Woolacombe National scooter rally 2016 | RALLERY
There’s something romantic about loading up your scoot with a tent, a sleeping bag and a change of clothes and buzzing across the country to a rally where a warm welcome, familiar faces and good music awaits. Woolacombe rally rewards those that pre-plan, pre-book and possess organizational skills. Not me. Luckily with Kaz’s kindness I managed to pitch up in the gravel next to her tent: “I’m allowed a pup tent, is yours a pup tent?”
“Oh yes, indeedy” I said as I pitched my one-pole wonder, “It doesn’t come any puppier than this”.
No matter how you approach Woolacombe it’s a lovely ride – from the south over Dartmoor, or from the rest of the country via the twisty hilly North Devon lanes. Sadly, the twisty lanes and dodgy Devon road surface claimed one unfortunate scooterist on Saturday morning who I hope is recovering well. Despite the fantastic weather on the Friday, there is a distinct Autumnal chill in the air, solved in the main by heading to the main room for some music, beer and food.
The band on the Friday were The Dexys Bootleg Runners, from Scotland. No prizes for guessing what they were going to sound like. The opening song is strong but the next few numbers fall a bit short. But the singer does sound like Kevin Rowland, which is more than can be said for Kevin Rowland, and he isn’t wearing a dress. All plus points.
Then they start the chant: Ge-No. Ge-No. Ge-No. The brass section starts and suddenly I’m 15 again and can’t help but start dancing. Any guitar and any bass drum. Any brass section too, come to that. After the band I spend a couple more hours in the Northern Room, before my aching feet crunch over the gravel to my humble tent.
Saturday starts grey and chilly. The traders set up shop and the whole place is very busy by lunchtime. I’m impressed with the variety and quantity of the custom show. Start Me Up was there and a nice un-restored GP complete with 80s stickers. The car park custom show was almost as interesting with a fully loaded mod scooter and a few tasty paint jobs.
At 12.30 the ride out set off for a tour of North Devon, arriving at the Red Barn about the time we finish lunch there, gazing at the surf and hiding from the wind. Back at the site, The Killertones are playing outside at The Beach Bar with some decent versions of ska and scooter faves. A couple of Southern Templars comically gallop down the hill dressed as cows (I think) to show some interesting bovine dance moves not seen since the last outbreak of Mad Cow disease.
We take advantage of the free ten pin bowling included in the ticket price for an hour – three strikes and we’re out, back to see that the Killertones are still playing. In fact, they play all afternoon – an absolute marathon set. Good effort.
Back in the main venue the hypnotist did a fair battle against Chelsea vs Arsenal on the telly, and certainly got the most laughs. A great show from Lo Reid and her willing (and not so willing) volunteers. Some good birthday footage for one guy, and an enthusiastic striptease from someone who was probably glad he didn’t go commando that day.
Wreck a party rock
The main attraction of Saturday night, possibly the whole weekend, was King Kurt, rally legends in fine form and playing to some enthusiastic wrecking. Some wreckers are in for the duration, others staggering out of the melee gasping for air and water.
Smeg is on fine form; so cool you can see why they named a fridge after him.
By now the heavens had opened. The rain was torrential and prolonged. The venue was absolutely rammed, with the weather joining the band on stage via a leaky roof. Still, King Kurt are not one to complain about a bit of a wet stage. Amazingly, when I got back to the one pole wonder it was not only upright, but dry inside.
As I was told once I got there, Sunday night is party night at Woolacombe, with Showmaddymaddy providing the music. But work dictates a Sunday return. Next time I’ll forget romantic notions of scooter rallies and book ahead, including some more time off work.
Thanks to all the SW Scooter clubs for a cracking rally, great entertainment and a great atmosphere.
Words: Darren Miles
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