Entry list 2009

  LIST OF PARTICIPANTS OF THE 2009 INTERNATIONAL ROUND KURLAND RALLY AND ROAD RELIABILITY TRIAL.

1. 

JURIS RAMBA

REX/JAP

1913

LV

2.

IAN COCKSHULL

HARLEY-DAVIDSON

1925

GB

3.

JURIS RAMBA

NORTON (RESERVE)

1926

LV

4.

PAT GILL

MATCHLESS

1926

GB

5.

RICHARD TANN

SCOTT

1926

GB

6.

JON HODGES

SCOTT

1927

GB

7.

LES HOBBS

SUNBEAM

1929

GB

8.

JOHN SPALDING

LEVIS

1933

GB

9.

PHIL HENEGHAN

BSA

1934

GB

10.

ARVE HOEL

BMW

1936

N

11.

ARNT GRO

BMW

1937

N

12.

ROBERT JARVIS

RUDGE

1937

GB

13.

TOM MORTENSEN

MATCHLESS

1956

DK

14.

BRUCE LINSDAY

HARLEY-DAVIDSON

1937

USA

15.

TONY HENDERSON

MATCHLESS

1938

GB

16.

IGORS KALNINS

SUNBEAM

1938

AU

17.

URMAS TEEARU

INDIAN

1942

EST

18.

IVAR LINDLA

INDIAN

1947

EST

19.

TIMO MEIERDIERKS

BSA

1954

D

20.

GEOFF KEELING

BSA

1962

GB

21.

MATTI OKSANEN

JAWA

1965

FIN

22.

TERANCE WEST

LAMBRETTA

1964

GB

23.

HARIJS KRUZKOPS

VICTORIA

1966

LV

24.

PENTTI SELJAMO

TRIUMPH

1971

FIN

25.

KEIJO KIURU

   

FIN

26.

CORD WARNEKE

VELOCETTE

1968

D

27.

RAUNO EROLAHTI

TRIUMPH

1953

FIN

28.

NEILSEN WEBSTER

BSA

1969

GB

29.

JAMES SPARTHAM

TRIUMPH

1970

GB

30.

KASPARS MEZINIEKS

IZH-350

1967

LV

31.

VELI TIRKKONEN

BMW

1977

FIN

32.

UOLEVI KEKKO

BMW

1978

FIN

33.

OLLI KOPONEN

BMW

1974

FIN

34.

AXEL FEY

BIZON

1983

D

  2009 KURLAND RALLY PRIZES.
1. FURTHEST TRAVELLED PARTICIPANT AXEL FEY 1983 BISON D
2. OLDEST PARTICIPANT OF THE RALLY NEILSEN F. WEBSTER 1969 BSA GB
3. MISS KURLAND ROUND 2009 MS GILL SWAN 1927 SCOTT GB
4. NEWCOMER’S PRIZE IVAR LINDLA 1947 INDIAN EST
5. MOST POPULAR PERIOD DRESS TERRANCE WEST/PERLA DILWORTH 1964 LAMBRETTA GB
6. TRAVELLING CUP FOR BEST OVERALL RESULT IN ROAD RELIABILITY TRIAL PAT GILL 1926 MATCHLESS GB
7. AUTO MOTO RETRO TRAVELLING PRIZE FOR TECHNICALLY MOST INTERESTING MACHINE JON HODGES 1927 SCOTT GB
8. BEST RESULT IN ROAD TRIAL ON A PREWAR SMS MACHINE IGOR KALNINS 1938 SUNBEAM AUS
9. BEST RESULT IN ROAD TRIAL ON A POSTWAR SMS MACHINE  HARIJS KRUZKOPS 1956 VICTORIA LV
10. WORST TECHNICAL HARD LUCK STORY PHIL HENEGHAN 1934 BSA GB
11. RUNNER-UP HARD LUCK STORY RICHARD TANN 1926 SCOTT GB
12. BEST MILITARY MOTORCYCLE URMAS TEEARU 1942 INDIAN EST
13. TEAM AWARD VMCC   GB
14. TEAM AWARD VMPK   FIN
15. TEAM AWARD NVMCC   N
16. TEAM AWARD VFV   D
17. TEAM AWARD SCOTT OC   GB
18. TEAM AWARD UNIC MOTO   EST

