Back to school


Back to school

Thames Valley Back to School Rally

Reading 23-25th July


as ever click on photograph top view slideshows, click back to escape


Friday                                              Saturday

Back to school?


If you think when you read through the listings in the various motorcycle magazines that there are a lot of events to attend you will be correct in your assumption.

However this is but the tip of the iceberg, (who mentioned ice? Ogri rally 2008 brrrr), as during the main rally season (yes I know there are some hardened crazy fools who like camping when sensible folks hibernate), there are a plethora of local rallies, events, and owners clubs rallies around the country.

I would think that if all events were to be placed in one volume per annum it would be such a weighty tome that even Norris McWhirter and his colleagues at the Guinness book of records will be wondering whether to include it in their next publication as the world’s biggest book.

So on a weekend in July, when there was already a huge listing in the BSH Listing. not to mention two local shows and several other owners club events in the area I went to one where lots of friends were.


The Virago Star Owners Club (VSOC) is one such organisation which hosts four rallies per annum in the UK and an international rally, and with the parties held by several centres etc it’s a fairly full diary.

The VSOC has been running for over 15 years now, and I have been a member for 10 of them, as I joined way back when I had a long suffering 650 even after selling my 1100 many moons ago I have still remained a member.

However it’s been a few years since I have fully attended one of their rallies so on a sunny Friday I headed off to the other side of Reading,

The Emmer Green Rugby Club has a bit of a reputation for bike events, now hosting the Shepherd Hill show at Easter, and the Berkshire Triumph Owners Club event amongst others, but I find like Brigadoon and Twyford that it’s almost impossible to find and possibly only appears on full moons.


Once found, on site were the usual mêlée of folks setting up, and the usual cries of “Blooming heck you don’t get any thinner” or “Meet you in the bar” the latter much preferable.

Luckily the centre organising this rally, Centre 12 also known as The Thames Valley Vultures, had erected a large marquees next to the bar, as there was no way the bar could cope with 300 plus folk. But as is the way of the world I stood outside chatting to folk I haven’t seen in years and completely missed the bands. Oh and I lost a few games of Nails, now’t new there.

Saturday morning and no hang over, result, no air in the airbed either… ooops


During the day there was a mass ride-out by many, via a torturous route to Milestones Museum at Basingstoke, which was far more interesting than  expected as it  had lots of steam engines etc and old street scenes, and a working 1930’s pub and sweet shop, dolly mixture anyone? The ride out was made all the nicer by riding behind Nick Lappage and his lovely wildstar.


One of the nice touches was an onsite photographer, where you could purchase riding shots taken during the event and on the ride out. Onsite were also Diggers Saddles

, and he was busy all weekend, the quality of his craftsmanship is excellent, and I think that come the end of the year I shall be sending my seat away for him to rejuvenate.

 It has become the norm now for Saturday night to be a fancy dress theme night with VSOC rallies and this one was no exception, with a “Back to school” theme

This was taken up with some enthusiasm with more St Trianan “Girls” than you can shake a stick at, or should we say canes. And there was some quite enthusiastic “corrections” taken place by head mistresses and headmasters, I ensured I was clear of these.

In the bar A Slade Tribute act did a great set while the St Trinian’s Girls set upon the clubs rugby players who were working the barbecue until they were left with aprons only this seemed to keep the girls happy for some time.

Such a good evening that folks were still chatting away as the sun rose on Sunday, who mentioned the Welsh singing.

   With decent weather, who cared when the airbed went down again and so packed up and headed down to the coast, for yet another event, not in the books. No wonder my poor diary struggles.