Image courtesy Tony Higgs
Image courtesy Tony Higgs

It’s astonishing to think that the very last Holiday in Holland rally in Borculo was 15 years ago this week – in fact, date-wise it’s 15 years ago TODAY, July 30th.

‘HiH’ was a legendary annual scooter rally that started all the way back in 1993.

One of my biggest regrets in scootering is that I didn’t attend this crazy event until the year 2000, and so I missed out on all the varied venues used from 1993 through to 1999. The final six rallies that I did attend (all at Borculo) have left an indelible mark in my scooter riding memory. I miss this rally more than any other event, by a long way.

I may need some of you Holiday in Holland veterans to correct the facts here, but I think the original name was given to acknowledge a week-long scooterist’s holiday, spent between two consecutive Dutch Scooter rally weekends in the middle of summer?

Warning!

This feature may contain scenes some viewers might find distressing. 

The style of scooter and rider is a good representation of the average HiH attendee
The style of scooter and rider is a good representation of the average HiH attendee

The early days 

The first rally in 1993 was in Borculo and was a joint venture between the Speed Demons SC and German club “The Tortured Maniacs.” The following weekend a rally was held approximately 110kms away in Venlo, organised by Marcus Broix of (Spirit of ’84 fame) or “Meltdown Marcus” as I affectionately call him.

The 1994 rallies were Borculo on the first weekend and then 140kms away in Baarlo for the second weekend’s rally.

In 1995 the first rally was at Barchem followed by a 100kms journey to Venlo for the second weekend’s rally.

By 1996 it was back for a single weekend’s rally to Borculo, this time in conjunction with Stockport Crusaders and VFM.

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The 1997 Holiday in Holland rally was in Belgium (strange I know), based in the far west of the country at the town of Westende. I think some riders used this as a stop-gap whilst travelling to the Euro Lambretta rally in Milan to celebrate 50 years of Lambretta.

Onto 1998, and the North Dutch town of Midwolda was the venue. This rally tied in with the World Vespa Days event – simply known as Euro Vespa back then, just 30kms away in Groningen.

The last 1990s H in H was held in July 1999 at the town of Ysselsteyn (pictured above).

In 2001 the Mansfield Monsters, Blazing Glory, Olympics and friends made a grand entrance...
In 2001 the Mansfield Monsters, Blazing Glory, Olympics and friends made a grand entrance…

As I mentioned at the start,  I sadly didn’t go to any of the early HiH rallies, but those of you that did will no doubt have good stories (leave a comment at the end) or photos to share.

A hot and sweaty dancefloor at the final HiH, 2005
A hot and sweaty dancefloor at the final HiH, 2005

By the year 2000, the rally was back to Borculo – the original town used in 1993 and this is where it stayed until the final one in 2005. My photos (and most of Iggy’s) in the ralleries all relate to the 2000-2005 period, and will hopefully raise a smile or two!

The Mansfield Monsters at Den Haag in 1992, rumours of a camp (and annoying) leather-wearing Dutchman being set on fire during this weekend is purely speculation
The Mansfield Monsters at Den Haag in 1992, rumours of a camp (and annoying) leather-wearing Dutchman being set on fire during this weekend is purely speculation

Brits on the piss

In the spirit of the Holiday in Holland name, our group of riders from the North of England,  and usually The Edinburgh Blues SC, would often make a week-long, or extended trip to Borculo via Amsterdam, Arnhem or where ever took our fancy. On two occasions we left the Cleethorpes National Rally on Sunday morning and headed straight to the North Sea ferry terminal at Hull for what turned out to be two 10 day piss ups. A rather bizarre flashback was an overnight stopover at the campsite used for the absolutely legendary Den Haag NSRA Euro Run in 1992. Yet another superb scooter weekend in an extremely laid back country.

Paddy and scourge of the North Sea, Popeye
Paddy and scourge of the North Sea, Popeye

Man overboard

The Thursday night party boat from Hull is notorious amongst Euro scooter riders. It’s like a mobile pub and disco, quite often it can get a little out of hand. In 2001, Popeye (the lad above right) ended up naked on stage with the cabaret – before being chased through the ship by security. Once caught, the inebriated Yorkshireman was thrown in the ship’s cells for the night. He was subsequently banned from P&O for life and had to fly home from the rally. Apparently getting naked in front of a family audience isn’t acceptable.

What could possibly go wrong?
What could possibly go wrong?

On tow

The journey from Rotterdam to Borculo was maybe 200kms but we always seemed to make it feel far harder and longer than it needed to be. One year a P2 rider in our group towed a stricken GP 200 for what seemed like the full journey! Not ideal around Amsterdam’s central ring road.

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The clubhouse and football field used for the Borculo rally was a great venue with good facilities. And the small town a couple of miles from the venue had plenty of bars and places to eat. It was always packed full of British scooterists on rally weekends.

