Skip to content

2012 Irish Rally, Part 2

September 3, 2012

We traveled to Ireland from sunny California with fears of rain in our heads.  Yes, we are wimps, and don’t ride in the rain here.  But it really isn’t a big deal, as just doesn’t rain much here during our rides.  Like the song says, “it never rains in California”  But a quick trip to see Crystal at Scuderia set us up with water-tight clothes that apparently are magic.  When we wore them, in never rained.  If we took them off during a lunch stop, then it would rain 30minutes later.  So we got into the habit of just wearing them all the time, and saw only very mild rain and misting during our trip.  (except for the last hour on Friday night, when a deluge hit us 20 miles from the hotel.  But that’s another story).    And it was warm, not the frigid north Atlantic breezes that we had expected.  With a  T shirt under a leather coat we were fine for the week.

1908 Triumph at Eccles

Katrin at the hotel lunch stop in Glengarriffe. 



1911 Triumph

Dave Jolly rode this 1911 Triumph, and earned much respect.  It is a single speed, clutchless belt drive bike.  And he went up and over all the mountain passes, through the tight switchbacks without stopping and killing the motor.



 1924 Norton Big 4

Dave’s flat tank Norton Big 4.  He rode it over from England, including a ferry boat ride of course.  Dave is a loyal member of the K.O.B.I.   –oops.  that’s not Dave’s bike, that is a model 16H from Sheffield.  thanks for the clarification Till.


1925 Guzzi sport

This 25 Guzzi Sport came over from Sicily, Italy.  The rusty finish drew attention at every stop, as did the big gauges and the throaty exhaust note.  These motors are EOI, exhaust over inlet.  A little different from the more typical IOE configuration.


1939 Moto Guzzi Condor

But the loudest exhaust was easily coming from this 1939 Moto Guzzi Condor.  I loved hearing him pass, with another red Guzzi following in tight formation. 


 K & D

Katrin and Dieter, filling up the oil tank in the little JAP Calthorpe.  This had to be done each morning and each afternoon.  We were glad that the rally organizers had arranged for a truck of free oil to supply everybody from the hotel parking lot each morning.  Yay!



adjust the belt

I was going to caption this “some old greyhair adjusting his belt”  Then I realized the photo was me!



another sea view

Another great view.




Chris’ 1928 Ariel 500.  One of the Black Ariels.




Another of the 1930s BSAs with the bolt-up frames.  There were several of them at the rally, but I think this was the shiniest example.


Dingle bay

Dingle Bay.

girls at healy pass

At the top of Healy Pass.

Irish Mountains view

Another valley, with waterfalls way off in the distance.  I don’t know where this was, but it might have been on Wednesday?   Sunny and warm, but when we crept up and over the top of the pass, the next valley was filled with wet fog and a light drizzle.



James and Simon Robinson

James and Simon at the top of Priest’s Leap.   Reaching the top was quite an achievement.  The road didn’t used to be on the maps, it just winds through some mountains and passes a few sheep and shepherds along the way.  But it is paved, and just wide enough for a car, with numerous false summits and steep sections.  The 1915 Triumph Model H had a clean climb, using 2nd gear most of the time.   But the 1914 BSA had to go down to first gear on some portions of the climb, and overheated for a few minutes before reaching the summit.


Kim at Priest's Leap

Kim at Priest’s Leap.



John Quirke 1913 Precision

John Quirke and his 1912 Sun Precision. 

  Triumph CSD

Two views of Cathy’s 1929 Triumph CSD.  She was another of the lady riders who have attended the rally for years.   She also rode over from England.sidevalve triumph

 Katrin at Ladies View

Katrin at Ladies’ View.  We stopped there a couple of times, as they seem to have the very best Irish Coffee in this corner of Ireland.  Not too much coffee, not too much whiskey, and made with real cream.  Some shops make it with instant coffee….  Sad smile




Downtown Kenmare.  Many of the towns had buildings painted in varying bright colors. 



Levis and Indian

John’s Levis and and Till’s 1937 Indian Chief from Germany. 

