BSRA#5 Cleethorpes National Scooter Rally | RALLERY
So let’s think about this – the UK is in the middle of a heatwave and we, as scooter enthusiasts have been given an open-ended invite to head to Cleethorpes on the North East Coast to join in on a 20th anniversary National Scooter Rally in the town.
This included: wall-to-wall scooters and tents inside a perfectly sized, secure showground, very good toilet and shower block facilities, a vast array of scooter parts dealers, food vendors including free wine and cheese, all day music playing through a not to loud sound system, and for the first time a dyno for the owners of modified scoots to thrash them mercilessly for the entertainment of others.
Added to this, just a bit up the road is a holiday camp with two night time scooterist only discos. The DJs will play pretty much whatever you want to hear, and none of the shite you don’t. Whilst the bar staff offer to sell you beer at prices considerably cheaper than normal pub prices – and not forgetting that on the Saturday afternoon there was an option to watch the England football team kick their way into a world cup semi-final on big TV screens…..
The tag line could read:
If Carlsberg did scooter rallies”
but obviously it’s nothing to do with them at all, it’s the brainchild and work of two of the hardest riding and highly respected scooter clubs in the country. Namely the Mansfield Monsters and the West Bromwich Olympics. They say ‘practice makes perfect’ and this collective of individuals are very well practiced at attending and organising top drawer scooter events, and so it goes without saying the whole weekend was a complete blast from start to finish.
I wouldn’t blame any of you if you just skip the next words and go straight to the photos, or watch the drone footage because the above just about sums it all up!
The weekend starts here
My weekend started on Thursday evening with me loading up my by now beloved Vespa PX 125 (Remember the Blog anybody?). Within the luggage was a tent, sleeping bag, jeans, t-shirts, trainers, toiletries and a cheese board with a large selection of knives.
Now, before any of you think I’m a mentalist, let me explain. I had been offered the job title of maître d’ (posh name for a head waiter me thinks) at the ScooterNova Magazine ‘Cheese and Wine Soiree’ to celebrate the launch of issue 8 of the magazine. Anyway, I jumped at the chance, because last year’s Soiree was hilarious. But honestly – stuffing your rally kit bag with knives is odd; imagine explaining that one away at an 80’s style scooter rally police roadblock and bag check?
I had a trouble-free journey down the coast, and I would guess that by late Friday evening there must have been nearly a thousand people already on site (actually closer to 1600, ed). Scooters of every colour under the sun were sparkling away in the summer evening sunshine, and riders were eager to take up the cheap beer offers and enjoy the night time fun.
One group that did just that were a group of Belgian scooterists from the town of Liege. Those of us that know them personally, affectionately call them simply “The Belgiques”. They are a hard core bunch that show an insane loyalty to the UK scooter scene. Words cannot describe how they felt watching their fellow countrymen knocking out the might of Brazil in the world cup on the big screen.
Busy pubs led to a free bus ride (put on and paid for by the host clubs at a cost of £1000) to the Beachcomber campsite which hosted the night time disco venue, where the promised £2 a pint beer pumps were already flat out as you would expect. If you have a favourite band you like to see over and over at rallies Cleethorpes maybe isn’t for you. But if you like DJs playing possibly the most varied playlist sets on any rally, then Cleethorpes is definitely for you. The atmosphere is superb, but the night ends far too quickly.
Waking up on Saturday morning in a tent that feels like a sauna is a small price to pay for scorchio weather for the rest of the weekend. Walking around the campsite taking photos, it dawned on me just how times have changed in the 20 years this rally has been on the calendar. A very big percentage of the Vespa/Piaggio scooters on the site hadn’t been built when the first Cleethorpes took place in 1998. In fact Vespa didn’t make a manual scooter with a factory fitted disc brake back then. Sadly, the PX Disc has been launched, sold in its tens of thousands and then been discontinued (twice) in the time this rally has been running. And the very few auto scooters back then would have been ET4s. I can’t even begin to imagine what a scooter rally campsite will look like in another 20 years…
Campsites are a very different place now with multiple types of engine transplanted scooters, and a massive love and appreciation for the series 1 and 2 Lambrettas. A close to 50 bhp Lambretta, or PX with nearly 40 bhp would have been utter nonsense back in the day. But the engineering and tuning that was displayed on Jon Gilbert’s dyno proved to the whole campsite what a humble scooter can morph into in the right tuner and builders hands. I get a twisted sense of satisfaction hearing a tuned scooter scream. The dyno was a great addition to this years rally for many people.
Lambretta:Eric Cope (Darrell Taylor tuned) 48.3bhp
Vespa Phil Hallam (SG Engineering tuned) 36.38bhp
Auto: X9 hybrid Lambretta 37.77bhp
Aside from trophies for the highest bhp Vespa, Lambretta and Auto the organisers also gave a cash prize to three random winners. One is still unclaimed, Lambretta reg number DAP 364B. Get in touch at Editorial@ScooterLab.UK if you’re the owner.
