In late 1961, the English motorcycle press debated whether an 'Elephant Rally' could be held in the UK. The Conwy Motorcycle Club of Wales picked up the gauntlet, and the Dragon Rally was born. As a boy, I thought this would be a very good idea and badgered Dad about it, just like I had done in 1960 to get him to come to the TT. Mum didn't fancy the idea of camping in mid-winter, so told us to crack on alone.
"You went to the Dragon Rally? And now you feel a strange restlessness. So do I, and I know the symptoms. What you have is a dose of wanderlust; you have been bitten by the tingle of adventure, by the yearning to get away and explore the land you live in. The Dragon trek was something unique in motor cycling history. The bonfire which blazed in the foothills of Snowdon that wintry night kindled in thousands of minds new enthusiasm for the open air. Can the Dragon spirit spread throughout the land? Can it be used to bring adventure to a generation threatened by the sleeping sickness of spectating - of watching instead of doing? What we want is more Dragon Rallies in more places . . and with a heavy accent on self reliance. Bryn Bras proved that to try to feed and house several hundred motor cyclists is a major undertaking. Even granted the necessary facilities and organization, the product is something between an Army depot and a holiday camp. To demand a roof and fodder for a couple thousand souls restricts the choice of sites, puts a heavy burden on organization. But are these necessary? Dragons ought to be tough. Tent, sleeping bag and cooking stove must be their battle order."
We attended the second Dragon Rally which was held in Grwych Castle. A small group of fellow Isle of Man residents were keen to repeat the winter ride to the 50th anniversary Dragon. The location is kept secret, you arrive at a holding control and are then told of the location of the campsite. Bryn Bras Castle has changed somewhat in the past 48 years, it now offers stately accommodation with suites ranging from £450 to £850 per week! A bit different from a muddy field full of unwashed motorcyclists.