Venlo Scooter Rally 2016, Holland | RALLERY
We Brits are great at moaning. If it rains through July and August then it’s a rubbish summer, but as soon as the temperature rises above 30 degrees, then it officially becomes ‘too hot’ and there’s something else to whinge about.
According to Tracy’s bike-engine Maico it was too hot. In protest her scoot pissed its knickers all over a garage forecourt north of Dunkirk. A garage where they expect you to pay to use the toilet , again to get some water, and once more to wash your hands.
In every other civilised country they can manage to fund a toilet attendant out of the profits from the petrol station, but for some reason in France and Benelux you are expected to pay to perform the most basic of human needs. Bollocks to that – the solution is either turnstile limbo or a slash in the trees where the lorry drivers dump used prozzies.
The 10 or so scooters on our early boat – which included Chaney’s GTS and Ben’s Iron Curtain Troll – all suffered in the heat. Ben had to strap his sidepanels to the back of the scooter to stop petrol boiling in the fuel pipe. All the GTSs meanwhile had gauges pointing towards the red.
What to do but soldier on?
Unofficially, and on the quiet, there’s a small pre-party on site on Thursday. Our garage gremlins meant we were late and too exhausted for that. For Dan and Chris it had been a 400 mile ride that day.
Never fear, mates from our group – who arrived earlier – helped to clear 50 litres of free beer put on by Spirit of 84 to quench early arrivals.
Random Red Dwarf quote: “the water has been recycled so often, it’s beginning to taste like Dutch lager”
What a surprise. It’s fookin hot again. Cue the mission amongst campers to get their tents alongside the fence: the only part of the site with any shade.
While last year Speed Demons SC helped with the rally to promote our club’s 30th Anniversary with a ‘Wrongness Party’, this year the second do would be handled by the Darkside DJs which relieved us of any pressure.
With no obligations other than to get a tan, what better than the Swindon Hog Wild’s solution? Grab a GTS storage box full of beer and ice, and sit under a tree to watch the scooters arrive.
That morning, boats landed full of scooterists from Harwich and Hull, followed by clubs from Germany, Austria, Holland Belgium and France who only have a landmass to navigate.
The rally is actually way past the outskirts of Venlo and the nearest town is Sevenum. By the time we arrived in town the local Aldi was out of ice but doing a fine trade in anything cold or alcoholic.
Shorts and trainers/flip-flops are not sensible riding gear, but they are enough for the couple of miles of speed-restricted back-road from the site to Sevenum. That ‘look’ is pure summer and so reminiscent of classic Holiday in Holland rallies of the ‘90s.
There’s no point trying to describe the party, suffice to say that it started very late in the main hall because it was simply too hot to enter before midnight.
It then went on much later still, with the Darkside tent’s thin walls meaning you don’t get much sleep if you go to bed early, or without earplugs.
This has to be a first. At around 5am the DJ’s were told to turn the music down by the police, because of noise complaints…from inmates of the nearby prison!
The Darkside take no prisoners…
This year the organisers laid on minibuses to ferry people back to the nearby hotels throughout the night. We finally turned it in at 6.30am just in time to catch breakfast back at the hotel before cancelling the morning as a bad idea.
Welcome back to the relentless sun and more summer fun.
The organisers greeted us back to the site with a massive water-balloon fight, but you could make use of the dyno, watch the Scootercross racing or amble around the indoor custom show.
Entries and standards were up this year. My favourite was the rat-rod Li from the Jetsons with “every time I start this, Jesus kills a fuckin’ Hipster” signwritten on the tank.
I managed to grab a couple of test-rides for future SLUK articles: Andreas Nagy’s wideframe Vespa complete with Pinasco 160 kit was hugely impressive for its tractability. The kit makes pre-57 Vespas safe to use in modern traffic. Next was a spin on Boris’ BGM 177, ridden 400 miles from southern Germany while we were in Sevenum.
Sevenum – the town with no ice…
By this stage, those who had been drinking for 2 days in the sun were thinning out.
Where that often makes for a tetchy atmosphere on a Saturday, here it was all still cool. Cool like the wind that started to blow in from the South.
Spirit of 84 make a lot of effort to give this horse-training site a beach-feel over the weekend, from the young girls in ‘Scooters’ tops serving behind the bar, to the pools and inflatables that they littered around the site. With a tasty chilli stall adding to the food selection to keep the veggies happy, the recipe for the rally is being gradually refined.
After midnight we found ourselves surrounded. Ganged-up on by electrical storm clouds on every side. It was only a matter of time.
We elected to ride back to the hotel just as the storm winds hit. In the distance I saw the beer tent take off and land on the Darkside marquee.
By this stage everything had been unplugged but still a nearby lightning strike tripped-out the electric in the main barn for a while.
Marcus took to the mic to offer that anyone whose tent was flooded could sleep in the barn of the main do. After the music finished that is…
The only sad thing about the storm was that amongst those helping to pack away gazebos before they became kites were a few who used the electric going off as an opportunity to loot the beer tent. That’s proper arsehole behaviour at an event put on by scooterists, but thankfully a long way off what happened exactly 3 decades ago at Isle of Wight in 1986.
The misbehaviour of a few could not dampen the party, even if the weather could. For me this was an even more chilled-out Venlo than the last few. An integrated international event in the true spirit of the Borculo rallies.
The bad news, for those of you who like the sound of it, is that Venlo is taking a year out in 2017. However, it will be back in 2018 but held earlier in August.
I expect to see you there…
VIDEO: Slukin' in Venlo
Gallery by Sticky
Gallery by Lit
VIDEO: donner und blitzen!
- Series 2, UK ‘Duchess of Hamilton’
- German LiS Purple/White
- Illusion Chopper
- Orange Liquid cooled PX by Markus Blau (D)
- Grey Vespa 150 from Germany, reg KO-MA 59
- Grey GS from D, OL-GS 62
- Günter Kübler
- Patrick Kübler
- Heiko Weber
Best Turned Out Ridden Club: Salford Knights
Farthest Travelled: Michael from Steyr (A) & couple from South Wales (sorry, forgot their names) did about the same distance (close to 600 miles)
Most Powerful Scooter: Christopher Carr (D), 38 hp in road-going PX
Best Moustache: Rudi from Austria (John Holmes tribute ‘tash)