Saturday, 7 June 2014

Elephant Rally 2

Well I may as well finish the story about the Elephant Rally 2. On the second occasion we went to the Elephant Rally in Germany Alex my brother, Alex and I went on our Triumph 750 motorcycle combination. It had been a bit of a bugger to put together. The tow in etc was all very complicated and we had to change the gearing on the Triumph. Anyway we set off. All went well until we got into the Military Restricted Area Near Eupen. At that time it was still West Germany and there was still a cold war. As we were going along I started to hear a pinging noise. I couldn't make it out but it became more pronouced and I stopped. The spokes on the rear wheel were becoming detached and were hitting the frame as we went along. The wheel was completely done for. We weren't in a get you home service or any such thing. It was late and we decided there wasn't much we could do so we pitched our tents. We didn't have any food or drink as we had intended to buy it all at the Rally. We were cold, hungry, wet and miserable. 

In the middle of the night we were awoken by Military Police shining torches on us.  The tent Alex and I were in had collapsed and I tried to find a pole to put it back up so we could get out. I inadvertently poked Alex in the eye with it which caused much bad language and confusion. I unid the zip and got out to find four large policemen pointing guns at us and saying, "It is forbidden to stop here." Unfortunately that was the extent of their English and our German was none existent. At that point my brother came out of his tent wrapped in a heat blanket looking like a Christmas Turkey. This did cause the dour policemen to smile for a second.

By showing them the broken wheel and my warrant card we managed to avoid being taken away and they left us indicating we should leave as soon as possible. How we didn't know.

The following morning my brother got a lift into the nearest town with the broken wheel. We were left with no food or drink and in the afternoon we succumbed to drinking rainwater in a reasonably clean puddle. My brother was away all day but finally came back with the wheel having been respoked. He had the gall to tell us after leaving the wheel for respoking he had spent the day in a bar eating and drinking! Unfortunately the wheel should have been offset to allow for the sprocket and it wasn't. We fitted it anyway and my brother rode it very gingerly back to the Channel while Alex and I hitched a lift. The wheel did last a while but gave up at Dover. 

We left the combo there and caught a bus. The combo was recovered later on a trailer. I never was keen on motorcycle combinations but that finished it for me.

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