Traveller's tales

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Darley Moor and Alstonefield - great weekends for bikers

Weekends - bank holidays - Easter, that kind of thing, would see us polishin' our bits ' chrome rims and ally chaincases, Gold Star push rod tunnel up like new, and we'd be off - well nearly.

Tim's Flash would throw the primary chain off and we'd be up to our eyes in muck an' oil - my headlamp popped out and shattered before we got to Mottram Cutting - last time we were through here the coppers couldn't catch us - me on Steve's Bonneville - like a shot off a shovel - ninety up Mottram Road - caught us at the lights - 45 quid fine and yer licence endorsed.

Through Buxton, then on that glorious A515 down to Ashbourne - turn off for Dovedale on that bad corner - nearly fell of there, I did.

Round the back at the George - nice site - a few lasses - Pete showing off on his Enfield - hitting a rabbit hole and going head first down it - couldn't drink our tea fer laughin', we couldn't. Few pints, but not too many, in the George till chuckin' out time - freezin' in the tent.

And the tales; "It were when I had that Norton Commando, I were comin' up Manchester Street, yuh know, that fast bit, an' it were t'first day of them speed gun things. This copper says to me, 'Do you know what speed you was doing, son? ' I looked at the 40 sign an' I says, '39?'
'87,' he said, an' I said, 'Yer sure that thing's workin' are yer?
An' he said, 'Hoppit, before I book you. Tomorrer, I will.' " All that sort of thing till we ran out of ciggies."

Then up at first light - we'd been awake for hours - well, I had - "me feet are freezin'" said Phil. "Shoulda taken yer boots off, pal." Tim's up then.

And down the frog to Ashbourne -stop somewhere fer a brew an 'a piece o' toast, and then on down to Darley Moor Motor Cycle Races - the smell of Castrol R in yer nostrils and the roar of a Manx Norton or a 7R warming up for the Senior Practice.

All the lads, John Cooper - everybody who's anybody out to beat him - Percy Tait on a works Beezer or was it a Triumph, Bob Heath, I saw Roly Capper get killed here last year - came off on that bend just before the hairpin - heard his neck and his head against something hard - shame it was - he was a good lad, he was.

Then it's for real - you can hear 'em starting around the other side, and they'd be that quick coming up into the chicane. "I could do that," some lad said, an' we all nodded an' said, Yeah, course you could!"

Road back was slower with all the lads roaring past - all the big lads, Dommies, Tritons Tribsas, all them, Bonnevilles, Venoms, the odd Goldie, A65 - "I don't like 'em much" - "Gerraway, thur great."

And back to the George - quieter now, bit tired and hungry - "I'm havin a lasagne, me."
"Oh, yeah, are you made of brass?" Still, he had his lasagne and looked better for it. I think he slept that night. Me? I just stared at the lights on the roof of me tent and tried not to think of Roly. Sorry anybody what knows him. He were a lovely bloke an ' a good rider, he were. Dangerous are motorbikes - what yer Mum and Dad say, anyroad.

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