The first Gathering of 2017 took place on May 18th. The forecast was optimistic, and although glorious sunshine was not mentioned, the forecast did at least assure us that the weather would remain dry. So the Gathering organisers, followed the forecast and prepared for the event. It seems also that many of our supporters did the same, and after the familiar slow start, turned up in their droves! The new larger banners and other notices had even encouraged some enthusiast to arrive a couple of hours early, but they did assure us later it was well worth the wait. Events followed a familiar pattern as bikers, tractor, bus and car enthusiasts arrived to put their pride-and-joys on display. It would seem that having made the commitment to turn up – probably starting their journey in the dry – when rain started to fall early in the evening there was a feeling that the field would empty in minutes and the event would be a wash out. But no! “The Gatherers” showed their resilience and obvious contentment with being where they were – and most stayed. Of course, wandering around in the rain is not the best pastime for any of us, but there was quite a bit of that going on – although many had decided the attraction of teas, coffees, homemade cake, beer and wine inside the Community Centre was the preferable option. Also, the desire to enjoy the hot burgers, pork, curry, chips etc. was worth queuing for in the rain, as the grub was delicious.
We had an impressive display of cars, a bus and several tractors on the field. It’s always nice to see vehicles returning to the Gathering, but yet again we were delighted to see some vehicles for the first time. To list all the great vehicles on display would be a big task, as there were about 115 of them, but there were some particularly rare, old and inexpensive (but not many that qualify as all of these) cars, including a Jenson Interceptor, a couple of Rileys, a Ferrari, 2 massive and beautiful Cadillacs, a rare Mitsuoka Viewt (a modified Nissan Micra, sold by the Japanese carmaker Mitsuoka, intended to resemble the 1963 Jaguar Mark 2), an Alvis, many fantastic Rolls Royces, and a 1922 Amilcar which looks like a boat on wheels with a canvas cover for the driver. Amilcars were produced in France from 1921-1943. We were so pleased to see it.
In the motorcycle park we had a nice selection of about 22 classics. Among those of note was a Suzuki RE5 which was one of the very few Wankel Rotary engined motorcycles ever made. Also on display was a couple of pristine 1960’s early Japanese bikes – a 250cc Suzuki twin T20 – the first production 6-speed motorcycle, and a Honda Benly 125cc twin, which would show British 250/350cc bikes a pair of exhausts disappearing into the distance. We were also graced with a 250cc James twin, a Matchless twin, a Morini v-twin, a rare BMW R26 250cc single, and a nice Yamaha XS650 twin.
Thanks as always must go to all who attended, whether showing a vehicle or not. Also to Andy and crew for the fine food he always prepares; to Anne and team for the bar (which did a great job); to Maureen and Carol for the cakes and coffee, to Lorine for running the raffle, to Debbie, Sue and Pippa on the gate, to Brian for helping marshalling and to all the supporters who lend a hand as and when. Also, thanks to Beanie at the Plough (Greetham) for donating a raffle prize.