Wakinyan rally 2012

After what seems like several years of soggy summers and a clear indication that riding, pitching, partying and packing-away in the rain is getting to a lot of us in the rally fraternity (by many rallies recording lower-than-usual numbers) I was genuinely surprised when pre-books for the 5th Wakinyan started to look pretty healthy. Augment that with an ever increasing indication of support and commitment by the number of incoming phone-calls and e-mails from prospective punters and I was starting to wonder if we'd cope.

Rallies take time in becoming established and getting themselves firmly posted on the map. Many mistakes, oversights, under-spends, over-spends, guess work, bartering, cajoling, threatening, pleading, hoping and praying have to occur before a routine can start to embed itself in the planning, application and execution which helps the recognition of one's rally and therefore establishes it as either one to do or one to avoid. I will never forget the time, late afternoon on the Friday of our 1st rally when two punters were packing up to ride away with stinging words ringing in my ears that it was the worse rally they have ever attended. The fact that they were not there long enough to warrant the phrase "attended" was lost on them as they buzzed out through the gates on their 125's. Postscript: the two ragamuffins missed Spike and Jimmi from the Quireboys rock their little socks off later that night.

Party animals rode in on all manner of mechanical beasts from Cornwall, Surrey, Hampshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and the Royal Borough of France

So, bugger them and what of this year? Well, if the Gods of Pluvia had dictated that we were going to be awash, our keeper of the little purse was not to be perturbed as the finances to break even were already in, banked and making 0.001% interest. However, we need not have feared as the weather held strong and they came from far and wide. Party animals rode in on all manner of mechanical beasts from Cornwall, Surrey, Hampshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and the Royal Borough of France. Suffice to say our Gallic amigo (notice my firm grasp of the European Language) won longest distance travelled (on a Ducati 888) and along with a pleasing-to-look-at trophy was handed a presentation boxed bottle of Dog, aka Newcastle Brown Ale. Can't wait to find out what he made of it as his comments after tasting Pedigree were none too comforting to the brewers from Burton-on-Trent.

A two band frontal attack strategy was planned for Friday with the first assault on the eardrums and dancing boots offered up by old favourites of our rally The People's Republic of Mercia. Their brand of rhythm & blues-rock bashed out with a poet on a Mississippi saxophone in the wings is a pleasure to tap yer toe to, nod yer 'ead to or just lay back and listen to. Have to offer praise and gratitude here to the band Smoking Guns who very graciously allowed PRoM to use their PA and for anyone who has not seen Smokin' Guns - what a drum riser!!

After looking at our stage and laughing, gulping and worrying, Smoking Gun went about setting their gear up in a manner which suggested professionalism and worry-not. Worry not we did and by the time they came on stage the crowd were buzzin' with anticipation and boy did this band deliver! From striking the first chord to the last beat on the hi-hat these lads had the crowd in the palm of their hands with a twist to classic rock songs delivered with the panache and guile only a band coming equipped with cod-pieces, wigs, inflatables and pyrotechnics could pull-off. If you haven't seen this troop, get out and see 'em but go armed with a sense of humour.

at around 2am the remaining pish-heads started singing their own versions of songs they wished to dance to

You would think that was enough but no, the Wakinyan punters wanted more and when Shitename, our in- house muso-guru called a halt to the vibes at around 2am the remaining pish-heads started singing their own versions of songs they wished to dance to and carried on! Mad feckers!

It was around this point I found a wee dark and secluded corner of the site, away from club, punters, family, friends and foe to ponder over the day that had just unfolded before my eyes and to consider, along with my friend Captain Morgan and his assistant Mr Big Fat Doobie whether the last few months of blood sweat and tears had been worth it. Anyone involved with doing this sort of thing will know the moment. Cherish it well if it's there for the taking.

