Run bi-annually - check point at J.S. Accessories  Oakmere Northwich


Bernie Horrigan  -  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 






I confess the Relay Rally has always been a favourite VMCC event of mine as it is a chance to celebrate our club and what it stands for to me by using our machines and sharing the company and camaraderie of likeminded folk from other Sections.

A few years ago we had a memorable one when Bernie and I purposely only managed 3 checkpoints but did visit Wales, England and Scotland in the same day although we were met with disbelief at one particular checkpoint.

This year my ambitions were somewhat more modest after a ‘fail to start’ last time and involved making sure I actually had a ride come rain or shine to celebrate our 70th and Titchs original vision. With hindsight I shouldn’t have used that first phrase as the weather gods seem to always revert to their default position.

The first target was our own Cheshire Cats checkpoint two minutes up the road from home where Bernie sat smugly dry in his ex Girl Guide tent or something similar and I had the pleasure to be the first to sign on, the plan being to visit one other checkpoint.  

Showing a total disregard for the mild drizzle, Bernies feelings as I asked how many checkpoints he and his desk were aiming for, and the feelings of an unknown chap as I declined to accompany him on his MZ 150cc two-stroke, I pointed the mighty BSA A65 at the Welsh Mountains and Llangollen.

Over many years of messing about with old motorcycles and our local sections events in particular I have become aware of a couple of funny things that always seem to happen. One is that the day never exactly develops as I planned and secondly that you really do by and large meet some of the most fascinating and interesting people but only if you bother to participate.

Within five minutes of leaving the rain is torrential limiting vision and speed, the next stretch of A road slick with mud meaning it would be madness to go across country as planned and this guy in front really knows how to ride his MZ to the maximum with the little lightweight ploughing on regardless of the conditions and a speed that safely matched my by now heavy and too powerful steed.

Arriving at the Llangollen Motor Museum checkpoint of our sister section the sun briefly emerged along with the majority of their committee blinking in the light from their cosy bolt hole around the museum fire. Bearing cheery welcomes, cups of tea and the proclamation from their Secretary Graham that the rain was now finished I properly made the acquaintance of my new, very able riding companion who was busy re-introducing himself to the other guys.

It turns out Richard has been a member for 46 years since the age of 16 when his old scout master passed on the old bike bug and has in recent years been off classic racing and sprinting. Richard too had a plan which involved hitting another 3 checkpoints which made me think that 2 was really not that impressive an achievement and throwing caution to the wind following his truism that we couldn’t get any wetter I agreed to accompany him to South Shropshire.

Within 5 minutes of leaving the rain gods having checked their records decided Graham wasn’t properly authorised to make proclamations and actually increased their efforts with every mile south as a consequence. The A roads were again tackled in unison with just a couple of rear wheel slips coming out of round-a-bouts thanks to our environmentally friendly, unknowingly emission belching, diesel spilling brethren.

About 15 minutes after taking a B road to Clun via the Shropshire hills I did begin to wonder if mum might have had a point about going off with strangers as the road got narrower, the hills steeper, cloud cover lower and visibility almost nonexistent due to fine mist and mud spray. If I broke down I didn’t even know where I was to get rescued, the only description I could apply is my wife’s later comment based from once teaching around here that it’s ‘proper goblin country’.

Eventually we arrived through the gloom at a ruined medieval castle complete with multi coloured but decidedly soggy jousting tents (Yes, really. You had to see it to believe it), a water sodden field and the local population looking pretty miserable as they squelched back home as two time travellers ding-ding-dinged and rumbled through their midst. And we thought we had it bad.

Fortunately the Shropshire section had a cunning plan – their checkpoint was in a delightful, clean and warm home run cafe that was three quarters full of fellow members – sheer genius. Over tea, bacon butties and cake my new friend Richard admitted that his comment back in Llangollen obviously hadn’t applied to his feet and so we made our way home together up the A49.

Three VMCC checkpoints, two Countries, three Counties, around 190 miles, two old motorcycles 86 years old between them, a club that celebrates 70 years, 1 new friend made, a personal sense of achievement and enjoyable memories to laugh about for the rest of my life. All in all a grand day out made possible by our great Club, the active sections that are at its heart through the generous donation of time and effort from their members.

There are literally 100’s of VMCC events each year that you can join in with and make your own memories and share with others good times so get yourself down to your local section sooner rather than later, after all it’s not a rehearsal you know.

As I rode home I couldn’t help thinking ‘there you go Titch, does that match your vision for the club?’ Reply there was none but I think that Titch Allen certainly knew what he was doing didn’t he?