photo by vespamore photography on Flickr.
S.I.P. Customshow - vespamore photography report
Would have normally written this report up quicker but have been pre-occupied with the recent RETROSPECTIVE SCOOTERS book & it's official launch last Thursday night.
Ralf Jodl from S.I.P. Scootershop invited me in January to the Customshow they had planned to host in Landsberg on Saturday 13th April. I've had email contact with Ralf for a few years now & sent him a disc of film shots, some of which were used in SIP's classic vespa mail order catalogue. I got to meet Ralf in person for the first time when he came to London last year with a few other guys from SIP for World Vespa Days London.
After booking a cheap flight from Stansted to Memmingen (between Munich & Landsberg) I waited in anticipation for April 13th to come around. Loaded up with half a dozen films & not much else; wasn't looking to get fleeced by Ryanair on their baggage allowance, I flew out to Bavaria on the Thursday morning.
Ralf collected me from the airport & we headed to Landsberg, a very pretty Bavarian town with a view to the Alps on a clear day & home to SIP. After a guided walk around Landsberg with Ralf, we headed to Munich where I was able to take a look at Robin Davy's extensive collection of rare vespas, many still in their original paint & assorted memorabilia & period posters etc. The life of a collector could never be for me but it was very impressive to look at all the same. Upon leaving Robin's place Ralf took me to Vesbar also in Munich which is a cool little classic scooter workshop & showroom which reminded me a bit of Retrospective Scooters in London, only tidier! That evening back in Landsberg we were joined by Alexey & Anna, two of Ralf's Russian friends who had come over from St Petersburg for Saturday's event. They were also staying at Ralf & partner Angie's place. After introductions were completed we ate at a very nice Croatian restaurant in Landsberg, joined by yet more of Ralf's friends!
35mm film fotos taken at www.vesbar.de
Friday morning came around quick enough with the Croatian 'meat fest' & Bavarian beer still sitting heavily on my stomach! Ralf & Angie headed off to work in the morning leaving Alexey, Anna & me free to make use of the vespas in the garage. Alexey & Anna went for the lovely mustard Rally 200 while I had to make do with the restored SS180 in blu pavone; the Italian GS160 Mk1 would have to wait..! We set off to see SIP's headquarters in the industrial district in Landsberg where Ralf gave us a tour of the showroom, offices & depot from where all scooter parts orders are despatched worldwide. SIP employ approx 50 staff, so it's quite a big concern & as you would expect, very well set up & run.
S.I.P. Scootershop showroom in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria
We left SIP & headed into Landsberg's centre to meet up with Ralf & Angie's friend Leopold who runs Wild Shoe, one of his many concerns! After a few espressos we took a trip on the scoots around Lake Amersee after Leo had supplied us with a map. It was pretty blowy but dry & both scoots being fitted with SIP's tried & tested set up of P200 engine with Malossi 210 & SIP road exhaust made for some excellent riding along the sweeping, open country roads.
Alexey & Anna during a stop-off in Utting on the edge of Lake Amersee
We got back to Landsberg where the sun had now made an appearance making for some great foto ops after a belated lunch...
Anna & Rally 200
Once back at Ralf's place we were joined by a large French contingent from Scooter Club du Sud Est
also staying & a couple of Italians from 70s Helmets making it a very full house! For me, I loved being the only English guy present, surrounded by French, Italians, Germans & Russians who fortunately pretty much all understood English or my occasional attempts at Italian & French! Once ready, we departed en masse to a traditional Bavarian restaurant where we ate some fantastic sliced pork with braised red cabbage & dumplings washed down with more beer! The restaurant was busting at the seams with SIP guys & their various guests from pretty much most corners of Europe - another great night!
Saturday finally arrived; the day of SIP's Customshow & the reason for being there , not just eating, drinking & sightseeing! Also for me a great opportunity to hopefully get some decent film shots & check out some nice German & Austrian classic scoots. It was an excellent day for me; I really enjoyed the freedom to walk around & take it all in while breaking for a Bratwurst in a roll & weissbier from Leo's mobile bar & BBQ!
After a long but superb day & once back at Ralf & Angie's we decamped to Salvatore's Italian restaurant for yet more food, beer & wine before heading to the bar, site of the Customshow allnighter. Conversation dried up at this point, drowned out by the not unpleasant sounds of mainly Northern Soul tunes being spun. Around 2.30am we called it a day & ambled back 'home' to bed.
Sunday greeted us with wall to wall sunshine & 25 degrees heat! Ralf & Angie treated their assembled guests to a traditional Bavarian breakfast of boiled sausages, rock salt crusted bread pretzels with raw radishes & swede chutney with a constant supply of coffee - delicious! During the Customshow I met up with some German guys who run the Formalisten website; they have similar interests in classic scoots to me & we'd be in touch before the trip. One of the guys David, rides a very nice custom Sprint Veloce named 'Reingold' & lives about 30km from Landsberg in Augsburg, so I called him to see if he was up for me taking some film shots of his cool scoot. David didn't mind at all so once Ralf had sorted me out a map I headed off on the SS180, while the others went to Leo's riverside house for a BBQ on the terrace overlooking the River Lech! I didn't mind at all though as Ralf had sent me on the scenic route to Augsburg through the villages which couldn't have been better under the warm sun & blue skies. My journey came to a halt on the edge of a small village as the engine gave out. Fortunately this only turned out to be a blocked idle jet which was quickly remedied after taking advantage of the surroundings with my camera...
En route to Augsburg on Blu Pavone SS180
After a bit of tail chasing I eventually found David's place & once he'd collected 'Reingold' he took me to an amazing old de-comissioned gasworks, great for taking fotos. There's no way you could get anywhere near such a place in the UK; it would be ring fenced with barbed wire! We had a stroll around the site looking for suitable areas to take some shots & then set to work...
After an enjoyable couple of hours, we finished up & David took me back to the motorway for a full throttle blast back to Landsberg, where I hooked back up with the others at Leo's place. The still warm, low sun felt lovely on the terrace overlooking the river; where we made the most of it with a few glasses of 'Aperol' & of course had to take a few obligatory fotos...
Fotos taken at Schloss Hamberger
We ended the the day with a chilled out evening at Salvatore's Italian restaurant again, with a few glasses of wine & antipasti - bliss!
Monday was the day of my return my home. I spent the morning taking the remaining shots left on my film in Landsberg after realising I'd taken none of this scenic town..
Landsberg am Lech
After using up the last of my film, I bade Ralf farewell & reluctantly returned the SS180 to the garage. Leo gave me a lift back to Memmingen airport for the return flight back home.
So that was the end of what had been such a great long weekend for me. More than the amazing array of classic scoots on display, or even the exclusive loan of the beautiful Super Sport; I was totally knocked out by the warmth, hospitality & generosity of spirit shown to me by Ralf & Angie & their Landsberg friends! Also great was meeting their Russian, French & Italian friends who had come for the Customshow. It's amazing where a love of an 'Italian shopping bike' can take you....
Slideshow of full set of shots I took below - all shots taken with my Olympus OM-2N manual SLR on Kodak Portra 400 35mm film...
Check out also SIP's film of the Customshow here
Paul Hart/vespamore photography - www.vespamore.com