KURZEMES RINKIS 2009 --  LATVIA                                                                                                            

                                                                                            by Neilsen Webster   

Members may recall reading my article about Juris Ramba's forthcoming Latvian ‘Kurland Round Rally' (Kurzemes Rinkis) this July. Well, I've been there, seen it, done it, and it was absolutely fantastic. Apart from Mother Nature deciding we needed a good dousing on two occasions and a bolt of lightening up our exhausts, it was the most relaxing and stress free event I have ever attended. From the outset we, the participants, were mollycoddled and pampered and apart from actually being lifting into the saddle and our bikes kick started for us, everything was done by the Kurland Round team to make our experience a memorable and exceptional one. The Rally was further enhanced by the choice of itinerary, excellent accommodation, meals and evening entertainment. When any other event organiser would be happy to round off the proceedings with a firework extravaganza, we were given a gigantic thunderstorm. Juris had warned me that it was to be a rally of surprises - in fact, on the side of the back-up van was written, ‘The Rally with a Difference' and it certainly was. Of course Juris didn't organise it single handed but had the support of his family and ‘helpers' and despite waiting until the eleventh hour to tell his wife Gunta about the rally, she still gave him her full support – but a divorce may be pending! Once committed to holding the rally, Juris had to contend with the prospect that the global financial downturn may affect the turnout. On top of this, the Latvian Valued Added Tax (VAT) had risen from 5% for hotel services and 18% for food to a wopping 21%. The sole purpose of the rally was not to make a profit but give value for money. 

As we rode in convoy to the various destinations we were escorted, as if VIPs, by outriders to the fore and aft and just like Moses parted the Red Sea in Bible times, so our escort stemmed the traffic flow by blocking it at junctions so we had a smooth transition from place to place. These young men on their modern monsters were recruited from the ‘MC Riders Jurmala' who has helped Juris marshal his rallies since 2004. They did an excellent job of shepherding us along the rally route and to our overnight accommodation each day. Our luggage was ferried by the back-up crew who also took care of any mishaps or breakdowns. Any military operation would be proud of such logistics – 40 overseas participants from 9 countries, marshalling 32 old bikes and riders over the 600 kilometre course, visiting 12 palaces/castles/manor houses, 9 main meals each with up to 65 persons at each sitting, concerts, coffee breaks and presentations. 

