Invasion of the classic bikers

Yesterday morning was a Saturday; intended to be a lazy lie-in after a hard week’s work. I’d been doing duty as a gatekeeper, possibly the most boring activity known to man. It seems the less I have to do the more tired it makes me. Anyway, enough of my bleating. At about 3am I awoke to the sound of the piazza being cleaned by a tanker lorry. Actually we had been forewarned that something was happening; notices had appeared round the piazza a few days earlier requesting car owners to remove their vehicles on Saturday morning or have them towed away, but gave remarkably little information as to the nature of the event that would require the piazza for itself.

At about 8am tables were being set up by the local village committee, a somewhat secretive bunch of residents who organise things but usually omit to tell anyone what’s happening. Then nothing happened for the rest of the morning, but just before 1pm the tables began to fill up with food and drink brought out from the church storeroom. This was a relief; given how particular Italians are about strict adherence to eating times I was beginning to worry about a mass outbreak of hunger. Then suddenly came a shout “They’re here!” and the sound of engines as fifty or more “historic” motorcycles swept into the piazza below our window. An eclectic collection of bikes and scooters, mostly from the 1950s or later, but with some interesting exhibits among them such as a BSA combination and an early Honda Gold Wing.

It turned out that this was a club from Roquebrune, just over the border in France, having an annual group tour and day out in Italy. They were stopping for lunch here in Torri and seemed well pleased with the level of organisation and hospitality offered by the village. Once they were suitably refreshed and the necessary speeches had been made they all climbed back aboard their steeds and headed off to continue their tour, leaving the villagers to clean up and pack away. After an hour or so everything was back to normal.

The whole event was organised with friendly efficiency; the only surprise was the lack of any information announcing it. I suppose we can’t afford to spread the word too widely as the local car parking would be totally unable to cope with a major influx of visitors, but a couple of simple posters would have been nice. Next year I’ll make sure it’s announced better.

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