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HiH RALLY 2000
REVIEW BY TONY HIGGS OF LONDON LAMBRETTA CLUB
AS PRINTED IN SCOOTERING MAGAZINE
No journey to a scooter rally would be complete without a little drama and the trip to Holiday in Holland 2000 was no exception. On reflection, after meeting up with the lads from the South Wales Borders SC, our problems were minor compared to theirs, seeing as it took them 24 hours to get to the rally. I should have known that it was going to be one of those days that Friday morning, when Dean and I met Jeff on the other side of Croydon, South London and Jeff announced that he had forgotten his passport. It wasn’t quite as simple as popping home to get it as his passport was sitting on the kitchen table in his flat in Camden, North London. There was no option open to us but to drive like the clappers across town and we completed this in record time as the traffic seemed fairly light for six in the morning. Forty five minutes later, we had collected his favourite mug shot and sped off to meet our fourth and last travelling partner Patch, on the A12 towards Harwich. Dean was having some problems with the clutch on his TS1 and by the time we arrived at the rendezvous with Patch, an hour late, I had jumped on his scoot and was nursing it to a standstill. We took the decision to carry on and told him to take it easy, but no more than three miles were covered before those little cork pads had totally disintegrated. I don’t know why or how it got in there, but I had a brand knew set of clutch plates in my spares bag – quite lucky eh. The Gods were definitely on our side that day as we performed the fastest clutch change in history, in only fifteen minutes. By the way, we are now available by appointment only, to any Formula 1 team that requires our services.
No problems from there and we flew into Harwich with only fifteen minutes to spare before our sailing. Joining about ten other scooters in the hold, we headed for a seat at the bar for refreshment and sustenance. Our next problem arose fairly soon, with the ferry being delayed for over an hour. An announcement declared that they didn’t have written permission to leave the port. This I couldn’t understand this as it was a scheduled sailing, but we found out some time later the real reason. Apparently on a recent arrival to Harwich, this Super Sea Cat crossed the path of a small sailing boat. The wake from the Sea Cat caused the smaller craft to overturn, with the owner on board drowning as he couldn’t swim! That morning his solicitors served the Ferry Company a writ, so they had to get written permission to leave the port form British Authorities. The things that happen to you on a scooter rally eh! Our problems developed further after arriving in Holland. We missed the turning for the motorway and had a little five-mile detour. Then, Patch ran over Jeff’s Walkman as it bounced along the road after falling out of his pocket. Nice. Twenty miles from the campsite, Patches exhaust stud broke on his TS1 and woke up the locals. We pulled into a lay-by and spent the next hour pissing around, settling on an old gear cable wrapped round the manifold, pulled tight and locked under the engine bar nut. Hey, it got him there eventually as after looking at the map I managed to get us lost, again.
We pulled into the venue for the weekend about ten that Friday night, now in the pissing rain. I knew straight away that we were very welcome, as the first thing shoved into my hand was a can of beer. Ta very much like! As we were sorting out our entrance fee, from behind me I heard the Cockney tones of ‘ Oi! Urry up’. Fuck me, if it wasn’t a mate of ours, Steve Edwards. Now ordinarily I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him, but on this occasion, Steve had been MIA for over a month traveling round Spain and France. The soppy bugger had rode from Southern Spain up through France to one of the ferry ports, left his traveling partner, Jerry at Dieppe and carried on to Borculo for the Speed Demons Rally. Flash bastard!
Although they had held the event here before, my first Holiday in Holland, was last year at the fly infested horse farm and this place, from first impressions, certainly looked the ticket. We made our way through the carpark onto the football pitch to strike a little piece of ground that we could call home for the next three nights. The fastest tent erection was now performed and beer was foremost on our minds. (You could almost make a song out of that last line). We settled in for a night of pure alcohol, catching up with some old friends and making new continental ones as well. Grrrreat. By the way, a mate of ours, Steve Bone, had denied to me that he was going to make the weekend as he was working. When his firm asked him to deliver some goods to Holland, obviously he jumped at the chance and threw his scoot in the back of the van. He left his work mate at the port with the truck and poodled down for the weekend. Now that is scootering.