I feel as though I attended the rally by default; I didn't, as I have done in the past, ride my own bike to Latvia but took the Ryanair flight from Stansted to Riga and borrowed a smart 1968 BSA 650 Lightening which Juris so kindly offered me. For the first two nights and the last night I stayed at the Skanste in Riga which is a small comfortable hotel with en-suite and buffet breakfast for a mere £24 per night (special rate for Kurland Rounders). I had agreed with Juris that I would pick the BSA up from his home at Ogre which is 35km out of Riga and I was prepared to make my own way there either by bus or train. However, Juris arranged to have me picked up from the Skanste by one of his vans which was on it's way to his home from the airport after picking up Bruce Linsday, a friend, a Harley Knucklehead expert and concours judge. Bruce's wife Inga hails from Latvia and they live in Cleveland, Ohio. Bruce rode Juris's Knucklehead throughout the rally and impressed us with his ‘Death Valley Rally' T shirt. Ogre is a pleasant, neat and tidy small ‘hamlet' and Juris's house takes up a sizable chunk of it. Many years ago when my wife and I were thinking of changing houses I jokingly (but not really) told the estate agent that I wanted a workshop with a house attached – much to the Mrs's, ‘Not in a million years'. But this is exactly what Juris has; the family's living space is on the upper floor/s and the ground floor and basement is for the storage and renovation of his machines - even a lift for transferring them from floor to floor – now that's what I call commitment! In the grounds is a detached garage cum workshop with all the machinery required for Juris's ‘RAMOTO LTD' ( www.ramoto.lv ) engine reconditioning business, cylinder heads being his speciality. When I arrived, a large tail lift van was being unloaded; this belongs to Pat Gill who, with his likeable sidekick Tony Henderson, had ferried 7 bikes overland from the UK including a pristine Lambretta scooter belonging to Terry West and pillion partner Perle Dilworth who, at the presentations, won the ‘Most Popular Period Dress' Award as ‘Mods'. Two bikes came to the rally in Les Hobbs's VW van and 2 Scotts in another van, making 11 in all from the UK. They say that, ‘Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday Sun' and coming from the chilly north east of England I found the midday sun at Juris's sapping my energy, so when it was unanimously decided that lunch was appropriate, it was nice to walk to a nearby café and sit in the cool of the canopied veranda sipping a chilled drink and chatting over a tasty meal whilst children played on the green outside. I can remember having a delicious ice cream from a little shop when attending the ‘Old Timer's Rally' at Oroshaza in Hungary and now as we walked back to Juris's house, we stopped off at a little ice cream shop to sample Latvian ice cream – just as fantastic! I've rarely ridden another bike but my Tiger 100; fortunately my son has a 650 Lightening which I have ridden, so by the time I had ridden Juris's Lightening a few kilometres towards Riga, I felt confident and comfortable with the machine. It's not easy finding the Skanste Hotel and both I and the BSA got a bit hot and bothered when we got caught up in the city centre's traffic trying to find it. Fortunately, a van driver I asked said, ‘Follow me' and guided me to the Skanste – nice! 

Thursday 16 th July (mileage approx 60 km) 

The rally proper (‘Assembly Day') started, for those assembled at the Skanste, in the early afternoon when, in the capable hands of the MC Jurmala marshals, we were escorted through the streets of Riga and out in to the Latvian countryside. It's true, that in a survey carried out by Yale University of 149 countries, Latvia came 8 th as having the cleanest air, purest water and unspoilt ecology. Only Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, Costa Rica and New Zealand beat them to it. So, bearing this in mind, it seems that it was necessary for us to be decontaminated as we entered Kurzeme, by thunder, lightening and torrential rain, but, like the intrepid riders Kurland Rounders are, we paddled on, even though at one point I was riding with my feet under water and only with shoes on. To add insult to injury, we were further drenched by the bow waves of vehicles coming the opposite way. However, my daughter's advice came to the rescue; just before I left home she suggested, ‘Dad, make sure you take your waterproof socks'; she bought me these a few Christmas's ago and they are absolutely fantastic – a must for any biker. Even though I had to pour gallons of rainwater out of my shoes, my feet were snug and dry – thank God for daughters – well, some of the time! Within a few kilometres we hit dry tarmac and were soon blow-dried as we sliced through the warm air. Our first overnight stop and assembly point was Hotel Milzkalns which is actually a winter ski resort set amid the beautiful Kurzeme countryside and surrounded by pine forests and lakes. It was ideal for our purpose with plenty of secure parking for the bikes, no neighbours to upset and excellent amenities. 

As scheduled in the Rally Programme at 20.00hrs precisely, we were entertained by a delightful ensemble of Kokle playing teachers in traditional dress from the village of Kolka which is the most northerly village of Kurzeme, standing on the Gulf of Riga. The Kokle is similar to a Zither which is described in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘A flat, many stringed instrument, played with the fingers'. The concert was followed by a sumptuous ‘Welcome Dinner'. Afterwards, most of us sat outside amidst our bikes and chatted in the warmth of a lovely summer evening. It then came to item 5 of the Rally Program – 22.00hrs - ‘Participants disperse to their rooms' – or, as they say in the army - ‘GET THOSE BLOODY LIGHTS OUT!' – What! No bedtime story? 

