My day started early , 2am to be precise. I was sharing the apartment with the missing 3, Chris, Scotty and Sulla , so when they finally got to the accommodation I got up to show them where it was. Chris was obviously in a bit of pain and rather uncomfortable, but managed to get a few hours sleep. The morning was HOT, so there was only one thing to do, hit the beach, and, being St. Tropaz, part of it was nudist, why are nudist beaches never how you imagine them ? …..mainly nude old men ☹ There was a bit of drama on the beach when a forest fire was spotted on the peninsula to the right of us, and five fire fighting planes doing circuits, filling up in flight from the sea, to dump the water on the fire and and repeating. After catching a few rays and a swim in the sea , we all headed back for some lunch around the bar and that’s where we stayed the rest of the day/ night. The two nights and day we spent there came at just the right time with what had happened the day before , and was a welcome break for all of us . Russ
The beach and resort were lovely, a real tropical paradise. It felt quite surreal realising we had rode from snowy Alpine mountain tops to palm trees and sand.
We could all now relax and play up a little, Chris’s injuries resulted in him being unusually quiet, apart from the odd groan brought on by laughing at the others antics.
The resort wasn’t used to a gang of drunken Brit scooterists but they suffered us in silence and let us drink the booze we bought from the onsite shop while sitting in the bar area, you just wouldn’t get away with that in the UK. Becko being Becko decided to spike every drink he poured for Ada with a third of a pint of Vodka, Ada was soon in a state and wondered off in the direction of our apartments. I say apartments, they were actually log clad cabins which very much resembled a caravan inside. later on Scotty came back and showed us a video he had taken of Ada when he saw him walking the wrong way while lost in the resort.
Due to the days binge drinking everyone turned in quite early knowing we all had to hit the road again in the morning.
Day 15 we headed for La Mans where we found a hotel then headed into town for a meal, the only thing worth mentioning is that we got pulled over by the French police and got finned for not having mirrors on our lambrettas, you couldn’t make this shit up lol. we did however manage to get a sticker on the police van :).
Ada had problems all day with his gear change due to a bodge that had been done on the gear arm long before we left for the trip.
This was the last leg in Europe, travelling from Le Mans to Caen for the ferry to Portsmouth.
When we left the hotel in the morning we rode to the Le Mans race track to get a photo, again the flag came out, the flag we had with us was sold a few weeks after the trip ended to raise much needed money the air ambulance charity .
Again, not much happened while on the road this day, we arrived at Caen long before we could board the ferry so all we could do was have a drink and a meal in one of the many restaurants in the port area to pass the time, but once we did get on the ferry after 9PM, the final night party got under way.
Chris had to ride his scooter on to the ferry with his broken ribs and off hiring the car was nothing less than a nightmare as the drop off place they had been told was at the port had closed down, lol. We all had a whip round during the night though to help Chris fund the hire car which I’m sure he appreciated as the cost had been quite steep.
The only down side really to the whole trip had been Chris’s accident, all the lambrettas had made it all the way, yes some had running repairs and others had been troublesome all the way but that is to be expected when undertaking such an arduous journey on old machines. Also, most of the party had got on which wasn’t expected with so many strong minded people living out of each others pockets for over two weeks.
The last video below is taken from when I had just left the last services stop on my way home the day after the night on the ferry. Up to that point this trip had been by far the best trip I had done on a lambretta.
Big thanks to all those that took part, whether that’s the people who rode with us or the people we met along the way and a big thanks to the crew for awarding me a nice trophy at the end of 2017 at our Xmas party, there was no need but it’s appreciated all the same 🙂
After a restless sleep I got up early and decided to take my barrel off to find out what yesterdays problem had been. The first problem was getting into the area the hotel had allowed us to park the Lambrettas. As everyone knows, any Lambretta in Italy is a target for thieves, so every hotel we use we try to get secure parking. I had to wait for the bloke who owned the hotel to appear before I could get the key off him, this was at around 7:30 am.