Another drastic change on the rallies is partly down to the team at ScooterNova magazine. A Wine and Cheese Soiree? You better believe it! I can honestly say it was the best and funniest three and a half hours of the whole weekend. As mentioned earlier, I had been duped into serving up some culinary pleasures in the form of maître d’ – all a bit surreal really!
Birthday boy Andy Kay from York SC has championed these little get-togethers for some time now; and so in his element he served up some great music from the sound system in the back box of his matt black Lambretta – purely for the delight of the visitors to the ScooterNova magazine stall, all eager to buy issue 8 of the mag. How have we got to number 8 of a ‘new’ bi-monthly mag already?
Customers and friends (same thing really) visiting the ScooterNova stall brought a selection of Brie, Gouda, Stilton, Edam, Wensleydale and Red Leicester to name a few cheeses; and bottles of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Prosecco to wash it all down.
You had to be there
I had no idea what a civilised bunch scooterists are nowadays, serving it all up to the masses was certainly one of those “You had to be there moments”. It made me grin all day. One high-flying LCGB member asked me for a fine slither of each of the cheeses to put straight inside the burger he had just bought from the van five stalls down. Ingenious but missing the point a little! Although one other scooterist, whom I’ve held in very high regard for more than 30 years said that if I had offered him a large slice of Camembert and a glass of Sauvingnon Blanc back in 1987 he would have “Bashed me f*!kin* senseless.” I just smiled and agreed whole heartedly, thankfully times have changed…
One thing that will never change is a scooterists appetite for beer; the little pop up bar on the campsite with just two fast flow pumps (filling glasses from the bottom up like some magic alcohol machine) had poured £5000 worth of beer by Saturday lunchtime, or so the delighted barman told me.
The fully stacked custom show finished early enough for the entire campsite to decamp and head to the Beachcomber campsite for much cheap booze and lots of shouting at the big screen World cup football (although they were caught on the hop and had to close the doors before 2pm as the place was heaving), and then back there for another superb night do. When a venue throws its doors wide open to us, and reduces its bar prices into the bargain, we would be absolutely stupid not to support the official do wouldn’t we? Although we pretty much drunk them dry by Saturday night.
Custom show results
BEST OF SHOW: Sponsored by Colchester DVLC The Eclipse
BEST CUSTOM VESPA: Faithful Friend
BEST CUSTOM LAMBRETTA: The Troubles
BEST STREET RACER: Rossi race rep
BEST PERIOD ACCESSORIES: TV 175
BEST CHOP/ODDITY: The Eclipse
BEST RESTORED: Rally master
BEST AUTO: Robbospeed
BEST PAINT/ MURAL: Midnight Oil
BEST VINTAGE: Model C
Again, Sunday morning comes around and some very sunburnt and tender looking scooter riders say their goodbyes to each other, vowing to do it all again very soon. I’ve never come across another lifestyle that comes even close to scooter riding, and I have no desire to look elsewhere to find one, when this one is just so good.
All in all an OLYMPIC effort from the organising clubs and helpers helped make for a MONSTER of a scooter rally (puns intended). If Cleethorpes is on next year, I will aim to be one of the first paying riders through the gates AGAIN.
If you’re reading this thinking ‘I’m new to it and I might give scooter rallies a try’ just bear these three things in mind:
- A lad won £30 worth of free tickets here on ScooterLab for the rally (Named Karl Barnard) turned up at the gate and paid to get in anyway, saying ‘give the free tickets to the next people that turn up’ (complete strangers to him).
- If you don’t arrive on a scooter at Cleethorpes it costs you an extra £5 to get in, one person was moaning about it on the Facebook page for the rally. Another scooterist, (Ian Wilkinson) explained why scooter riders get preferential treatment and offered to pay for the hard done to car drivers weekend (Ian was given a free wristband himself by the organisers for his generosity)
- And when the Belgian scooterists I mentioned earlier in this write up, put a shout out for help on Facebook on Sunday morning for a stricken Lambretta, up popped rally regular Jon Drury to the rescue. Jon raced his scooter and luggage home, jumped in his works van and came back to the rally to pick up the riders needing help. He delivered them back to the ferry terminal at Hull, so as to get them safely back to their home country.
Some people call them random acts of kindness, we simply call it ‘The Norm’ or ‘The right thing to do’ respect to Karl, Ian and Jon – true scooterists.
Exmouth next week anybody?
Ride safe SLUKERS: Col
Photos: Col, Iggy & Booga
Drone footage: Jag Chopperman Lambretta Chopper Owners Club
Scooter theft – lock them unless you’re a twat
Despite warnings from us and the local police an Italjet Dragster was stolen from outside a B&B in Cleethorpes in the very early hours of Sunday morning. Thankfully after local scooterists spread the word and a search of the area was carried out the scooter was found. It had the plastics ripped off to get to the wiring, steering lock snapped and a bit of other cosmetic damage. The scooter had been hidden ready to be collected by the thief later.
We also heard of other scooters being tampered with over the weekend. Please lock your scooters up using a heavy duty lock and chain wherever you park it. If you don’t then quite frankly you’re a twat.
Rallery by Col
Rallery by Iggy
Rallery by Booga
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