Conamara Vintage Rally
Yarisbob knows lots of things. Like how to organise a great event, choose a great venue and everything you need to know about 531 Peugeots. But Yarisbob did not attend that geography class where they taught cartography and meteorology. However we’ll forgive him that simply for the audacity of organising a 2 day vintage spin in Conamara just a month after babybob was born (or indeed proposing the event when his wife was just a little bit pregnant). Thank you Mrs. Bob!
The weather last weekend was so bad you wouldn’t put a bucket out, but that didn’t stop a dozen of us emerge from our quarters to parade our vintage steel. Meeting in Oughterard, where Yarisbob had secured safe parking, we nonchalantly revealed our beauties from car boots and roof racks, each certain in the knowledge that theirs was the potential Concourse d’Elegance winner.
What a line up, bikes from the 30’s to the 90’s. Bikes restored, bikes just as they were. Bikes belonging to their original owners, bikes restored by their new owners. Two of Kelly’s bikes, a KAS branded Vitus and TT bike and matching gloves. Talk of good deals scored, e-bay trawls for missing bits. Old tops, new tops, ancient helmets and 80’s sunvisors. Everybody stowing raingear.
Just like Pedro Delgado setting off late in the 1989 Tour de France prologue we eventually made for the main road. And then had to wait for someone – let’s call him Pedro Pinarello – to buy water and sign autographs. Really! Then off we headed into the headwind, repairing our first mechanical within 4 miles and taking some time for shots on The Quiet Man bridge. Not a quiet man between us as you can imagine.
On to Maam Cross and left for Casla where an ancient Brooks saddle was making deep incisions on its owners butt – not to worry says our afflicted friend, I’ll just swap bikes from my personal team car. A bit of pushing and shoving and off we went again making our way for the very distant Cill Chiaráin which, if you ever ask Yarisbob, is just around the next corner, or within 500 meters, or both wherever in the world you are.
‘An bhfuil níos mó cupán le fail?’ Deep in the Gaeltacht the group drank the coffee machine right out of cups. Representing a serious spike on the light breads sales graph the group munched their way through what turned out to be the unsuspecting crews only food stop. What fortification we took now was going to be needed. Completely unaware of the oncoming tribulations the group admired bikes and took personal notes for the evening’s best in show competition ‘an bike is fearr’.
As rain goes what washed down upon us was very very wet rain. The group found it difficult to stay together as rain jackets were unshipped and the wind prevented speedy robing. One sleeve at a time sweet Jesus. Roundstone and the potential of hot food was on everybody’s minds. Then again with half a gallon of water in each and every shoe we knew as much as we’d like to see Roundstone and hot food, Roundstone was not going to want to see us. Donal pulled out the map, upside down and backwards, and decreed that the best shortcut to Clifden to avoid Roundstone was to go to Roundstone. Counter intuitive that. It transpires he was right with a beautiful bog road offering the perfect and well surfaced shortcut. And with that 12 drowned rats entered Clifden.
I can’t speak to events of the following day as I had to retire home to Cork – with a 6.30am (old-time) start back to Oughterard. However, I can confirm the result of the concourse d’elegance ballot and voting process. There was a strong list of candidates (although the Tax Man’s Raleigh Road-ace was scandalously omitted). Using the type of proportional representation favoured by DeValera – the one where only Fianna Fáil win – myself and honourary Bianchiman tallied, counted, spoiled, recounted, looked at each other knowingly and declared the obvious winner Benotto’s Benotto. It was his joy to take home Sarge10’s handywork, with Sarge’s cautionary words ringing in his ears “do not disassemble the trophy for parts”.
Sincere thanks to Yarisbob, our three drivers Andreas, Mairín and Mairéad and the lovely hotel where we stayed. No doubt others can fill in Sunday’s activities and provide more photos than my limited collection. Brendan