Weymouth & Mablethorpe cancelled – 2020 the scootering year that never was | OPINION
This morning the South West Scooter Clubs announced that Weymouth had been unavoidably cancelled. That’s the fifth National Rally so far this year, with Whitby, Tenby, Kelso and Big 7 already falling foul of Covid-19.
Lockdown restrictions, current social distancing guidelines, venue capacity and uncertainty over whether pubs will be allowed to open (or open with enough capacity) and even whether camping will be allowed have put the nail in the coffin to yet another event. Quite a special one as well seeing as Weymouth was to be a brand new rally.
At the moment it seems as though we’ll be very lucky to be able to get to any large gatherings or rallies this year. If we do get a chance to attend anything it will be a bonus. Remember these restrictions can be lifted as quickly as they were imposed though – so we may get lucky if infection rates get down to a safe level and social distancing is relaxed.
If you thought one event may be safe it would be the Great Eastern Scooter Rally in November. Sadly, that was also officially cancelled yesterday. The holiday company, Haven- who run the Mablethorpe campsite aren’t able to run any outside events this year. You can read the statement from VFM below.
Anyone who has booked a caravan directly with Haven through the dedicated booking phone number will get an automatic refund within 28 days. This will be actioned this week so refunds will be due 17th July. We ask that you don’t ring prior to this date for your refund as they are experiencing very high numbers of calls with teams working from home.
Stay at home
My own cancellations folder is growing day by day. Up to yet, I’ve had all the Nationals (so far) cancelled, as well as Vespa World Days in Bali (and a three week holiday after the rally around Indonesia, Singapore & Thailand). I’ve also had a few scooter launches cancelled (it’s not easy getting decent SLUK content during a pandemic). Plus Wangerland in August was kyboshed until 2021 (ferries and accommodation booked). It’s also been announced today that the huge Intermot show in Cologne has been cancelled for October (flights and hotels already booked).
Just cancelling various flights and accommodation has been a logistical nightmare.
Spare a thought for the rally organisers
From an organisers point of view, a global pandemic is something you can’t insure against. Putting on a National Rally means thousands of pounds are paid out in deposits – often months in advance. Everything from hiring in toilets, showers and marquees to securing venues, promotion, merchandise, booking bands and hiring in equipment. It all costs money. In some cases deposits can be rolled over to next year but not always and that’s assuming the venue/campsite survives the financial fallout caused by the virus and it’s ensuing recession. Those deposits can easily be lost before 2021.
Remember, when you’re whinging about the possibility of losing money on accommodation – or just missing out on your/our social life – the organisers have had months of hard work lost, and will have been agonising over whether or not their event will take place. They’ll have been worrying about letting us all down, about you losing money. About their own club or collective losing out financially. Remember that every single National Scooter Rally is organised and put on by fellow Scooterists. People like you and me who just so happen to be brave enough to stick their necks on the line to keep our scene alive. If you get a chance to help them by buying merchandise for cancelled rallies I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.
Nobody would have predicted anything like this (well, maybe George Orwell) would cripple the whole world in 2020. Our scooter calendar has always been pretty much set in stone but in March things changed very quickly. Three months later we’re starting to see some signs of normality but we’ve still got a long way to go before the scooter rallies can recover and be anything like they were before.
Until that recovery comes we’ve just got to keep ourselves sane, and safe. Enjoy mucking about in the garage, doing the odd project or sorting out niggling issues. Think of all the cash we’ve saved on breakdowns, accommodation, partying and fun! One day soon we’ll be able to meet up with our friends again and act like we’re teenagers, we’ll be filling the atmosphere with pungent blue smoke and putting this time of reflection behind us. We’ll be able to appreciate how good things usually are. When things are ‘normal’ the scootering family is the biggest, daftest, happiest family around. We’re luckier than most to have such a close-knit community around us.
Until that time, stay safe and try to keep your spirits up, slowly but surely we’re getting there.
Get yourself and your scooter ready for being allowed out