I also had to call a coupe of the others to get them to move their Lambrettas so I had room to work. When the barrel came off it was obvious that my ring problem diagnoses was correct. The bottom ring peg had come out, the ring had turned and had snagged on the exhaust port. It hadn’t only snagged, it had folded over and embedded its self into the piston right over the exhaust port.
Amazing that it had continued to run and had done so for about 70 miles carrying two people and loads of luggage on a windy up hill motorway.
The barrel damage was slight, the port was ok but there was a slight gouge about 5mm under the port. The ring being folded over had obviously caused this.
I installed a new piston, didn’t bother replacing the gaskets, just used some gasket sealant and bolted it all back together. By 9am it was running.
As it hadn’t actually broken down at any stage the day before and it had got to the days destination, I decided to consider this maintenance rather than a breakdown. The piston had been in for many thousands of miles, it’s just bad luck to have a ring peg fall out.
Everyone else had had breakfast, Paula had brought me a coffee and croissant out while I was finishing up with the build, so we all packed up and headed off for todays fun and games. The plan today was to get to Saint Tropez via Monaco, Nice and Cannes.
The motorway was very windy, I think this was due to how high up it is. It crosses a crazy landscape which consists entirely of tunnels and bridges, the bridges are high over towns below. Not nice to ride on but interesting. the ride to Monaco was pretty uneventful, apart from Sulla thinking he had lost his toll ticket and then finding it as soon as he got to the other side.
I had programed the F1 circuit into my satnav for Monaco but this didn’t go too well. The F1 race had been there just nine days before we arrived which meant much of the track was still not open to traffic. That little obstacle didn’t get in our way though, we managed to ride on at least 90% of it, even through the harbour section which was like a building site with workers dismantling the grandstands. We obviously stopped at a few places to get photos and got turned around at least once before we decided enough was enough and headed out of town.
We were now heading for Nice and decided to try and take the coast road, this started off all well and good until we found ourselves having to ride through town after town, all of which were like the M25 on a bad day. In the 35 degree heat it began to get on every ones nerves, tempers began to fray. I told everyone that I was happy to do my planned rout to Saint Tropez alone if they preferred to jump on the motorway and head straight there, so when I looked around after one odd satnav direction and saw no one was behind me I carried on.
I rode down Cannes sea front and then got out of town and found the Motorway, I had expected to see the others on the motorway but as it was only about 10 miles to the junction for Saint Tropez I wondered if they were well ahead of me by now. this is where the day really turned to shit.
I was just entering Saint Tropez when I got a call over my intercom from Sulla, he was saying someone was involved in a crash, but he sounded like he was taking the piss. I got the hump and hung on him and shortly after pulled over so I could call him without having to concentrate on where I was going. He said again that Chris had come off and this time he convinced me that he wasn’t joking. Sulla now sounded like he had lost the plot, he wasn’t making much sense, just saying over and over that Chris’s face was a mess and that he was in an ambulance being taken to Cannes hospital. I obviously thought the worst as Chris doesn’t ware a full face helmet. Sulla also said that there were only him Scotty and Chris together when it happened and that he didn’t know where the others were. I called Russ a few times but got no answer so thought he must still be riding and unable to hear his phone, so I decided that all I could do was continue and try and find the others who I was convinced must be ahead of me.
To say I wasn’t very happy would be an understatement, which you can hear in this video clip.
A few miles later I had to pull in for Fuel. While there I called Sulla again to find out the latest news and was told Chris was in Xray and they didn’t know much more. He did say though that a woman who had seen the crash and had helped them had taken Scotty back to the crash site so he could try and ride Chris’s Lambretta back to the hospital. I then tried Russ again, by now they had also found out about the crash and sounded as confused as I was as to WTF had happened. Russ also told me he was still on the motorway at the services, this meant they were a good hour at least behind me which confused me even more. They were having problems entering the hotel position into their satnavs so I said I would go there and they could use the tracker on this site to see where I was so they could find the hotel.
