I’m not so sure I’ll be blogging as much as I did before lockdown, mainly because I’m so busy with work that I don’t get so much spare time these days. But I couldn’t let the IOW rally go by without a write-up, partly because it’s just nice to look back on these rally posts as a record of what we got up to and I love re-reading them in the future. This will therefore be a mega post, written as I go before I forget the details, with photos in galleries for each day.
Friday – sun and scooters at Sandown
We managed to leave earlier than usual, partly because we’d been uncharacteristically organised and partly because we had a teenager that we could leave in bed rather than needing to take him somewhere first.
The weather was lovely, with plenty of sunshine and after an uneventful ride we got to Pompey and joined the small group at the front of the scooter queue. Champs arrived soon after and we all got on the Fishbourne ferry soon after 10am.
After blasting off the boat I conked out soon after – but nothing serious – I’d just left my choke on, doh! We soon got started again and headed for the green in Ryde which was already buzzing.
First we caught up with Johnny and Jane Cambridge, and drooled over Jane’s smallframe which is freshly rebuilt. It’s got a lovely 60s-themed paintjob and looks superb next to Johnny’s beautiful Series 1 tribute to Bobby Womack.
I went for a wander and bumped into the Definitely Maybe gang and Johnny ‘Hoodlum’ Freeman. Then we headed off for a ride to the pub for our traditional anniversary lunch. I’d gone onto reserve as I left the green and just as I got to the Tesco roundabout I ran out of petrol. So I pushed it the short distance into the petrol station and after filling up with super unleaded we continued our ride. [these facts will become important tomorrow…]
The lunch venue was our regular haunt, the Propellor Inn which overlooks Bembridge airfield. I’m always surprised how few scooterists come here as it’s such a lovely peaceful spot and the food and service are superb!
After a scrummy meal we rode to the new rally hub at Sandown Airport. The access road was full of potholes but nothing too serious if you took it slowly. We were greeted by Tori, Lee Parker and the VFM gate crew who directed us to the scooter parking area.
The new site is so much bigger than Smallbrook with much clearer, segregated areas – for cars, campervans, scooters, traders and entertainment. There were even helicopter rides on offer with a steady queue of willing passengers.
We wandered around the stalls and had a nice chat with Andy and Ness Greenslade on their merch stall, selling some really funky, limited-edition t-shirts. One of them was partly modelled on Lee’s chop which is so cool! They had a retro, psycho vibe and Lee couldn’t resist buying one. I settled for a South West Scooter Clubs ‘Straight Outta Lockdown’ cup, thinking it’d come in handy later!
We then walked up the hill through the camping areas, bumping into various people on the way and stopping for a chat. We paused at the glamping area to hang out with the Hayling Island gang just as Dean Percival arrived on his gorgeous Stray Cat cutdown rebuild.
By now my back was aching from standing for so long so we got back on the scooters and nipped around the corner to our hotel to check in and chill for a bit.
We freshened up and nipped to the pub next door to meet some of Lee’s old mates from Bedworth including Kev and Debbie Mustard. They reminisced about the old days with various stories, including one which involved a local character who rode around on a pushbike with his CB radio, and is best forgotten… We then walked the short distance to the airfield to see what the evening’s entertainment looked like in the new venue.
Just as we were walking in, my Detour clubmates were also heading over so we got drinks sorted, popped into the Soul Hangar and then had a nose around the main marquee. There was a wooden dancefloor in the soul room which was great for the soulies, and campsite grass in the main room. After another chat at the bar the crowds were gathering for the band, so I went to the front for a decent view. When Angelo Starr and The Team hit the stage, it seemed like everyone was ready to make up for two years of lost dancing time.
They were the perfect band to kick start the 2021 rally season, with a mix of soul, disco and funk. They were so tight, all eight musicians playing perfectly with Angelo at the helm, and he had us in the palm of his hand. I spent most of the time next to the stage with a posse of girls, all having the most brilliant boogie ever! I was virtually sober, having had just a couple of ciders, which proved you don’t need alcohol to have the best night.
