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the afsc win at the MONSUN SC CUSTOM SHOW
29 FEB - 1 MAR 08, EMMERICH, GERMANY

By Dave Gibbs


I've often said that one of the great things about being involved in the scooter scene in Germany is that you get to visit places that you wouldn't normally consider. Emmerich is one of those places, it's a small town on the bank of the Rhine close to the border with Holland that I'd never heard of never mind visited, it is also the base for the Monsun Scooter Club. The club was founded in 1999 and has been hosting scooter runs for the last 6 years. The club also hosted a Custom Show last year and this years' would be their second. Now custom shows are something that I only ever attend as a keen spectator and I certainly wouldn't normally consider entering my scoot in one. Much as though I love my SX, I don't consider it to be anything special and when compared to some of the fabulous machines that grace the shows throughout Europe it really pales into insignificance. This, together with the almost total lack of Mod-style scooters in Germany, means I leave the scooter at home when there's a custom show happening. However, I was talked into entering the SX in the Custom Show by Oliver, a member of the Monsun SC. Oliver was determined that I should enter the scoot and, much against my better judgement, I agreed. My mate and fellow
AFSC member Steve Evans and his girlfriend Anna decided they were going to Emmerich as well, so we arranged for us all to drive up together. Steve and Anna arrived at 3 pm on Friday before setting out for the 80 mile drive to the venue. The Monsun lads had offered to let me store my scoot in the show venue over night, so we dropped it off there before making our way to our hotel. Now I've stopped in a variety of B&Bs and hotels over the years, but this was in a class of its own. Mid afternoon and the old dear who ran the place was already knocking back the schnapps with a few of her mates. She also made a big effort to talk to me despite Anna telling her I couldn't speak much German. Our rooms were 'basic' to say the least and we were given strict instructions not to use the plastic shower cubicles that were installed. We never found out why. If you're into rivers (and I know some people are) you'd have been in heaven as we all had a great view of the Rhine, which was just a few meters from the hotel. I suppose I should take this opportunity to apologise to the good people of Emmerich for driving down the pedestrianised water front. I found out later that it had been out of bounds to traffic for 3 years, but no-one had told my Satnav! A few beers and an excellent meal and we headed off for the nighter. Unfortunately, taxis seemed to be a bit of a rare commodity and the last thing we really wanted was to wander around the town in the pouring rain and a gale force wind. All three of us were soaked by the time we had tracked down a cab and got to the venue.

As soon as we arrived we met some old friends and there was a steady influx of familiar faces for the next couple of hours. Although the part of the hall set aside for the nighter was only small, the DJs kept us very well entertained and the bar staff (all Monsun SC members) kept the beer and schnapps flowing. There was an excellent mix of Northern Soul, both well known and not so well known, as well as sounds from The Undertones, The Jam, Paul Weller, The Buzzcocks and plenty more. I'm sure there is some sort of chemical formula that links an individual's desire to dance directly with the amount of alcohol consumed, because as the night carried on the dancefloor got more and more full. Of course this is great fun at the time but the next morning is a different story! Another effect of alcohol is the breaking down of language barriers and I found myself engaged in numerous conversations with various German party goers using a mix of their very good English and my very bad German. In the early hours of the morning I'd reached alcohol overload and we made our way back to the hotel for a well needed, booze induced sleep. It seemed like 5 minutes later (although it was about 6 hours) when my alarm went off and activated an extremely loud brass band that had decided to perform a full length gig in my head. Thankfully the old trusty pain killers coupled with a hearty breakfast meant I was soon on my way to recovery. We drove to the custom show where the hall was already filling with scoots. I set up my display, although it was a bit of an uphill struggle as I was getting constantly interrupted by old mates anxious for a chat, Scooterists wanting to talk about the SX and even a local newspaper reporter who took great joy in counting my mirrors! Having finished setting up, I had a look round the hall at the rest of the scooters. I think just about every genre was represented with cutdowns, street racers, sidecar combinations and the usual display of German innovation and engineering. As well as Lammies and Vespas there were Zundapp Bellas and Heinkel Tourists. One guy had converted his 4-stroke Tourist (or it might have been the Bella) to a 2-stroke, which must have been quite a piece of engineering. This resulted in two things, firstly he was nearly hung by members of some Heinkel club or another when they heard him start his machine and realised what he had done (apparently these guys loath anything other than original machines) and, secondly, he won the Best Idea prize at the custom show! I couldn't really choose a favourite scoot amongst those on display, but some of the innovations really blew me away. How these guys think them up, never mind achieve the excellent end result will forever remain a mystery to me.

There were a couple of stalls set up with everything from CDs to spare parts for sale and a bit a of scooter jumble with a whole world of parts for sale. Steve and I spent the day chatting, mingling, visiting the Golden Arches and generally trying to re-hydrate ourselves with numerous cups of coffee and soft drinks. I reckon every subject on Earth was covered by us and our mates as well as some that were quite out of this world! We'd expected the prize giving to take place at 6 pm and it was a bit of a downer when it turned out to be 8, but the good news was that it was still raining various furry animals outside. The trophies being presented were engraved glass and really something special. It can't be easy judging these sort of things and I'm sure there must have been much deliberation before the results were announced. All the prizes were richly deserved although I did wonder about the Best Display winner as the guy had stood his scoot on a large black cloth with some mirror tiles scattered on it. Still, there's no accounting for taste I suppose. I guess I should mention that my SX won the Best Mod Style award, although it wasn't much of an achievement considering mine was the only Mod style scooter in the show! Prizes handed out it was time to head home and luckily for us the rain had stopped and we had an uneventful journey back to Mönchengladbach.

My thanks to the Monsun SC for a great weekend and to Steve, Anna, Oliver, Marco, Christian and anyone else I've forgotten for the laughs.

Dave "Ravey Davey" Gibbs
The Armed Forces Scooter Club

 

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