Paula and I had some food and drink at the fuel stop and talked about what had occurred and arrived at the hotel entrance about an hour later. By now I had other people calling me to find out what was going on, Johnny had some how heard about it and sounded worried as he was now in Belgium, miles away, so could offer no assistance. I decided then to post a private message to the ILC members back in the UK telling them not to post anything online about what had happened. I did this because even we didn’t know what was going on and because I knew Chris’s wife had just left for a holiday with friends and didn’t want her finding out through the internet.
After what seemed days, Russ and the others arrived at the hotel entrance. The hotel wasn’t a hotel, it was a beach resort at the end of a long driveway. we had waited at the entrance rather than checking in. By now I had found out from Scotty and Sulla that Chris had several broken ribs, I had even managed to speak to Chris which eased my mind no end. He had discharged himself and would soon be allowed to leave the hospital.
I had been in contact with Richard Taylor while waiting for the others to arrive and asked him to look for one way hire options in the Cannes area. Sulla had said he was willing to drive a van which could transport both his and Chris’s Lambretta and the two of them back to the UK. Chris had stated on the phone that he wanted to continue with the “holiday” with the rest of us, this meant the hire had to be over a few days and the drop off point had to be in Caen where we were due to get the ferry back to the UK four days from now.
This turned out to be less straight forward than you would think it would be. The Cannes Eurohire depot had nothing to hire and the nearest place was Nice. Sulla and Chris had to get a Taxi from Cannes to Nice airport and when they got there they found they only had cars available, luckily they had a Ford Galaxy which they thought maybe big enough to get the two Lambrettas in. Scotty had stayed at the hospital with the Lambrettas waiting for them to return. They found that the only way to get both Lambrettas in the back was to remove the front wheels. After a lot of messing around they got them in and headed for Saint Tropez, Scotty had to follow them on his Lambretta. It was dark by now and very late. they didn’t arrive at the apartments till the early hours of the next morning.
The rest of us had waited up but most of us had turned in before they arrived. so it wasn’t until the next morning that we found out how Chris was.
This was by far the most eventful day and mostly for all the wrong reasons. On the up side though, Chris was still alive, and the place we were staying for the next two nights was fantastic.
Footage from Monaco to Saint Tropez which shows what the traffic was like.
In May 2017 ILC travelled to the Euro Lambretta in Adria. The main party consisted of 17 people on 15 Lambrettas, the route took in the spine of the Alps from Interlaken to Innsbruck before dropping down into Italy. The return took ILC to Milan then along the Riviera to Saint Tropez before heading back north to the UK. The planned duration was 2 weeks. Below is the account of the trip from planning through to completion.
After a good nights sleep we left Cobham services on Saturday morning, heading for Maidstone services on the M20, We planned to meet the others there so that we could all ride into the Chunnel together so we would be on the same train.
Paul decided to check his tyre pressure only to have the air pump at the services remove all of the air from his tyres, after a bit of faffing around he got sorted and we set off.
When we arrived at Maidstone services most of the others were there.
Nige AKA brad mole
Nathan and Lynsey were not there though. We waited as long as we could but had to leave with out them in the hope they would be at the Chunnel.
At the services we found that Sulla had lost one of the bolts that hold his gear swivel bar to his engine case and had lost a lot of oil through the hole. This resulted in the first bodge of the trip. With it “fixed” and his oil topped up we set off.
It wasn’t long before we arrived at the Channel Tunnel and checked in, the trains were delayed by an hour due to the volume of traffic on the bank holiday weekend. This however meant that Nathan and Lynsey had time to show up.
With everyone now present we boarded the train for Calias, now the adventure could begin!
We had three brand new GT200 top ends with us who were all running in, two of them had pillions too, so we had to keep the speeds down for a few hundred miles,
Sulla’s carb fell off once more and Nathan ran out of fuel on the way to our over night destination, Reims. On the way we took a small detour to the old race track at Circuit du Reims-Gueux. Another opportunity to get the flag out.
