Young Channel Islands lad gets the scooter bug | Reader’s Rides
Lockdown restrictions have affected us all in many different ways over the last year. Most of our readers will have been scootering for decades and although missing out on a year of scooter events is tough, there are worse things happening around the world. Imagine how it feels for the younger generation though?
Young scooterists who have really got the bit between their teeth, they’ve got the scooter they’ve dreamed about for years, sampled the delights and camaraderie of a few events and then had the rug pulled from beneath their feet… or wheels. Scooterists like young Liam Font (pictured above on his dad’s Vespa Rally). Here’s how he feels about this great and all-encompassing way of life.
Hi, my name is Liam Font and I am a young scooterist from Jersey in the Channel Islands. It all began when I was a toddler holding onto the handlebars of mine and my dad’s Vespa Rally 180. I remember my dad taking me up and down the estate and these memories are still very visual in my mind, as this is where it all started for me.
Scooters then started to become my passion and at the age of 6-7 years old I was finally old enough to sit on the back and go for rides with my dad. When I was 10 years of age, I started to learn all the different makes of Vespa and Lambretta. Some people started to think that I was speaking in Latin!
My dad and I then started going to the harbour when I was 10. This is where all the scooterists meet here in Jersey and nine years on, I am still going down there by myself on my own scooter and sometimes with my dad.
Obviously, I still had to wait another six years to take my CBT test. I did the test on my Vespa PK 50S, which now has a DR 130 kit in it. The year after, I was given a Vespa PX150E by a very good friend of ours, John Medina.
The scooter was originally white with lots of surface rust and had only 900 miles on the clock since 1988. With money from my Saturday job and my dad’s bank account, I produced the scooter I had in my head. Seeing all the old photos from the 80s I always liked the idea of the flyscreens, the Yankee seat and indicator grills.
Finding the right colour for the scooter almost took me two weeks until finally at one of the spray shops – success! It was a mix of blue and purple with a touch of metal flake and this was the right one for me. I always really liked the 1980s custom scooters and this is where the inspiration came from. In 2019, I took my 250cc test, which means I can ride my dad’s scooters (he has four), as well as the two which are mine. It’s great to see that he trusts me.
I have been to the Jersey, Guernsey and the IOW scooter rallies a couple of times now and they get better every year. Unfortunately, Covid 19 stopped me and the rest of my scootering friends going away last year, but we are looking forward to the future and going to more scooter rallies.
The first time I went to the IOW scooter rally was in 2018 at the age of 17 and obviously coming from a small island, the roads were very different to what I am used to, especially riding through Portsmouth which involved motorways. When we got there, I entered my Vespa in the custom show and even though I didn’t win anything, I was still pleased I did it, as it was a great experience. Seeing other scooterists hard work and dedication was a great inspiration.
I spent hours and hours walking around the grounds looking at all the scooters. Another great rally is the Guernsey scooter rally, which for us is only one hour on the boat. I would highly recommend it to any keen scooterist, whichever part of the world you live in.
Even better, you should visit the Jersey scooter rally, which was a great success in 2019. I am very privileged to live on a beautiful island and the scooterists who visited us, had a brilliant time. I had the chance to meet some members of the A5 Scooter Club – who are a great bunch of people and I am looking forward to seeing them at a scooter rally soon. Hopefully, I will get to meet some of you in the very near future.
My Vespa PX150E has now been raised to a 190 Polini. I did this by installing a 177cc kit with a 60mm stroke crank which increased the cc. Thanks to our local scooter enthusiasts, Scooter Steve, Mac, Dave, Tommy and Rod, who are always there when we need them. Forever grateful. I must say it does glide and am looking forward to having it tuned soon, hopefully before the next time I take it away. I am hoping to take it to France when the Covid restrictions lift and at some point would love to do a long trip to Italy and back. This means lots of spares…
Win a SLUK T-shirt
We’ll be sending Liam one of our T-shirts for taking the time to write his story.
If you’d like to win a shirt, let us know about something you’ve done involving scooters, a memorable scooter journey or an impressive project you’ve taken on. Get in touch (no matter how young or old you are) at: editorial@ScooterLab.UK
I am hoping that more young people like myself get into this great scene. I know there are some others in the UK, who hopefully I’ll be able to meet at some point and make some good friendships. When I was over in the Isle of Wight I did see a few youngsters, probably my age, but didn’t get the chance to talk. This would also mean I won’t be travelling alone when the others can’t ride anymore. Hopefully the Jersey crew will take that with a pinch of salt.
Thanks for listening to my story, keep safe and hopefully see you all on a scooter rally soon.
Words and photos: Liam Font