48OE Blog  
Jul 4

Written by: 48OE Admin
04/07/2011 17:53  RssIcon

I have not seen one of those black and white silent comedy films for years, but all my youth came rushing back to me as I sat with beer in hand in a field in Wimborne.

A Series 1 Club Rally always has a certain dignity and formality. This is not a criticism of its members but more a reflection on the organisation of serried ranks of vehicles and the elder statesman position of the Series 1 Land Rover. As some friends and customers sat with me in relaxed mood with the sun setting I heard the first cry of ‘Ben’ echoing around the campsite.

Now imagine if you can, sitting at the top of a hill looking down an avenue with vehicles and tents beautifully parked to left and right. The precision of a military encampment springs to mind.

As I looked up, about 10 meters in front of me, a rather splendid canine entered stage left between a caravan and a tent at a leisurely trot and then exited stage right behind an 80 inch  Rag Top. He was followed at a brisk pace by a bearded gentleman (those that are regular readers of the blog or attend shows will know that most Land Rover owners sport beards). It was at this point that I deduced that Ben was the dog as shouts of ‘Here Boy’ were increasing in volume and intensity.

A few seconds later Ben appeared 20 meters away from stage right and disappeared behind a Forward Control stage left.  He was now followed, at a greater distance, by two men breathing a little heavily.

A short while later Ben appeared at the bottom of the hill, stopped mid avenue looked back, waited and then trotted off again. On this occasion he was now followed by two men and a younger lad. None of them appeared to be travelling quite as easily as Ben with his long loping stride.

You can clearly see a pattern emerging as Ben went from left to right and right to left, zig-zagging across the camp site. The pursuing pack increased in numbers with each pass - men and boys, fathers and sons, young and old (one was even on a bicycle). This scenario was repeated for about 20 minutes and looked like a chase from the Keystone cops. If only we had the Benny Hill theme music! The dog never seemed to break sweat and often stopped to let some of the humans catch up. The ‘Huntsman’ by contrast began to slow and show signs of fatigue as they ran from one side of the camp site to the other. At one stage we had groups of people running in both directions!

The Series One Club has always put on good events and from our Royal Box position, with beer in hand, this was one of their best entertainment packages!

We had a young Norweigan lad on our stand at the time who kept asking questions about what was going on as each pass from left and right was executed. I took a deep breath and explained, ‘The British are often seen as strange by other Europeans. We have great traditions and these are engrained in us since our childhood. At primary school we all played a game called ‘Bull Dog’ in the play ground and this is how we played it. I have just never seen it played with a Labrador before!’

I can confirm that there was a happy ending eventually - the humans gave up and as soon as the dog realised he had won he returned to his tent. At the time of writing I also believe no humans were hurt and most are now fully recovered from a series of minor cuts and strains. One may still be under medical attention due to exhaustion but he is expected to make a full recovery.