The way we were: February 1963

Published: 07:30AM Jan 21st, 2013
By: Richard Rosenthal
Snow, ice, bitter cold and sleet failed to deter thousands of enthusiasts converging on Gwrych Castle for the annual Dragon Valley...
The way we were: February 1963

Annual Dragon Valley

Why ride hundreds of miles on treacherous roads astride lightweights, heavyweights, outfits and even mopeds to camp in sub-zero temperatures in Wales? Organising Conway Club secretary Laurence Irving had the answer; a bowl of soup and a tin badge, of course.

Gates for early arrivals opened at 4pm on Friday and by 10.30pm on Saturday evening 2369 hardy souls had signed in at the caravan control, each with their tales of derring-do. Perhaps the most heart-warming was that of German sidecarist Ulrich Schwab (BMW R69S). “He was bowling along the M1 with his two friends when he ran onto reserve and had to turn off at the next exit. No fuel station was to be seen so Ulrich asked directions of a 16-year-old lad. In no time the boy recognised them as ‘Dragonists.’ He took them home to meet his father John Watts, an enthusiast even at that time preparing for Gwrych. The Germans were invited to stay the night.”

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