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  Southern Section diary

Ready for the off
Return to events....
Using the drop-off system with Mike and I as lead and Mike Cross as tail-ender, we led the way north through Alton, stopping to re-group (as we thought) on the Odiham road before heading north on a winding route taking in quaint villages with names such as Weston Corbett, Weston Patrick, Herriard and Preston, Chilton and Brown Candover. By now the temperature was rising but fortunately we were following a route through leafy lanes largely shielding us from the direct heat of the beating summer sunshine.
So, our now depleted group of seven bikes continued the ride on the backroads through Overton, Whitchurch, Hurstbourne Priors, Wherwell and Chilbolton to our destination at the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop, as planned, about 12:30
We were very pleased to see that nearly all the riders who had set off from Bahnstormer had made it to Middle Wallop (including James and Helen who were late for the start and had made their own way). The only ones missing were Mike and Jeannette Cross.
Nearing Overton we pulled over to regroup once again only to discover that a significant number of our riders had quite literally - dropped off. We waited a while and were joined by a group of stragglers who confirmed that there had been some confusion with the drop-off system way back and no more riders were likely to be joining us at our unscheduled pause. The general opinion was that we should carry on with the planned route and hope that Mike Cross was able to pick up the missing bikes.
Scenery to delight - for those who managed to keep up
Where was our tail-ender? That question was answered on their arrival just a few minutes later. They had been pulled over by an un-marked police car and given a brief but unnecessary lecture about joining a main road from a sideroad. Perhaps this unavoidable delay partly explained why we all got so fragmented as a group. We were however, reassured that all of the riders who had left Farringdon and were expected at Middle Wallop, had now safely arrived. We were also joined by Dean on his brand new Triumph Tiger 1200 who, having family commitments, had been unable join us for the ride.
Sixteen bikes and nineteen people gathered at Bahnstormers in Alton on a warm, sunny morning. It was good to meet Andy for his first club ride, Gary who joined us from the Oxford section and Mac who is considering becoming a member. Refreshed by orange juice and a biscuit or two, we set off at 10:45for a bimble through the villages and countryside of Hampshire.
Middle Wallop, being an airfield, offered very little shade from the ferocious heat of the sun but we all made for the meagre shade provided by the bushes along the edge of the airfield perimeter fence and sprawled out on the grass, tucking into our socially-distanced picnics (some bought snacks from the café).
With much conversation and banter, (with some riders offering easier targets then others!) we soon began to wend our ways home. Most people took their own routes home while Mike led four riders on a faster route back to Bahnstormer, at Farringdon where we stopped again for refreshment.
Back on the dealership’s forecourt, a false black widow spider by the water tap caused some interest with Helen warning of dire consequences had we been bitten! Sadly, the spider was much too quick for my camera to capture an image for proof.
Thanks go to Mike and Lesley Smith for organising, Mike and Jeanette Cross for tail-ending and sources of interest, and everyone who joined our successful ride-out.