The, now inappropriately named, National Ural Rally Day was started by a States-based enthusiast of the Russian motorcycle & sidecar combo. His aim was to create an event where “Urals come out to play”. Participants set off from their home location at sunrise, and spend the day clocking up miles and collecting points for a range of challenges. These range from ‘Wrenching Bonuses’ for changing a tyre to ‘Pucker Points’ for running low on fuel, as well as ‘Photo Bonus’ points for historic buildings, vehicles and exoctic animals encountered.
Run through a blog site, the word of the rally has now fanned out from America, and it’s become an annual event on the calendar of Ural Motorcycle owners around the world. To finish the Ural National Rally, you need to collect a minimum of 350 points or ride a minimum of 200 km (125 miles). Well – with points given for breakfast, lunch, pie (make that a pasty) and ‘regional speciality’ (that’ll be cream tea then!) … that seems quite achieveable!
Moorlanders MCC were alerted to the event this year when Graham (our Egg Run lead bike) announced that he was taking part this year … and needed a monkey. Road Captain John shot his hand up, and the pair agreed to meet before ‘sun up’ on Saturday 7th September – the 2013 Ural Rally Day.
After a point-collecting pre-ride check at the 06:40 sunrise, Graham & John head off on a loosely planned route, devised to make it an enjoyable day and a valid entry. By 09:53, they had made photocalls at Delabole Wind Farm, Trebarwith Strand, and the National Trust Old Post Office at Tintagel, and were tucking into breakfast at Louis’ Cafe, Kit Hill near Callington.
From there they headed on a southerly loop via Looe and up to Trago Mills, Liskeard for probably the only covered bridge (75 points) in Cornwall!
A ‘magistrates court’ was located in Bodmin, then on to Wadebridge for a ‘bridge over 50 years old’ (yup, think that one counts!), and lunch at The Granary on Molesworth Street.
Points were also available for interaction with the local law enforcers (a ‘Legal Adventure’), and for a ‘Service Ride’ – giving a ride to anyone in uniform … both of these were achieved!
Heading down the A39 from Wadebrige, their set off for a ‘Gate Guard’ at RAF St Mawgan, and historic vehicles at the new aviation musuem.
Classic Air Force were exceptional in their support, opening the doors to their hanger and ushering Graham and John inside to have photos of the Ural taken amongst the many planes stored there. They were as much interested in the Ural as Graham and John were in the planes! Rounding off their visit nicely, they collected another 75 points for a cream tea at 15:50, courtesy of Classic Air Force. Much obiliged folks!
The Ural outfit was flying by this point, with Graham head down and motoring along. He was running with the reserve tank switched on and, yup you’ve guessed it, found out exactly how many miles he can do to a tank! The engine gave a couple of splutters, then cruised to a standstill. The trusty onboard jerry can was put to use, and they refuelled at the roadside.
The Cornish Birds of Prey centre was the next stop at 16:25 for a photocall with a very exoctic Golden Eagle, then up to Wadebridge petrol station, and collect point-making pasties.
Wrenching Bonus points were too good to miss out on – so a roadside wheel change, oil change and brake adjustment were adeptly dealt with – just as well, as the next destination was Bodmin Moor for a water crossing.
The good news was that they had gathered more points for miles travelled during rain showers that day …. the downside was that the water was running high at the ford near Advent, Camelford. Taking a standing stance, and deep breath, Graham put the Ural into first gear and ploughed through the stream, creating a bow wave that lapped at the rim of the sidecar!
The pair were so chuffed at having got through unscathed, that they went round again, and were up for a third when the engine (whose tail pipes had been underwater twice) coughed out that that was enough thank you!
Riding over the Moor, Graham and John drew into the car park of the King’s Head, Five Lanes, Altarnun to finish just before sunset at 19:45 to a welcoming gathering of Moorlanders on our Club night.
Graham and John clocked up a total of 230 km (143 miles) and over 1500 points. Well done lads!
Graham is still finding pond weed wrapped around unexpected parts of the engine, and is waiting to hear his place in this great event. He’d like to thank John for his exceptional monkey skills and antics on the day.