We had a hotel booked Reims but when we arrived we were told there was only 1 room booked and that there were no other rooms available. A few looked for rooms on booking dot com but it soon became obvious that Reims was fully booked, there were no rooms available anywhere so we started looking further out of town.
The only place on rout that had enough spaces for us all was 80 miles away in Troyes. It was now after 9:30pm and everyone was tiered. We had no other option but to press on.
We had a few small problems after leaving Reims but things got worse as we got off the motorway in Troyes. Scotty’s stator died just after the toll booth.
Most of the group had carried on but then had to wait while Chris and me went back to find him. It was decided to tow Scotty to the hotel and fix it in the morning.
We arrived at the hotel after 3:30am and then had more fun and games getting into the rooms. The hotel was booked by the other hotel that had let us down in Reims, they had told us that one key would be there and all the other rooms keys would be in the room the one key opened. Warren found a key and went to the room but there were no other keys in that room. After a phone call it became clear that the room we had got into wasn’t one of our rooms at all. Finally at after 4am we all got a room and crashed out.
The people who had set off from home that morning had all done over 500 miles that day and had been on the road for nearly 24 hours.
First thing to do today was all go on the Imst alpine roller coaster which was right outside our hotel. However, like most of our plans this changed due to the news Scotty had a problem with his engine, a problem that non of us had brought a spare for. His chain tensioner had collapsed during the previous day, part of it had smashed a small hole in the bottom of his engine case which meant all of the gearbox oil had escaped. There wasn’t much left of the tensioner, just a few chewed up parts and the back plate still attached to the case.
When the clutch came off we also found that the spider had a piece missing.
First thing to do was repair the hole in the case, as the hole was nice and round it was suggested that we tap the hole with an endplate extractor tool, then a bolt was screwed into the hole covered in chemical metal. then a nut was wound on the outside, followed by a washer and then another nut. The bolt head on the inside was then covered in chemical metal. One part fixed!
The part we didn’t have was a chain guide, an SOS call was sent out over social media and while we waited for replies everyone got thinking. As the back plate was still good it was suggested that we could use exhaust nylon bobbins and fix them to the back plate. It just happens that the sleeve from the chain guide was the right fit inside the center of the bobbins, this enabled the bobbin to spin when it was bolted to the back plate. Also the direction of the chain when the engine is running would tighten the bolt rather than loosen it if it did snag. Two bobbins, two penny washers, a sleeve, nut and bolt where used to fix it in place. Job done, proper bodge everyone was proud off even if everyone wondered how long it would last.
A spare spider was fitted and then it all went tits up! The scooter was being worked on next to a big steel grill which was over a pit next to the hotel wall, one of the clutch springs bounced and fell down the pit. It took more ingenuity to make up a magnetic fishing rod to fish the spring back out. once retrieved the engine was built up and filled with oil, the oil didn’t leak out which was a good start.
Now the Lambretta was repaired in a fashion we could think about going on the ride.
The coaster is really long and comes down the side of the mountain. The only way up to the top is via a chairlift so we all paid the fair and jumped on.
Jason and Sue had stayed out at the pub until 4AM and had not been out of bed long, they decided not to travel with us when we intended to leave due to their hangovers.
Johnny had arrived by the time we all got back from the coaster. Johnny had driven his VW T5 from the UK to meet us, he was carrying tents, spare clothes, 2 stroke oil and all sorts of other stuff for members of the crew. A welcome site for many. He had originally planned to meet us that night but as he knew there were problems with Scotty’s Lambretta he had pushed on and got to us just in case we were unable to repair it.
We all packed up the scooters, (and threw some of the gear into Johnny’s van) and set of.
We had planned to ride to the Grossglockner pass today but due to how late were leaving it was decided to change the plan and head straight for a hotel we had just booked in Trento.
As we passed Innsbruck I got a call over my intercom from Warren to say he had taken the wrong Motorway and had broken down AGAIN. as we were so far ahead I told him we would call him when we reached the next services. when I called him he sounded desperate, I told him we would wait there for him and he could then put the scooter in Johnny’s van but he said he had spoken to Jason and as he was behind him he was going to his rescue. At that we set off again after sending them a text with the address of the hotel we were heading for.
