Glevum Stax 40th anniversary weekender | RALLERY
I sometimes wonder about the sanity of our chosen lifestyle. Take last weekend for instance. The weather forecasting doom-mongers were predicting swarms of flesh-eating locusts across the UK. With amber warnings for life-threatening drizzle, red warnings for gusty winds of Dorothy and Toto lifting proportions. Festivals were cancelled, people were warned to stay indoors or ‘At your own peril be it’. We ignored them and got the tent packed and scooters loaded.
Thankfully Scooterists are made of strong stuff and despite our unsuitable mode of transport and flimsy nomadic accommodation close to 500 people turned up at the sold-out Glevum Stax 40th anniversary event to party like it was 1979.
Life in the fast lane
We’re not completely stupid though, me and the missus looked for a window of opportunity in the weather before setting off on our vintage steeds mid-afternoon. Sunshine replaced earlier rain and the odd gust of wind didn’t worry us too much.
The first 50 odd miles flew by and we were soon stopping for fuel before cracking on again. Not long after this fuel stop Linsey and myself were loving life in the fast lane, overtaking a lorry on the busy M42 when her scooter suddenly seized in front of me. We always ride in staggered formation so I rode past her rapidly slowing scooter safely and looked back to see 38-tonnes of artic wagon bearing down on her as she floundered between the 2-foot wide central reservation and outside lane.
Her Lambretta was looking like becoming a new mascot on his bonnet. Thankfully the lorry driver was on the ball and able to protect her and slow the rest of the traffic down to allow her to coast across both lanes and safely on to the hard shoulder, hero. She wasn’t overly flustered by the near-death experience but the scooter was terminally ill having dropped a ring.
We all know the breakdown services are pretty useless these days and it was only 50-odd miles home so I left her at the side of the road and rode back home on the Series One, hitting rains of biblical proportions all the way back. I’d ridden over 100 miles, been out of the house for three hours and was back home where I started.
Man with a van and a plan
The plan was to get my van, stick my S2 Quattrini in the back (it has better luggage carrying capacity) then drive back to collect the stranded scooter (and Linsey nine lives), dump the van at a mate’s house en route, redistribute the luggage on to my S2 and shoot off to the rally. And that’s what we did, arriving at the rally for 6:30 pm.
Lower Lode Inn
Our tent was quickly pitched in an idyllic location at the bottom of a steep bank overlooking the swollen River Severn, the perfect spot to be flooded out from both sides if the predicted rains arrived. It looked pretty though so that’s all that mattered.
No matter what you say, a scooter only camping event is the best way to gather a bunch of chilled out, like-minded folks together for a party. Everybody has had a journey there, they haven’t got all the luxuries of home and are all there for the same reasons – to have a good time with friends old and new. The Stax welcoming blackboard proclaimed…
It’s not about going to a rally, it’s about riding to a rally…”
In this case that motto was certainly true and the only other vehicles on site belonged to staff of the pub (or the disabled/infirm).
The ancient Lower Lode Inn was busy from the off, everybody catching up on journeys and troubles along the way. People there from all around the UK and even the odd German and a couple of French scooter riders. Actually, the two ‘French’ people were our friends from north of the border, although a lady who shall remain nameless* couldn’t understand a word of their thick-Scottish accents and assumed they were ‘real’ foreigners. It was good to see Monsieur Scott and his father in law, Shep down from Bonnie Scotland though, a 350-mile ride in dire conditions.
The Stax branded ciders and ales flowed faster than the River Severn and the separate village hall style venue was soon packed with happy dancers. Friday night was one of those nights you just don’t get very often these days. Perfect.
*Julie Tracey – you div.
Despite the heavy rain and blustery winds overnight I managed to get a bit of decent kip and staggered out of our canvas abode at 10 am, just as breakfast was finishing. Luckily we managed to get the dregs and after a hot shower (I found the awesome inside shower by mistake whilst most people suffered the draughty portacabins outside) it was time to catch the ferry across the river to town.
To be fair, ‘ferry’ is overegging things slightly, a semi-submerged small boat with a few inches of brown water lapping at your feet, operated by a toothy ginger pirate is closer to the truth. The young lad was on over £100 an hour at least for the £1.50 a time crossing 2-minute crossing. It was a much better option than the 6-mile walk into town, or £16.50 taxi if you could get one though.
Tewkesbury is a quaint little town with just enough pubs to keep the hordes of thirsty Scooterists amused for an afternoon. As per usual, Wetherspoons became the central focus and it filled rapidly through the day.
Fun and games
Meanwhile back on-site various old school fun and games were being played outside as the sun shone and trees blew sideways new arrivals still turned up. We missed all the campsite fun, yard of ale and frozen t-shirt contests but staggered back to the boat at teatime and found ourselves waiting for half an hour whilst Long John Ginger Beard counted his silver on-site in his caravan. We eventually arrivied back on-site and straight into some kind of kids horror movie.
Can’t get no sleep
The rally site was teeming with enough dodgy 1970s TV characters to give 70s kids nightmares. Very surreal and it would get weirder as the night drew on as Noddy and his friends took to the dance floor. The Banana Splits were superb, as was Captain Mainwaring, the ladies from Are You Being Served, Frank Spencer and all the others who made an effort.
The night went off big style. DJs Dave Lloyd and Jay Watson mashed things up. If you wanted a night of Ska on 45 you’d be disappointed. If you had an open mind and liked floor-filling anthems and an electric atmosphere then you’d come to the right place. For me the highlight had to be Faithless – Insomniac, when that dropped a floor full of TV characters and assorted ‘normal’ folk went mad for a goosebumps-inducing moment in time. Lazers, smoke and writhing bodies everywhere.
Shiny happy people
We came back from Stax & Gas with a warm fuzzy feeling, and it wasn’t because we’d got too close to the Honey Monster the night before. This scooter only event reminded me what it’s all about. It had all the right ingredients for a perfectly baked Scooterist pie. Everybody was there just to have a good time, young and old alike. Scooter riders and broadminded party people just up for a laugh.
500 people in a fairly remote pub, a load of tents, scooters parked outside, great entertainment and people who aren’t afraid of riding a few miles in the rain and wind was all it took. Glevum Stax pulled it off very nicely and we’ll look forward to partying with them again soon.
Words and photos: Iggy
Additional images: Jane Salcombe/Linsey/Sticky
Rallery by Jane Salcombe
Rallery by Iggy
Stax of goodies in the SLUK Shop…