Despatch Rally – A nostalgic motorcycle event that celebrates the Despatch rider

10th May 2019

May bank holiday saw Superior Motorcycle Experiences take part in the 2019 Despatch Rally. The event is a celebration of motorcycling and its roots within the British military. It has a really unique format with riding, exploration, skill and adventure at its core; all qualities that align perfectly with the ethos at SME. 

SME supported the event by providing two Royal Enfield Himalayans from it’s fleet, as part of Saturday’s program of activities. The bikes and instructors were on-hand to provide an insight into some of the skill and technique required to handle a motorcycle successfully off road. The team received some great feedback, and it seems passing on some knowledge to those embarking on the main rally the following day was really useful.

James leads the tuition on the Royal Enfield Himalayans
One of the participants is off to a wobbly start

A diverse and interested gaggle of people attend the event ranging from fledgling riders with L plates through to period-correct classic enthusiasts and custom performance tuners.

The overarching theme that connects all of the attendees is the love of the ride, and sense of adventure (and competition for some!) 

The Despatch Rally offers the opportunity to try a multitude of tasks & challenges over the two days, and it was great to see so many people experiencing new things and broadening their horizons as a rider.

New skills: Shooting makes up part of the overall score
Navigation and map-reading are key
Diverse range of motorbikes attend

The Saturday is set-up as a kind of training day, with off-road and control skills at the core of what was taking place. That said, it was also scattered with activities such as racing, shooting and ‘grenade’ (wooden block) throwing, which provided variety, practise for the main rally on Sunday, and some genuinely fun variety of things to do. Everything links to the military theme and honours the heroic military ancestors to whom these skills would have been key. Riders really seemed to take on board the importance of the training and lap up the knowledge on offer at the Despatch Rally HQ, it was a great atmosphere to be a part of.

Lining up for Saturday’s training races

The Royal Enfield Himalayans provoked great dispute as always. The charming and capable little machine that has been quickly dismissed by many often lit a flame of enthusiasm in those who swung a leg over it. Its capable and confidence-inspiring manner means that riders usually find themselves at ease in what would normally seem a stressful situation. The balance and weight of the machine lends itself to the task at hand whilst its low seat height and wide bars ensure a secure platform for the rider to work with. Many of the participants came back for a second or third ride!

Seldom do you find such well received design that bridges so many styles and demographics. Somehow the humble Himalayan ‘chuggs along’ under the radar whilst subtly but firmly influencing those who experience it…

Everyone loves finding these red beacons throughout the day
Off road skills make up part of the Sunday challenge

Sunday at Despatch Rally is the main competition format. Riders set off from a start destination, maps and military-style log books in-hand, to record their attempts at four main challenges: bike control, shooting, off-road skill and a county-wide navigation and reconnaissance mission. 

SME helped marshal, all the time wishing to be a part of the main competition, the Enfields would be the perfect machine for the task. There are big plans in the pipeline for SME and the 2020 Despatch Rally, watch this space…

Many thanks to Ellen J Photogrpahy for capturing the event