The Big Knock
30/31st May Sussex
The fourth British Diesel Motorcycle Rally
as seen in
and what glorious weather for it also, some of the most interesting engineering I have seen for many a year
and it has to be said some of the nicest people I have ever met on a rally field.
lots of pictures so separated into two galleries
Click on photograph to enter slideshow, click back on browser to exit.
I hear you knocking:
Way back in 1970 when I was a lad, all cute and cuddly and still in shorts
(steady on ladies, form an orderly queue) and way before I knew much about such
things about motorcycles and music there was a record called “I hear you
knocking” by Dave Edmunds and I loved the record, and indeed I still have fond
memories of it. It was certainly a lot better than “Knock Three times” a
single from the same year by Tony Orlando and Dawn so maybe my tastes were being
Looking through the blue pages, (BSH Rally guide) and reading of a “big
knock” rally down at one of my favorite public houses in Sussex, I thought
Opportunity Knocks and intrigued I
went to dust off my shorts, quickly deciding the world is not ready for my knees
and so put jeans back on, and headed south.
Now some of you may have already noticed that although I ride a modern
motorcycle I love the older and quirkier machines and certainly here I found
quirky galore. As the Big Knock is the annual rally for owners of Diesel
Motorcycles and indeed this is the 4th held in
The diesel engine itself was invented around about 1892 and it is debatable
who patented it first, but the Patent by Rudolf Diesel in 1893 is the one which
we all know now. Usually used in larger vehicles due to the physical size of the
engines, but even as early as 1904 folk were squeezing them into motorcycle
frames, and today even the American military have been using them..
There are currently several
commercial makers of Diesel bikes, many built around the Royal Enfield Chassis
but also into trials style frame, however it is the homebuilt specials having
seen a very stylish home built variant called the “Ruggerfield” out and
about at many local events my appetite is strangely wetted.
There is a phrase often quoted that
It seemed I was not the only one to be intrigued by the bikes as a steady
stream of visitors arrived. Apart from the wonderful variations on the bikes,
there were a few of the strangest tents I have ever seen, and a quality German
top box made out of a plastic beer keg, to cope with the English weather the
The engines for these bikes seem to be found in the strangest places,
stationary engines seem to be a favorite and seem to be acquired for pence not
pounds. And some are done so well you need a double take, for example the Harley
Sportster with the Pressure washer engine, or the BMW with a Smart car engine,
apparently this is the first modern diesel engine to be in a bike.
The owners are all happy to talk about their machines for hours on end, and
are true enthusiasts, but oh how I wish I had learnt German at school rather
than French, which I failed miserably at. And are genuinely some of the
friendliest folk I have met on a rally field.
As they amassed for their ride outs and potters around the
More information on diesel bikes can be found at www.dieselbike.net