Nige had an imaginary breakdown which we all pulled over for which turned out to be his carb sucking in a loose strap from his luggage. Nige has never been good with luggage, I followed him once when all of it fell off on the way home from Cleethorpes.
The views again were stunning as we got into the Dolomites, the motorway we were on was in a valley for miles surrounded by mountains. The hotel however was again at the top of a mountain.
Once again we had booked a ski hotel, this one though was far above our expectations. 5 star on a rally isn’t something scooterists are used to. The rooms where huge, Nathan commented that if he hadn’t already done his running in miles he would have spent all night ridding around our room.
Later on Jason,Sue and Warren showed up
As usual we were the only ones still drinking when the bar closed so we were forced to turn in for the night.
Today we were heading to various destinations, some where heading to Sottomarina near Chioggia and others were heading to the Euro rally site in Adria. We would all be together until the last fuel stop where we would go our separate ways.
Jason and Sue chose to leave the hotel later and rode alone.
First thing we needed after leaving the hotel was fuel, the first station we got to was card only and didn’t have many pumps so a few of us rode a few mile down the road to another one.
After filling up, the satnavs all pointed us in the same direction, the problem was we ended up on a dirt track again. while on this dirt track Sulla braked hard to miss a pot hole and Ada locked his front brake trying to avoid him and ended up crashing. His Lambretta was a little bruised along with his helmet as he head butted a small wall but thankfully he was OK.
Shortly after this my satnav lead us into the center of Trento rather than on to the motorway but after a sightseeing tour we ended up back on the motorway and caught up with the others at the toll booth.
It was now Curt’s turn to have a few issues, he was leading at one point and failed to turn off at a motorway interchange. Everyone else turned off but Curt didn’t look round. A while later he re-joined us at the next fuel stop. Then a short time later he pulled over because his engine had died, when I looked down as he pulled over I could see fuel pouring from the bottom of his Lambretta. His fuel pipe had come away from the carb.
While he was fixing it a few of the others carried on and a few more hadn’t stopped so were ahead of everyone. When the rest of us got going again we got off the motorway soon after and realised we had got off at the wrong junction. It was however the correct junction for the ones heading for Adria.
Ada, Nathan, lynsey, Paula and I continued on and soon saw a sign for Chioggia and soon after that a huge thunderstorm broke out, many motorbike riders had pulled over under bridges to get out of the rain which we also tried to do but the bridge we stopped at didn’t have any room for us and the bikers didn’t make room. It was here that I looked at the satnav and realised we were on the wrong motorway, at the next junction we got off and headed on smaller roads to our destination in Sottomarina.
The others heading for Sottomarina who were also split up from each other came together by accident at one junction and were well ahead of us.
When we got close to Chioggia the most striking thing was that the traffic traveling away from the area, it seemed as though no one was heading in but everyone was heading out. We later realised that this was because this weekend was a public holiday in Italy and as it was getting late all the Italians were heading home after a day at the beaches and resorts.
Even so, Sottomarina was very busy when we arrived and remained busy all night, there was a real party atmosphere in the town all night.
All present went for a meal, sitting outside one of the many resteraunts, while there we saw Jason and Sue arrive and pointed them in the direction of the hotel.
An uneventful day in all but at this point we were at our furthest point from home. We had rode over 1400 miles from the centre of England to the Adriatic coast across the Alps and everyone felt a sense of achievement.
We hadn’t managed to do all of the planned route due to pass closures and time spent repairing but we had done the majority of the itinerary.
Today was Saturday, the rally in Adria was well underway so we headed there to join in with the fun and games.
The weather again was scorchio, we all decided to ride to the Adria race track in shorts and T-shirts and for a change we didn’t have luggage piled up on the Lambrettas.
When we arrived we were told we couldn’t go in because we didn’t have our wrist bands and entry stickers on the Lambrettas, we asked where the registration point was and were told that it wasn’t open because the people staffing it had gone on the ride out into Chioggia. Unbelievable! Anyway we did get the Lambrettas past the front gate and managed to walk into the event.
