Veteran scooterboy and Salford Knight Doug Turner rode with 27 other scooters of varying makes, shapes and sizes to the Banausen Breakdown II rally in Aachen Germany, over the weekend of 16th to 18th June 2017. Situated on the Belgian and Dutch borders it was within easy distance of Rotterdam, following a lively night on the party boat from Hull.
New year planning
It all started in February. Every year the Salford Knights organise an overseas rally that has been majority voted for by the paid members. This year, the choice came back as Banhausen Borderland Breakdown II, just outside Aachen in Germany. So that is about 150 miles from Rotterdam and 110 miles from Salford to Hull for the ferry. Numbers going between 28-32, but at the last minute, but you always have a couple drop out.
We are quite happy to take a couple lone riders, who do not get to vote on the rally, but are more than welcome to join us. We’ve taken “Scouse Dave” from Wrexham for the last 7+ years, Hefin of the North Wales Nomads, for the last three trips, as well as first timer’s Justin from Leigh in Lancashire and a couple of lads from Lincs, who travelled back with us from Venlo last year.
The riding order, 11 Lambrettas, 11 Vespas (GTS, P range and a not very reliable 150 Super with an auto engine), 1 Gilera Runner, 1 MP3 and trailer (which took half of the people’s luggage and a pillion) and 5 of those wanna be, Chinese lookalike Lambretta thingy’s.
Party boat with a pillion
Firstly, the most important things are having a well-maintained scooter, ride on motorways, pay your way, have a great laugh and don’t fall out with anyone……. join in the “party boat”, have an ability to drink and dance to the tunes on the dance floor.
Wednesday night I get a call about a broken-down scooter, not to “leave you crying, when there’s room on my scoot for two” – so it was “twos up” for me, all the way.
Four of the five groups set off from their homes, with the main meeting point Hartshead Moor on the M62, 1.00 pm on the Thursday. This gives us enough time for breakdowns and essential working, running repairs,etc. Onwards to the Sportsman in Hull, buffet arranged and a good feed. First breakdown was the only Lambretta with a varitronic. 2 hours stripping it, borrowed a mutimeter from the local garage, stator changed and ready with 27 minutes left until ferry boarding. The fifth contingent (Lincs lads) arrived late on their Scomadis (the Lambretta was on time), so the Salford Knights ate their buffet.
All board the party boat! I don’t do cabin organisation as there is always someone who kicks off with their snoring roomie. Those that have been on a ferry with the Knights before, know that we normally get to bed for the wake-up announcements – the cabaret was good, NO bingo, what’s that all about? and the dancing started. The Jägermeister kept us all warm and topped up.
Hungover for disembarkation, but we set off. We all fuelled up in Hull so it was 40 miles to the first garage. Then off 55 miles to the next garage and stop. We had broken the journey already. We then got lost around Breda, splitting the group into two – but 30 miles outside the site, we were all together. Disrobed in the blistering sun, Club colours showing and 28 scooters rolled into the site, in just under 5 hours. Not bad with stops and fuelling all of the scooters in our riding contingent.
Arriving at the site, we were welcomed by Steve Evans, Rokko, Thomas and others – patches given and wristbands on, through the farming bit and onto the camping.
“Be careful of the wood chippings and gravel, don’t lose the scooter.”
Copo from our club and a few others never took notice to the warning. No damage except hurt pride.
The camp site was filling up. We took the best place, by the side of the motorway on top of the slope, away from cow sheds. Park the scooters, locked them up – they never move for two days and set up camp.
Off to the outdoor bar area where we started drinking and never stopped. The lager was on tap, with a deposit for the glass, so you kept taking it back. Great idea and thinking, but it was not always consistent. The hosts brought round many free shots, which we heavily indulged it. Had a quirky shot tray made out of Vespa wheel rim…nice touch. We then started with the on site caterers. They had everything German – highly recommend the “CurryWurst mit pommes”. The afternoon went into the evening, that went into night. The scooters were arriving in every shape, size and colour. The infamous “chicken chasers”, reckon there was a whole club of them, plenty of Vespas and some nice Lambrettas from all over Germany.
As the evening cooled down and sunset was approaching, the music got louder and our hosts DJ’s had the madding crowds dancing into a frenzy. Free beers kept coming out and food appeared.
One of the highlights of the evening was catching up with Jason from JB’s, we rode together in 1980-83, from the Isle of Wight, reminiscing, talking about old mates and meeting new ones.
That’s what scooter riding is all about.
Saturday morning, we were falling out of the tents, some showered, some eating breakfast – but what the Knights are really good at, bring gaz stoves and making the brews. 15 brews later and we were reading for a wonder into town. Our hosts laid on a cooked breakfast with an endless supplies of tea and coffee, for just a small amount – some of us took advantage and some just looked like a bag of poo. Personally, I was the latter. The incredibly great night was fast becoming a blur.
Into town, 2 mile walk to nearest bus stop to hit the main square. We had “Maccies”, noodles, kebabs and plenty of other great wholesome food. Sat harmlessly in front of Frittenwerk, after two or three beers, we started waking up and went wandering. We only come across one sh*t pub, not down to cost or taste of beer but very unhospitable. Moving on with the “Oompah” accompanying us, we did a mixture of singing, Howard being a busker, entertaining the local hen night fraternity, to finally drinking in the square when we came across Osiris Pauch, an Afro-German musician. As we were singing, he went and got his guitar and spent the 30 minutes doing a Manchester tribute (“don’t look bag in anger”), some Madness covers and culminating with the Salford Knights version of the Israelites. You can check on the antics here and here.
T shirt change
Time was getting on and it was taxis back to the site – quick T shirt change and the site had really got busy. The numbers that had arrived in the day was great, the camp site was spewing over (literally Wayne) and the bar and converted barn where the dance floor was at saturation.
It was a harder, more concentrated version of the first night. The only thing I regret, was not getting back in time for the trophies. The custom show and personal awards. Some lad travelled 750km from Switzerland! Salford Knights were proud recipients of the best turned out club. That was not because our hosts let us make rally T shirts based on our members shirts with their logo on the back and we looked really smart, but we were the best attended and furthest ridden whilst twos up on a geared scooter. We also missed out on the ride out on Saturday, taking in Germany, Holland and Belgium. One of the lads did it, for the rest of us, we wanted to preserve what was left in our trusty steeds for the journey home.
Sunday was always going to be about us riding back – and this write up is about the Rally. It was a great event, well hosted. Although the venue felt a bit underwhelming on arrival, within an hour, it was warm, functional, well organised and well staffed. Only gripe about the rally was about there not being enough showers. There were enough toilets, those funky two urinals were also great, I’m sure all the girls were jealous.
Push of shame
Just a foot note, all back to Rotterdam with time to spare, watch Wayne push his Vespa into McDonalds. Stupid hybrid auto, none of our Vespa or Lambretta electrics would fit. So he had to make do with recovery to the ferry and pushing the scoot onto the freight deck.
A big thanks
Thank you to Steve, Rokko, Thomas and the KulturBanausen SC crew – we are still all buzzing.
Words and Pics: Doug Turner, Salford Knights SC