A youngster called Jack was dragged onstage by Carla where Angelo showed him some moves and he then stayed up there for a few songs. He was a real star!
It was one of those brilliant rally nights where everyone is just there to have a good time, and the entertainment is spot-on. When the band finally finished their set Angelo hung around for photos, with people clamouring for a chat and to reminisce about years gone by.
We didn’t stay too much longer afterwards, happy to get back to the hotel and I was delighted to have curbed my drinking enough to avoid the hell of a portaloo visit!
Saturday – when nothing went to plan!
We woke on Saturday to another sunny day and went next door to Morrisons for a bargain breakfast, joining Dean who was already tucking into his full English. We didn’t hang around though as I was keen to get to the airfield to see the custom show before it got too busy. It was worth the trip as there were some great scooters there, squeezed into the Soul Hangar.
There were some new ones which I hadn’t seen before, like the insane Liquid chop which I loved, and a Bruce Lee tribute Lambretta. Gary Wickham was polishing Breaking Rocks and pointed out some of the new bits he’d added since cleaning up the trophies at the IOW in 2019. Dean Percival’s Stray Cat was getting lots of attention and praise, and the metalflake sparkled beautifully under the disco lights.
Organiser Tori needed to take a much-needed breakfast break having been up since the crack of dawn and not getting to bed until the wee small hours – so I took over, handing out entry forms and taking charge of the Sharpie pens. Having seen what a lot of work it was to organise, I’m already having ideas about how to streamline the admin, so watch out next year if you’re entering – you may be my first guinea pigs for a new system!
I couldn’t hang around long though and we rode along the country lanes into Ryde to catch up with Nuneaton and Bedworth gangs on the green. It didn’t seem as busy as usual, with plenty of room to park the scooters. I couldn’t resist a pic of Ted with some ladies collecting for charity, and he was happy to model one of their hats too, in exchange for a donation (financial, of course!).[THE FULL CUSTOM SHOW RESULTS ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST]
Breaking down – lots of times!
It was time for lunch and another ride so we headed back down towards Sandown, to Culver Down with Lee’s mates in tow. This was where things started to go wrong…
Having misfired as I passed the Smallbrook turnoff, by the time we’d gone through Brading my scooter completely conked out. Lee changed the spark plug but it still didn’t seem to want to go. After lots of coaxing though it finally started again, for a few hundred yards at least. I gingerly rode it up to the top of Culver Down, with the lure of a scenic lunch at the pub as my reward. However, it wasn’t to be as they were a chef down, so couldn’t serve food outside. The indoor tables were rammed and there was certainly no room for a group of our size so we turned around and headed back down, aiming for the Propellor Inn again.
However, my Lammie hadn’t read the script and broke down again. I waved the others past because I didn’t want it to ruin their lunch too, and after another spark plug change and opening the petrol cap to let some air in it started again and we made it to the pub.
We had a lovely lunch, despite Ted nicking my drink and Spooner throwing a wobbler when he tried a scampi, not realising it was fish-based. Apparently prawns freak him out, so the thought of one anywhere near his mouth caused him to spit it out in a panic and getting rid of the taste with a swig of coke. It was actually hilarious to witness!
With bellies full, we headed to the airfield as I was keen to see the custom show results. I’d sponsored the Best Custom Lambretta trophy and wanted to see it being presented. However, my scooter had other ideas…
Half a mile from the pub she conked out YET AGAIN! Lee was riding in front so didn’t even realise, so I tried to bring it back to life, kicking it over with – and without – the petrol cap in. Steggsy was a gentleman and offered to take over (it was really sunny and SO hot!) but couldn’t even push the kickstart down. Everyone was taking the mickey, calling him ‘chicken legs’, and I know my compression has been high in the past but I didn’t think it would be beyond his capability. However, when I took a closer look I realised it was in gear! But even when it was back in neutral it really didn’t want to start.
