As usual, the August bank holiday is upon us all too quickly after the short spell of sunshine and clear skies that constitutes a British summer. It has to be said that, despite the topsy turvy weather (always a struggle for the sartorially inclined) 2012 has been a largely successful one in terms of scooter events and rides for the Bar Italia Scooter Club.
From Greenwich in March to the Palace in May and even the Le Mans in June to display our scooters, we’ve been pretty busy. But the icing on the metaphorical cake, is the Brighton August Bank holiday weekend rideout.
So, with a hotel booked and our friends Catford Chris and Joeli kindly agreeing to take the suit carrier in their car (just enough room with all of Chris’s records), the French one and I planned the journey to the coast from our dwellings in sarf-east London. The scenic route via B-roads is an absolute must for anyone wanting to take in the idyllic Kent/Sussex countryside and a pleasure to deal with on a 50-year-old shopping trolley.
Sunday arrives all too soon after a cracking Saturday night. A worthwhile mention to the chap from Perth (Australia) who I chatted to at the bar. Dare I say it made me reminisce about my mis-spent youth?
A new scooter and some forward planning helped things along. This time everyone was facing in the right direction on Madeira Drive–what a sight! A few hundred scooters and riders greeted us as we turned onto the promenade. Every style, with numbers growing by the second (I think I said multiplying like single-celled amoebas).
A check in with Rob at the Volks meant pushing through heaving crowds. It was then time to start the judging for the scooter competition. For this, the keen eyes of Gary Milan and Paul Boddy were employed. Judging was tough this year. A lot of people had put effort into restoring or accessorising, but we were forced get a move on as we ran out of time and the rideout was due to start.
At 3pm exactly, 400 scooters were idling waiting for instructions. A kick of the starter and I made my way through the pack to lead the charge. Thanks to everyone who understood instructions. Then we were off!
Up the ramp on Madeira Drive, right onto the coastal road and sit tight against the fresh August wind buffeting me all over the road…or was that the DT’s? Through Saltdean and after five miles along it’s time to pull into the end point of the Smugglers Rest pub. Various groups of scooter riders didn’t hear about the end point and made it clear they were off to Beachy Head. Fair play–the rest of us plotted up on a bench and had a well earned hair-of-the-dog and rest. Then it was back on the bikes, rounding up the troops and back to the Volks to announce the competition winners:
Best Lambretta–green series 2 LI–reg X75 XUB belonging to Shaun
Best Vespa–blue and silver GS150 reg–HFO 815 belonging to Richard
Best Mod Scooter–orange and cream series 1–regXJJ 813 belonging to Andrew
Honorable mentions should also be given to Marco from Rimini Lambretta Centre and his blue/chrome series 1, as well as Daniele from Italy and his gold/green Series 3. If there were awards for furthest travelled…
Thanks as always to the NUTs team for a great weekend and everyone who took part. Keep ‘em peeled for more Bar Italia S.C. adventures in the usual places.
Photography by: © Ramees Farooqi 2012
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