Saturday, 18 January 2014

Euro Bikers Hit 40

It was 40 years ago today that the European Confederation of Motorsport Clubs (ECMC) was formed. The cross-continental gay leather culture was well established in America but in Europe it was patchy because of the many individual nations. There were many leather and motorbike clubs dotted around Europe, many of which followed the US convention of using the word “motorcycle” in their title to bypass any suggestion of being a club for gay leather lovers (homosexuality was illegal in most European countries at the time).

Europe has a significant role in establishing the image of the leather biker thanks, in no small part, to the erotic art of Tom of Finland, who was himself a founding member of SLM (Scandinavian Leather Men) Finland in 1976.

In the 1970s international communications and travel was very expensive for any leather-biker club, being generally volunteer-run on a shoestring budget. Phone-calls cost the earth and in these pre-internet days instant contact was impossible. So those representatives from the founding clubs of the ECMC were true pioneers in the European leather community.

As with all groups it takes one or two people to seize the initiative after the initial idea is mooted. As president of Europe’s first leather club, Frazer Lowden of London’s Sixty Nine Club (founded in 1965) invited members from other known clubs in Europe to a meeting in London in January 1974. Several clubs from the continent attended, but the majority were, naturally, British. These clubs formed the founding members of the ECMC 40 years ago. These founding members (note : MSC means “Motor Sport Club”) were :
Sixty Nine Club (London)
Sherwood Choppers (presumably based in the Midlands)
Northern Riders (possibly from Manchester)
V Senses (“V” as in “5”)
Boys Cuir (France)
MSC London
MSC Amsterdam
MSC Belgica
Loge 70 (Switzerland)

John Willis of Sixty Nine Club was chosen as the first Secretary of ECMC with the responsibility of co-ordinating communication and information between the clubs and publicising events. He was probably the person who designed the confederation’s logo (above).

More clubs joined soon after the ECMC was formed and now there are 38 member clubs.

In 1985 the ECMC organised the first Mr Leather Europe contest, open to any member of an ECMC club. These contests are usually held during the period of the AGM and both are hosted by a different member club each year. Full lists of the Mr Leather Europe contest are difficult to find and there are several years when the identity of the winner hasn’t been established. Here’s a list of those known winners, their regional titles (if known) and whether they went on to win the International Mr Leather (IML) title as well :

1985    David Risenborough
1987    Thomas Karasch (d.1994), IML 1987
1988    Vincente Jimenez
1992    A. J. Steigenberger
1995    Antonio Sanchez, also Mr Drummer Europe 1995
1996    Dario van der Lundin Videla, Mr Leather Sweden
1997    Stein Losnegaard
1998    Rob Scheers, also Mr Drummer Europe 1998
1999    Peter Wallace, Mr Leather SLM-Oslo
2001    Maurizio, Mr Leatherman Italia
2002    Fernando Manzali, Mr Leatherman Italia
2003    Saad Hasson, Mr Baltic Battle
2004    Robert Menichetti, (Mr Leather Belgium?)
2005    Christian Roger
2006    Simen Enersen, Mr Leather Denmark
2007    Martin Cedergen, Mr Baltic Battle
2008    Ralf Rasmussen, Mr Leather Denmark
2009    Pieter Claeys, Mr MS Amsterdam
2010    Eric Gutierrez, Mr Leather France, IML 2011
2011    Alexi Carpentieri, Mr Baltic Battle
2012    Kilker Alcaraz, Mr Leather UK
2013    Francesco, Mr Leatherman Italia

Happy 40th Birthday to the ECMC.

No comments:

Post a Comment