What’s the outlook for the 2021 BSRA National Rallies? We ask the organisers | FEATURE
As spring fast approaches and the Covid curse still rears its ugly head is there any hope for the rest of this year’s National Rally calendar? We’ve recently heard the first National, Scarborough has been cancelled but what about the rest?
Well, we’d like to think there is at least some optimism as we head towards the 2021 season. As we all know, the BSRA (British Scooter Riders Association) dates are set and venues booked. For many events live bands and entertainment have also been booked. These things need to be done months in advance but as we know from 2020, freedom can be taken away at any time and new restrictions imposed at a moment’s notice as we fight this evil scourge.
We’ve spoken to all the main National Rally organisers, as well as the LCGB, VCB, Colchester DVLC and Salford Knights to see how they’re feeling about the current situation.
Daz Groves: VFM, Scarborough/Isle of Wight/Southport
With us having moved the rally to a brand new venue on the other side of the island we’re all hoping for some August Bank Holiday fun this year! The Isle of Wight will be massive if things go to plan.
How about Southport? Fingers crossed, as we head into winter that things will be much better and Southport will be something to look forward to as well…
Isabell Devlin: Scottish number Ones, Kelso
Everything is still in place from last year so until we are told something there isn’t much else I can say!
Mark Knapman: Big 7/Strictly Scooters South East
Obviously, we’re hoping Big 7 will be going ahead, our website’s updated to say that, venues, marquees and bands etc. are booked and as long as there are no restrictions in place, the rally will happen. However, I’m not sure we wouldn’t be interested in running the rally if there were restrictions in place, like table sitting, or mask-wearing inside the venues etc, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the score is later on.
I’m more optimistic about our Strictly Scooters South East, seeing that it’s a smaller do and there’s the possibility that smaller dos might get the go-ahead before larger events, but we’ll have to wait and see. Fingers crossed and let’s hope we can all get back on our scooters soon!
Matty: Mansfield Monsters/Wakka Olympics SC, Cleethorpes
Matty “We’re pretty confident we can make Cleethorpes work, depending on the pubs/hospitality being open of course. Everything is booked so we just have to hope things are ok by July. We’re all giddy to jump on our scooters and get some miles in after last year so let’s hope we can get to some events”.
Wakka The council still want us and the campsite is booked. The game is still on, for now anyway”
Tony Bryant: Scooter Collective South Wales – Aberystwyth
We at Scooter Collective South Wales have been busy making arrangements for our rally in Aberystwyth on the last weekend of July. We have secured accommodation on-site and will soon be releasing booking details. The university is really looking forward to having us there, and we are really looking forward to going ourselves. We have planned for the event to take place and it will be a good one.
It’s been a long time since we’ve been to the town on mass. So we’re looking forward to seeing you all there. Keep safe, keep smiling 2021 will still be a good one!
Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.”
Paul Adhern: Salford Knights, Rally on Regardless
“Fingers crossed ours will go ahead. I know it isn’t a National but we need to get out again.”
Martin Meuser/Niamh Pennington: Mersea Island
Niamh “It’s all systems go for Mersea 2021. Bands, DJs, suppliers, traders are all pre-booked and on standby awaiting the big flashing, green light. Many scooterists have chosen to hold onto their 2020 advance tickets to use for 2021, so we are ahead already on advance ticket sales Dates for 2021 are 3rd-5th September.
Martin “As it stands, Mersea island will still go-ahead” Niamh “I second that… we’re keeping everything crossed.”
Russ Machin: Vespa Club of Britain
Due to the ongoing situation with Covid, the VCB committee have decided to delay the start of the Riders Regional Competition until early April and have also decided not to run the signing on championship as it includes events which may be subject to change at short notice.
All other VCB events are still set to go ahead but each one will be monitored and may be subject to change, based on the relevant Covid guidelines at the time. In the event of VCB rallies being cancelled we will try to put on smaller regional riding events if possible. As with every organisation, we don’t know how long restrictions will last but will continue to monitor the situation and keep our members up to date of any changes as soon as possible.
Well, there you have it! We all know that 2021 isn’t quite what we’ve all been hoping for so far. We have to remain positive though. The rally organisers are all poised and ready to put on the planned events if at all possible. Things are still out of their control though and they can all only do what they can to make things happen.
In reality, assuming the vaccine is a success, new variants don’t throw a spanner in the works and restrictions get lifted (to a certain degree) there is hope for some late spring/early summer scooter events. They may very well be different to how we knew them but just being able to ride our scooters freely and meet up with friends will be a massive step in the right direction.
Social distancing is going to be the key deciding factor. If indoor venue numbers are capped and events need to be ticket only it may not be financially viable (or fair) to put on a traditional evening do or indoor custom show/parts fair. Likewise with campsites, trying to social distance campers on a National Rally scale isn’t going to be easy. Places like Cleethorpes already have an overflowing campsite during normal times and with it being the first year back since 2018 and one of the first summer events it’ll be busier than ever. Providing restrictions are lifted by then.
I’m not sure about you lot, but I certainly missed being able to ride my scooters to the seaside with a bunch of like-minded reprobates in 2020. Let’s hope we get more of a chance this year. One thing is for certain, I’ll never take freedom and our lifestyle for granted again. The thought of being stood around a sunny pub beer garden, or packed do, taking the piss and having a laugh with my mates is helping me through Lockdown #3. We have to keep things in perspective though, this thing has killed millions of people and they’ll never be free again – at least we’re only missing our friends, families and social life.
When will you be offered a vaccine?
The various vaccines are being rolled out quicker than anticipated – close to 10 million have had the first jab in the UK so far. As long as we don’t run into issues with supply/rogue strains there’s a good chance the majority of rally goers will get their first vaccination in May/June (assuming we’re mostly in group 8 and 9).
You can check when you’re likely to be offered a jab with this handy online vaccine calculator.