Even though the ride out had left, there were still many scooters and people milling around. After a good look around the stalls we headed off to the building people were using as a repair center. Scotty had gone in there to take out the bodge chain tensioner and replace it with a new one he had purchased from one of the stalls. A few others we knew were also in there, Selby taking things apart on his scooter for what looked like the hell of it, Lee Maddocks doing something that involved him being covered in oil and a few others generally taking the piss out of each other. Good fun!
When Scotty got his side case off all of us were amazed that the bodged tensioner had held up well, it was still there and showed no signs of wear. Also the repaired hole wasn’t leaking oil.
By now we had been informed that the registration point was now open so we managed to get our wrist bands and goody bags along with the scooter pass stickers. The bag was a big bag!
I wondered around distributing T-shirts I had promised people, luckly for me some people were on the ride out so I managed to keep a few as I was running low on clean ones by now.
After a few hours we decided to go back to Sottomarina and that those of us staying off site wouldn’t bother returning for the evening event, choosing instead to go out on the town instead.
On the way back we saw the returning ride out which was being escorted by police vans and outriders, there was a great mix of Lambretta models from all over Europe. We also saw a drone filming at one point, I wonder if we will ever see the footage from that?
On arriving back at the hotel we heard from the others staying on site that some of them had gone out on the Adria race track. One thing that would have been worth hanging around for, but as protective clothing was required and we had rode there in shorts we wouldn’t have been allowed on track anyway.
Everyone opened their goody bags and threw most of it away, spaghetti and leaning products for shoes etc. Bonkers! Also when they gave the T-shirts to us they said they didn’t have the sizes we had noted down when filling the application forms in months earlier, very funny when people tried the T-shirts on as all of them had XL on the labels but all of them were different sizes, ridiculous.
Russ’s take on the event:
The Adria 3 (Me, Curt and Brad), got to the site quite late, after a quick scan of the onsite “campsite” which consisted mainly of hard-core we decided to pitch up on the campsite field over the road. Where we were greeted by other ILC members, Neil and Anne, who had flown over, and James and Zeta who had driven. Also, a nice welcome from Andy from Bristol LC with gifts of cold beers, at which point Jonny turned up. I think he must have smelt the free beer. After a quick wash and brush up, we went over for the evening meal. Brewery and piss up springs to mind! after that, a few drinks with fellow scooterists, we even managed to get Toddy to get his wallet out!
Saturday started early with blazing sunshine. I’d had a bit of an issue with a clicking noise coming from the chain case, I’d investigated on the evening in Trento the night before, couldn’t see much wrong, but adjusted the kick start ramp and that seem to lessen the noise, but it was still there. So, I decided to have another look, good job as my exhaust had a massive crack in it, and I noticed the kick start ramp was bent and the pin in the kick start piston was loose. Took the exhaust to the onsite mechanics, who welded it up (top job) and bought a new kick start ramp off Andy Francis.
After lunch, we had a mingle and a wander around the parts fair/ stalls etc. and caught up with other ILC who were staying in Chioggia. There was also the opportunity to have a race around the track in the afternoon, Brad and Curt decided to have a go, I thought I may be pushing my luck if I went on, as I’d still got 1400 miles left to get home, they on the other hand were going home in Johnny’s van on the Monday, so could risk it. So, I was given the task of camera man, unfortunately, this coincided with the regional Italian clubs who had their own individual stalls giving away samples of food from their region, to which me and Jonny got stuck in, hence only a couple of pics of Brad and Curt before they came back in, sorry lads. One of the stalls that was served by a chap who was camper than a field of tents, consisted of half a hard bun, sprayed with water then topped with tomatoes, onion, olives, shallots, peppers, herbs and olive oil, taisted lovely, but was basically a stale bun with some salad on the top, but done with such style and panache as only the Italians can.