NSU 1951

I like the color on this little NSU





Rudge chrome

Another view of that chromed Rudge Ulster.

 sea view


Triumph model H at speed

An accidental photo of the Triumph Model H at speed.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. David Gilliland permalink
    September 4, 2012 12:28 am

    I am glad you had a great time….and thanks for showing and telling me about it.
    Lovely pics….enjoy. David

  2. Bruce Williams permalink
    September 4, 2012 2:03 am

    Looks like great fun, I am a fan of NSU’s, and have a 36 500cc OSL, not sure of that purple color. By the way, the 09 Neckarsulm is up on the wheels for the first time in over 50 years. I took it to Davenport to show others the progress. great making clutch parts – thanks. I need a v-belt connecting clamp and a pair of tire pump clips, any sources? Bruce

    • September 4, 2012 8:13 am

      Hi Bruce. V belt clips and tire pump clips show up on eBay UK pretty often. If you are using a new V belt, try to get one that is the exact correct length. The modern belts don’t work well if you cut them and use a connecting clip. If you can’t find one that fits, try the ones at McMaster Carr with holes every inch. They are inexpensive and work well. They also sell connecting clips, something like a buck each in a pack of ten.

  3. September 4, 2012 9:56 am

    Glad to see you enjoyed the trip, folks. If it’s ok, I have put a link to your piece on the site.
    Many thanks for the excellent review and the stunning photographs.

    • September 4, 2012 10:08 am

      I’m glad you like the photos. It really was a great time, thank you for your efforts in hosting the rally.

  4. Arne Hulstein permalink
    September 4, 2012 12:37 pm

    Ok, I am not an old bike buff (yet), so, I would love to know what the bike is on the right in the picture named “Kim at Priest’s Leap”. Is it the same as the one in the picture before last?

    • September 4, 2012 1:12 pm

      Hi Arne. That is a Calthorpe JAP from about 1912ish. The rear mudguard lost some of its nuts and bolts, so it was removed and Katrin rode it the rest of the week without it. Her raingear had a nice black stripe running up her back due to the flinging water… 🙂

  5. Jim Abbott permalink
    September 4, 2012 12:58 pm

    How nice to see Katrin and her “one speed wonder” again. To see her at a stop light and then watch her chuf, chuf, chuf, pop, chuf, pop, pop, pop and casually step on the right foot peg a swing over is like watching a ballet dancer. She’s really good at it!!
    Jim A., Tucson, AZ

    • September 4, 2012 1:13 pm

      It was a slightly different bike this time. Still a small displacement JAP, but this one had two speeds. Still a run-and-bump start though.

  6. September 4, 2012 5:17 pm

    Fabulous photos. Some of the best ever. Thanks very much, Paul/1915 Excelsior

    • September 4, 2012 5:36 pm

      thanks Paul! I really liked the photos from this article the best of all of them in the last year or so.

  7. Alan Comfort permalink
    September 4, 2012 7:14 pm

    Great photos. Another rally to put on the list. I particularly like the Guzzi from Sicily.
    Alan in Vancouver

  8. Till permalink
    September 5, 2012 11:27 am

    Pete, I really, really enjoyed reading parts 1 & 2! “Dave’s big 4” in part 2 is actually a 16H and it belongs to Vincent H from Sheffield, a very good family friend of mine. His father build a flat tank 16H for me as well, which I rode twice in Ireland before. Best, Till. P.S. Can’t wait for part 3!

    • September 5, 2012 12:16 pm

      oops,I confused the flat tank Nortons. thanks for the tip. Great to meet you last week, I’ll say hello to Red Fred for you.

  9. Peter Allen permalink
    October 1, 2012 4:58 am

    The question is will we see you next year. great photos ,very well written.
    Peter Allen

    • October 1, 2012 7:46 am

      Hello Peter! Yes, we have already decided to come back to Ireland next year. We took about 2 minutes after got home to make that decision. Now we only need to find the time, money, bikes, etc. 🙂

  10. Domenico permalink
    October 27, 2012 4:48 am

    Hello Pete I was looking for information on the internet on the Triumph 550 h ’cause I just bought one, so’ I found “occhiolungo” and I was really happy for the beautiful pictures and the words you wrote I also think that it is among the best rallies of vintage motorcycles also because ‘I was there with Guzzi from Sicilia.Saluti all hoping to see you again in 2013

    • October 27, 2012 10:22 am

      Ciao Domenico! It was great to see you riding that Guzzi in Ireland. What a great time. We’ll see you there again next year, let’s have a drink on the opening night and catch up. Arrivederci, Pete

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: