Date : 30th July to 5th August 2008
Location : Gijon, Austurias, Northern Spain
Scooterists : Len, Armed Forces SC, & Lambretta Club of Great Britain,
1969 SX150 (Muggello 186) & 1989 PX200
Spud, Armed Forces SC, 2002 PX200 (Malossi 210)
Richie, Armed Forces SC & Southern Templars SC,
1983 Lynx 200, Servetta
Sandy, Armed Forces SC, 1998 T5
Route : Len, Spud & Sandy from Emsworth (near Portsmouth) to Plymouth, meet up with Richie then Brittany Ferry to Santander, then ride to Gijon.
Trip to Euroyeye 2008 held at Gijon, Northern Spain
Our Diary of the Event from Start to Finish.
Day 1 : Wednesday 30/7/08
It all started at 03:00 on the 30th July, we left Emsworth bound for Plymouth. Spud and I (Len) made this trip last year Sandy was the new scooterist in our midst, and a learner rider to boot so motorways were forbidden for us. Even travelling through the towns and back streets we were still making good time. This year we even escaped police intervention. But just after joining the A31 at Rufus Stone disaster struck, my newly finished SX150 decided that enough was enough and packed up. As luck would have it I managed to freewheel into an open garage, I had completed 39 miles only.
Now as I’m a member of the RAC, what a great organisation to belong to, I phoned for breakdown recovery at 0430. I checked the scooter over and almost immediately found there was no compression. I also phoned Spud and Sandy and told them to carry on and I would try and get to Plymouth. I had the plan ticking over in my head get recovered home grab my PX200 and race to Plymouth. Well the recovery turned up at 05:16, Boarhunt Garage services, yet another great organisation.
Lee the driver knew I was up against the clock because I told him several times and he promised he would do what he could, Lee then informed me that the lorry to which my SX was now strapped was restricted to 54mph. We arrived back at Emsworth at 06:40, unloaded the SX got Betsy (PX200) out of the Garage, transferred all of the tools, spares and luggage, said goodbye to my beautiful wife for the second time in one day (she told me to put that bit in)
I left Emsworth for the second time at 06:50 ish and screamed the nuts off the PX, nothing had been checked just a full tank of petrol and oil. I stopped to refuel at Ringwood and again at Honiton at 09:19, stopped just outside Plymouth and then a final race into Plymouth. I had to be at the ferry port at 11:15, I phoned the others and got directions to the ferry port, I met up with Spud, Sandy and Richie at 11:13, just made it. Relieved was not the word, all four of us going to Gijon. Next Stop Spain.
We all boarded almost immediately and after strapping and securing the scooters it was time to chill, and chill we did wind and rain, there was only one thing for it the Heineken was calling. We ate the rolls prepared by the lovely “Sharon” and then wandered around the “Pont Aven” the entertainment was good if you were six years old so we all opted for the cinema, at 21:30 we watched “No Country for Old Men” film finished, heads down at 00:30. A good nights sleep was had by all. In the morning at approximately 06:30 a quick wash, cuppa and waited to dock at Santander.
Day 2 : Thursday 31st July
We berthed at 08:00 and eventually disembarked at 09:50, a quick check over and headed for Gijon. We were taking the coastal route virtually the same as we did last year. Our first stop was a great place called “Suances” with a beach to die for. A swift Coke and some photos and off we set. We had travelled only 5 km from Suances when we had another disaster Sandy and an “Armco” barrier had a tussle and the barrier won! A passing motorist was flagged down and I asked him to phone for medical assistance, the car behind saw that we were in trouble and kindly offered to take Sandy to the medical centre, Sandys right arm was very badly cut. We gladly accepted the offer and off he went back to Suances. Sandys scooter was ok just a bit scratched, we eventually worked Sandys scooter and all of ours back to Suances. The police arrived and them some more and more but they were great and extremely helpful.
