The Weekly Meetings
By Dave Tooley
weekly club meetings held in the Connaught Hall in Gosport
were a bit of a riotous affair. We could not
have had a better location, since it was a huge place we
could actually drive our bikes into.
There was a strict ‘engines off’ policy inside the building,
which everyone ignored. The buildings
caretaker and tuck shop proprietor, Gordon Thwaites, used to
regularly rant and rave at every rider who came tearing into
the building with their engines revving
away. Same culprits every week, and
they’d do it again next week just for the hell of it.
of the era for budding ‘mods’ was an ex-army surplus,
camouflage green Parka with a fur lined hood.
It was mandatory to sew on as many cloth badges as possible
from rally’s we had attended. Looking
back, we must have looked a pathetic sight, but we thought
we looked the dogs dangly bits at the time.
Our bikes had
to have as many chrome accessories as is physically possible
to attach to them. Mirrors, crash bars, rear
carriers, front carriers, back rests, the list went on and
on. Quite ironic that we would then spend
a fortune on ‘go faster’ accessories to try and overcome the
excessive weight we had just piled on the machine.
No wonder the
Motor Cycle fraternity laughed at us.
The plan for
the weekly meeting was pretty much the same every
week. For about an hour we would hang around
our bikes in the main downstairs area just generally
chatting about our latest add-ons and tuning
accessories. Then we’d gather upstairs
for a weekly roll call, and Mick Estlick would discuss
general club topics of interest, such as impending Rallies
to attend or weekend run destinations.
During this time we would often keep a beady eye out for who
was canoodling with who.
quite a few girly members of the club whose partner seemed
to vary each week depending on who’d been paid, and who had
a spare seat on their bike. Names withheld to
protect the innocent.
Once all club
discussions had been dealt with (after much heckling of the
afore mentioned Mr Estlick, I felt so sorry for him
sometimes…no-one ever took him seriously) we all cleared off
in convoy down to the most important feature of the
evening. The Cocked Hat pub for a good old
booze up. The drink/driving laws didn’t
apply in those days, if you could grip your handlebars you
were fit to ride home.
sometimes yearn to go back to those far off responsibility
free days. We never had a care in the world,
and our life expectations never advanced further away than
our next weekly pay cheque.