By now I was feeling so guilty about holding everyone up so ushered them all to go on without us. There was nothing they could do so it seemed pointless to make them hang around too. Lee had rejoined us by then and Booty stayed too, and it turned out to be a blessing that he did. When Lee had faffed around with everything he could think of, Booty said he had a can of petrol, ‘clean petrol’ (i.e. not from a supermarket) so we put a litre of that in to dilute the dodgy Tesco fuel. I couldn’t believe it – the scooter started!
I didn’t want to hang around and give it a chance to conk out so whizzed off, with Booty close behind, heading back to the airfield. We made it there!!!!! I was shocked that adding new petrol could make such a difference. I parked up and literally ran to the custom show, hoping to make it there before the end of the presentations.
Sadly I missed ‘my’ trophy presentation, but managed to see the final few awards handed out by Tori. Most of those final trophies were won by Gary Wickham, including Best In Show. It turned out that the Custom Lambretta class was won by the Bruce Lee tribute, whose owner kindly let me sit on it for a photo.
Debbie Mustard was delighted to pick one up too for her classic Sprint which hubby Kev had restored.
We then found some chairs and sat around for a nice chat, with some of the gang keeping a close eye on the footie scores. Coventry were playing QPR and the Cov lads had bet Rangers fan Sam that they would win. There were a few drinks involved and it would have been an expensive round for Sam. But as the match went on QPR went ahead and the final score was 2-0!
It was then time to get back to the hotel to freshen up and then head to Ryde for the evening. Lee and I hopped on the local bus service and it was great fun! It was actually really nice to see the views from the top deck as the sun was setting. We met the rest at The Crown where Ted was quick to pay his footie debt and Sam celebrated with a pink gin 😊
We had tickets to see Marquis Drive, originally booked for The Pavilion but then switched to the larger capacity Rocket Ronnie’s snooker hall on the prom. We arrived as the support band were halfway through their set and found some seats at the back as we are far too old to stand all night.
It was unlikely that anything could live up to the atmosphere of Friday night so we were probably unfairly comparing the two. There were only two ladies’ loos so the queue was really long, and the sound at the back where we were wasn’t great. Sam and Spooner loved it though, so maybe we were just tired! The people at the front were having a ball and all jumping and dancing around too. I’ve seen the band before and absolutely loved them, it’s weird how the venue and vibe can affect your enjoyment isn’t it?
Anyway, Lee and I called it a night and managed to jump on the scooter bus back to Sandown. When we got to the hotel there was a guy taking a photo of my scooter so I went over for a chat. As I got closer I realised I’d left my keys in the steering lock!!! With news of scooters being stolen in Brighton I couldn’t believe I’d done something so stupid! My scooter was locked to the GTS but even so… We had a chat with the guy though and I thanked him for giving me a reason to go over to the scoot. After that we went inside where it was nice to jump into a comfy bed!
Sunday, time to go home…
Why does this weekend always go so quickly? We got up on Sunday and packed all our stuff up and loaded up the scooters. Our friend from last night was outside again and we had another chat, as well as saying goodbye to the Bedworth lads. And we were off! First stop was the local Esso for me to fill up with decent petrol. We then rode to Ryde and my scooter didn’t skip a beat. I’d had lots of cynical comments about Lambrettas on a Facebook post I’d written to warn other riders about fuel issues. The thing is, I know my scooter. You do, don’t you? You know how to kick it over, its special rattles and noises. It’s like a child, and you know when it’s poorly. And I knew jolly well that what had happened the day before wasn’t just a Lambretta being unreliable – it had food poisoning!!! And now it was better and firing on all cylinders again.
We parked up on the empty green and walked up the hill for a leisurely breakfast with Ted and Booty. Then it was back down to the seafront where people were gathering for the rideout. Time for chatting with friends, making new ones and drooling over the scooters – exactly what I’ve been doing there since 1982!
