The 2018 International Diesel Motorcycle Rally, Hamm, Deutschland.

 

I arrived at this years event after riding to avoid roadworks on the main Route 1 by coming up and over via Maastricht and Venlo and in on the scenic 58.
Eventually' I found myself being directed through the suburbs of Hamm before rolling up the oh so familiar access road to the venue. Everything looked the same as ever except for the huge great bonfire situated in the centre of the left hand field.
I parked up on the right opposite what used to be the pig field and was greeted by Diesel Dave who immediately advised me to put the tent up because the rain was a coming!


Sure enough, there was a slightly wet and wintery feel to the opening Thursday evening and Friday morning in Hamm but it soon passed with the aid of the fresh wind that was blowing across the fields around Brauhof Wilshaus.
The weather forecast was good for the weekend and I thought it certainly helped bring a good amount of diesel bikers along to this most famous meeting of alternatively fueled Motorcycles. Looking at the numbers in the field (without specifically counting) I’d say it was probably one of the better attended in recent years.

I count myself as one of the ‘usual suspects’ and nearly all were present & correct from the beginning except, unfortunately, for my bro Jeff who, due to the pressures of work, had to miss this event. If you’ve read any of the previous reports you’ll know that the scene is mainly comprised of modified Royal Enfield machines, the separate gearbox being ideal for mating with a variety of small industrial Diesel engines. We always live in hope of seeing new builds based around different and/or more modern machines but as time marches on & governments dictate, perhaps the enthusiasm for such projects is waining slightly.


Nevertheless, we did see the arrival of a Peugeot/BMW motorcycle which we hadn’t seen grace the camping fields hereabouts before.
Sporting an older 1.4L engine, the machine had altered gearbox ratios which allowed it to go so much faster. Some other bike builders were quite incredulous on hearing how much faster this machine could go.
With this the only newly built machine on show I guess it limits somewhat the backbone of this report but I will endeavour to pass along the various happenings and gossip from the field.

I know this Peugeot engine type well having driven a 106 for 13 years. The water pumps aren't that good!

The RHS of the bike.


It was good to see Alan and his mates ride in again from the far North of Europe. So far up is he that he mentioned it might be quicker for them to come to Hamm via Britain! How’s that for dedication? After some pleasantries he asked me to put out a link to his virtually finished project which is up for sale so I’ll include it here (link).


Last year Andreas, the creator of I think the first Smart Bike, was attempting to sell his bike for quite a high price. This time round he informed me that the price of said machine was €10k and that he was also letting his electric creation go although I do not know the price he has put on that. The Diesel Wiesel crew were again here this year and have never missed a Hamm motorcycle rally as far as I can remember.
We all know that Erik, the manufacturer of the Track T800cdi diesel bike is now turning his hand to making a small electric vehicle and so it came as no real surprise to learn that Heiko has also turned away from diesel and is converting cars to electric. Apparently his creations are extremely fast but I don’t know if he has tackled anything with two wheels yet. Perhaps I should say watch this space? He has a Youtube channel of course!


We have always been blessed with free camping at the International diesel treff but it seems times they are a changing.
At just about every Rally going hosted by a pub, there has always been an unwritten rule that attendees should make an effort to consume at least some, if not most of the food and drink offered by the house. Perhaps Brauhof Wilshaus has been a little behind in this respect, expecting, hoping even, that more would partake of their offerings than actually do. So it appears that things have come to ‘a head’ this year, to use an expression and it seems that in future, a small camping fee in the region of perhaps €5 or €10 per night will be required - this will offset rally goers bringing their own food and drink. Personally I think this is more than fair and so do others who commented on it this year. It will remove an underlying tension which has always been present, generate a few more ‘spondulies’ for the house and ease the conscious of those wishing to bring their own and consume it whilst sitting in another’s field.

As is usual for me, I normally end up living on the traditional Flamkutchen, a thin, pizza like dish topped with cheese and a sprinkling of pork. Ideal beer food, as they say, something to nibble at over a conversation. Most others prefer the Snitzel! Talking of which, there was a distinct lack of ‘grunters’ about the place this year (I saw none except those on my plate) and I’m told it was something to do with regulatory procedures relating to their feeding and the proximity of the general public. But there were Donkeys!

More friendly than the pigs.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Dan ride over from England but I’m pleased to say he turned up despite having choke cable problems on his old Honda NTV. In fact we saw three or four of those bikes appear over the course of the event and even Reinhard arrived on one, pointing out in the process that it was the forerunner to my own & Matt’s Honda NC’s. Apologies again for riding a ‘’benzine’ bike to diesel event but I don’t actually have one of those on the road at the moment.
I’m pleased to say that we also saw Triker Tony make it over for the first time despite his veggie oil powered machine breaking down just after the crossing to the Netherlands. The insurance company provided a hire car which saw him good to Hamm where he lost no time in tackling a homegrown Snitzel - and lost!

It's been a while - but he's back with his Smart bike!


Also great to see Mike P over from the U.K. after he had first visited friends in Holland. We went on to travel home part way together and spent a day site seeing in Dinant & Givet before going our separate ways. Larry also arrived with his better half, this year in a motorhome instead of on his Royal Enfield. Having spent a fair amount of time in Camborne searching for the Freeman Sanders Diesel Motorcycle of late, it was somewhat fitting to hear his Cornish accent about the place in middle Germany.

