I remember the first Bridlington rallies back in the early 1990s, in fact Col gave us a great nostalgic look back at 27 years of Bridlington rallies in this feature last year. Back in the 1990s it was predominantly a campsite event based at South Shore with tug of war competitions and an all-dayer in a pub next to the site, Leisure World being used as an atmospheric night time venue and an NSRA organised pool party giving us a rare chance to wash away the grime. There were no showers on scooter rallies back then. Fast forward and I’m riding the familiar roads up to Bridlington for the last time, or at least the last time for a while.
Nursing two freshly built scooters to the coast, mine having just had a new crank and Linsey’s a new engine, as featured here. A couple of minor heat seizures for Linsey’s cast iron barrel saw her watching the temperature on the SIP speedo like a hawk. We both made it ok though and were soon in the Greyhound for a welcoming pint before we checked in to our 1970s squat.
We dodged most of the main pubs in town in favour of the quieter back street boozers and had a good few drinks before heading up to The Spa later on. The place was busier than usual for a Friday, The Smiths United pulling in a crowd, or maybe an increased sense of loyalty as the fate of this town (as a National rally venue) was hanging in the balance. Either way it was good to see because The Spa takes more filling than the fat bloke in Speedy Peppers on the way home.
Hail the new dawn
The following morning brought with it heavy rain and cold winds, which would deter many day trippers. It also turned to a massive hailstorm, just as I was walking the mile from our squat to the custom show. Golfball sized hailstones bounced off my bald head and huge ears, those things really hurt (not ears flapping in the wind, golfball-sized hailstones) and there was no shelter. I felt sorry for the scooter riders who were just arriving to half an inch of hail covering the roads, slippery and cold. It didn’t deter a few lads from P.R.A.T. SC who camped on the green in town on Friday night, before being moved on by the police and given a warm floor in a flat for the rest of the weekend. Hardcore.
Time to Wake up
As usual, the LCGB organised trade and custom show was packed out, you were literally carried around the venue by the movement of everybody else, there was no way of hurrying around. The show itself was good, lots of new scooters and of course what will be the one and only showing of newly restored Jeremy Howlett classic custom, Wake. Owner Jason Stephenson has really done an outstanding job to bring the various craftsmen together to put that back to its former glory. A well deserved best of show winner and we’ll have a full feature on it very soon. If you went to the corner to the right of Wake you’ll have been glittered to blindness by a display of Riding Dirty Customs scooters, metalflake is back in a big way in Leicester, although the lighting in The Spa didn’t do them justice. We’ll be featuring one of Rich Coveney’s latest creations on here in a week or so. Another eye-catcher was Stellify (pictured above).
All in all a good show, even if it was slightly down on numbers this year. We’ll publish the full results at the end but it’s worth mentioning that a minute’s applause was given before the trophies, a nice touch for Paddy Smith, Ian Frankland and Kev Walsh. Three icons of scootering that sadly passed away this year.
Dirty old town
Rather than stick to the same tired old pub route we’ve done a million times we headed down to the Old Town, an area of Bridlington I’d not visited until last year. It’s a great part of town for a drink with a load of friends, no wall-to-wall ska compilations, no queuing ten deep at a town centre bar and the pubs themselves are cool as well. Not that it was in any way normal down there, I walked into one pub where the hippy landlord was more bladdered than the clientele and worked barefoot. In fact barefootedness seemed to be a theme in there as a shoeless lady relaxed in front of the open fire whilst Elvis sucked her toes and ten lads wearing gentleman’s attire smoked pipes whilst supping their ale and watching on in amusement. Strange things happen in the Old Town and I’m not sure if it was a good thing or not but my camera memory card decided to corrupt itself in that hotbed of corruption, meaning any photographic evidence from that point on was destroyed. Thankfully Col, Big Andy and Giacomo have sent photos in to help fill in the gaps.
Like any good reporter I made my excuses and left, turning up at The Spa just before tonight’s headline act, Bad Manners took to the stage. It cost just £6 for an advance ticket, or £8 on the door. Sadly I’d missed seeing Basketcase, who judging by the photos went for full-on Halloween for their ever-energetic set. Bad Manners didn’t disappoint though. Whether you like 1980s ska or not you can’t argue with the fact that the main room was rammed and bouncing like crazy. It’s also worth noting that whilst the crowd has got fatter over the years, Buster Bloodvessel has shrunk. That’ll teach you lot for bullying the fat bastard for all these years. Even so, he rocked the place like not many bands on the circuit can.
Predictably the main room emptied significantly after the band finished, whilst the smaller side rooms, (Northern, Darkside and Sounds & Pressure) kept busy. In an ideal world after the band finishes one smaller room would be a good way to keep an atmosphere for the people who don’t like to go to bed. We ended the night darting between rooms for the final tracks before being swept out by the cleaners with a few other stragglers in the Darkside room.
That’s it, Bridlington is over for 2018 and after the Number Ones meeting on Saturday it was confirmed that the last rally of 2019 would be at Southport. This change isn’t a bad thing as far as I’m concerned. We had a cracking pre-season at Southport last year and have enjoyed a few good Nationals there over the years. One thing is for sure, Southport will be put on by the same scooterists who have organised (or been part of) the rally in Bridlington since 1991.
Lots of people have said they’ll still go to Brid no matter what, the pubs are promoting it as a ‘Scooterfest’ and no doubt it’ll be busy, although I doubt too many scooters will be at the ‘fest’. The idea behind moving towns is to help shake the calendar up a bit, not to divide scooterists (the same with Cleethorpes). It might be comfortable for you in Yorkshire but occasionally you need to get out of your comfort zone and see the wider world, there are many roads to ride…
Photos: Iggy, Col, Giacomo, Big Andy
P.S make sure you click through to page 2&3 for more photos…