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1st Irish Indian Rally 2008


The first ever Irish Indian rally took place in Duncannon fort, Co Wexford, Ireland on the weekend of the 27th – 30th June this year . The rally was organised by Irish members Joe O  Toole, Jim Cuddihy and Mick Hackett, in conjunction with Sybil DeBidaph, who did all the work on the UK side.

The event kicked off on a lazy Friday morning as Indian riders began arriving in a trickle from all over the UK, France, Belgium, and even an Aussie showed up.  Rolly and Claude from Belgium had beaten everyone there and arrived on the Thursday night ahead of the posse.  As people arrived we began to sort out the accommodation within the fort.  Most of the members stayed over the Maritime Museum and we provided camp beds for all, others opted to sleep in the barrack rooms in bunk beds and I’m sure it reminded a few of their early days doing national service.  Everyone was catered for in the end and only one or two latecomers decided to camp on the green area.
Emmet Kennedy arrived in the evening and promptly set up the mobile field kitchen and began to get soup, tea and coffee on to appease the growing “mob” who were getting hungry. Jim and Mick dispensed a welcome drop of Irish whiskey to all to officially open the rally as people registered with us.  By 7 pm the dining hall was set up and hot soup and tea and coffee flowing. After the supper it was agreed on an 11 am start for the ride out and this was soon re-negotiated to an 11 “ish” start.  It was to be fair Irish time and this unlike CET can vary either way.  Breakfast was also agreed in Irish time for the following morning for 9 ish. Having sorted all these highly technical aspects of the event we felt we had over taxed ourselves and all adjourned to the lovely Strand Bar outside the gates of the fort in the little village of Duncannon. Music and song was in full flight and all enjoyed a great night there.

Saturday morning saw all being served a fine Irish breakfast of bacon, sausage, black and white pudding, tea and toast all produced by Emmet in his kitchen.  After breakfast the bikes were getting a little attention and preparation made to get underway for 11.  The local newspaper came down and photographed the group and have done an article on the event in the paper since.
Jim Cuddihy organised the run on Saturday morning and we set off at 11.30 for Hook head, where the famous Hook Head lighthouse is located. This served as our first coffee stop and saved several sore heads form exploding we think.  From there we rode on to the beautiful Tintern Abbey and took time out to let everyone have a walk in the grounds and woods surrounding it. It’s a beautiful spot and it would have been a sin to have just ridden past and not gone in, especially as so many rode so far to come to the event.  We rode on from here to the very scenic Kilmore Quay.  Alex the Aussie was introduced to bottled Guinness and I think it has been the start of a long-term friendship.  Here we stopped and sampled the most lovely fresh fish and chips, others tested the Guinness and all agreed  life was indeed very good that day.  Kilmore Quay is a fishing port and is renowned for its sea food along the east coast of Ireland.  Many of the fishing fleet were grounded in port that week testament to the high diesel prices hitting us all.
From Kilmore Quay we began to head back around the loop and headed in the Direction of Ross and back to the fort for 6 pm.  The sun was out in measure that day and it was a beautiful sight along the coast on the road home.  Upon arriving at the fort minor repairs were carried out to Tony’s 741 outfit which had snapped a side car bracket.  We employed the help of a local welder who did a great job on it and also Mike DeBidaph’s steering damper for the enormous sum of a few pints of Guinness. Everyone was back on the road and ready for Sunday‘s outing.  Saturday evening we dined on traditional bacon and cabbage with potatoes. It went down very well with all and several had second trips to the pots for an extra helping.

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The prizes were then presented to the winners for the usual categories:
Oldest rider went to none other than Mike DeBidaph
Furthest travelled went to the Frenchman, Phillipe Devarennes
Best chief went to Marcel Vandenbussche from Belgium for his very original chief
Best bike at event went to Tony Collinson for his lovely yellow racing scout
Best scout went to Paul Tubex the dentist from Belgium
Best of the Rest went to Peter Hall on his Harley WLA

All were presented with a bottle of Irish whiskey, specially labelled with an Indian label with the chosen category on it.  Music and great craic followed in the pub later until the early hours.

Sunday again saw breakfast served around the 9 ish mark and it was full Irish again.  We set off on our outing in the direction of Bunclody and our ultimate destination was to go over Mount Leinster, weather permitting.  Fortunately the Gods were good and beautiful weather followed us all weekend. We rode over Mount Leinster on what was a rare occasion to have full visibility from the peak. We stopped at the viewing park for a while for photos.  Heading on we rode along the lovely winding roads to the beautiful village of Inistoigh where we stopped at a local coffee shop for tea, coffee and cakes, located by the river it was a very picturesque scene.  We stayed there about an hour and then saddled up and headed off in the direction or New Ross and on to Arthurstown and eventually back to the fort for dinner at 7pm.  This evening we were treated to Irish stew and potatoes.  Everyone really had a lovely day and this was the best way to end the perfect day.  We headed to the pub that night for a relaxed evening and all involved had a fantastic night.
Monday morning we had a breakfast of cereals and boiled eggs and tea and toast.  After breakfast we began the job of packing up and getting the fort ready to be handed back to the owners.  Emmet packed all the cooking gear and pots and pans and by about 1pm all were ready for the road.  Rolly and Claude stayed over in the fort for a few days longer and Anita, Peter, Sybil and Mike headed to Kerry with myself for a tour of the most scenic parts of Kerry and Kenmare.
I would like to thank Sybil for all her efforts to make this rally happen and her continuous support and encouragement, Mike for getting my bike sorted a week before the event and Alan for getting it over to me again in time. Tim for all the welding and his time, everyone who came for all their efforts and making it a success.  Jim, Mick and myself really enjoyed meeting everyone and amid all the running and racing eventually got to talk to everyone, we made great friendships and look forward to coming over to meet ye all again sometime in the future - preferably before the international next year.

Jo O'Toole 

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