Luton Lambretta Club Slalom Day – Sunday 16th November 2003

Nope, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first heard about this but thought it’s gotta be good for a laugh. I think I was expecting hills and forests and knobbly tires and things but i was wrong, well other than the knobblies anyway. (No, I’m not talking about Pete!)

Anyway, nice day for it, off to the Piazza and get there about 11am were many of the Pilgrims had already gathered. Considering it was mid November, I think that a turnout of about 18 – 20 + is pretty good? All the regulars were there and Tom was busy dishing out the Christmas Party tickets, well I say dishing them out, he was quizzing everyone that wanted one to make sure that they really wanted one and not, “just in case”. Top man! Oh, and he even reserved ticket 001 for Squirrel, (teacher’s pet).

So after the regular coffee, chatting, catching up and conversation about the great turnout to the monthly Henlow night on thursday just gone, it was time to start your engines and we were off.

Pulloxhill is about 10 miles south of Bedford on the way to Luton, and for those of you with money problems, has had a vein of gold discovered in it but the amount it would cost to get at it would be more than its worth apparently. So anyway off we went, about 20 of us to Pulloxhill, down the A6 and suddenly at the roundabout by the BP station people were all over the place, it appears one of the crew needed petrol so in we all piled. Once our colleague was done, round the back of the station, oneo the roundabout once more and weeeeeeeee! , south on the A6. It wasn’t long until we hit Lark Hill just near Haynes and I was suddenly chugging thinking “right, it’s either my first heat seize for months or I’m on reserve”, a quick well placed heel knocked the tap down into reserve and all was well in the world again, other than the BMW who was up my arse anyway.

So, a couple of miles on and we turn right up a single lane track to the Cross Keys pub in Pulloxhill. Round the back, into the car park and everyone gets parked up while watching the slalom bike being unloaded by Pete from the Luton Lambretta Club. While Pete’s doing that, myself, Boxer and a few others grab the slalom obstacles, tyres and suchlike, and bring them to the corner of the car park and into the lovely open field behind it. Oh yes!

Then, a quick turn around and away from the field for me, needed a pee and a pint after all! So once the call of nature (and the pee) were sorted, I returned with pint in hand to the slalom course which was pretty much laid out at this point. It was basically a zigzag between five tyres, then a scooter limbo under a bamboo stick, back around, through two blocks of wood only just wide enough to get a scooter tyre through, then up and over the see-saw, over a girder lengthways, double back around and through five more tyres and over the finish line. Sounds easy!!

Yeah, right! So first up is Rachel who practically pushes people aside on her way to the scooter. On she gets and round the course she goes and does it very well (for a woman, harrumph) Mind you, she did it better than Quincy her old man that’s for sure.
Tom was next, if i remember correctly, the look of concentration on his face was a sight, very stern all the way round with only a couple of foot downs and as soon as he got through the finish he was beaming, a good round.

Chalky was next but for some reason Peter and Bill made the gaps between the tyres wider at this point, many thought that they were taking pity on him and well they should. Come on Chalky, even Rachel did better than that!!!
Squirrel had his go too, which was pretty good and again the look of concentration on his face was a sight to behold, you could nearly see the cogs in his head moving as he negotiated the course.

Surprisingly, Stewart did quite well, not because it was Stewart but because he’s never really been on a Lammy, never mind a grass track Lammy. His practice round was perfect! Ska, Vespa T5 normally, again, perfect round.
Closet Lambretta fans those two, we have already converted Mark, you guys are next. We know where you live!
Pretty much everyone had a practice go, and in between times were nipping back into the pub for a pint and to warm up seeing as it was so cold on the day.

So, now it was time for the proper timed and scored slalom course. Basically, same course but one point for every foot down or obstacle you failed to negotiate properly. I can say at this point that the most penalties incurred was 12 by three separate people! The worst time was 1min 38.24 sec and the best was 35.85 seconds, quite a difference and to see who they were you will have to look at the score sheet.

Just about everyone had a go and at one point there were three scooters on the course when the lads from Milton Keynes turned up with a grasstrack Lambretta and Vespa. It did however look like the lambretta was having a few problems and the Vespa was fine until Chalky wanted to try it!!

My own round was crap, feet down all over the place, got through the tyres, knocked the stick off the limbo obstacle, made a huge circle to turn round, missed the two bits of wood you were supposed to go through but my crowning glory was the ramp, (cough) I mean see-saw, just about managed the girder and then practically rode over the last five tyres. Ah well, someone has to be crap to make everyone else look good. I did enjoy the see-saw though. I even got requests for a repeat performance which I was only too happy to oblige.

At one point, while talking to Stewart and Squirrel, Stewart came up with a cunning plan. What if you just ran over the tyres and over all the obstacles really quick and incurred the penalties? Squirrel and I were watching and I was sure there would be a “cheeky b*stard penalty” of 15 seconds or summat. So as Stewart set off we were waiting for him to take off, but he didn’t. Turns out he told Peter his intentions at the start line and he said if he did that he would incur a five second penalty per obstacle bypassed. The tyres alone would cost him 50 seconds!! Ah well, worth a shot.
The day was progressing well when Mark Shirley arrived with a Twist & Go and proceeded to take it on the grass, mind you he soon realised that Michelin S1’s and slippy grass don’t mix when he landed on his ass, which put him off trying the slalom course on it. He did alright though on the Lambretta.
Again, more drink and warmth was had in the pub and by now Peter was totting up the final scores including the penalties. Who was worst? Who was best? Check out the score sheet!!

Then it was time to go home, so Stewart, Squirrel and I went back to the scooters and we had been joking about doing the slalom on our own scooters so what the hell. I pointed at the course while looking at them and a nod and a smile from Squirrel was all the encouragement I needed, off I went trundling over the grass. I soon realised how Mark had felt earlier as I tried to turn the scooter and brake, the S1’s did bugger all, it was literally like being on ice. Round I went, putting my foot down to steady me and finding no grip and I fall over. Well I say fall over, I did, but all the mirrors on the crashbars kept my scooter off the ground at about 45 degrees! A strange sight to be sure.

Still, I hadn’t hurt myself so after brushing myself off and picking up me scooter, I was off. Lining myself up at the starter marker poles I soon realised that I couldn’t fit through because of the mirrors, so I just went round. The through the tyres and I pretty much demolished the limbo obstacle, hood catching the top bar and my mirrors ripping the right hand pole out of the ground, but then turned to face the ramp. I paused and heard those stood at the top of the course cheering me on so after a quick spin of the rear wheel, the tyre gripped and I was away, building up my speed, heading directly for the ramp and suddenly I’m flying through the air praying not to hit the fence. I land and avoid the girder opting to head over the remaining tyres and around the finish line, great laugh! Still can’t believe I did it, or that I repeated the stunt so that Rachel could get a picture of it! Hope it came out.

So after a bit more of a natter and a big thanks to the Luton Lambretta Club again, it was off home via the petrol station remembering I was still on reserve and like a horse to water, we ended up in the Dew Drop pub for some quiet contemplation. Well, we drank and drank then I went home.

Again, I just want to thank the Luton Lambretta Club wholeheartedly on behalf of the Pilgrims for an absolutely fantastic day out and looking forward to the next one.