The evening Meal was a repeat of the night before …shambles…. By 11.30 we still hadn’t had our dessert and we decided to call it a night …. bit disappointing really, but I think drinking in the day and tiredness got the better of us.
Those of us staying off site went out on the town and had a nice meal before drinking in a few bars. Quite late on a few of us were in one bar when a street magician came over to our table. Now I know I was a little drunk but I swear he was a striking resemblance to Valentino Rossi, The Italian MotoGP race at Mugello was taking place the next day. Anyway he came over did a few tricks and then took a cigarette off Lynsey and then …. well watch the vid.
He had also made some balloon animals and handed them out to the girls, we headed back to the hotel to meet the others and to drink the rest of the night away. Nathan being Nathan positioned the balloon animals on the table and let the slight breeze do the rest, juvenile but very funny.
We all had a good day on Saturday, it gave us a small break from riding which by now we all needed.
Sunday morning saw everyone in Sottomarina feeling worse for wear at breakfast, everyone had to pack up all their gear and load it onto the Lambretta’s again to start the next part of the tour.
Ada’s Mrs had flown over to Sottomarina with a friend to have a holiday and meet up with us, when we were packed up they waved us off.
The plan was to head for Milan via Lake Garda where we would meet up with the people who had stayed at the Adria race track over the weekend.
We had a nightmare around Lake Garda and many of us got split up but eventually we found where the campers had parked their Lambrettas and met up with them. After taking a few photos and eating ice cream we set off again heading for Milan. We found out later that the three who had stayed at the camp site had been at Lake Garda for a while and had been out on the lake on sodding speed boat…… Barstuards!
When we went through the fist toll booth on the motorway Russ mentioned that he could hear Becko’s rear hub ticking. We checked it and sure enough one of the lugs had broke off, we had to change the hub before getting underway again.
It was a lot later than we planned by the time we got to Milan but still decided to go to Monza before heading to the hotel. When we arrived the guy at the entrance put his fingers to his lips as if to say “I wont say anything if you don’t” and let us ride in. As we got closer to the track it became obvious that there had been an event there during the day and people where leaving the area. I headed for the area behind the pits which we had managed to get into in 2014 when a few of us last rode there, that time the place was deserted but today it was crammed with people. We got stopped and were told that we couldn’t enter the area on the Lambrettas but then another guy came over with his thumbs up and after I told them we just wanted to take some photo’s they let us ride in. It seems if you go to Milan or Monza on a Lambretta you get to do what ever you like.
We parked up under the race control section behind the pits and took photo’s, it was a good opportunity to get the flag out again. A few of us walked up into the back of the stands and got onto the area above the podium and had a look if there was anyway to get down onto it. While looking an official guy walked out and looked up at us, we showed him the flag and asked if we could get a photo on the podium and to our amazement he agreed and waved us down to the entrance. It was a strange feeling walking through the indoor area behind the podium where so many famous F1 winners had walked, then the guy opened the door which lead out onto the podium. WOW amazing, we actually got to take photos and stand on the top step which is over the start finish line on the main straight. Personally this alone made the whole trip worthwhile.
Rather than riding back out the way we came, we opted to ride further into the complex to get more photos and no one blinked an eye, you really can do what you like in Milan if your on a Lambretta!
Eventually we left Monza and rode to the hotel, the hotel was great again, the rooms where fabulous and just by the bar there was a small courtyard with a modern swimming pool. It wasn’t long before we were in the pool cooling down and drinking the night away again.
During the evening Tino Sachi turned up with some parts for David “Henry” Smith who had broken down close to the hotel.
Some other Brummies turned up there later on too, members of the Brum Runners SC. One of them was Richard who’s birthday it was, rather than me buying him a drink he brought me one because how happy he was with the engine he had rode there on that I had built for him less than a month before. Happy days 🙂
This day had started a bit flat but had ended up being one of the most memorable days so far.
We all went to bed late looking forward to visiting the Innocenti factory tomorrow.
After the late night we all rose late morning knowing we had 80 miles less to do today to get to the planned destination of Dijon.
