West Kent Run 1997.

From left to right: Dook, Eugenie, Hans and me.

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13th International West Kent Run. August 2&3 1997.

After consulting Dinant Dekker, one of our Mono Club guru's, and Alan Abrahams, the organizer of the event, I finally decided to join this run. We left pretty early as we wanted to go to Calais to take the chunnel and did need some time... Weather was bad, so our bikes (Dook and Ineke's Yamaha XS650, Hans and Jos's BMW R1100RT and Eugenie and mine BMW R27) got dirty after only a couple of miles.

We stopped for hot chocolate at McDonalds; it was the first time I appreciated this "restaurant". Soon we passed Belgium and entered the very windy region in northern France. Dook and Hans were riding in front of me to keep the speed above 80km/h and by the end of the afternoon we were at Calais.

The trainride was uneventful, just as I hoped, and 25 minutes later we were on holy British ground again. Weather had cleared up (who said England has bad weather?) so we took the more scenic coastal route in the direction of Brighton for a while until we headed north again to Brenchley, where we had booked rooms at the "Bull of Brenchley".

To my astonishment I got accused of racing the R27: the roads were narrow but the R27 was as well, this in contrast to the bulky R1100RT of Hans. I had forgotten about this I admit.. We were almost there when Dook tried an "elbow-down" with the XS: he managed that but ruined his exhaust while doing it.

After checking out the rooms, we had a beer and dinner. Then we were visited by Kevin and Leigh with whom we had pleasant and night-long conversations. The two brothers managed to arrange a place for Dook to weld his exhaust the next day. Hans and Jos would join them to the workshop and afterwards on a ride with some more friends (Sally, Darrell, Kevin and Leigh; b.t.w. most of the people mentioned on this page are friends from the compuserve Ride forum). Eugenie and I were going to ride the West Kent Run.

So the next day after breakfast Eugenie and I headed for Avery Hill College where we were to start the ride. It was a tough job to find the place but we managed in the end.

We received a roadbook and a number to attach to the bike and off we went. Weather was excellent again. The route was fully marked which made life easy for us and gave us the opportunity to look around. After passing Eynsford and Ightham we stopped for coffee at 15th century Knole house.

Racing for lunch...

Now this was a magnificant gathering of vintage bikes!

Via Speldhust, Rotherfield and Uckfield we ended the second leg at Sheffield park where we had lunch. Once again we enjoyed the sun and the old bikes and had a chat with some members of my MC club. We joined up for the afternoon leg which led us thru the Ashdown Forest and Bough Beegh and over Ide Hill. We stopped to have coffee (beer actually) and watch the bikes come by.

At four o'clock we were back at Avery Hill for tea. After buying a couple of things to help remember this day by (photo, T-shirt), getting some sort of a flag and a "well done" from Alan Abrahams and saying goodbye to our friends we returned to Brenchley, having covered about 300km this day.

In Brenchley we met up with the rest of the gang again, planning our next day (Superbike races at Brands Hatch) and having "some" beers. Eugenie and Jos preferred to go shopping in London and it was agreed that I would ride Hans's R1100RT to Brands.

That's what happened the next day. I was astonished about the 1100's power (my R80 back home only had 50 horses, the R27 only 18). Soon we arrived at Brands where we found a good spot to watch te races. As usual the races were great fun to watch, Chili winning the first race and, to my joy, Michael Rutter the last wet race. Yes, and the bit of rain at the end of the day made the supermono race very exciting indeed!

At the end of the races we catched a glimpse of Kevin, Sally and Darrell and then headed to the 'Bull', where we had yet again some beers.

The ride home the next day was uneventful but at least dry. Coming home I was refelecting on the qualities of the R27: it had covered 1330km the last couple of days without any problem. Great little bike!

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