Inside the 2018 BSRA ‘Number Ones’ meeting | INSIGHT
As most of you will probably be aware, the ‘Number Ones’ meeting took place at the final BSRA event of the year in Bridlington on Saturday. The Number Ones is a committee formed by around 30 scooterists from various clubs and organisations. It’s made up of people who organise a rally deemed suitable to be a part of the British Scooter Riders Association National Rally calendar, or who are eligible through being part of a larger scooter based organisation.
Clubs who put on a large scooter rally that isn’t necessarily part of the National calendar (Colchester DVLC for Mersea Island etc.) are also part of the meeting to ensure dates don’t clash wherever possible. It’s not a closed shop as such and if you wanted to attend you could get in touch with the BSRA next year.
Usually chaired by the late Kev Walsh (as a sign of respect a minutes applause was later given before the trophy presentation for three icons of scootering who sadly died this year, Paddy Smith, Ian Frankland and Kev Walsh). This year the meeting was taken by Steve Foster from VFM and after drawing names from a hat Matty from the Mansfield Monsters will chair the meeting in 2019 (it will be rotated randomly over the following years).
Who are ‘The Number Ones’?
Representatives from VFM, South West Scooter Clubs, Scooter Collective South Wales, Mansfield Monsters/Olympics SC, Big 7, Scottish Number Ones, LCGB, VCB, SLUK, ScooterNova, Scootering and Scooterist Scene sat around the table. Colchester DVLC and Leicester Phoenix were also part of the meeting and for a younger perspective, the Prodigy Scooter Collective also stood in on – there were no chairs left for them to sit in. The Prodigy organised their first ‘Resurrection’ rally in 2018 and plan to do another one in a different location (Kirkby Lonsdale) in 2019. One day they may well be organising new National Rallies.
Why have National rallies?
The Nationals have always been the backbone of UK scootering and in the past the eight or nine Nationals would be the largest part of our social life, with just the odd club do to go to during the close season (end of October until Easter). Back then the calendar wasn’t swamped year round with literally hundreds of events. The Nationals kept us together, kept scootering alive through the quiet times and brought us out of the troubled 1980s. With dedicated individuals fighting our corner and literally putting their houses on the line to make sure a rally could go ahead. Often against all the odds, after the odd riot, burning of a sea scouts boat, CS gassing, large-scale inter-club fighting and general tomfoolery. Back then we were lucky if we got a tarmac car park or rubbish tip to pitch a tent on and quite often weren’t allowed in any pubs. Pubs that will happily take our money now we’re older and half respectable.
The Nationals are a way of bringing scooterists together from across the UK and abroad. Destinations are spread as evenly as possible around the UK and the town has to have a venue that can cater for at least 1000 people. They should also have a campsite if at all possible, although it isn’t always financially viable to run a dedicated campsite for an early Easter, or late autumn rally.
BSRA NATIONAL SCOOTER RALLY DATES 2019
- 19th-21st April – EASTER – Scarborough
- 3rd-6th May – MAY BANK HOLIDAY – Weston-Super-Mare
- 24th-27th May – SPRING BANK HOLIDAY – Kelso
- 28th-30th June – Big 7 Kent
- 19th-21st July – Llandudno
- 23rd-26th August – AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY – Isle of Wight
- 20th-23rd September – Woolacombe
- 25th-27th October – Southport
Additional non BSRA National dates
- March 29th-31st – Teignmouth
- 10th-12th May – Phoenix Nights – Leicester (BSRA Bonus)
- 31st May-2nd June – Hayling Island
- June 14th-16th – Whitley Bay
- 16th-18th August – British Vespa Days – Llangollen
- 30th August-1st September – Mersea Island
- 15th-17th November – Mablethorpe
Please note that nowhere on this list are any Scooterfest-style events run by outsiders to the scooter scene purely for a profit.