We weren’t going to go on the rideout – for once – so instead I crouched down on the road near the start and videoed the entire procession leaving the ice rink. It went out live on my IGTV and you can see it here. I’m not sure how good the quality is though, as I didn’t have a great signal.
After that it was time to go… My scooter started without any dramas and we rode to Fishbourne and straight on the ferry – we couldn’t have timed it better. That trip back over to the mainland is always so sad, with us wanting to turn back the clock and do it all again. Our short ride home from Pompey was thankfully uneventful and we were back to reality.
Our weekend thoughts
For us, the move to Sandown was positive, a chance to mix things up a bit. The VFM* team, headed by Tori, Daz and Kev, jumped through hoops to set up the site and organise everything which was even harder this year with all the covid red tape. I get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes and it takes months to sort everything out and involves mountains of to-do lists. I hope everyone appreciates that, because without people like them running our beloved rallies, they wouldn’t exist.
We liked the extra space at the airfield and my main memory of the rally will be Friday’s awesome entertainment. The downside is that a lot of our friends are still based in Ryde, with no intention of changing. We are booked in our Sandown hotel again next year and will see how things pan out. We don’t rule out a return to Ryde eventually but can’t judge things on one year in a new venue. It takes time to suss things out and get to know an area. We didn’t even go into Sandown town centre, or Shanklin. There’s so much of the island to explore and we only scratch the surface really.
I’ve posted lots of videos from the rally on my Instagram profile, @scootergirlie. Check out the reels for closeups of the top custom scooters, plus full rideout coverage on my IGTV.
Custom Show Results
VFM* – Isle of Wight Saturday 28th August 2021 WINNERS
|First Time Entrant||Lexham Insurance||LI S1 915 UYV|
|Mod/Accessories||Classic Scooter Facebook Group||Vespa Sportique HYK 699C|
|Vintage Lambretta Pre 1965||Lexham Insurance||Lambretta LI ZSY 919|
|Custom Lambretta||Summerley Digital||Bruce Lee|
|Restored Lambretta||Lambretta Club of Wales||LI Special Labour of Love|
|Best Ridden Scooter||BSRA Championship||Model D MNL 505|
|Street Racer Lambretta||LCGB||Retro Tattoo|
|Mural||Colchester DVLC||Bruce Lee|
|Vinyl/Graphics||Photography UK||Autism Awareness Chopper|
|Best Auto||Prodigy SC||Dragster KC02 HJJ|
|Engraving||Lexham Insurance||Bonnie & Clyde|
|Individual Display||TASSO||Quadrophenia Display, GS Vespas|
|Champion of Champions||SLUK + £25 cash prize||Breaking Rocks In The Hot Sun|
|Cutdown||South West Scooter Clubs||Stray Cats|
|Original Scooter||Medway Scooter Club||Vespa 90 AUJ 71L|
|Vintage Vespa Pre 1972||VCB||GS150 NSJ 839|
|Custom Vespa||MOTO MOJO||Detroit Soul|
|Restored Vespa||Sandown Airport||Vespa Sprint AHJ 972E|
|Best Chop||K2 Customs||Lambretta M2 Blue|
|Best Oddity||Dobbin||Copper Chopper Lambretta|
|Street Racer Vespa||Crusader Promotions||Zirri Wasp|
|Best Paintwork||Lexham Insurance||Psychological Damage|
|Best Hybrid||Scot Shop Motor Scooters||Assassin’s Creed|
|Best Engineering||Olympic SC Steve Bywater Memorial||Liquid Lambretta|
|Club Display||East Midlands Scooter Alliance||Lambretta Chopper Owners Club|
|Best Plating||Mansfield Monsters||Liquid Lambretta|
|Exhibitor’s Choice||Mansfield Monsters||Breaking Rocks In The Hot Sun|
|Punter’s Choice||Big 7 Scooter Club||Breaking Rocks In The Hot Sun|
|Best of Show||ScooterNova + £25 Cash Prize||Breaking Rocks In The Hot Sun|