Kicking off our club’s scootering season in style is a regular rideout to the insanity-fest that is Scooterist Meltdown.
It has always been an all-inclusive weekend of wasted weirdos stuffed into a nuclear power-station. Nowadays it has also become one of the premier places to catch up on all that is new on the scene in terms of customising and technology. More on that later this week…
First we had to get there, as usual eschewing the easier options of flying or driving…
I’ll get on to Meltdown itself in a moment, but first a couple of stories of the journey.
On the way towards Hull, the mighty Maicoletta 400 (star of Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle) that was transporting myself and my good lady towards the ferry suffered a stuck throttle due to the nylon-lined cable being routed a little too close to the exhaust pipe.
The only solution to make progress was by turning off the ignition as we approached a junction and then turning it back on while still rolling to make gaps in the traffic. Don’t try this at home kids.
Thankfully there was a large Halfords on the way into Hull where I managed to pick up a couple of lengths of pushbike outer cable to affect a repair.
Sadly, while working on the Maico some dope in a VW van decided it would be a great idea to ride over my Shoei helmet in Halfords carpark. Only Tracy’s shouts got him to stop long enough to reverse his back wheel off it so I could retrieve my lid, at which point he said “you mad-heads – I thought I’d run someone over” before putting it in gear and driving off into the sunset. We got witnesses and his number-plate so we’ll see how this one progresses through the legal system…
The reason I was rushing to Hull was to try to obtain an exhaust for one of our group whose stainless steel Sterling pipe had split at the downpipe. Al and Spooner had cobbled it back together enough with Jubilee clips to cut the noise down to slightly quieter than a Red Arrows flypast.
Sadly Nasty Jon – Leeds Central SC’s Hull resident – was already relaxing onboard the ferry with two other clubmates. Relaxing after spending the whole afternoon fixing Spike’s smoke-machine Lammy to cure a blown drive-side oilseal. After a crank-out rebuild it still smoked like Vesuvius and only then did Spike realise that he’d filled it up with diesel by mistake.
As someone who lives in a glass house, I cannot throw stones.
With less than an hour before final boarding, we reconciled to getting Spooner’s exhaust welded in Holland and went to the pub for a meal. Only then did Jon phone back to say that there was an old Clubman exhaust hanging up in his garage and a mate of his called Tim was in the pub we were in and had a key to the house.
Half an hour later we were on the ferry fitting Jon’s spare exhaust to Spooner’s GP in readiness for the morning. This sort of camaraderie is what makes the scooter scene so special.
Beam me up Scotty
This year’s theme for fancy dress was ‘Space’, so it was a welcome sight to see Mareike and the rest of the girls at Meltdown reception in full Star Trek regalia handing out complimentary shots of cherry schnapps.
Organisers, Spirit of ’84 never conceived Meltdown as a rally because they were worried about the safety of riders in winter conditions. Still there are scooterists who insist on riding, not least of all the Rimini Lambretta Centre crew who crossed the Alps in horizontal blizzard conditions as part of their #breakdownparty edition 2.
Lambretta Vega was the weapon of choice, apart from Scotty Muir who was given Dean’s Avanti Kelvinator to ride. That’s a scooter so ugly that it appears to have been borne of an unspeakable sex act between a Cento, a Vespa PX and a fridge. I bet there were times on that journey when Scotty wouldn’t have minded being beamed up, but I’m sure the furthest ridden trophy made it worthwhile.
VIDEO - WONK UNIT IN ACTION
It’s gone all Wonky
And so it begins: Scooterists, unlimited ale and almost endless food. What could possibly go wrong?
I’ll come to that in a moment.
In the band area you could enjoy south Laaaaaaaandon punksters Wonk Unit, while the Darkside Sound System handled the Boom-Boom Room and a host of DJs looked after sounds in World of Leather (our nickname for the main room and its host of leather-waistcoat-wearing German scooterboys).
VIDEO - SCOOTERIST MELTDOWN OFFICIAL VIDEO
We finally got kicked out at around 4 am but we weren’t the last to bed. By some wondrously poor navigation, a drunken Kev from the Lowriders SC managed to arrive in the subterranean labyrinth below the never-commissioned nuclear power station in which the event is held. While stumbling around looking for his room Kev managed to arrive at the server room for the Wunderland complex and closed the thick steel door behind him.
Kev, unable to escape and scared that nobody would find him did the only logical thing to alert people to his presence. He started unplugging things; taking down the wifi, the booking system, the fire alarms etc etc. Basically he disabled the entire site between 4 am and 7 am.
The Wunderland owners called the police to what they initially thought was an act of deliberate sabotage, only to discover a sozzled South-West scooterboy in need of his bed. Instead of a well-earned duvet, Kev received a very hefty bill for the cost of getting computer systems specialists in to fix everything on a Saturday morning. By the time most people arose it was like nothing had ever been off-line.
It’s never completely serious at Meltdown, even if traders, customisers and tuners now treat the event as a prestigious place to show off their wares. More of that in future articles.
Metalflake paintwork is clearly enjoying a revival: both the SIP Pordoi GTS and Something Special are beautiful but none was more eye-popping than the Pure Acid Lammy painted by Riding Dirty Customs.