The days of just a few events in-between Nationals are long gone though and not only do we have a 12 month long scootering calendar but we also have multiple events on, even during a National weekend. We also have various outside promoters putting on events to cash in on the breaking wave of modern scootering, a wave that is threatening to come crashing down on us all and is already threatening popular events.
Change is as good as a rest
We expected some changes for the 2019 calendar, we already knew Bridlington was planning to move to the west coast at Southport. It was also rumoured that the Isle of Wight may not be on but not many people expected to lose Cleethorpes (resting for 2019 but may be back) and end up with eight rather than nine Nationals.
What else changed for 2019?
- At first glance not too much, Scarborough does it’s annual swap with Whitby
- Weston is back (Exmouth will be replaced by a new town for 2020 so that’s a new rally to look forward to
- Kelso is also on again
- Big 7 moved their date to the end of June to allow people (including their own club) to do Vespa World Days in Hungary and also to allow people time to get back from the LCGB Euro to Poland.
- Cleethorpes has been dropped (too many non scooterists attending and too much input from local pubs has seen it grow massively but not for the better so the organising clubs have shelved it for now).
- Llandudno is back for 2019, it’s a fantastic town, very pretty and has a good campsite (which next year rather bizarrely shares an adjacent site with LFEST – a lesbian festival), plus it’s right in the middle of summer.
Moving on towards the latter end of the season…
- The Isle of Wight is back for another year but it was discussed about replacing it at some time in the future with a new event
- Woolacombe is on again, it’s a popular rally and is the only National on the calendar that will pack out a Sunday night – even though it’s not a Bank Holiday rally
- Finally Bridlington was dropped, again with local pubs and the latest ‘Fest’ being apportioned at least some of the blame. That one has been replaced by Southport.
Pictured above, female solo winner, Karen Soulsby and male solo winner, Scott Southon pick up their trophies and prizes. Well done to Scott for his perseverance, he’s been runner up since stripey jumpers were in fashion.
Championship controller Rick, (on the left presenting trophies) thanked the main sponsor Lexham Insurance for supporting the Championship. He also said that they could do with more club entrants for 2019, so get in touch with the BSRA if you’d like to enter. The winner of that trophy this year were the London Lambretta Club who took it away for the third year on the trot…
Prizes include free insurance, Putoline oil and various goodies plus a trophy. It was also voted in for a ‘bonus event’ to be added to the Championship, with the long-standing Phoenix Nights rally on 10th-12th May becoming a bonus event for people taking part in the 2019 BSRA Championship. That will change for 2020.
The Jonnie Bolland Memorial Trophy
This very special award couldn’t have gone to a better person, he’s one of the unsung heroes of scootering. He goes to every National and has only missed a couple in his lifetime. He rides everywhere, is a genuine nice guy and I’m sure he’ll have had a little tear or two once he realised why he was on stage (he was in another room when it was announced). Scarborough Col we appreciate all you do and have done.
2019 calendar verdict
People were probably expecting some major changes for 2019 and in some ways they’ve got them but probably not the outcome they wanted. Although the South West Scooter Clubs have promised a brand new event for 2020, so that is at least something new to look forward to.
Personally I feel the National Rallies still form a very important part of our social calendar. Although Cleethorpes and Bridlington will be sad losses they give hope that small changes are being made for the future. Riding the same route to the same rally for 20 years on near enough the same weekend isn’t the way it’s meant to be. A change is good, chuck in the odd new town, drop a couple of old favourites and you do at least get a bit of excitement and space to add a new event.
Even though it won’t happen until 2020 I’m already excited about riding to and exploring a new town in the south west. We’ve also got an old favourite town coming back in 2019, local scooterists are putting Whitley Bay on as a small event, dipping a toe in the water with the potential to try it as a new National the year after.
For everybody who has moaned about the lack of variety, same old same old (I’m as guilty as you lot) but have never tried to bring anything to the table maybe you should put your money where your mouth is and start planning a new National for the future. If you’re a scooterist, have an idea and the balls to go for it we’ll see you at the BSRA meeting in Southport next October.
Words and photos: Iggy
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