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06th Jul 2012 - 08th Jul 2012 Wake The Lakes

The fourth WTL rally brings the sunshine to The Lake District

A swathe of intense rainstorms was predicted across southern and central Britain on the Friday that H.O.G. members would be traveling up to Kendal in the Lake District. Riders traveling up from the south described riding on motorways that resembled rivers such was the deluge, but still they came wrapped in Harley-Davidson rain gear which will never be put to such severe a test again. They must work judging by the smiles and grins that the Red Rose Chapter reception crew were greeted with as riders rolled up to Rally Control. 

The amazing thing is that they were also greeted by sunshine in the Lake District, which was to last all weekend, causing a few to speculate that the 'sun shines on the righteous'.

Even more incredible was that the sizeable Scottish contingent experienced nary a drop of rain all the way down. By late Friday afternoon the tribes were gathered, tents were erected and relaxing drinks were opened. This year, due to saturated soil, all the bikes had to be kept off the camping field and held in a 'Parc Ferme' which actually helped the all-night security to keep an eye on them and also had the advantage of creating an impressive spectacle of paint and chrome. Red Rose Director Gordon Dick and Assistant director Dave Abrahams were busying themselves all over the Kendal Rugby Club site assisted by all their Officers intent on making this sell out fourth Wake The Lakes Rally a success. Gordon had a few surprises up his sleeve and the first came before the band had even struck a note.

'The HOG Grand National' was an opportunity for Chapter members to bet on six little battery-operated piglets who raced up a track painted in the black and orange Harley-Davidson colours while grunting merrily away. This made for a hilarious time as Gordon showed all his comic showman's skills commentating on the microphone – encouraging people to place £5.00 bets on the outcome of each race with the profits going to charity. 

The young rock band played classics all night and were very popular, putting on an energetic show helped, no doubt, by the large numbers of inflatable air guitars that seem to appear at all H.O.G. parties.

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and full English breakfasts mopped up last night's ale and wine. Breaking our fast got everyone in the mood for the first big ride out of the day which was a nonstop 60 mile circuit which headed out North over Shap before turning West and then South up over the spectacular views of the Kirkstone Pass and down into Windermere. The rumble of 150 Harleys approaching the pass was impressive and walkers on the fells either side all stopped to take the sight in. Wake The Lakes indeed!

The pack returned to the Rugby Club for lunch and to take in the bike show, but there was another surprise in store as Red Rose boys Eric and Chris appeared dressed (or should that be undressed?) in Borat style Mankinis to offer bike washes for charity, starting with the Bike Safe Police Lady's Patrol Bike. The ladies laughed and the guys groaned – the pair of exhibitionists earned more in charity donations to cover up!

Another ride-out set off at 4pm, described as ‘a run to Lancaster with a stop-off for that Lancashire delicacy, pie and peas’. Red Rose had another few surprises in store as they had obtained permission to ride past the Ashton Memorial which overlooks Morecambe Bay along the pedestrian paths of Williamson Park. As Eric Tomlinson, Red Rose photographer, and I awaited the parade we saw how the approaching bikes had the tourists looking up for an imminent thunderstorm. Upon exiting the park the ride-out continued a short distance for the pie and peas stop-off. The next surprise was that this was no ordinary café as the line of bikes were directed into the grounds of the Lancaster Brewery which was decorated with Harley and H.O.G. banners. The Lancaster Brewery had closed its doors to the public to host a private H.O.G. party complete with live music in the bar. Gordon Dick had arranged for there to be a live internet link between the brewery and the Kendal Rugby Club so those back at base could see what they missed out on, a brilliant idea.

All that remained was for everyone to dance the night away until the early hours helped along by a great glam rock band. And so the fourth Wake The Lakes rally came to a successful end. Roll on next year.

Garry Stuart


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