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Saigon Scooter

Vietnam's  First Chally Rally February 2006

What do you do for New Year holidays in a country that completely closes down, where everybody goes home to visit family (When you've got none here!) and the favourite "Tet" pastime is to drink snake wine and eat pickled egg cake? As most hair brain schemes are concocted this one began at the end of a long night in "Q' Bar in Saigon with Chewsters brainchild of doing something different like driving from Saigon to Hanoi on the most unlikely choice of 2-wheels available. To make the 2000km+ trip more interesting it was decided to do it on 1970's 50cc Honda Chally scooters with a budget of 250.00quid including the purchase price of the scoot. The final challenge was to do the trip "off road"! Christmas was on us so nothing went any further until the first meeting on Jan 2nd. By this time a compromise was met by half on road and half off road and the 1000km trip was to take place over 4 days leaving Saigon via Bao Loc, Dalat, a jungle trip and onto Nha Trang one of Vietnam's top beach resorts with more than a few detours in-between.
Only 4 weeks before "Tet" New Year holidays and none of the teams had even purchased the classic Honda. Departure date was planned for the 28th January which was New Years Eve and a total of 14 scoots finally enrolled and signed the "Accidental Death Waver". The meeting was to be 20km's north of Saigon at the Big C as to avoid any unwanted Police attention as it's strictly illegal to make any vehicle modifications here whatsoever. The teams were eager to check out the competition and much to the amusement of a gathering crowd of hundreds of onlookers who couldn't figure out why a group of crazy foreigners would even want to ??????????????
From the standard factory specification Honda Chaly that had trouble pushing a top speed of 45km's, sported 10" wheels and a 3litre petrol tank were an amazing range of unrecognizable machines. Upgrades included 110cc and Saigon Scooters 144cc, 14" wheels, long range tanks, expansion pipes, sports seats amongst others. The teams left at 10 minute intervals and the fastest times over each stage were to be totaled up to find the overall fastest time up to arriving in Nha Trang. All members of each team had to compete each stage to qualify for the following day.

Day 1 - Saigon to Bao Loc
Day 2 - Bao Loc to Dalat
Day 3 - Jungle trip
Day4 - Dalat to Nha Trang
Day 5 - Beach party and Award ceremony

Overall winning team - Saigon Scooter Centre (Pat,Ash and Hamish)
Best Bike - Dan (Completed on 10" wheels and loads of chrome)
Most Crashes - Jacob Lenartsson
Loosers Trophy - The Underdogs Team (Jacob and Romain)

With another leg planned for the end of the year after the rainy season finishes mark 2 versions are already being built. Hopefully this will be the first of many.

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