The following morning, I was awoken abruptly by Dean, shouting for us to get up in his best South London accent. A few expletives were exchanged as you can imagine. Patch had asked around about a local bike shop to drill out and re-tap his broken exhaust stud and decided to remove the barrel and take it into town with us. Grub was the first priority of the day, so we jumped on the scoots and popped into Borculo town. Unbeknownst to us, they were cooking a nice little breakfast on site, but the fresh air did me good. The weather was a little drizzly that morning and after a healthy helping of ham and eggs on toast, (so un-Dutch), Patch and Dean went for a little stroll to find a garage. Three cups of tea with no milk later, they returned with a hopeful smile on their faces. Patch had found a local Mazda garage who, offered not only drill out and tap the exhaust studs holes, but cut and insert some new studs. Result! Meanwhile, back at the ranch…. Beer was in order. Now I don’t know how good old Johnny foreigner gets this stereotypical view of people from Britain, but I tell you, I could hear the little beer fairy telling me, ‘go to the bar, and buy copious amounts of beer’. Now I’m not the sort of person who is easily influenced but, when I hear the beer fairy, I have to do exactly what she says - honest. Back at the venue, I bumped into this German guy, Steve, who told me a joke the night before, and I actually found it quite funny. It really wasn’t just the beer of the previous night. When I told him that his English was very good and that to carry off a joke and get a laugh not in your native language was no mean feet. He replied that he only spoke Ginglish, obviously a German version of our own fair one.
The arrival of a people carrier and trailer disrupted our afternoon entertainment now that the sun had come out. The trailer was in fact a Dyno, and the chaps went about rigging it up. The first seven or eight scoots were all Vespas, so we needed a Lambretta to keep the side up. Up stepped this chap with a bog standard 125 Servetta. Not quite what I had hoped for but a Lammy all the same. Now, most of these Vespas were highly tuned, full conversion kits, large carbs, flashy exhausts and generally hit over 20 horse power. Up steps our friend on this bogo Servetta and gives the best 2 runs of his life. I’m sure, stretching the throttle cable until there was one strand left. 7.8 hp on his second run, much to the crowds delight. My mate Jeff was up next on his Series 2, 205 engine and Everoak corker lid on. During all this excitement, Patch had returned to the Mazda garage, collected his TS1 barrel and re-fitted it. At this point, the petrol heads had to take a break from the fun and games as the good old beer and banana race was about to start. Jeff tried to persuade me to get involved but seeing as I had witnessed Wolfy, chunder this game so many times before, I turned him down. Jeff was not to be beat and he soon had two eager young girls clinging to the back of his perfect Series 2. Sticky explained the rules and for those of you, who haven’t seen this before, this is how it goes…Two to a scooter, or in Jeff’s case three. Drive from one table to the other, approx. 20 Mts. apart, and at each table, both driver and rider have to eat a banana and drink a pint of beer. The race finishes when there is no food or beer left and the winner is judged on pure entertainment value alone. Simple afternoon enjoyment isn’t it. Well the usual chaos ensued and as the game went on, the grass around each table became slippery and churned up with the eventual sliding and dropping of a couple of scooters. I think the competitors comprised of German, Belgian, Dutch, Scottish and English Teams. Eventually we had a tie for the winner between Jeff and his two girls and the Scots but, to be honest, they were all winners for taking part. Reviewing the carnage at the end of the event, there were a couple of tired looking scoots, with a few extra dents and a burnt out clutches but hey, if you don’t know what happens, don’t join in right! The crowd’s attention was now drawn to the wheel of misfortune. Strapped like a starfish, you were basically spun round until you threw up. How we laughed on the way to the casualty unit. Who ever managed to keep control won some beer. Consequently, no one won but projectile vomit is funny if it is not yours. Next up was the sprint race. Various scoots piped against each other on a strip of road to the rear of the field. Plenty of revs and two stroke smoke with a bloke on a Lammy, up against a small frame Vespa. Now this bloke was so determined not to be beaten by a small frame, that he left it really late for breaking and overshot the end of the strip, careering straight through a hedge and into a field. Now that’s what I call getting back to nature. The Dyno started up again, I stuck my Lambretta on and rung its neck at full revs. I probably took about 2 thousand miles off my oil seals but it was worth doing just for crowd entertainment. Three TS1 were up next with Dean reaching 22hp, Patch 24hp and a bloke with a 5 year old water cooled version hitting 26hp. The overall winner was a T5 reaching 29hp, which is not to be sniffed at. As the beer flowed more and more people literally found Dutch courage, pushing their love and joy onto the ramp. There were two crowd pleasers that afternoon. The first was a SX200, locking his wheel at 80mph and the friction of the revolving roller blew his tyre, spraying rubber all over the crowd. The second was a P range, similar speed, but at the end, instead of changing into neutral and braking, he slammed it into first and sheared his cruciform with a loud clang from the gearbox.
I managed to loose the next few hours for some unknown reason, and found myself near the back of the field watching some Germans doing burnouts on a Vespa. It was quite entertaining as they were using old tyres covered in petrol. Smoke billowed out the back and the heat from the friction blew the inner tube with a thunderous explosion, waking any people having an early evening siesta.
