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25th May 2012 - 27th May 2012 Big Brum Bash 3

Piracy on the high seas as the sun shines on the Midlands.

They say the sun shines on the righteous, well the Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter must be a very righteous bunch of bikers indeed as rally goers were treated to the hottest and sunniest weekend of the year so far. This was the third running of The Big Brum Bash and it is a rally that is certainly establishing itself as a must-do event. Its central location in the Midlands, near to Birmingham, makes it easily accessible from all points – north, south, east and west. The site is one of its main attributes: a Watersports centre set in lush green countryside on the borders of Warwickshire and Staffordshire, where most rally goers choose to camp. There is the option of staying in hotels or B&Bs in Tamworth which is a five minute taxi ride away, but it's much better to stay onsite to best enjoy the two evenings packed full of live music. 

Friday afternoon was for setting up camp and having a walk around the site check out the other Chapters’ bikes. Many also wandered down to the Waterfront Bar to watch the motorboats tow wake-boarders up and down the azure blue lake as they went through their trick moves. Thanks to the warm sunshine, there was an atmosphere of peace and calm hanging over the campsite as skeins of smoke rose from barbecues. 

People gathered in the main arena next to the beer tent surrounded by merchandising tents and a large display by sponsors David Kennedy's Stratstone Harley-Davidson of Birmingham. Rob Paston provided the musical background interspersed with his amusing banter as the first of the bands set up their gear.

As the setting sun illuminated the inside of the beer tent in a rosy glow, great music ranging from classic rock to rockabilly, got the party well and truly underway thanks to the Leo Prince Band and Rockabilly 54. Birmingham H.O.G. member Nigel Adams and his pals put on a great show which built up to a great climax when Gunnrunner put on a heavy rock finale that blew the place apart. This was accompanied by the 'interesting' dance moves of members of the Great Western Chapter. DJ Rob kept the party going into the early hours of Saturday.

Saturday dawned to a cloudless blue sky and the BBB Café did a brisk business in breakfast baps. A nice touch was the free tea and coffee that they made available for the duration of the whole rally. 

The Bling And Buy tent is the place where members can sell those pre-owned parts and spares as well as items of Harley-Davidson clothing.

At 10.30am the ride-out promptly departed in two large groups, their destination, a café at Mallory Park Race track. The route made good use of twisty B roads and the circuitous route to Mallory Park took in many picturesque villages on the way only momentarily disturbing the rural idyll as the rumbling packs rode through.

Saturday afternoon was taken over by the inter Chapter Games which involved tossing a variety of vegetables the furthest and team events such as the group ski race. This being a watersport centre meant that the Chapter games must take full advantage of the lake and get as many members as wet as possible. The BBB Raft race is the highlight and defining event of the BBB, and luckily for the participants, the warm weather made a ducking a pleasant experience. Suffice to say the teams don't take the racing too seriously, preferring to indulge in an oar clashing and splashing contest. One team indulged in piratical skullduggery as they jumped into the lake and boarded a rival raft, tipping many of them in the drink, much to the amusement of the spectators.

Another great night of live music lay ahead and the first band onstage were a striking young indie band called Sister Shotgun, whose lead singer had plenty of stage presence with her shock of vivid red hair, fishnets and leotard – not to mention a great voice. The Mike Davis Blues Illusion were a class act and the boys from Stratstone H-D showed that there was no end to their talents as they put on a brilliant set of rock covers.

As all this was going on, the Hog Roast was being washed down with plenty of ale and wine.

The rally was brilliantly capped-off by Welsh band Devious who are becoming a firm favourite within the H.O.G. rally circuit, with their hard driving guitar rock and flashy showmanship. They'd have played all night if it wasn't for the curfew and it was left to DJ Rob to bring the party to a gradual close as the sunburned bikers drifted off to their tents having enjoyed a perfect Big Brum Bash.

Garry Stuart



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