Sandy was transferred to the “Hospital Sierrallana” at Torrelavega and during this time the three of us could do nothing but wait, we were in touch with Sandy via text messages. We had a bite to eat and a couple of drinks (soft) Richie and Spud made some adjustments to their scooters and not long after we had a text from Sandy saying he had been discharged and was making his way back to the medical centre. One thing we all found absolutely amazing was the time from falling off the scooter, going to the medical centre, transferred to hospital, saw a doctor, had 21 staples fitted to the cut arm, bandaged up and back at the medical centre ready to set of on the journey a grand total of three hours, in Britain you would lay on a stretcher in a corridor for longer that that, Fantastic Viva Espania.
We then set off on the next leg of the journey towards Gijon and had a stop at a seaside resort called San Antolin. Sandys arm was bearing up; no pain as yet still drugged no doubt. Whilst we were having our refreshments we noticed that Sandy was now the proud owner of a flat back tyre, they say it comes in threes. The tyre was duly changed and off we set toward Villacosia where we refuelled and then onto the motorway and tunnels to Gijon. We arrived at Gijon at 18:00, we checked into the “Hotel Asturias” and then went down to the “Al Norte” bar for a well deserved “Mahou” beer. To round off the day as we were sitting outside the “Al Norte” bar a pigeon decided to shit all over Sandy and Spud and they were both covered.
We spent the rest of Thursday evening around the square drinking and discussing the events of the trip so far, went for a kebab and pizza, our diet for the weekend was set.
Day 3 : Friday 1st August
We all had a really good nights sleep and met for breakfast around 09:30 and then off to undertake some routine maintenance. Spud had a strange noise from the back brake so that was stripped and checked, a new tube was put in Sandys spare wheel. A bit later Richie went for a swim and the rest of us went for a walk around Gijon. Later we sat around the square waiting for others to arrive, one of the first was Jordi and Maria who we all remembered from last year, it was really great to see them again. Gradually more and more turned up, this was the registration night so it was getting busy. Eventually it was time for the first ride out, everyone was donning crash helmets, scooters were started and off we went.
As usual some really stunning scenery was on the way, we eventually ended up at a small town where they were hold a Sardine festival, it was great the scooterists were like the special guests of the day at the festival. Barbecued sardines and Sidria (cider) were great as well. We probably stayed at the festival for 2 hours and then we had the ride back to Gijon. A quick shower and then walkabout and frequent several bars returned to the hotel at 02:00.
Day 4 : Saturday 2nd August
Morning seemed to come round very quick, we were all up and showered and ready for our breakfast of croissants, ham, toast, cheese and coffee, we took a stroll down to the chemists to get some antibiotics for Sandy and the arm. Then back to the square, there were a lot of scooters turning up and more riders were registering, we got our tee shirts and other bits, then it was nearly time for the rideout.
I decided this year that I would video the scooters leaving Gijon so I moved my scooter to a position I could easily get to and catch up the procession after I had videoed it, how wrong I was, I lost them, not a scooter in sight, I remembered earlier talking to Ruben one of the organisers and he told me the ride would also go past the beach so I headed for the beach and luckily found a group and tagged along. What I didn’t know was this group was also lost and several phone calls were made before we were on the correct road to the University. Upon arrival at the University all of the scooters parked up and it was a truly amazing sight 180 scooters, Lambrettas and Vespas, drinks were available at this venue so some time was spent chatting with our fellow scooterists, by now we had made more friends that you could imagine, The friendliness of the others on the rally was beyond belief, everybody was helpful with all of our needs especially interpreting.
We eventually left the University and set off on the rideout to the banquet at a Sidari, when seated it wasn’t long before the drinks began to flow, there was an abundance of fantastic food, the Spanish omelettes were great and a fantastic time was had by all. There was the normal prize giving and then Javi and Esther were called up to the microphone by Felix (President of Lambretta Club of Spain) and it was announced that they are going to be married during August. A surprise was also laid on in the form of singer “Goyo Ramos” apparently he won a talent show on Spanish television, he sang his heart out it was beyond belief, what a great day we were having. When the singing and dancing was finished it was time for the ride back to Gijon, again fantastic scenery around every bend. We arrived back at the square parked up and went for a beer, a bit later some of our new friends came and took us to the Lambretta Club bar where we got free beer!! It just gets better, from here we were invited to another bar where a surprise party was being held for Javi and Esther, we eventually escaped from this bar at approximately 22:00 we then returned to the hotel for a shower and then taxi to the Oasis Club. Dean Parrish was playing (I’m on my way) there was a fair bit of Mahou beer consumed this night, went back to the hotel at 03:30 absolutely shattered (I’m a lightweight) but what a great day we all had.