Ever the gentleman, Col with "Wee Davie"
Ever the gentleman, Col with “Wee Davie”

Wee passenger

The ride to the 2002 rally was the most memorable of all my euro jaunts, solely down to my pillion passenger – a 12-year-old lad from Scotland. Now, before I go on, yes I’m the first to admit a 12-year-old child riding pillion on a scooter in a pack of 15 others on foreign roads is to some people, questionable. And, attending a rally like Holiday in Holland with him in our pack would seem highly debatable. But this youngster was no ordinary kid. He was “Wee Davie” the son of Dave and Lynn from the Edinburgh Blues S.C. With no room for him on Mum and Dad’s scooter, the thought of travelling in the club back up van saddened him, so the club members had tag-teamed him as a pillion for the 250-mile journey from Scotland to the Hull ferry terminal.

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The exuberance of youth  

I had been coerced into getting him across Holland to the rally. Wee Davie managed to sing for the entire journey, making more noise than the 15 two-stroke engines he was surrounded by. The singing was only interrupted when he felt the need to shout abuse at any passing car or lorry that got too close to us as we travelled. He sat on the back bolt upright and weighed little more than a rear carrier of luggage – he was the perfect passenger.

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Wangerland

The closest to the Holiday in Holland vibe is likely to be in Wangerland next August. It’s put on by the same people who run Meltdown and Venlo and has all the attributes of a ‘proper’ old-school Euro rally

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Only riders allowed!

Arriving at the campsite we were greeted by a car full of “Scooterists” being turned away by the gate staff. Wee Davie had a mixed look of sadness and anger in his eyes when he tapped me on the shoulder and said

They’re only cheating themselves in that car aren’t they Col?”

Wise words for a young kid in the middle of his own 700-mile scooter adventure. A young kid that’s now 30 years of age and a stalwart rider of the Scottish scooter scene I might add!!

It takes a German scooter boy with a good sense of humour to own 'Pussylicker' Luckily Marcus Broix fits the category
It takes a German scooter boy with a good sense of humour to own ‘Pussylicker’ Luckily Marcus Broix fits the category

Pussylicker

Only in a country like Holland could you park a 350 YPVS-powered Lambretta in the street,  complete with a leopard print seat, pink metalflake paint, and  “Pussy  Licker” signwriting, and it’s still considered normalish transport?

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I have so many memories from the place it would be hard to pick a favourite event. The crazy campsite shenanigans and scooters being thrashed on the dynos? I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a German Vespa with a standard engine!

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The drag strip sprint was always very popular – a narrow single-track path lined by trees and beer drinking scooterists added to the excitement spectating at it. The beer and banana race never ended well, and then there was the slightly manic ride out to the swimming lake.

Sticky's chopper and Al's 'Dreadnought'
Sticky’s chopper and Al’s ‘Dreadnought’

Demons in every sense

I think, best of all though, was the very alternative music policy. Not your standard run of the mill rally stuff here, but then the Speed Demons are not a run of the mill club by any stretch of a warped imagination! Members like Al Terry would make it impossible to get through a weekend without constant laughter, although he was never very far from his club mate Sticky with his big chopper!

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Born, born, born…

The night dos at Borculo ended in the following morning’s daylight, which just happened to coincide with the outdoor bar opening, to start all over again. One of the rallies theme tunes was “Born to be Alive” by Patrick Hernandez. I defy anyone that’s been to a Holiday in Holland rally not to think of the rally when they hear that song…

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For me this old saying has never been more apt:

If you have been to this rally, no explanation as to how good it was is necessary. If you haven’t been to the rally no explanation as to how good it was is possible”

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Come on Speed Demons Scooter Club, do the right thing

“RESURRECT  THE HOLIDAY IN HOLLAND RALLY SOON”

Stay safe SLUKers

Col

I will also always be very grateful to our old rally tour guide and chief organiser “Kitch”  (Hull Blues S.C) for getting us the best price deals on ferry crossings and booking all the things we were too useless to do for ourselves. Thanks mate.

Young Marc puts his DTC cutdown through a good dyno thrashing, egged on by European lager louts
Young Marc puts his DTC cutdown through a good dyno thrashing, egged on by European lager louts

Pages 2 & 3

To help speed up page load times, we’ve split the Ralleries over 3 pages, be sure to have a good flick through the pictures. There should be plenty of recognisable faces amongst the pictures.

Nothing says 'goodbye to Holiday in Holland' better than a mohican sporting scooterboy moonying from the sidecar of a commandeered sidecar outfit...
Nothing says ‘goodbye to Holiday in Holland’ better than a mohican sporting scooterboy moonying from the sidecar of a commandeered sidecar outfit…

Col’s HiH Rallery #1

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