The Euro Lambretta 70th anniversary rally had long been anticipated. Everyone has their own story to tell and we’ve been following their fun and exploits on blogs and social media over the past couple of weeks.
Our own story started by setting off for Kelso National Rally, packed with enough oil for our ride to Euro Lambretta in Italy. A fantastic time in Scotland ended with four Lambrettas and their riders, Mark and Vicki Swinge, me and our Editor, loaded onto a ferry to Amsterdam on the Sunday afternoon.
Our first day on the road took us through The Netherlands into Germany where we visited Scooter Center in Cologne for some thirst refreshments as the temperatures rose up into the 30s. We found a lovely campsite in south Cologne right on the banks of the Rhine for our first night celebrating our scooters’ anniversary. Setting off the next day the heat was rising but our scooters stayed as happy as us. Another ride along the stunning route 9 along the banks of the Rhine was called for. We may have used this lovely road riding to Euro Lambretta in Austria and the return from Switzerland but scenery like that never gets old. We called in to see Worb5 and enjoy their hospitality, not needing any assistance from them this year. Our second night stop was in Sinsheim, famous for their Auto & Technik Museum – which we had only seen from the motorway before. Well worth a look if you’re passing.
Day 3 included a stopover at SIP to check our their impressive new HQ and pizzeria. We certainly needed the ice-cream and coffee on offer. Crossing another border into Austria we found a stunning campsite at Seefeld where only three weeks before they were knee deep in snow! Day 4 was the border crossing we’d been most excited about as we rode over the Brennerpass into Italy. Here we bumped into a solo Lambretta rider from the Midlands, also stopping for the border photo.
We decided to head for the Euro Lambretta campsite to catch up with fellow scooter riders on the Thursday night. A quick check in, tent up and we were in the bar to share a few bottles with chums from Ulster (cheers Marty!), Italy and all over the UK.
Friday morning saw most of the rally-goers arriving. It was still scorchio and we were glad we had found a little shade on the campsite. Friday passed in a blur of talking, drinking gin (thanks Britannia) and wine and dancing with the wildly enthusiastic Spanish Lambretta Club and the stage-diving, cape-wearing Felix!
Saturday came around a bit too soon. There was plenty to see and do on the site and ride-outs galore. After a well-deserved oil change, our scooters were left alone until the ride home. The dealer hall was very popular, great to see so many developments and so much enthusiasm for these wonderful machines. We had a great day catching up with Lambretta enthusiasts from all over the world and copies of ScooterNova were snapped up for flight-time reading for those from furthest afield.
The gala dinner, feeding 1800 people, was always going to be a challenge. We made sure we had enough wine to cope and the raffle and prize-giving began. I was most impressed by Connor from Northern Ireland riding all the way there, hassle free, on a Model D as well as the Luna-tics Luke and Stephen Salvin, with Luke picking up a trophy for Youngest Rider. The Mike Karslake Trophy was handed over by our Editor to Marcus from Lambretta Club of Germany. After this the wine seemed more important so the party went outside into the slightly fresher night air.
Sunday came around far too soon. Everyone was packing up and either heading home, going touring or to other rallies. Bob and Mags were off to Croatia, Masso and some of the Irish club were off to a rally in Brittany, Jim from our club was off to Rotterdam for the Dutch Lions rally. We headed to Verona, where Mark’s family are from, for some lunch. First stop was Lake Garda in the lovely town of Torri del Benaco. Sitting on the banks of the lake was very relaxing until there was an earth tremor. A lot of the kids in the bar were really scared. It was a bit surreal but we got over it watching the stunning sunset over the lake.
Heading to Milan the next day as has become tradition. A visit to ‘The Roundabout’, photos at the water tower and stickers for the factory gates. It’s really hard to believe I rode my other Series One here for the 50th anniversary and the place is still derelict. We couldn’t leave Milan without a visit to Rodano to check out the impressive scooter museum upstairs from Casa Lambretta. Checking out the guestbook we saw lots of familiar names had been there very recently.
Riding through Monza, we headed for Como for the night. This was the start of the thunderstorms headed our way and there was some impressive lightning and torrential rain overnight. Our waterproofs were going to get tested!
Tuesday saw a slight detour on our route through Switzerland to catch up with some club mates and Matt, who had broken down and was waiting for parts. We rode an amazing twisty road along the Italian Swiss border and over the Simplon Pass to keep him company. Strong winds added to the challenge of riding 2kms up but it was amazing at the top and we were soon in Brig for a celebration/commiseration dinner and more wine.
The rest of the ride home went without a hitch as we made our way into France, riding along the Belgian border and scenic Ardennes, and back to the UK in time for the Big 7 National Rally on Friday. We passed the baton on to some Vespa riding chums heading out early for Vespa World Days in Germany. I wish we were going too!
(the second edition of ScooterNova magazine [July/August 2017] will be published at the end of June 2017. See the website for purchase details, or subscribe online via ScooterNova)