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At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, the British Isles are full of interesting roads to ride, and if you’ve not explored North Devon then the Woolacombe scooter rally is a great opportunity to do just that.

Yes you can belt it down to the south west via motorways, but if you have the time then do explore the north Devon coastal roads. Even in the rain they can be more interesting, as long as you’re not relying on sticky summer tyres of course

The rally itself is a chalet/ caravan type of affair on the whole, with B&Bs in the locale and also camping on site for those on a budget, or leaving it too late to find anything more substantial to rest their weary heads beneath. If you are the type that requires entertainment around the clock, then the site is the place to be with bands on each night, along with a separate soul room full of DJs and even a late drink until 3am in the outdoor Tiki bar, which isn’t bad even in late September. Honest.

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That just about covers it

For someone who is not a great fan of covers bands, credit where’s due and that goes to Marquis Drive who when I stuck my head in to the main room on Saturday had a large crowd singing along to Brit Pop faves, arms in the air, the lot. Sorted!

Saturday morning saw most of the dealers emerging at far too early o’clock, although I’m proud to say that the ScooterNova magazine stall was by far not the last to throw back the covers and begin trading. With the rally patches, pins and T-shirts also trading from our gazebo we were busy all day with plenty of new readers coming over to check the latest edition.

Thankfully, with willing hands to help there was time to check out the scooters in the show, with a number of ‘engined’ creations catching the eye, both on display and parked around the site. Captain’s Revenge, Wildcat and Prelude flew the flag for the older custom scooters; Start Me Up justifiably won a couple more trophies (and having seen it ridden through all weathers I know just how much owner Mark polishes it!), while the rally patch star Rattler also took an award.

Start me Up, a proper ridden full custom
Start me Up, a proper ridden full custom

At the classic end, the Exit 17 crew didn’t disappoint with their choice of shafters, although a tidy GS did manage to slip into their ranks. Not the only one on display either, I hasten to add, while a beautifully accessorised Series 2 drew attention but was sadly too late for judging.

Hawaii five oh

For those who decided against the free bus into town, Happy Hour awaited at the Tiki bar, along with live music, although the lure of fish and chips followed by a pint or three in Woolacombe proved too tempting for many.

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As is the way of such events, Saturday evening began (and ended) for some in and around chalets, while for those hardened enough, or wanting to dance in more than a square foot of space, the venue hosted the same DJ options and bars as Friday night, with Neville Staple providing the live entertainment.

If two days was not enough, then Sunday consisted of a bus into Ilfracombe followed by a Beach Boys tribute act later that evening. Tempting as it was, we had 250 miles or so to ride back with work to follow on Monday, so for the first time in a while we gave the Sunday club at Wooly a miss (Bill Mac takes up the story here). As much as Woolacombe is a favourite on our calendar each year, our liver’s thanked us all the way home.

Andy @ScooterNova magazine

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Surfin’ Sunday

Sunday dawned and feck my head hurt badly… In the background I could hear the crackle of exhausts as a lot of people headed off home, for them the rally was over. After all, this is no Bank Holiday, just a normal weekend, however I knew Woolacombe was not a ‘normal’ rally and for many it was far from over. I hear people and I observe these days, even on Bank Holiday rallies fewer and fewer people stay the full weekend.

Woolly is a little bit different though and the SWSC goes for a funday on Sundays. Long ago they opted to go against the grain with no Mod /skin soul or Who tribute type bands. In the past they have had Elvis, Mexican, even Glam rock and Abba acts and this year it was to be The Beach Boys band. Everyone who was staying on the Sunday, myself included, had at least brought their Hawaiian shirts and some had gone way beyond this.

After a day on the fizz in Ilfracombe we headed back to the site to where the do was and I was gobsmacked at the various costumes… People were dressed as sharks, as parrots, there were at least two blokes dressed as Pamela Anderson, others as hula dancers complete with coconut bras and there were inflatable palm trees, surfboards and lots and lots of beach balls…

Surf’s up

When the band came on the crowd erupted and everyone danced to all the Beach Boys classics, surfing and sixties songs it was a fun and hilarious night. It was also pretty rammed full, which just goes to show how the Sunday night crowd at Woolacombe has grown over the years and I know that accommodation for next year’s Woolly rally has nearly been booked up already. So thanks to Andy Stu and all the guys and gals who worked so hard to make it such a success, see ya next year.

Bill Mac

Booga’s Gallery

Rallery by Andy Gillard

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