Given the Boot

11th September 2016

Nick & Jane Deal, Jonathan Gooch and myself set off on a cold, rainy Sunday morning from Warr’s 611KR to do the recce ride for Given the Boot. We travelled out of London and headed west towards the coffee stop at Benson, Oxfordshire. Even on this cold wet day the car park was so busy we had difficulties parking 3 bikes, it became obvious that parking for a C&F H.O.G. ride out, would be almost impossible. We asked the boat yard next door if we could possibly use their yard for 45 minutes but understandably, they weren't overly keen on the idea of having an unknown number of ruffty-tuffty bikers descending on their premises. Coffee drunk, we headed off on the second part of the ride and the weather worsened. Although I had knocked 10 miles and 20 minutes off the second half of the ride we arrived at the diner feeling very hungry and a little worn. Having a chat over hot dogs and coffee we revised the ride.

Fast forward two weeks, I'm awake early and the sun is shining. John Warr has opened the dealership early and provided refreshments and nibbles for the expected masses and I wasn't to be disappointed, over 80 bikes on the ride, brilliant. 9:30am roles around the gates are closed and the Ride brief begins, making special mention of waiting for the last man when you have been dropped off to mark a junction. My ride to Silverstone was saved by a member of the public out walking his dog who motioned to the riders which way the ride had gone when the person marking a corner gave up and left before the last man came along, I couldn't rely on that happening again.

We left town on the A4/M4 and headed to Junction 5, Road Captain Oliver Achkar, passed me before Junction 4 and let me know the whole ride got out of town in quite a tight bunch this meant we wouldn't have to stop to regroup. The next 45 miles are spent on a wide range of road types, everything but a dual carriageway in fact. It was a very technical route with lots of speed changes and some excellent curves, my favourite is Aston Hill, downhill blind left and right 90 degree bends ending with a tight S bend and an opening long right hander, great fun. It was not long after that hill when one of the riders in the group (No names) asked how long to the petrol stop?! Someone didn't have a full tank when they left 611KR. We arrived at the revised coffee stop and completely swamped the McDonalds car park, it worked very well and the coffee isn't to bad at all.

A small number of riders decided to call it a day so it was a smaller group of 70 odd bikes that set off on the second half of the ride. This was a faster type of ride on mostly 50mph or national limit roads. A lot of the ride was on roads within the North Wessex Downs an area of outstanding natural beauty and there were some fantastic view. We headed down towards Basingstoke before changing to a westerly course towards the village of Overton. From the crossroad in the centre of the village we joined the B3051 an amazing roller coaster of a road that led us due North to our final destination of Nelsons Diner in Kingsclere. Now where’s my Chilli Dog fries and vanilla shake..? Hmmmmmm.

Thank you to all the C&F H.O.G. Chapter members who turned up for the ride and made it a very special day for me. It takes quite a lot of planning and the only thing that makes all the effort worthwhile is you the rider/pillion having a great day out.

Special thanks to Nick Deal, Safety Officer, Oliver Achkar and Jonathan Gooch, Road Captains and Andrew Eborn, Roving Marshal, for all your help in planning and executing the ride.

Next up, is Essex ENSA (Sunday 16th October) led by Fred Woolcott.

Steve Graham - C&F Photographer & Road Captain