I’ve been looking forward to this rally ever since I learnt that we would be going to the beach, there was the opportunity to go to during the first Welsh Rally back in 2005 but my club and I overslept missing the coach and being left stranded on camp site with few others around. It was fun though, and we made the best of it was we could. Anyway this rally I expected to be a cut above the last few, not only is there a highly capable team in place but the minimum fees went up per person by £5 so the grip on the purse strings should loosen a little and a better quality rally should emerge.
The only negative aspect I expected of this rally was the journey there/back, a whopping 4 hour journey and a toll. Not wanting to pay to enter Wales (wouldn’t mind if they weren’t so pretentious about Wales being its own country, heck Scotland is its own but at least they don’t shove it down your throat) I took a slight detour to Gloucester and then down the A48.
I received a warm welcome on arrival, was shuffled through the booking queue and set off to relocate my car which although took me 2 hours was worth the opportunity banter with the marshals in charge and greet the great Stu on his late arrival. Note for the Bristol Rally in 2009: keep a regular supply of hot chocolate and biscuits flowing to the marshals!
A lovely robust breakfast, warm and quickly served, A good start! A quick tidy-up then off to the beach for the opening ceremony, which ended in a grouping game, all those in shoes in one group all those in sandals in another, silly fun but a good get to know you ice breaker. I was amazing at somebodies geekiness when favourite colours were called and someone said “e-zero-zero” obviously referring to the hex value of this colour.
Beach games were inventive, haven’t got any photos for you though, I opted for proper shoes in my satchel instead, I even took out my towel to make space for other things loosing my status as a hoopy frood for the day. Hopefully some kind souls will send me a wave or two with some in.
I choose for my afternoon activity the right hand pub crawl, it actually turned into an ambidextrous pub crawl we were so damn good at getting the drinks in. However it was quite short, I remember when the pub crawl took around 6 hours and all sorts of shenanigans took place. This SSAGO generation seems too reserved, perhaps its good for the Orgs reputation, perhaps its pompous to want to be considered as sensible individuals by our peers at HQ.
The ceilidh was a laugh, didn’t folk dance much, did a little of the disco jives at the end, I think my absolute last rally will be the Scottish one, if only so I can go crazy during the barn dancing, that and it’ll be a proper ceilidh being Scotland and all.
To keep myself occupied I took some shots of the dance from ground level and squirmed my way onto the balcony for some top shots. I wasn’t overly impressed with my photography but hopefully I’ll fix was I didn’t do right on trusty photoshop. On my way down I bumped into Sarah, one of the Sheffield ball organisers who has a superior camera, she trusted me enough to use it for some shots which captured the moving dancers in focus and brightly.
I packed up sharply on the last day, not wanting to be getting home über late, I aimed for a 10am depart which turned into a 12:30pm with lunch getaway! Drive home was a little easier taking the M4 and A34.
So endith my penultimate rally. A truly fantastic start to the end!