If you’re going to ask somebody to give you a nostalgic look back at scooter rallies and their history then you need to pick somebody with an encyclopaedia for a brain. Somebody who not only went there, did that and bought the patch but the kind of person who can tell you the date of every rally, what was on the rally patch and quote passages from magazine write ups (from memory) that I’d forgotten I’d written. That man is Adam Collier, or Col as he’s known to his friends.
What better rally to start looking back on than Bridlington, an event that’s more firmly ingrained in the calendar than even the Isle of Wight. Col has raided his archives to take us back through the history of ‘Brid.’
Let us know in the comments section if this is a feature we should turn into a series.
27 years of consecutive rallies
31 scooter rallies hosted in the same seaside town in a 27-year consecutive period is a visit rate we will likely never repeat. That town is Bridlington, or known simply as ‘Brid’ to those that travel there. I’ve ridden to and supported every one of those rallies, but then I couldn’t not really, it’s just 20 miles down the coast from my home (not that Col is shy of covering the miles).
Brid is steeped in scooter history, with clubs dating back to the 1950s, with members who have attended the rallies since the rallies begun. It is home to many multi-trophy winning scooters that travel to all corners of the UK and beyond. It is also home to one of the best scooter customisers in the country (Dave Dickinson). Those are just a few of the reasons why I love Brid.
The 1990s NSRA days
The Bridlington Nationals, as we know them, started back in June 1991. That camping rally (as they all were back then) went down a storm. And, so the next year, Brid hosted the Whitsun Bank Holiday rally as well as, for the first time, the end of year Trade and Custom show in October.
By ’93 the Brid rally had moved to Easter Weekend and again the end of year T&C show. On to 1994, and the rally was the August Bank Holiday weekend (superb weather) possibly the warmest rally that year! But just 54 days later we were back at the same town, same venue for again the Trade & Custom show. In 1995 we were back again for the August Bank Holiday rally, but the T&C show was switched to Great Yarmouth.
By ’96 Brid was back as the Easter rally and was to be the last Brid rally with an official campsite, ending with the T&C October show. The start of 1997 saw the demise of the old NSRA and the forming of the BSRA, our first and only visit to Brid that year was for, yep you’ve guessed it, the Trade & Custom show in October. That date hasn’t changed or missed a year since.
Missing the big game
Bridlington has been a good host for scooter rallies over the years, and as scooterists we have collectively been financially very kind to Brid. My digs each year are directly over the the road from the Spa complex. And, year on year, I see people queuing for the custom show and night dos. New faces, regular faces – all the like-minded people, there for the same love of scooters.
However over the last few years the numbers in the night time dos don’t relate to the number of people in the town itself. I understand many folk daytrip the rallies, and I respect many riders don’t like some of the music. But for me the night dos, or ‘niters’ as they once were, are a massive part of the rally.
To use an analogy, if I were a fan of a football team I wouldn’t watch the game on a big screen in a pub if tickets for the game were still available, and especially if I was already in the town where the game was being played. Well why would you?”
One out, one in
I’m not trying to be judgemental to anyone, but if you go back to the 2006 Brid rally, the night dos were in the Leisure World venue (sadly redeveloped now) whilst the Spa was being refurbished. They were ticket only 1800 capacity nights (there was always a queue as well, ‘one out, one in’ was the door policy), with a punk covers band on the Friday and a ska covers band on the Saturday. The place was bouncing. What’s changed? Bearing in mind before the ‘Same old, same old’ brigade start shouting, we’d just had 20 rallies in 16 years on the bounce in Brid at that point. Again these are just my views, the views of a rider that’s proud to be part of what I describe as the best lifestyle on the planet.
Many happy memories
My biggest and best Brid rally memory was the ’94 August Bank Holiday rally, great weather a buzzing campsite, with a tug of war competion, where a bunch of 20-odd-year-old pissed up scooter boys yanked the Humberside police force on to the floor as if they were a team of school dinner ladies. The video above is from a Brid tug of war competition a couple of years earlier, albeit featuring a gang of Mansfield Monsters girls on the rope.
All day drinking in the sunshine at the back of the Ship Ahoy pub, (now the Sterling castle). Edwin Starr played the Saturday night do, as ever thanking and praising his beloved Scooterist audience. Whatever your musical preference on the rallies I defy anyone to not be inspired to dance about like a loon when the late great Edwin Starr and band strike up and play songs like 25 miles and War, good times indeed…
2006 was another very memorable year for me, my scooter was used on the rally patch and event flyers, those of you that know me, will know how much that meant to me especially with my scooter memorabilia obsession – something I will always be very grateful to my mate, Dave Oakley, for organising.
Which ever way the future of the Brid rallies go, I will hold my head high and say I supported them to the max, as will many of you reading this. Some call it the jewel in the crown of scooter rallies, lets hope that crown doesn’t slip. Bridlington has been a superb host town for the rallies over the years, and we as scooterists have been very kind to Brid,
Ride safe SLUKERS: Col
- June 91: First ever rally, campsite at South Shore site and car park, Fri and Sat night dos in Leisure World venue. Sticky did the original write up in Scootering.
- May 1992: Rally got Bank Holiday status at Whitsun end of May. No official NSRA Friday night do. Sat night do in Leisure World. First ever Trade and Custom show held in Brid, (Alfreton 89, 90, 91). Fri night do in Leisure World. Sat daytime custom show (first ever visit to the Spa venue). Late Saturday afternoon Leisure World opened up the sports complex and swimming pool for a scooterists only pool party (unheard of hospitality from a host venue in those days). After the pool party the leisure venue re-opened for the Sat night official do. Sticky found digs for £9.50 per night. T&C was first and only time in November (7th and 8th) every other visit since has been end of October.
- 1993 Easter: Rally camping at South Shore. Both night dos in Leisure World, ’93 T&C show held in Spa, both night dos in Leisure World. Toilets smashed in the Saturday night do threatened future visits to Leisure World.
- 1994 August: Bank Holiday rally, camping South Shore. Both night dos in Leisure World. 53 days later back to Brid for ’94 T&C show in Spa. Both night dos in Leisure World.
- 1995 August: Bank Holiday rally, camping at South Shore. Both dos at Leisure World, T&C switched to Great Yarmouth, only end of year show/rally in last 25 years for this to happen.
- 1996: Back to Easter for the rally, South Shore campsite. Both night dos in Leisure World. This was last ever Brid rally with official campsite, although the site/car park had decreased in size twice since ’91 due to smaller numbers on rallies. 1996 T&C back at the Spa. Both night dos in Leisure World.
- 1997: Now only T&C rally in October. Numbers down massively – possibly smallest Brid rally ever, with only 21 custom show entrants. BSRA now taken over from the folded NSRA at the start of ’97, show and dos all in Leisure World.
- 1998: numbers on the increase again with the stability of BSRA. Again, the full weekend based in Leisure World. Steve Foster says sorry in Scootering mag for the ‘One out, one in’ queuing on the Saturday night do.
- 1999 to 2005: all Friday night dos in Leisure World. Custom shows and Sat night dos in the tired and worn out Spa venue.
- 2006 and 2007 all weekend back to Leisure World, Spa undergoing revamp
- 2008: Spa reopens after £12 million revamp, night dos and custom show all in Spa, everything held in Spa now right up to 2017.
- 2018: To be confirmed…
Bridlington photos, tickets and patches
Paddy Smith patches 1991-1996