Statutory requirements insist that Friday’s hula is followed by Ride Outs, infantile games, other such mid-afternoon activities before we throw the next band to the beasts. So with that in mind and chronological order imposed it went summat like this; Twenty five bikes and trikes rolled through the Warwickshire and Staffordshire countryside to the ancient capital of Mercia, Tamworth where luck would have it the town was celebrating their ancestry with a festival of old English and Saxon heritage and jolly good it was too. Back at the site we threw a crèche / kids blowout session with all manner of entertainment laid on for them. Buzzing away in the background the vibe from the Trad Rock Shack was hanging on the warm air and gradually drew punters towards the area where damage and mayhem was about to be inflicted upon our paying guests under the guise of that old rally favourite Silly Games. If the Health and Safety Executive were around last year at our rally suffice to say we would have a banning order heaped upon us. Testimony to that are the broken bones, sprained ankles, bruises and a letter from the mother of a British Legion Rider informing us he can not play this year...

Marks Mom

This year's silly games included a challenge from long time stalwarts and supporters of the Wakinyan rally, and good friends, the BIA. Whatever mess, gunge or garbage we introduce to this affair it is always met with perverse welcome and love by this mob. No one on the rally scene does messy games like the BIA. Just out of interest, the Cock of the Games award was presented by last year's winner, Mr Mark Keeling, RBLR and went to a member of the Smurfs. Funny little blue people but charming indeed.

Midlands Moonshine in colourful and very appealing bottles. Apologies now to anyone whose eyesight, muscle capability or balance was affected by the contents.

Another bunch of charmers were them Roadrunners. They come equipped with what can only be described as Midlands Moonshine in colourful and very appealing bottles. Apologies now to anyone whose eyesight, muscle capability or balance was affected by the contents. All profits from this went to the charity so rest assured your pain was well received by the needy. The charity this year was the Midland Freewheelers, part of the national blood bikes organisation, and they rolled in on their bikes to join us for the afternoon. It's good to see some physical indication of where all the money was going and very welcome they were.

As we did last year we tested the music knowledge of them that were interested in having their music knowledge tested. It's called a rock quiz. Pretty simple really but quite effective in making an intimate rally more intimate I feel. Winners were compelled to drink the prizes! What else would one do with bottles of vino?

Rocking the stage for the final night was Planet Rock UK. A loud and entertaining 4-piece that bangs out yer classics but like Smoking Guns, they do so in their own particular way that separates them from standard cover bands. No airs and graces with these lads as they too were happy to have kids bouncing alongside them on stage, equipped with inflatable guitars and adding the odd non-rock but classic tune to the repertoire. Oh what fun for the ladies and other lovers of ABBA or the Proclaimers.

Of course we had to dish out prizes for silly games, longest travelled, best club turnout, best bike in field etc. All received their prizes bar one. The bloke with the lovely looking Harley chop (see below) wasn't in the concert hall and has remained like the Scarlet Pimpernel ever since. Where are you oh elusive one?


After the band had taken their leave the crazies invaded the dance floor once more and the same old same old happened. Why won't these people go to bed!

I have got to say a big thank you to the members of Salutation MCC and friends who put time and effort into making this our most positive rally to date. I have to thank Birch Coppice Social club for their hosting and trust of us. I have to thank a great caterer in Billabong for his quality and prices and kangaroo steaks and also the stall holders who we have a great rapport with. All are welcome back next year, as are all the riders who came through the gate and to that end Salutation MCC would like to thank all that came and partied together at the 5th Wakinyan Rally and made it what is was. It's the togetherness that made it work. So thanks to you all. Them that ride as free bikers as much as them that ride with colours. Thanks to the free bikers and thanks to members of the Roadrunners, Smurfs, Robots, Villains, RBLR, BIA, Staffs 8, Chillouts, Juvenile Delinquents, Silverbacks, Ox Leathers, Finger of Fudge, Taff Riders, Jugsters, Unwanted, Road Slayers and every other club that supports the MCC fraternity.

Love and Respect from Salutation MCC
Andy Kat

If you want to see the pics from the rally, we'll get them onto the the dedicated website soon...

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