August 2000 Event
Home / Features / German Rally
    Ronneburg, Germany, 30th June, 1st & 2nd July 2000.
   By Mat Elvenkemper
Attending the National Club meet at the medieval castle Ronneburg located approx. 40 km east of Frankfurt/Main is a MUST for many German Indian riders. The first meeting last year was big fun except for to the trip to the meet, but that had been our own fault. We had stubbornly followed the Ąkeep away from the autobahnď rule and wasted so much time in dense city traffic crossing almost the whole Rhine-Ruhr industrial area from west to east until the approaching evening forced us to use the boring A45 autobahn for the rest of the trip to the meet. We learned out lesson and decided to take advantage of the autobahn for leaving the Rhine-Ruhr valley which would enable us to enjoy some scenic parts of the Land of Hessen on secondary roads.

We left Duisburg around 10:00 a.m., Claudia on her red Sport Scout powered 741 bobber, me following with the VW station wagon as I didnít have the time to finish my 42ď 741 motor. The morning wheather was pretty cold but at least it didnít rain. Arriving in Schwelm at 11:00 a.m. we met Rafael on his original blue ex-Royal Air Force 741. For the next 40 kilometers I envied Claudia and Rafael enjoying the hilly country on roads full of bends until we stopped for fuel and coffee in Lüdenscheid. I had noticed from the exhaust note that Claudia had lost a header screw. We didnít have the correct spare screw but I was able to borrow a M5 tap, cut metric threads and fix the pipe with a metric screw. Luckily this was the only incident the bikes needed attention and for the rest of the trip to and from the meet the Scouts ran flawless. We went on taking A45 eating about 50 kilometers, dropping off the autobahn in Willnsdorf. The following 70 kilometers through Dillenburg, Haiger, and Herborn turned out to be the nicest part of the trip, rural country, only few small cities with red lights to pass, a perfect mixture of bends and straights, the sun was shining. We refilled the tanks in Asslar at 2:00 p.m. and had a quick lunch, then took A45 again until Altenstadt. For the last 40 kilometers the bikes thundered over the hilly roads of the Wetterau region and we arrived at the Ronneburg castle at 5:00.

Click on pictures for full size

Friday 30th June 11:00, we meet Rafael in Schwelm.

On the A45, Rafael passes me.

Roadside quick lunch.

About 50 Indians were already present, president Wolfgang and many other friends welcomed us warmly. It was a special pleasure to see our co-founder and former president Uwe Ziesemann alive and kicking, fully recovered after months of illness he visibly enjoyed so much being finally among Ąhisď Indians again. As we built up our tent more and more Indians riders from all over Europe arrived. A total of 171 participants on 96 Indian motocycles registered, most of them coming on two (or three) wheels with trailer-queens being a rare exception. We visited the interior of the medieval castle which is in pretty good shape, then we walked to the dealer booths. A wide range of reproduction and original parts, memorabilia, basket cases and complete bikes was offered, but nothing hit our eyes and said Ąbuy meď. Even the European distributor of the new Indian Chief 2000 was present but the Gilroy, CA made motorcycle apparently didnít receive much attention. Dinner was fantastic and we sat together talking, laughing until late in the night.

Saturday morning after an excellent breakfast me and a group of 5 other riders decided not to join the official ride scheduled shortly after dinner but to go to visit the legendary Friedel Münch who had built a Sport Scout prototype for Floyd Clymer in the late 1960ís. Claudia let me ride her bike so I could get my dose of riding. Dieter Bensching had arranged the visit and knew the route to the rendezvous so he headed our group with his black 1940 Chief sidecar rig, and as an experienced sidecar rider Dieter was really cooking the tires over the scenic country roads... That day Friedel Münch officially opened the painting shop where the series version of his new creation will be painted. He proudly presented the Münch Mammut 2000, an impressive creation with its 4 cyl. DOHC turbocharged 2000cc, 260 horsepowers motor (not my cup of tea, though). A few Münch fans were present with their 1970ís Mammut (Mammoth) bikes but the visiting Indian delegation attracted even more attention. Friedel offered us a snack and a drink and took his time examining our bikes. His favourite was Joachimís meticulously restored 1938 Four and Friedel asked him to start it so he could listen to the sound. After having taken a picture with Friedel and us I presented him a set of blueprint copies (thanks to Max Bubeck for the copies!) of the motor Friedel had designed for the planned series version of the Sport Scout. Friedel hadnít seen the blueprints for over 30 years and was very happy to receive a set of copies.

Saturday 1st July: Indian riders visit Friedel Münch, from left to right Joachim Junginger (438), Otto Raffelsbauer (741 Aschenputtel), Friedel Münch, Dieter Bensching (340 w. sidecar), Mat Elvenkemper (741), Rafael Rienks (741).

Münch Mammut 2000 prototype

Münch Mammut 2000 prototype

More Münch Mammut here!

Back at the Ronneburg castle we relaxed until the large crowd of Indians came back from the official ride. At dinner time it started raining cats and dogs but it was over within and hour and the rest of the weekend St. Peter had mercy with us and kept the sluice-gates closed. A local band played 60ís and 70ís hits, the musicians happened to be technically pretty good but somehow they didnít really manage to arouse enthusiasm in the audience. This changed immediately when Barbara - sweetheart of club member Dirk Marschand - stood up, walked to the stage, picked the microphone and started to sing... sing, well, like a top professional singer. It was fascinating how within seconds everybody was spellbound, this ladyís got the blues, and her show was so authentic and natural, WOW. Everybody was thrilled and the audience was dancing, waving, and laughing frolicsome until late in the night. Thank you Barbara for these unforgettable moments. 

On sunday morning Rafael decided not to join us for the trip back home as planned because the prior consumption of fermented beverages until late in the night made him feel he was in desperate need of some more relaxing hours. Our Dutch friend John asked us if he could join us on his 1925 Chief and we hit the road at 10:30 a.m. after breakfast.

We took the same route back home, me as the pace car, John and Claudia on the bikes and Johnís wife Miryam following with a VW bus. The wheather was great and whenever I looked in the rear view mirrow I saw see Claudiaís and Johnís smiles. We were appoaching the city of Siegen when I noticed John was waving his hands, something was wrong. Apparently the Chief was only running on one cylinder only - we took off the bakelite magneto cap and found one brush was broken. As John didnít have a spare brush we put the Chief in the bus. Claudia offered John to ride the Scout because her bum was hurting and John gladly accepted as he had never ridden a Scout before. Arriving in Duisburg at 5:00 p.m. John reported he had so much fun with nice handling (apparently a foreign word for a Chief rider), powerful Sport Scout motor and last not least he was impressed that it is indeed possible to make Indian brakes actually work. After a coffee and a beer John and Miryam said good-bye, Claudia and me went to bed early, dreaming sweet dreams with mental pictures of 700 kilometers on an Indian and an unforgettable weekend.

Ronneburg - CU again next year!

Arriving at the Ronneburg

Parking lot.

View of the castle from the camping ground below

Sunday 2nd July: Claudia and John quenching (bikes' and own) thirst.

More about the meet on the German Indian Club website soon:

Home  -  Features  - Archives  -  Back Issues  -  VI Network  -  VI Mailing List  -  Contact VI