the early year 1998 A.C. four young men living in Hanoi decided to gather people around them having the same ideas about having fun in Vietnam. Riding a Belarussian motorbike was not only about getting from A to B but a way of living and expressing yourself. Driving through the most remote areas of the Northern mountains of Viet Nam where no foreigners have been since decades and meeting people who could not believe that somebody would be crazy enough to drive so far for fun was satisfaction enough to forget the perils of sudden engine breakdowns, mean country officials and your painful ass.
The revolution they started not only found immediate sympathy from people from all over the globe but is still in progress.
The Foundation gathering #001, 8 March 1998
The Minsk Club Hanoi was born on 8 March 1998 with a big gathering at a bia hoi restaurant in Hanoi. More than 85 people with 47 Minsk motorbikes followed the call for more pleasure, adventure and happiness.
Mai Chau Rally gathering #002, 16/17 May 199
Just shortly after having founded the Minsk Club the first rally was on the program. While everything was being prepared for the party in Mai Chau around 50 people gathered in Hanoi for the first big Minsk Club rally. Without major problems all participants found the way and were awaited by the friendly people of Mai Chau village. With a lot of help from our hosts we managed to roast a enormous 38 kg pig!
(Nearly) all bikes were running smoothly and most of the people reached Mai
Chau after 4 to 5 hours.
At the occasion of its first rally the Minsk Club grilled the biggest pig in the history of Mai Chau. What a feast!
Always conscious of its debts to the Minsk God the Club did not disappoint the ones who were waiting for the first ever sacrifice to the God of Minsk. Who do you think is behind a punctured tyre or a clogged carburetor? Hopefully, a Dream II will be enough to appease the God!
Ba Vi Mountain Rally gathering #004, 18/19 July 1998
Around 25 people found the way to the lush green forest of Ba Vi national park and were rewarded by the cool pool, cool beer and good fun.
Mai Chau Rally #2 gathering #009, 15/16 January 1999
The Club was in beautiful Mai Chau on 15-16 January! Around 20 people made the trip and devoured another rosy, delicious pig. This time it was almost cooked. It was pretty cold when we drove up to the Xa Linh H'mong market the next morning, but that just meant the hangover drifted away.
Minsk Madness at the Lake of Fire gathering #010, 20 March 1999
Now that so many people were getting into the club, it was time to try our hand at a rave party. The shores of West Lake proved perfect for a night of live music, unlimited beer, ruou and food, slide shows and top notch music. Some 350 people turned up.
Minsk Madness #2 gathering #011, 10 July 1999
Well, these parties were too much fun and not too hard to organise so we were at it again. First time the Ramones were covered by a live band. Shoulder to shoulder all night till 4am. Some 400 people turned up.
Airport Rally to Meet the Director of the Minsk factory in Belarus gathering #012, 23 July 1999
We got wind that the director of the Minsk factory, Mr Yavinsky, was heading out to Hanoi to re-negotiate a trade agreement with the government. To his surprise he was greeted by the club with flowers, vodka, pretty babes and a whole bunch of crazies brandishing Minsk Club banners. We escorted him all the way into town which meant he couldn't see much for all the smoke!
The director is greeted by the club with flowers and chilled vodka! And yes, one of the bikes did break down on the way but it would not be the Minsk club if you did not have to get your hands dirty.
Uong Bi rally gathering #016, 23/24 October 1999
A great overnight rally to the Swedish resort at Uong Bi. Around 30 turned up and it all ended up loud and proud in a local karoke joint.
Dai Lai Lake Charity Rally gathering #017,
14 November 1999
Many thanks to all those who played a part in the wonderful day at Dai Lai last Sunday. Special thanks to whoever sponsored a day of beautiful sunshine in the midst of a delayed (and extended) storm season and the impending winter.
80 people made the trip to Dai Lai, cruising on 31 bikes and in 2 minibuses. No casualties except #00161 being stranded on the island (with damsel - a non-club member!, Without bike, without trousers). The weather was divine and swimming was wet. The day consisted of Thai bamboo dancing for those who managed a degree of co-ordination after a lengthy coffee breakfast, songs and games, boat trips and swimming, drawing competitions and thuoc lao toking.
Again many thanks to all those who sponsored and after the day there is still around VND 3 million (just over $200) to spend. We will make a large photo frame to give to the centre so please bring any good photos to Le Maquis Bar as soon as possible. We have asked Mr.Hai (the director) to let us know what we can buy for the centre with the rest of the donated money. We are also making a smaller photo frame for the Minsk Club to hang in Le Maquis Bar but lack decent pictures of early meetings so please send any to Le Maquis Bar, 2A Ta Hien St., Ha Noi and they will be included.
Following a last-minute $300 donation we are now able to buy a special machine for sewing the seams of clothing. All are always welcome at the centre and Mr.Hai invites you to spend your birthdays down there. He's also talking about plans for the next rally with us, but he suggested a 3 or 4 day trip so we could really get out the city. Anyone concerned that they have to work Saturdays need not worry as he's proposing a trip during the week and we can be back for the Saturday......
Minsk Millennium Party gathering #018,
4 December 1999
More than 350 braved the rain and cruised down to the New Wave Club for Minsk Madness 3. The strength of the parties has been noted in this month's 'The Guide' which voted Minsk Club parties "Best Parties of 1999".
Many thanks to all those who helped out and all those who came. Special thanks to DJs Steve, Ha and Cong Anh for a night of sound tunes.
Cuc Phuong Rally gathering #019,
26/27 February 2000
16 people cruised down for the weekend rally to Cuc Phuong National Park with great festivity. Few animals were seen despite the release of a clouded leopard in the park the day before. 'Ruou' followed the trend of the park's wildlife and also became extinct at an early stage. The backroads to Cuc Phuong are great driving and can make a route for a day trip or alternate routes to Ninh Binh, Cuc Phuong, Hoa Binh/Mai Chau.
Minsk Club Football Team Piston Trophy gathering #022, 22 July 2000
The Minsk Club "buzis" went down 3-1 to lose the Piston Trophy to Brazil (strangely playing in Arsenal colours). Many thanks to all those who played, helped out and supported. Essential assistance from the team medic bearing a flagon of "nep cam" rice wine! Great performances from Sinner and Skippy, with a cracking late goal from Snoops. The Club have now been invited to play a match against Ford in Hai Duong........
Practice continues every Tuesday 1830-1930 at Van Phuc playing ground.