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Lockdown day 76, started talking to the dog…

Lockdown day 205, dog started talking back…

Lockdown day 902, realised I haven’t got a dog…

 

I’m sure we’ve all felt a little like this (well maybe not talking to imaginary dogs) with the madness and hell we’ve been through over the last few months. As time goes on, if there’s a chance of doing anything even vaguely scooter-related as the lockdown begins to ease many of us are jumping at the chance.

 

As yet another National Rally was cancelled I got an invite from The Dorset Knights to The Sammy Miller Museum scooter-ride in, hmmm, so what’s this I wonder.

 

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I’ve heard of the museum (and of Sammy*). It’s a large motorcycle museum down in the western corner of The New Forest, but I’d never been there. Motorbikes really aren’t my thing, but scooters are, sooooo… 

 

Turns out it’s the first time the museum has organised a scooter ride-in, they regularly organise bike ride-ins, but this is new to them, so I suspect they weren’t really sure what to expect, probably 20 or 30 scooters maybe…

 

They also arranged for the local Piaggio/Vespa dealer to attend and show off the latest models, which is a nice touch.

 

 

Sammy who?

 

*Sammy Miller MBE, is in his late 80s and still riding in demonstration events. He’s an 11-times British champion and well known for both trials and road racing, including the Isle of Man TT. Sammy rode mainly Ariel Motorcycles, before moving on to form a partnership with Bultaco where he helped develop their two-stroke trials bike the Sherpa T. Sammy used it to great effect.

 

Later in life he owned and ran a motorcycle parts business and kept a few of his race bikes in the shop… that small collection later went on to become the Sammy Miller Museum, housed in custom-built premises. 

 

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Southern sunshine

 

With Mark ‘Daver’ Davis of the Dorset Knights co-ordinating the scooterists, this soon becomes something of a major ride in, with scooterists planning to come from all over the South and South West, so this looks like it’s going to be a good ‘un.

 

As the morning arrives we have a rather pleasant surprise; sunshine, but not just sunshine, 30-degree heat to go with it. Nice!

 

Three of us rode up from Pompey, heading up through The New Forest, passing a few scoots on the way, and we got there by 11. There were a few there already, maybe 30 or so, and we were all marshalled into parking spaces (even if I did miss the bloke in the hi-viz vest waving frantically at me!).

 

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Elbow bumping 

 

The museum is not at all what I expected. I kinda imagined an old shed with a few old motorbikes, but in fact, it’s a lovely modern building with a courtyard (where we parked) and more parking outside.

 

It’s time for ‘hellos’ and customary elbow bumps, this is what I like the most about these rides, seeing people I haven’t seen for months. It’s good to see familiar faces and catch up (especially this year). While I’m catching up, I notice more scoots arriving, then more, and more, until the courtyard is full. A pretty impressive sight.

 

Time for an ice cream, New Forest ice cream of course, and perfect in the blazing sunshine, yummy.

 

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Full to bursting

 

With the courtyard full I ambled out to the main car park, expecting a few more scoots out there and found it full. That was a surprise! There were nearly 200 scoots in total, an amazing turnout, with everyone basking in the sunshine – actually, sweating might be closer to the truth there, but still, it’s a great day.

 

The Sammy Miller staff couldn’t believe the turnout. Frankly I think they were a little overwhelmed by it all, and are now planning another scooter rideout for next year, and if it’s half as good as this one, it’ll be well worth doing.

 

Leaving a little early, we headed home, taking the super scenic route through the heart of The New Forest, passing wild horses and ponies – a perfect way to end the day.

 

I think sometimes when ‘outsiders’ try and organise a scooter themed event they can often fall into the cartoonish world of ‘mods ‘n rockers’, but I have to say they did the sensible thing and asked scooterists to take the helm, it certainly paid off, for both the museum and us scooterists. 

 

Words and photos: Booga

 

Sammy Miller Rallery by Booga

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