Day 5 : Sunday 3rd August
Well after a day drinking eating and riding followed by a night on the beer what did you expect! Yes we missed breakfast. Had to rush around to get ready for the last rideout of Scooter Cruzada 2008, went to the square and met all the others who were gradually gathering. We were not the last by a long way, eventually it was time to go and we left Gijon and headed for the country. We travelled through some industrial areas and one area in particular went on what seemed to be for miles, I think it could have been a steel manufacturing site.
We stopped for a short while at a supermarket car park and then rode on to Ovideo, what a fantastic city and some very impressive buildings. Lunch was buffet style in a restaurant but we had our own section of the restaurant. The food just kept coming lots of Omelette and other Spanish delights.
During this time we had a chance to speak with a lot of the scooterists and it was here that we talked to the husband and wife team from Austria and the scooterist from Portugal, the talking seemed to go on forever but eventually we headed back to Gijon, the ride back was a blast along the motorway and good time was made by all of us.
When back in Gijon, Spud and Richie went for a swim, Sandy and I just had a walk along the prom. A bit later we all went for a beer then another and so it went on eventually we returned to the hotel showered and went out for a meal. It was decided that the Sea Food restaurants in Gijon were a bit special so we were to give them a try. Spud who doesn’t eat fish had chicken I had Sea Bass and it was really good Richie and Sandy had what can only be described as carnage on a plate, sorry I meant platter, every thing on the platter had a shell and had to be beaten to get to the meat, but they enjoyed it.
After the meal we went to the Oasis Club, the 60’s group “The Pretty Things” were on stage, we had a few beers and hunted out Felix, Jordi, Maria and others to say our goodbyes.
We returned to the hotel at approximately 01:00 and had an early night as we had a lot of travelling to do on the Monday.
We were all up early fed and watered packed and checked out at 08:30ish. It was decided that we would do a stint on the motorway then take in some countryside and finish off with the motorway.
All went to plan and we made our first stop at Llanes for a coffee break, Sandy managed to run into the back of Spuds scooter thankfully there was no damage. We stayed for about an hour and then headed for Comillas, when we arrived we had a drink first and then went and had a photo shoot at the Statue that overlooked the whole area.
Next stop was Suances and a revisit and brief re-enactment of Sandys accident, after some more pictures we headed for the motorway and Santander. We arrived at Santander in plenty of time, refuelled the scooters and ourselves and then boarded the ferry. It was a relaxing return journey with some beer food and sleep.
The morning came and we docked in Plymouth at 10:00, after disembarking John was there to meet us (he made the trip last year) so we had a chat, Sandy showed off his battle wound. It looked as if it was going to rain so we left Plymouth and headed for Honiton, at Honiton we refuelled and went in to a café for a bite to eat, while in the café the heavens opened and it poured so we stayed in the café for a while. When we left the cafe we seemed to just stay ahead of the rain, we did however encounter some very strong winds. We stopped and refuelled near to Dorchester and then made the final leg of the journey home to Emsworth, we were going to stop at Rownhams services but Spud missed the turning.
We arrived back into Emsworth at approximately 16:30.
This Scooter Cruzada we attended catered for all, especially those who love riding their scooters and getting the chance to go on some lengthy rideouts and see some fantastic scenery whilst at the same time giving plenty of opportunity for those who prefer to sit and drink in the sun with enthusiastic scooterists or being entertained with great live music at the “Oasis Club” there is something for everyone.
“Well done Felix”