rally

75 YEARS OF JAWA

[+] click to enlarge

The first surprise was The Anglia Motel, our rally site. I expected to find rather a posh place. I nearly went past what was really a transport café with a large flat field. The perfect place for our rally, though ear plugs were worn at night to silence the A17 which was busy with traffic day and night, much of it lorries.

Quite a number of people were already at the site, many from other countries and with many black South African worker lodging at the motel it felt even more like a foreign country.

I put up my home for the week, stopping to chat and be introduced to people whilst doing this. I had bought a fair amount of kit with me! Although I often ate at my tent, the café had good food at good prices. By the end of the afternoon lots of people had turned up.

On the Friday morning Andy Scambler and I went for a short ride, stopping at a few cycle shops and an up-market army surplus store. We found a café then headed back to camp. Later in the day Dave Haddock led a run out. It was only a few miles down the road but no one knew where we were going. Dave went straight on at a roundabout and everyone else turned left. We stopped and Bob Bizley suggested we found a pub but it was not really pub time!  In the end we did get to our planned destination. Here we went into a greenhouse type building that housed butterflies and reptiles from warmer climates. The reptiles were behind glass so that they did not eat visiting motorcyclists, but the butterflies were all around us. There were also owls and other birds of prey. We watched a demonstration where staff bribed the bird with food to make them perform. There were also other animals in enclosures.

So far the weather had been fairly warm, though every now and then a very strong wind would blow up and sand would blow across the camp site causing a small sandstorm.

There was a bar in the motel café but a small number of us walked the very short distance down the road where there were two good pubs.

I slept well though woke up early by habit on the Saturday morning. After breakfast at my tent I crossed the road where there was another transport café and bought a few items in the market type shop there.  At about 10:30 am we set off on a run out. Pete Edwards took a group on a short run. I think this was to a railway station museum. I opted for the longer run which Dave Haddock took. I was at the back of a very long line of bikes.

After a pleasant, gentle ride we turned off the main road near Downham Market. We rode along this very rough track, the end of which was downhill with pebbles. Just like riding on a beach, the front wheel went all over the place. We reached a museum with a few themes, one being Nelson, another Christmas although it was June. It was a wonderful place with lots of dark corridors from one bit to the next. It was a museum of anything! The owner and staff welcomed us and we had a most enjoyable visit.

It was raining when we left the museum. We did not all leave together, some headed straight back to the rally site. Continuing the run took us to a place which sold many different types of beer. My small group travelled past and joined up with Alan Thompson who was fitting a new clutch cable with wife and Martin Merrington. Back at the campsite I met up with Dave Widdowson and a few of us walked to Holbeach about two flat miles away.

By the time we returned the games were well in progress. These were followed by an auction, raffle and free buffet and awards. After this we had mass group photos taken. Then for me it was off to the pub.

2004 Rally group photo - The Anglia Motel, Fleet Hargate.

"Everybody say cheeeeeeeeeeese!!"

Sunday morning about 10:30 Pete did another short run and Dave Haddock took us to a kite festival at Peterborough. The run was good though less people went than on Saturday’s trip. This festival was held at a modern style park with huge holes where clay used to be dug, flooded to form lakes. If you were not interested in kites you could go for a walk. There was a café in the park for refreshments. It was a good day out and an excuse for Dave to incorporate the kite club of which he is a member with our Jawa/CZ event.

On returning to the rally, I borrowed the shower in Bob Bizley’s room before having something to eat.  Unfortunately I was not ready in time for the run to the Speedway at Kings Lynn. I have always wanted to watch speedway there but you can’t fit everything in. I would love to see ice speedway live.

Many people left the rally on Sunday. During the evening a large number of those left sat by the control tent and talked until late. Some of us walked to the pub.

Monday morning came and everyone packed up except me. During the afternoon I went for a ride around the lanes on the Wash side on the A17. On returning the only bike left on the site was a Russian outfit which had become sick and soon this was recovered.

Tuesday I went out on the Jawa. Going to Kings Lynn and following the A149 to Hunstanton and round to Cromer. I stopped a few times, there was hardly any traffic and the beaches were empty. I dropped down towards Norwich then headed back on small roads. It was a lovely day to be out on the bike.

Wednesday was a walking day. Starting at Guy’s Head I only intended to walk about 12 miles but walked around the Wash coast to West Lynn. I thought I would walk in a circle and then return to the coast path. Every time I tried to do this a drainage dyke got in the way! Many times I was going back on myself. At times I walked through grass up to my chest. At one point a deer ran away but otherwise the countryside was flat with little of interest to see. I managed to walk over a pipe to cross a dyke only to be cut off by another dyke. I did not find King John’s washing!!

It was a very hot day. I took food with me but I could have done with more than the one litre of water I carried. A map would have been a good idea. When I got home I measured with a piece of cotton on a decent map where I had walked and realized I had walked about 23 miles.

Thursday was spent at Sandringham, the Queen’s home, she was out. I think Norfolk is the best place in Britain. Edward VII must have thought so as he had the present house built in 1870. The estate covers 22,000 acres, a large area being wooded.

The gardens surrounding the house were kept by 40 gardeners at the time of the Second World War. Today there are only 8. Even the Royal Family has had to cut back. From the photos in the house there are still several hundred people working on the estate. Those I spoke to were happy to be there. I worked on a private estate myself for about six years, this was only 480 acres.

It was good to visit the Queen’s dining room, drawing room and ballroom. Any history is interesting to me and I love large gardens, so it was a good day out. The church has a silver altar and pulpit given by Edward VII. What a gift!

On Friday after packing up I said goodbye to the motel owner and set off home. It took exactly the same time to get home as it did to get to the rally. At one point I stopped in a queue at a railway crossing. Two trains went by, the barrier opened, three cars went through then the barrier closed again. I went to the front of the queue and sat for ages while five trains went through!

The rally was a great success. Most people turned up riding a Jawa or CZ plus a few on trailers. Well done Dave for finding the most suitable site possible. I believe about 200 people turned up but there was plenty of space. Thanks to all the members who have worked hard to celebrate the club’s 50th year.

Martin Broomfield (Bristol)

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