Isle of Wight 2018 : Part 1 (Friday)

For me, the Isle of Wight scooter rally is the weekend I look forward to most in the year.  I first went in 1982 (by train as I was only 15!), met my husband there, and got married there in 2010, so it’s very special, and I was as excited as ever in the days leading up to the August bank holiday Friday.

Isle of Wight Scooter Rally 2018

Despite leaving later than planned, we still somehow met Definitely Maybe SC at the ferry port, which we do every year no matter what time we leave!  It was all a bit different there though as Wightlink directed us to a different part of the car park, and as we just missed one of the ferries we had a half hour wait for the next one to dock.  I used the time usefully, catching up with the guys and taking some photos!

Scooters at Portsmouth Wightlink ferry port waiting to go to the Isle of Wight

Mod Vespa with lights attached to the front rack

Meat Is Murder custom Lambretta with Victoria of Wight ferry in the background

Pale blue vintage Vespa with lights and mirrors

Silver Vespa GS scooter

Vespa PX headset with SLUK Scooter Lab flyscreen

Burgundy Vespa Rally side panel

I love this cute Super Sprint which still has its original paintwork.
Red Vespa Super Sprint

Rear view of red Vespa Super Sprint

Peter Batty looking at me from his mod Vespa

The best bit though was that we entered the ferry from the upper deck, via the ramp!  I captured it with my GoPro, and although it isn’t perfectly placed you get the general idea…

We had our usual faff of tethering the scooters together to protect the chop’s precious paintwork and chrome, and then eventually went upstairs to enjoy the trip over the Solent.

I do love the view of the Spinnaker Tower as you leave Portsmouth!
Spinakker Tower at Portsmouth

We ate our traditional anniversary meal at Yelfs as the weather wasn’t looking too bright, and by the time I had finished my dessert the sun was peeping through the clouds so we rode to Smallbrook to catch the early arrivals.  Having said that, Tori later told me that the campsite was buzzing on the Thursday too, with many scooterists wanting to get their usual pitch on the campsite.

Scooters at Smallbrook Stadium, Ryde

The dry spell meant that the red dust got everywhere, and my nice clean black scooter was filthy by the time we left!  I pottered around, checking out the scooters which were parked around the perimeter, before doing a tour of the stalls.

If you visited the site over the weekend then your arrival will have been captured by – if you didn’t see your photo on their stall then they will be available on their website from Wednesday onwards!

Scooters parked on the racetrack at Smallbrook Stadium

Blue Lambro scooter

Blue and cream Lambretta with lights and a flyscreen

Two tone green Lambretta



Side view of green Lambretta LI scooter at Smallbrook Stadium, Ryde, at the Isle of Wight scooter rally in 2018

There are a few on-site mechanic services which is useful if your scooter has been playing up.  They seemed to be really busy whenever I wandered past, fixing autos and retro machines alike, and there was a Gilera Runner being thrashed on a dyno with an excited owner delighted at the horsepower it produced!

Mechanic working on a Vespa scooter at the Isle of Wight rally in 2018

There were plenty of new shiny goodies on sale, and this Casa Performance engine caught my eye!  I’m sure many Lambretta owners would love to swap it for their current setup.

Casa Performance Lambretta engine on a stall at the Isle of Wight scooter rally

Sadly, the sun didn’t stay out for long and soon the heavens opened.  I used the time really usefully in the Lexham tent, talking all things insurance-related with the guys there.  It was really informative and I hope to be updating my scooter insurance tips post soon with more info.  Lexham were running a competition to win this chrome Scomadi, but I have to be honest and say that I’d really prefer a normal painted one – I don’t get the chrome thing at all…

Chrome Lambretta scooter at the Lexham Insurance stand at the Isle of Wight scooter rally
This street racer Lambretta was on display outside K2 Customs, with many of their bespoke parts on it.  I saw it in the custom show too but it was nice to get some close-ups of the fabricated parts which K2 specialise in.
Front view of a K2 custom Lambretta scooter

Lambretta side panel from a K2 custom street style Lambretta scooter

Spare wheel on K2 Customs Lambretta

Headset and speedo from a K2 customs streety style scooterNext was a trip to the tents to have a catch-up with Ann, and a try-on of her waterproofs which she has tested thoroughly and declared to be the best ever.  I really needed some new ones as none of the ones I’ve ever bought have actually been waterproof.  They did a test for SLUK to see which ones worked the best which you can read about here.  I made a mental note to order some on my return and then had a lovely natter with Tori too, on a brief break from her organising duties as part of the VFM management team.  As I’m under threat of death for posting a pic of Ann, I’ll settle for her trusty Lambretta instead!

Green and yellow Series 1 Lambretta LI

Me and the Finance Manager…

Ali and Tori amongst the tents at the Isle of Wight scooter rally in 2018

This was an unusual Vespa, fabricated by Showstopper Scooters.
Showstopper custom scooter

I do love a rusty scooter, and clearly they are rising in popularity judging by the increase in those I’ve seen this year.   One of the stalls had a project for someone who fancies creating their own rat, with a Lambretta frame for sale which looks like it had been stuck in a barn for 40 years.  Or maybe the bottom of the ocean, as suggested by my husband….