Scotty replaced his stator with a spare and we all packed the Lambrettas up again and set off.
The first funny thing to happen was at a fuel stop where the cashier insisted one of us hadn’t’ paid for our fuel. Becko argued with her for ages until he realised he had paid for his drink and food but hadn’t been charged for his fuel, he paid up and we got away eventually.
A while later I was ridding at the back with Jason and Sue, Jason was on a standard GP150 which is really really slow. two police bikes passed us and both had a long look at each of us as they passed, soon after one of them was waiting to pull us over. We followed him into a services and found they were pulling a number of people doing spot checks.
They had pulled us because we were going so slow, they thought we were on mopeds, telling us the law in France is a minimum of 125cc on the motorways, Jason explained that we were all on 150cc at least and that we were travelling slow because of the age of the Lambrettas, taking care not to damage the old engines. The police ended up being quite interested in the scooters and the planned trip we were undertaking, one even requested a sticker with the route on. we were relieved that they let us carry on.
Not much else happened on day three, we arrived in Dijon and found the hotel which had a small courtyard where we parked up the lambrettas then headed into town for a meal before finding an Irish bar to drink the night away.
Today we planned to get from Dijon to Interlaken in Switzerland, not many motorway miles before getting on smaller roads to enjoy the scenery.
Our first problem came while in the alpine foothills, in the middle of nowhere Russ pulled over with a dead spark plug, when he removed his side panel to change the plug he noticed that his frame had cracked around the engine bolt tube. I’m sure many of the others thought the same as I did, that his trip was over, or would soon be over as it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere.
However, Russ has always been lucky with his Euro breakdowns, a few years ago his exhaust split and needed welding and low and behold two miles down the road we found a garage who welded it for him. This time though I looked around and thought there was no way he would strike lucky twice.
He strapped the frame together with a luggage strap, Curt volunteered to carry his panier bags to help reduce the weight and we set off again. To my utter amazement just over one mile later we got to a junction and on the corner was a garage, Russ went in and asked if they had a welder in his best “allo allo” French. They did and agreed to weld it if he took his petrol tank out.
Lucky Russ lol
A couple of hours and 30 Euros later we got underway again, you just couldn’t make it up!
We rode through some lovely scenery before crossing the border into Switzerland where it had started raining hard, we had planned to stop on the border and buy the swiss motorway vignette passes but due to the rain and the fact we were not on a motorway we didn’t stop. Around the next bend the road we were on turned into a motorway though so we were all now worried about getting pulled and receiving fines.
We stopped at the first services we came to but they had sold out of vignette so had to again join the motorway at risk of being fined.
Shortly after re-joining word passed down that Scotty had stopped as he left the services, those that hadn’t stopped with him carried on to the next services where he caught us back up after changing another stator.
We now all had our vignette and were legal at last.
The weather was beginning to turn for the worse, we could see the Alpine mountains covered in snow in the distance and we were traveling towards a huge thunder storm. it was quite dramatic.
I was at the front when a GTS passed me, my first thought was to chase it down but thought better of it for a minute or so until the temptation got the better of me. I told Paula to duck down and I picked up the speed to try and catch the GTS which was now a small dot in the distance. After ridding at over 70 mph for a while reality struck that I was two up carrying shit loads of luggage in a thunder storm on a motorway on the edge of the Alps so I eased off and decided to look for a bridge to park under to allow us to put our waterproofs on under cover. As I decelerated to pull over I felt the back end of the scooter try to overtake the front and immediately thought I had a puncture.
When we came to a stop I found I had broken one of the hub studs that hold the rim to the hub, the rim had opened up enough to pinch the inner tube and the tyre was low on air, very lucky escape considering the speed we had been doing.
A short while later after a hub change we all set off again and soon arrived at our hotel in Interlaken. The three problems over the day meant we arrived a lot later than planned, but the most important thing was that we were all there and that we would all start the real mountain climbing the next day.
We had a few beers and had to get the hotel to order us pizza delivery due to the restaurant at the hotel finishing for the night.