Photos: Thomas Kinzer, Johnny DeVilla & Heidi Zumbrun
Yes, the café racer craze may either be getting pretty tired or have completely jumped the shark, depending on who you talk to or your point of view. But there’s a group of friends who have been getting together for a big Mods vs. Rockers campout every year in the local LA mountains since before it was “cool.” And just like a scooter, it’s fun.
The whole event actually starts with a meet and greet on Friday night, either at a local watering hole or the Cretins Motorcycle Club house. On Saturday morning, scooters and motorcycles meet up for separate group rides to the reserved campground in the mountains via Angeles Crest highway. This year, the Rockers meetup point was at Atlantis Motorcycle Shop in Silverlake. After a quick debriefing from Cretins Motorcycle Club president, Scott Fabro, we were off for our semi-chaotic group ride that left everyone strung out along several miles of the highway. One seized engine and one “hassled by the man” incident later and we arrived more or less intact at the campground.
If you’ve ever watched those old ‘60s biker exploitation films where a bunch of guys take over a campground by ripping in and immediately commencing “to have a good time” with booze, women, loud music, superfluous use of motorcycles and herky-jerky dancing—well, that’s kinda how it feels when you roll in with the motorcycle group. The herky-jerky dancing gets mostly repressed, though.
There is, in fact, a full PA system that gets set up. Some great DJs spin all day and night, including Jesse Mora, aka DJ Astro, who brings what looks like a truckload of his vinyl out to the very dusty campground. Beyond getting your herky-jerky on, there’s also a bunch of “official” events during the campout, some of which pit the Mods against the Rockers.
We’ll skip the Mods vs. Rockers history lesson because you probably already know the deal. Many of the attendees are very much a part of the local café racer or scooter scenes, but no one takes the theme too seriously. All in good fun. At least until the tug of war starts, which now has an 8 year running score of 6-2, in favor of the Mods. Yes, that’s right—the scooter guys are consistently trouncing the motorcycle guys in tug of war. Adding insult to injury, the same humiliation is now served up in a women’s event.
Other highlights include a raffle, BBQ, a slow race competition, and the telling of tall tales around the campfire.
The organizer of the event is Cretins Motorcycle Club member Eddie Alcazar. Inspired by the fond memories of scooter club campouts he attended at an early age in the ‘80s, and with the encouragement and assistance of his friend, Hector Pedilla, the first L.A. Mods vs. Rockers event went down in 2006. Asked about his vision for the event, Alcazar was quick to point out that it’s grown to just the right size, “If it gets too big, it’s over.” Eddie says that while there will be a 2014 event, it may only be promoted through good old-fashioned word of mouth.
So whatever you do, don’t share this recap, 2014 is on the DL—maybe even wizards only.