2014 Irish National Rally, part 1
The 48th Annual Irish National Rally was held August 25th-30th 2014 in Killarney Ireland. K and I arrived several days early this year to enjoy the area around Kenmare with friends, and found several others who had the same idea. Good friends loaned us a 1939 Norton ES2 for two up riding with a comfy pillion seat and rear suspension, natch. This also allowed K to snap some pics of the wonderful roads, sheep and other scenes that we came across:
A couple of days into the vacation I realized that while it wasn’t stressful, I was doing some intense riding: On the wrong side of the road, on a borrowed bike, in a foreign country with street signs that made little sense, in the rain, with my wife riding pillion, on tiny one lane roads with either slippery grass down the middle or being a road of dirt and rocks, and occasional oncoming traffic that needed some road space. And trying to keep up with very skilled riders who knew the terrain from 15+ years of tours. Throw in the beautiful views and scenery and a few suicidal sheep and it made for a challenging time. Challenging, but rewarding beyond measure. And oh so fun. I’ve done rallies with police escorts through towns, or with 500+ bikes riding in tight formation. But the old saying is “If you’re not the lead dog, then the scenery never changes”. A bit of chaos keeps me on my toes and brings the fun level up too. I’d like to think that the challenges, and especially riding in the rain, made me a better rider at the end of the 10 days.
It should go without saying that I also had the time of my life!
Arriving at the rally HQ on our 5th day I saw this striking combination of Big and Little bikes.
The howling Scott at the coffee stop in Inchigeela. I wish that I had photos of the wonderful dirt road that led us to town, filled with potholes, weeds and animal dung. Almost all riders agreed that it was a memorable highlight of the week. Even K enjoyed it, and she’s terrible at riding off road. I kept up with big Dave Miller KOBI on his fixed gear 1000cc JAP Trump, and he did very well on the tough sections. He had to, as there is no clutch on the bike and his minimum speed is about 8-10mph without stalling. Great fun.
The most expensive traffic jam in the world? The Rolls Royce pulled slightly over to allow Paddy on his 680 Brough Superior to pass and stop for a chat. Sally went by in the grass on her 1929 Black Ariel. Just how wide are the roads of the rally? This is typical I suppose. Narrower than some, but wider than many that we rode.
The other side of the Manx.
An earlier Sunbeam, this model 5 was more to my liking. Sidevalve 492cc. These were the last sidevalve bikes to win at the Isle of Man TT. If you have a minute, study all the oil lines in this photo and the next and try not to get confused.
Stare at the pic for a second and it makes you feel like you are falling backwards.
A very nice looking BSA. Clean, and simple lines. I’d say that it looks better than many of the customized bikes being built these days.
James models his new rain gear. It kept the rain out, as intended.
Dummy rim brakes.
The engines-off coasting race down Healy Pass.
to be continued.