Up until the mid 90s Aachen was a name associated
with one of the biggest and most popular scooter runs in mainland Europe. The
clubs behind Aachen both agreed that the venue had grown into a monster and
decided to down scale and the term “Cars Suck” was born. Many Scooterists are
still prepared to travel hundreds of kilometres to attend events organised by
the Filthy Extensions Scooter Club & Sly Vultures Scooter Club. Before moving
house earlier this year I'd have been one of those riding a very long way but,
as it happens, I only had a 40 km journey. Family commitments on the Friday
(Happy Birthday Julie!) meant that I chose to ride to the run on Saturday
afternoon and I was relieved to see the sun shining (for a change!) as I threw a
few things in a bag and got my camping kit sorted out. I arranged to meet Steve
Evans and Anna at the run and decided to give them a call when I arrived - who
wants a phone call on Saturday morning after partying to the early hours on
Friday night? After collecting the scoot from my garage, I loaded it up and got
ready to set out. Unfortunately the Lammy had other ideas and flatly refused to
start, even though she'd started fine only an hour previously. After checking
everything I could think of and with the prospect of driving the car down to the
run looming large, it was 'try anything' time. I dug out a crappy old spark plug
from my tool box and swapped it with the previously functioning one on the
scoot. Third kick and the SX was ticking over nicely! Now I'm not the most
technical bloke in the world, but I have to ask 'what the f**k is that all
about?' Answers on a postcard! The ride down to Aachen was great, with a perfect
temperature, light winds and very little traffic. It felt like years since I'd
ridden the scoot without the rain lashing down and I was loving it. I was lucky
enough to spot the signs that Filthy & Sly had used to mark the route and
followed them all the way to the run site. Some people hadn't been quite so
lucky and later that day I heard horror stories of Scooterists riding round the
German countryside for several hours without a clue where they were or where
they were going. I know the feeling well!
Many scooter clubs have certain traditions that never change and Filthy & Sly are one of them. On arriving at the run I was handed a patch, a bit of plastic as proof of payment and a syringe! Now before anyone starts thinking that hard drugs are rife on the German scooter scene, I'd better point out that the syringe contained nothing more sinister than Schnapps and there was no needle involved. The concept is that the Schnapps is squirted to the back of the mouth and swallowed rather than being sipped. Never one to buck trends (unless it's wearing boot-cut jeans!), I duly did the business and was relieved to find the drink was Apple Korn (a favourite of mine) rather than some of the other Schnapps that are guaranteed to bring on instant vomiting! The campsite was a bit rough under foot and cross-country on a Mod-style SX200 was not a great deal of fun. I was happy that I only had to 'scramble' about 30 metres to find the pitch that Steve had reserved for me. A bit of tent erection (oooer missus!) later and I sat in the sun drinking the couple of cans I'd brought with me and gave Steve a call. He and Anna were having a bit of lunch in the town, so after finishing my cans it was time to have a wander around and see who was about. It wasn't long before I bumped into Andy from Düsseldorf and we sat watching footie on the big screen in the nighter venue while we caught up on all things scootering. An hour or so later Steve arrived back and it was time for the drinking to begin in earnest. The early part of the evening was spent outside sitting with a variety of old friends (special mention to Marcus and his mate and generally shooting the sh1t. Amongst those gathered was Eddie from Aachen (an honorary member of the AFSC) who was sporting a 'Wanker Boys SC' patch on his ever-present leather waist coat. This patch had given me and many others a lot of amusement in the past, but it wasn't until it became the focal point of the conversation that the laughs really began. Apparently the exclusive members of this club (long since disbanded) all had certain titles to go along with their membership. My favourite - 'Sir Wankalot'! I also learned that there are a few of these patches left and you can bet I'll be putting my order in. All I've got to do now is think of a name! I'm sure there'll be no shortage of volunteers to help me out with some ideas!
The venue for the nighter was a small bar with a bolted-on function room complete with dance floor and stage. I'd visited the place with Rob Da Rudi for a nighter last year before deploying to Afghanistan and neither of us was very impressed. That might have had something to do with the 3 1/2 hour drive we'd had to get there! However, that was all about to change as the resident F&S Deejay played one of the best mixes of music I've heard in a long, long time. It's difficult to think of a scooterists-related genre that wasn't covered and the dance floor was permanently packed. My highlights have to be Resurrection - Stone Roses, Come On, Let's Go! - Weller and Teenage Kicks - The Undertones as well as many Northern Soul floor fillers and foot stompers. The only pauses in this superb set were to hand out the variety of awards for Best Vespa etc. I've long since given up entering my scoot for any shows as 99% of German Scooterists loath a Mod scoot. Nevertheless, it was great to see the jubilation on the winners' faces and although I've no idea what was being announced there were a lot of happy, smiling faces. I must say that the bar prices were very reasonable even from a Squaddie's point of view, it didn't seem to matter what I drank (and I certainly got through a wide variety) my wallet didn't suffer too much. I must also 'give it up' for the guy outside cooking up a storm on the BBQ and selling everything for 1 Euro. The munchies I experienced in the early hours of the morning were well catered for - cheers mate!
I managed to stay upright and fairly coherent until 3 am when the 13 hours of drinking and who knows how long dancing finally caught up with me and it was time to crash out. I've no idea how I managed to find my tent or make it back there without falling over, but I can only guess that finding myself in the tent the next morning without visible signs of injury that I made it back alright. I wasn't in any particular hurry to get home on Sunday, but with the tent feeling like the inside of a dual-action microwave oven, I had little choice but to get out and start packing up. Many thanks to Anne for supplying the Aspirin that soon sorted out my headache. After saying 'cheerio' to those remaining, it was time to try to start the Lammy. To say I wasn't filled with hope would be an under statement, but 2nd kick and away she went - 'what the f**k?' time again. I had another great ride home with the sun shining again and a moderate tail wind (friggin hell, I sound like Michael Fish!).
My thanks to the Filthy & Sly SC for a really great run, and to Steve, Anna, Marcus, Andy, Eddie, Alisa, Doro and anyone else I might have forgotten, thanks for the laughs and see you soon.