Well, was it possible? Could one of our great scootering family overcome breakdowns, posterial adversity, strong Scottish headwinds and a skittish riding partner to achieve 1000-miles in 24-hours on his 18 year old stock Vespa T5 125?
As you know, we did a write up as a precursor to Rick’s lunatic antics as he prepared to provide as much charity funding as possible, for the Royal British Legion. You’ll clock Rick at around the 50-second mark on the video (below) at the start of the ride. Now, let’s see how he got on with the rest of it.
Iron Butt contender Rick Westwood stepped off his trusty T5 at just after 7.30 am on Sunday 25th June 2017 at the end of the Royal British Legion 1000 mile charity ride. He’d set off the previous morning at 5am and rode, rode, rode and then rode some more.
Not too shabby
The plain fact of the matter is, statistically the end result was incredibly impressive. He’d managed the entire course, clocking up 1032 miles in 26 and a half hours, that’s a reasonable average speed of just under 40-mph not bad for a standard geared 125cc Vespa scooter.
The question still remains, can this brutally long continuous ride, through the Scottish Highlands be completed on a geared classic Vespa within the sub 24-hour mark? Rick really does think so “The fact of the matter is, I couldn’t really factor in a number of things which held up progress without doing the ride.”
Fair enough, so what prevented you getting back before the 24 hours? “A number of things really, first off the amount of spare parts and tools I’d taken with me was probably a bit too much. After the ride I weighed my bike fully laden and then unloaded, the difference in weight was 40kg. This weight and the way it was loaded, combined with some serious Scottish head winds inhibited my cruising speed somewhat, as well as the ability to handle the bike, particularly into the wind.”
What about breakdowns? “I had a couple, which were to be expected, but I’ll learn from that. I also learned that next time, I’ll ride alone. My big bike equipped riding partner was a little nervous at times, particularly when dealing with the headwinds and seemed to suffer from vertigo every time we crossed a high bridge, we were down to 20mph too often as a result.”
“Yeah, I’ll be signing up for next year’s ride”. Barely 72-hours after completing an arse numbing 26.5 hour “rideathon” Rick, is eager to give it another go and nail it in the sub 24-hour time. I think that this statement alone speaks volumes about Rick and his never say die character.
Donate and buy the man a beer.
So that’s it then. Rick Westwood is set to do the ride again next year and raise some much needed cash for the Royal British Legion. Next time you see him at a rally, buy him a beer and spare some cash for his charitable efforts. This year he’s raised a whopping £1244 on his Just Giving page (still open for donations) alone and is yet to count the amount from various collection buckets. He’d like to say thanks to all the scooter traders who donated parts and oil for the journey, you know who you are.
Words: Lee Pics: Rick Westwood Video: Bob Stammers