Day 1, Friday 17 th July, Milzkalns to Ivande (approx 130km) 

At home, I am gently woken each morning by the twittering of a blackbird outside my window. Here at the Kurland Rally our slumbers were abruptly terminated by Juris's 1926 Norton Model 25 which must be the most ear shattering machine ever devised by man (it has no silencer). The only other thing that I can remember wakening me like that was when a bomb was dropped at the bottom of our garden by Hitler's Luftwaffe in 1942. As he intended, ‘Sergeant Major' Ramba had us up and having breakfast at 7am and on the road by eight – the start of the ‘Road Reliability Trial'. 32 machines were taking part, some two up with wives or partners. These were divided up into 4 groups of 6 to 7 riders each group having outriders to the fore and aft and departure gaps of 5 minute intervals - slowest bikes off first – fastest last. 

As Juris is proud of the fact that Latvia is richer in its number of castles and manor houses than its neighbours Estonia and Lithuania, the intention of the rally was for us to ride from point A to point B each day, visiting as many of these as the three days of the rally allowed. In his wisdom, Juris had decided not only to show us the most pristine of these national treasures but those which were partially restored, under restoration or not restored at all. We were fortunate to have a guided tour at most of them. The pace was not rushed; plenty of time for us to cruise along, enjoy the lovely countryside and take it all in. Coffee and lunch breaks were well timed to alleviate any risk of fatigue. 

On this eventful day we visited: Durbe Palace, Tukums Castle, Jaunmoku Castle (where we had our coffee break in an ‘exclusive to us' pavilion overlooking a peaceful lake with a huge fountain). We had lunch at the Ivande Manor House (where we were scheduled to stay that night) and afterwards rode to the festival in Kuldiga where we parked our bikes in a neat line next to the Ventas Rumba waterfall (widest in Europe) which allowed the ‘throng' to inspect and photograph them whilst a commentator gave a running description of each bike and its rider over the address system. In the heat of the day I wandered into the town centre with its colourful banners, numerous market stalls and street musicians. I came across Bruce ‘Knucklehead' Linsday having a cool beer on the canopied veranda of a bar and decide, with two more of our contingent, to join him. 

We were back at the majestic Ivande in time enough to get spruced up for the evening concert which featured none other than Raimonds Ozols – 1 st violin of the Latvian Symphonic Orchestra. We then retired to the opulent dining room for evening dinner followed by a walk (or natter) in the lovely grounds as the warm Latvian sun slowly slipped below the horizon with its promise of another great day on the morrow. Before making my way back to the house, I stood transfixed by the sight of a pair of nesting storks on a telegraph pole, silhouetted against a peach sunset. Near the house stood Pat Gill's van and on the lowered tailgate stood a very nice Triumph Trophy TR6C belonging to Jim Sparham which Pat and Co were working on by torchlight. Apparently, the rocker box caps had been coming loose and to secure them someone suggested using silicone. Unfortunately, some had gone down into the oil galleries and caused a restriction which Pat and his team were trying to rectify (a warning to us all when using silicone). This is the beauty of such events – there's always some hero/s to help sort out a problem. The Triumph was back in the rally next day. 

Day 2, Saturday 18 th July – Ivande to Jelgava (approx 240 km) 

Once again our slumbers were shattered by Juris's infernal Norton - breakfast at 7 – on the road by 8. After a one hour stop at Edole Palace we called at Jurkalne for a walk through the woods to the beach and a paddle in the crystal clear sea. We passed through Kuldiga and then on to visit Skede Manor House before having lunch at café Ziemelis at Saldus. On the way to our overnight stop at Hotel Jelgava, in Jelgava we visited the Jelgava Palace. The Hotel provided excellent accommodation and a very scrumptious evening dinner – motorcycling out in the open certainly gives one an appetite. 