The machine that most floated my boat was Dark Arc Engineering’s wonderful 550cc Lambretta LD fitted with Aprilia’s extremely compact SXV V-twin producing a claimed 70hp. When Aubrey revved it the noise was like a Rottweiler being given a chilli-sauce enema. Would love to have a go on that.
Louder still was SIP’s ‘Something Special’ which with its BFA 306 engine put out over 72hp on the dyno. I’ll send them an invoice for replacement eardrums.
In the midst of all this, you get idiots waltzing round dressed as aliens, quaffing and chilling. People were running all manner of ridiculously powerful scooters on the outside dyno. Inside an oriental doctor with a facemask injects people with some hardcore alcohol from a syringe.
My personal highlight, however, was the flash-mob of the crew from Stoke all dressed up in inflatable ‘kidnapped by aliens’ costumes dancing in front of the stage. It’s all wonderfully bizarre.
I must say that by 5 pm, after the Skatuesques played and Marcus Broix did his ‘had-no-sleep-because-the-site-went-offline’ presentation of 1000 trophies and raffle prizes, even many of the traders were mullered. My personal vote for the drunkest stall-holders were the SIP lads. That was quite an achievement given the competition on the weekend.
By the second evening after all-day drinking you’d expect the tribe to have lost a bit of momentum. However, after Bristol’s BullyBones gig it seems that there was a bit of pace-keeping going on. The World of Leather dancefloor was still a riot at 3 am when we finally threw in the towel. In the morning we had Storm Ciara (Sabine) to deal with.
Windy Miller’s Revenge
So, the weather conspired to make the journey home an adventure for most people. Our club-mates from Hamburg had a tail-wind all the way. Lucky bastards. Many of those heading for the channel ports found that their ferries were cancelled or delayed and many others were stranded at airports and forced to have another night on the piss.
To solve this sort of crisis the knackered Spirit of 84 crew took people around the pubs of Dusseldorf, and generally went above and beyond to help everyone get home safely. You can’t ask more than that. This is the difference between events put on by fellow scooterists and those put on by outsiders who are only interested in the cash you spend.
The 8th edition of Meltdown was the busiest so far with 1,600 people through the door. This is an event that shows no signs of slowing down with age. If you’ve never tried it then give it a go…
Photographs by Lit, Gordon Kampe (SDSC) and Sticky
BEST OF SHOW
Lambretta LD – Aprilia SVX 550 by Dark Arc Engineering
SECOND BEST OF SHOW
Lambretta chopper (Kelten RC) by Jockey’s Boxenstop
SLS 300 Superlow by Scooter & Service
SECOND BEST VESPA
T5 ‘Paris-Dakar style’ from Mönchengladbach
Phantasmagoria by Gary Dickenson
SECOND BEST LAMBRETTA
Series I 175 Targa Twin by Timo Drack
BEST DEALER SCOOTER
SIP Dragster ‘Something Special’
SECOND BEST DEALER SCOOTER
Li 150 Ser I by Markus from Jockey’s Boxenstop
BEST CUSTOM SCOOTER
Lambretta ‘Pure Acid’
SECOND BEST CUSTOM SCOOTER
Lambretta Chopper Kelten SC Germany
Lambretta Chopper ‘Praying Mantis’ by Frank Höppner
SECOND BEST ODDITY
Auto engined NSU Lambretta ‘Auto Roller’
BEST RIDDEN SCOOTER
Rum Runner Lambretta/Yamaha YPVS
SECOND BEST RIDDEN SCOOTER
Lambretta Targa Twin by Nick Reeves
BEST VINTAGE SCOOTER
Vespa VM1 Faro Basso by Lars Bundesmann
SECOND BEST VINTAGE SCOOTER
Lambretta Ser I by Sam Coussemaker
Twin engine Vespa PX by Christian from Motorino Diavolo
SECOND BEST ENGINEERING
Rotary disc valve Vespa by Matze ‘Destroyer’ Brugger
BEST ORIGINAL PAINT RESTO
Vespa Wide Frame V30 by Gatti Nator from Hoffmann Rennstaffel
SECOND BEST ORIGINAL PAINT RESTO
Lambretta SX 150 by Julia Sptitznas
BEST ORIGINAL PAINT CUSTOM
Sei Giorni Replica by Oliver Schmuck
SECOND BEST ORIGINAL PAINT CUSTOM
Lambretta Lui by Michele ‘Micky’ Calini
Best UK Lambretta
GP Genesis Racer by Martin Johnson
Best Continental Lambretta
Lambretta SX by Andre Schmidt
Major Power Awards
VESPA LARGE FRAME
PX Sprinter by Jesco Schmidt from SIP Scooter Shop – 72.4 HP
VESPA SMALL FRAME
PK Sprinter by Christoph Cramer from Kingwelle – 67.5 HP
Li Ser 3 Quattrini M 200 by Marco Büttner from LTH – 32.9 HP
VINTAGE CLASS (bis 1958)
Vespa Wide Frame by Gabriele Carni – 33.2 HP
Scott from Glasgow Rimini-Kalkar 1550 km (close to 1000 miles)
(2ND) BEST TURNED OUT RIDDEN CLUB
Speed Demons SC
Gotchi & Laski?
BEST DRESSED CROWD
Rallery by Sticky
Rallery by Lit
Rallery by Gordon Kampe
SLUK Shop – serving up a treat since 2016