Rusty Lambretta frame


Rusty Lambretta scooter at Smallbrook Stadium

It was great to see Booga without a walking stick, unlike when I saw him at Hayling Island (read all about the Hayling rally here).
Booga from A5 scooter club

These Lambrettas were very eyecatching with their complementary purple and lilac colour schemes.

Purple and lilac Lambretta scooters at Smallbrook Stadium

Pink Lambretta scooter flyscreen

We then rode down to the green which was busier than last year, with plenty of scooters to see, although the clouds were gathering again so I did a quick circuit and then we headed up the hill to check in at the hotel.

Scooters on Ryde Esplanade at the Isle of Wight scooter rally

Retro-style orange skeleton Lambretta with 'Butch' stickers on the flyscreen

Lime green Vespa GTS with flyscreen

Silver Lambretta sc with purple horn cover and front mudguard

Pink Vespa scooter at the Isle of Wight scooter rally




Lambretta scooter with basket front carrier

Blue Lambretta Series 1

Rusty Lambretta with blue rusty side panel

Pink Vespa scooter with flyscreen

I do love the theming of this Lambretta, particularly the mini skull on the handlebars!
Skeleton Lambretta with ribs instead of legshields

Side view of skeleton custom Lambretta

Headset and handlebars of custom Lambretta in the style of a skeleton. Includes a skull next to the gear changer.

Rear scooter rack with Teddy and poppies fixed to it


Mod on a scooter with many lights and mirror accessories, in Ryde at the Isle of Wight scooter rally 2018

You can’t beat this view down Union Street, especially when there’s a nice scooter at the front like this sparkly Arthur Francis Lambretta.
View down Union Street in Ryde with a pink Arthur Francis Lambretta in the foreground

Blue Vespa PX scooter

Oh, another view down Union Street?  Go on then!

View of Union Street with rear ends of Lambrettas in the foreground

In all my years of going to the Isle of Wight scooter rally I’d never spent an evening at the Crown, where they always have a line-up of top Northern Soul DJs, so it made sense to stay in town for a change, particularly with the weather being so unpredictable.  I also haven’t even been to a pure Northern night for a long time and what was great is that there were some familiar faces there too.  Teddy Edwards from Nuneaton, Emma Cox, Sandra and Pat from the A5s and a few new friends that I met and had lovely chats with.

Here is Emma with The Major, one of the DJs entertaining us for the night.  I had a wonderful time filled with lots of dancing and plenty of chatting.  Our spot next to the dancefloor was perfect for nipping on there when a record came on which I couldn’t resist dancing to.  We didn’t quite make it to the 3am finish, bailing out around midnight.  It had been the perfect start to the rally though, and I was looking forward to more fun on the Saturday when the rest of my club would be arriving.
DJs The Major and Emma Cox at the Crown in Ryde

And so ends my Friday from the Isle of Wight scooter rally 2018.  You can read all about the Saturday including some top custom scooters in this post here.

Don’t forget to check out the website for Smallbrook arrivals to see whether you can find yourself on there!

My most popular post ever is my Isle of Wight Scooter Rally tips, and once the 2019 rallies are announced I will be updating it with new info from this year, if the IOW is back on the calendar.

I have listed the 2019 rallies here, with details of how to book each one and tips for where to stay.

To get a regular update of rally news and write-ups please subscribe to my mailing list.  I’ll also share exclusive content and discounts and promise not to spam you!  I send out a monthly newsletter filled with exciting news and tips.


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  1. T A Boyce
    August 27, 2018 / 11:25 am

    Thanks for this Ali.

    As an ex-mod, Vespa GS 160 owner I absolutely loved your pictures
    Reminds me of the days in the 60s when as ‘Scooter Mods’ we used to gather in various groups (we were the ‘Moodies’ painting the Moody Blues logo on the back of our parkers) every weekday evening in Battersea Park, South London, occasionally parading up and down strutting our stuff.
    Bank holidays spent at Margate or Brighton.

    Thanks again for the memories.


    • AliRichards
      August 27, 2018 / 12:15 pm

      Hi Tony, thanks so much for reading my blog! I would love to have been around the first time when it all started, and I bet you have some great stories to tell.

    • AliRichards
      August 27, 2018 / 8:14 pm

      It’s quieter than you’d remember but still really popular!

  2. steve
    August 28, 2018 / 5:49 pm

    great write up!

    • AliRichards
      August 28, 2018 / 6:36 pm

      Thank you so much!

  3. August 29, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    I’m probably the only one on here that doesn’t own a scooter but hell what a sight last weekend to see so many stylish two wheelers around the island. Saturday was even more awesome seeing the ‘Ryde Vibe’ as I call it. Look out for my photos to under the guise of Quiz Britain on social media.

    • AliRichards
      August 29, 2018 / 7:15 pm

      It was fab wasn’t it? Do tag me on Twitter so I can see them all – I’m @diaryofadetour on there… Thanks for reading!

  4. November 10, 2018 / 6:53 am

    Vespa club de la côte normande.
    nous venons chaque années à Isle of Wight depuis 2008 et c’est vraiment mon plus beau Rallye
    nous sommes souvent Jacques, françois, philippe et frédéric avec son vieux ACMA de 1957 dans son jus.
    nous avons aussi rencontrés depuis deux ans de suite notre ami Patrick Fennessy et son épouse, des gents formidables.

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