Day 3, Sunday 19 th July, Jelgava – Mezotne – Riga (approx 170km) 

This, our last rally day, was filled with excellence, sunshine and drama: – Visit to the stupendous Bauska Palace and magnificent Rundale Palace and gardens, the latter being a fantastic backdrop for our treasured group photograph. Our final lunch was held at the Mezotne Palace where we were greeted on the steps of the palace by an all female, very attractive, saxophone quartet, three of which were from the Music Academy of Latvia. After lunch they gave a very enjoyable and accomplished concert prior to the presentation of memorabilia and awards. Each participant received a unique Latvian porcelain cup inscribed ‘Kurzemes rinkis 2009'. Out of the 18 categories of awards I won the ‘Oldest Participant Award' and hesitated to go up ‘on stage' to collect it. ‘Surely this can't be true?' I thought, looking around at all those with grey hair. Now approaching my 75 th I suppose I must face the fact - someone has to be the oldest and as I was born before the rest, so it's me on this occasion! Rather than feel mortified which was my first reaction, I should be thankful that I am still fit and able to take part in such events. The weather up to now had been ideal motorbiking weather, warm and sunny but suddenly, during the presentations, even though it was mid afternoon, it became very dark and looking out of the windows we saw fierce winds whipping leaves and branches off trees and torrential rain pelting down. Lightening flashes momentarily lit up the room and I fully expected Frankenstein's monster to step up for the fancy dress award. We had left our bikes, coats, etc, out in the open and of course we were concerned. However, with relief, it was announced that the marshals had taken care of everything and there was no need to worry. The storm looked as if it was set for the rest of the day so we had no alternative but to zip up our jackets and head out into the abyss as we set off in convoy for Riga, 60 kilometres away. I have ridden in some adverse weather conditions in my 59 years of biking but found this journey to be one of the most harrowing and can sympathise with the ancient mariners who sailed round Cape Horn in sailing ships, although they didn't have to contend with morons in other ships trying to force them off the high seas. It may be hard to believe, but a sailing ship actually tried to force us off the road at one stage. Although we did have a leading marshal there was none bringing up the rear – only me. As last in the line I had a ‘bird's eye view of the proceedings ahead and anticipated, with dread, that sooner or later one of our clan would come to grief. We were on a single carriageway with heavy traffic coming both ways with vehicles on our side trying to force their way past even though we were riding on the edge of the tarmac with only the grass verge for a bale out. Whilst trying to contend with a strong side wind, poor visibility, driven rain and fogged up goggles, I became aware that off my port bow a sailing ship was trying to overtake me. Actually, it was a yacht on a boat trailer, towed by a 4x4 battlewagon and it was gradually easing past me but also cutting in front of me. As I had nowhere else to go but the grass verge, I accelerated and just managed to get in front of it but the devil at the wheel still persisted and tried to do the same thing with my Danish friend Tom, who was ahead on his Matchless but Tom banged on his front wing and he backed off – shiver me timbers! This treatment to our fraternity is not unique to Latvia, it happens in the rest of Europe, the UK, the US, especially Russia! Fortunately, due to the dexterity of our riders rather than the goodwill of others, we all reached Riga in one piece – James Bond, Martini style – shaken but not stirred! 

At the presentations, I expressed my desire, and hope, of returning for another rally in Latvia before I hang up my motorbike boots. I have now attended four: 1990, 1992, 2005, 2009 (so they must be good). Juris is not willing to commit himself to organising another rally for they take a tremendous amount of time and energy to organise and unless fully committed they wont be a success. But talking to his lovely daughter Santa, who incidentally, is much more attractive than the Santa who comes down our chimney at Christmas, she gave the impression that the Kurzemes Rinkis of 2009 may not be the last – let's hope its not, for there is still loads to see in lovely Latvia and I want to see it! 

Last Updated on Monday, 27 December 2010 20:08
 
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