Bert's Track T800cdi.

After eating outside the pub and having a few Hellas beers we found that we were usually being drawn to Bodo and Sönke’s fire pit, situated out in the main field. I also arrived here late on on Thursday night but made sure I had a better seat Friday. I suspect that the huge logs that appeared to fuel this mini volcano were somewhat surreptitiously purloined from the rather inert bonfire nearby, that loomed up from the darkness.
It has to be said that down the years, it has not been unheard of for anyone or indeed all to witness some of the, shall we say, larger bikers amongst us, fall through a seat or two, usually in a rather sudden and spectacular way. This year was no different when a huge ‘crack’ heralded the sudden, downward departure of poor Bernt who momentarily disappeared into the gloom. Others, who had arrived early and who were equipped with a van and numerous power tools, had foreseen the coming of such calamities and had raided the aforementioned bonfire for construction materials to produce a profoundly more solid seat. Sadly this creation returned to whence it came at the end of the Treff and if the bonfire hasn’t been lit as yet, is probably still languishing at the foot of potential pire.

Kurts Machine.

Away from Sönke & Bodo was the British corner. This was an altogether calmer place returned to most frequently by us lot in between our wanderings about the place. Just after my arrival I’d recommend a book to Diesel Dave that I’d bought along for the trip and was pleased to see it proved as ‘unputdownable’ to him as it did me. This proved to be a quiet corner of the field where one could get into such a read. If you’re interested, Alf Francis - Racing Mechanic, is a riveting account of Brits crisscrossing the continent in the 1950’s, supporting our Grand Prix Racing cars and driver Stirling Moss.
Andre (diesel racer of Gaschney) was a much welcome visitor here, often sharing his sausages and beverages round to everyone. Mike provided the gas for cooking the grub and countless brew ups of good old English (actually Indian) tea.

The fire pit in the field proved to be most popular during the hours of darkness with Mike stoking it up a good‘un at every opportunity. Just as I thought we were about to call it a day, someone would produce another huge log (from you know where) and Mike would feed it into the flames. I’m told it go so overloaded that it collapsed around 4am but I was long gone by then.
Diesel Racer Andre was as generous at Hamm as he was at Gascheny and produced a bottle of Bavarian Whiskey that was shared out. A slight sip was enough for my taste but everyone else was nicking the stuff like there was no tomorrow. Sönke had a hell of a job clearing up the smashed plastic shot glasses that littered the place come the morning.

Not for me but everyon else seemed to enjoy it!


Previously, on Friday night, I’d been chatting with Ammie and Teun outside Willy’s regarding his huge, American mobile home. At first glance it had looked the same to me as before but I was quickly given the grand tour and saw that it had been refurbished as a hairdresser’s mobile salon! On entering the now LPG powered vehicle I became aware that various panels and surfaces were now a distinct shade of pink! Two seats had been fitted and faced angled, plastic mirrors. Other various utilities had been installed to aid the cutting of hair with the electric power points almost ready for action. I’d have readily volunteered for a haircut if I had any but as it was, I think all were wise to hold back with the scissors given the amount of alcohol that was flowing roundabout this time!

Haircut anyone?!

It was good to catch up with Helmut who came along in his little three wheeler complete with trailer. As is usual, he brought along a couple of bottles of Köln beer for Jeff and it was gratefully received. I was sorely tempted to drink both bottles whilst traveling back across the continent but, as I type this, on the return ferry to England, the second bottle is sitting buried in my motorcycle pannier 3 decks below me.
I prefer light beers to dark usually but couldn’t turn down the offer of a bottle of Spezial Dunkel from Hubert (Modite 1). That almost made the channel crossing but got polished off on my last night in Dieppe. Thanks to to Bernt who also gave me a beer from his hometown, Einbecker Pilsner. That went the way of all the others he brought along!


Incidentally, Hubert let on that he’s working on a new three cylinder diesel bike and I’m guessing this, like the latest Peugeot bike, will have one of the new gear sets in it, produced for a small group in recent years. I think that’s correct, my understanding of German being what it is.

The promised good weather did indeed stay with us for the duration of the event and the sun shone down on diesel bikers and visitors alike. I’m not sure how much publicity is put out regarding this Treffen but we saw a steady stream of interested motorcyclists stop by.
In amongst the bikes it was good to finally see a new Royal Enfield Himalayan machine and continental versions of what looked almost like my Honda NC, the CTX. Reinhard, (recently back from an epic trip out East) organises another event aimed at the scooter/moped community and a few of these guys camped up on the far side of the Left hand field.

One of the new generation Enfields makes a show at the diesel treff.


As last year, we saw Gausi and his E SAXO make an appearance late at night. The tell tale LED Dash a certain giveaway that something special resides within the car these days. An Internet forum thread is available on this electric car upgrade and I'm indebted to one of the Innova riders for directing me to it here.

 

As is always the case and on behalf of everyone who attended, I’d like to thank the organisers and host again for putting on the International Diesel Motorrad Treffen. It’s always a good laugh and there are always interesting things to see and discuss.
We’ll see you all again next year!

 

ADDITIONAL SHOTS FROM THE 2018 TREFFEN.

Plenty of visitors turned up.

Many Jochen Sommer bikes were present at Hamm.

Andre's Centaurus - one of two which attended this year.

One of two Tracks that attended this years rally.

 

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