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2014 Irish National Rally, part 1

September 9, 2014

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:P1010979

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! Smile

 2014-08-26 09.39.22

Arriving at the rally HQ on our 5th day I saw this striking combination of Big and Little bikes.


2014-08-26 11.34.50The 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.


P1020023This reminds me of the magazine pics from the 1940s.



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.

  2014-08-29 12.06.47Tony’s beautiful 30M Manx. Brooklands can, magnesium crankcases, and ridden with style.


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The other side of the Manx.

 P1020029My ride for the tour, a 1939 Norton ES2. At the top of one of the hills.  I’m terrible remembering the names of all the places. Sorry.


P1020054 Lunch stop in Bantry: Brough, Brough, Enfield, Brough.


P1020072James Robinson on the family Sunbeam. 1930 model 90 spec. It flew.


2014-08-29 09.35.05 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.

2014-08-29 09.35.19

 2014-08-29 08.53.18 Where did we go? All over!


Stare at the pic for a second and it makes you feel like you are falling backwards.


2014-08-29 09.29.56Ravas was made in St. Etienne, France.

 2014-08-29 11.25.47

Two photos of John Quirke’s wonderful Douglas. I love this machine.2014-08-29 11.25.51 

2014-08-29 11.39.14



 2014-08-29 12.05.46-2

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.

 2014-08-29 16.19.46

Dummy rim brakes.


The engines-off coasting race down Healy Pass.




to be continued.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    September 9, 2014 3:26 pm

    Pete, I am jealous, it must be one fun ride. I am making great headway on the 1909 Neckarsulm 2 speed, all parts now made and getting ready to paint, and nickel.. and have just acquired a 27 AJS 500cc flathead, model K9, the last of the AJS flat tanks, and its a goodun. Thanks for your help.


    • September 9, 2014 3:59 pm

      Be sure to send me some photos of the NSU project Bruce! We’ll write up a feature on it and share it with the OcchioLungo readers. Everybody loves to see a bike come back to life.

      And congrats on the AJS. Kim is after a c1927 500cc OHV AJS. (which shares the frame and cycle bits with the sidevalve model…) 🙂

  2. September 10, 2014 12:38 pm

    Great account of a great event. I was there for the wet Friday but loved it anyway. Many thanks

  3. September 10, 2014 12:59 pm

    What a great ride. I’m just going to have to do this one of these days. Also, most excellent ES2! Didn’t know they made one with a spring frame pre-war. My ’38 was a rigid, and just a great all around bike, and super reliable. That’s why them called them the Easy 2!

  4. Larry Doane permalink
    September 11, 2014 6:13 am

    Thanks for the photo’s. When I die, my Heaven will be Erin………


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