I bumped into Dean who was looking very pissed off. He and Patch had driven into town to get something to eat and found a Chinese where they had a good belly full of noodles. Outside, preparing to leave, Patch started up his scoot. All of a sudden, this German Shepherd dog ran out of a bar, barking like mad. Obviously the noise of the scoots had annoyed him as he sunk his fangs into Dean’s front mudguard. Dean understandably flipped and flew into the bar to find the owner. No one owned up and if you saw Dean in full thunderous rage, you’d understand why. Consequently, his mudguard had four perfectly formed scratches, the exact distance apart as the bite from the dog. Perhaps we could get Quincy involved here to solve the crime. I did feel sorry for Dean as he had only recently got his scoot back from the spray shop. In one way he was quite lucky that his mudguard was metal not fiberglass like mine, as if the hound from hell had taken a bite at one of those, there would be nothing left. Sorry about your scoot Dean, but you must admit, on reflection, if it wasn’t so bizarre and funny, it would be serious.
The evening’s entertainment was well underway in the main room, with sounds pumping from Northern Soul to Modern Dance. You will be surprised at how many people danced and enjoyed the more modern music, including myself. It’s quite refreshing to have a slightly different angle on the music at a scootering event as people my age have been listening to the same shite for the last 15 to 20 years. Down in the basement was a small room, with some top ‘live mixing’ being performed. We checked this out towards the end of the evening whilst consuming gallons of water. Mmmmm. Around midnight, the custom show prizes were presented, with my mate Jeff wining best Lambretta for his Series 2. Yes this was the one that was covered in beer and banana. But besides this most delicious cocktail, his scoot really is the ticket. Our hosts that weekend, The Speed Demons and Hidden Power SC, had bought a LI Series 3 for the top prize in the raffle. A special guest, Gary (hello sailor) was asked to pull out the tickets, firstly for the runners up prizes. Towards the end, Gary, very cleverly I might add, managed to strip off an item of clothing between presentations. Once he was stark bollock naked, this distracted the crowd sufficiently for him to slip his mates number in for the first prize. Nice try sailor, but you were rumbled at your own game. A young lady won the scoot in the end and she started it up on the stage, much to the delight of the crowd. We partied on into the early hours, finally hitting the sack around six in the morning.
A bit of a lay-in was called for on Sunday morning and after sticking my head out of the tent around eleven, the sight of most of our friends leaving greeted me. By mid afternoon there were four tents left - ours. We had planned to return home on Monday, so into the bar we went. A few stragglers were left, including some of our hosts and Dirty Danny from Belgium. I’m sure he was that truck driver in that video with the three nuns I watched the other week. We basically chilled out that day, going into town later to get some grub and then hitting a bar. I’m always so impressed by the hospitality and generosity of some of our continental cousins when abroad. Around one in the morning, we tried to call a cab and was quoted about an hour. Alternatively, the guy who run the bar, who was the son of the people where the rally had been held, offered to take us back in his car. I don’t think you would get that kind of hospitality in South London some how.
We heard the UK Speed Demons leave around six thirty in the morning and I rolled over for a few more hours shut eye. We had to leave by midday at the latest if we had any chance of getting our four o’clock ferry from the Hook of Holland that afternoon. The journey was about 130 miles and after some ham and eggs in town (again), we set off towards the motorway. Holding a steady seventy, we soon ate up the miles. A pretty uneventful journey back to the port, with the exception of Jeff almost being wiped out by firstly, a police car and then a large people carrier hurtling towards him at about 110mph. We met a second police car at a service station not far from Rotterdam. The copper came over and said that there had been a complaint about four scooters driving dangerously. ‘Oh really’, we exclaimed, ‘well, we will certainly be very careful from now on officer’ we said. Back on the motorway, we managed to drive the last thirty odd miles at 80 mph, slip streaming any vehicle that we could. Hope that was safe enough for you sir. Ferry, Harwich, home by 10pm in South London, ready for work the following day – Joyful.
I do so enjoy these European rallies. My first was quite late in life to Milan in ’97 and you can’t keep me away from them now. My Mum always said I was a late starter in life. The vibe and atmosphere of the Holiday in Holland rally is a laid back one with no one being intimidating or generally making a nuisance of themselves. I do hope it stays that way in future rallies and people fall into the ‘Dutch easy way’. What more do you want from a weekend, Scooters, good beer, good food, good music, good vibe, entertainment, meeting new continental cousins, and great company provided by our hosts – sorted, see you next year most def!
Tony Higgs – Full Bore Tours & London Lambretta Club.
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