Although I’ve known of Sticky since the 90s, having read his articles in Scootering for many years, I only met him in the early 2000s through my husband who knew him well from living in the same town. As well as writing for leading scooter mags, he co-created SLUK, has authored many books on the subject and built countless bikes so therefore has an in-depth insight into the scene. He’s an ace mechanic and recently published the third edition of his Complete Spanner’s Lambretta Manual, which is a must-buy for any Lammy owners who like getting their hands dirty. He loves solving problems too, and has invented cool products to make life easier when working on scooters.
The main thing I’ve learned about Sticky though is that he loves an adventure, and has ridden far and wide exploring various far-flung locations including Ukraine, Greece and Serbia.
He also has a vivid imagination for arranging fun stunts, and I remember clearly one Isle of Wight where Mark Broadhurst was planning to fly a Microlight over the rideout end point in Sandown. Jokingly, Sticky said that if he did it then he would shoot him down! We were hanging around in anticipation, not sure whether it was a hoax or not, but sure enough a gentle buzzing sound signalled the presence of a light aircraft over the field. Sticky disappeared behind the clubhouse and rockets were shot into the sky, but it turned out to be another Microlight and not Broady! It was one of those mad scootering moments which becomes legend and we still laugh about it many years later!
Sticky – My First Rally
Name : Sticky (Martin Round to the tax man but even my mum calls me Sticky)
How did you first get into scooters?
Through the usual path for someone my age; being a mod at school and then seeing scooterboys in my area and thinking that their look was much cooler and more practical than a parka and shoes with white stripes on. At the age of 15 I got a Vespa 150 Super before I was legally old enough to ride it and got nicked on it 30 miles from home. My dad – who knew nothing about the scooter – had to come and fetch me from the Sheerness nick.
What was your first scooter rally?
I did a couple of Phoenix Mod rallies in 1984 when I got my Vespa 50 Special legal on the road after my 16th birthday, but my first real rally was IoW 1984.
What did you ride?
By this time the 150 Super had been swapped for a Vespa 100 Sport engine to fit into the 50 Special so I didn’t need to be holding anyone up.
What job were you doing at the time? Do you remember how much money you took for the weekend?
Job prospects in the Medway towns were pretty poor after the closure of Chatham Dockyard, but that’s not really related. This is the long summer after I’d just left school and before starting college, the last thing I wanted to do was spoil it by working. I had tons of mates who were on the dole and getting by as lifestyle scooterboys. There will have been some wheeling and dealing and bartering to make up funds. We always found a way.
Where did you stay when you were there?
I was in a tent. Isle Of Wight 1984 was supposedly the biggest ever UK rally. After the mod rallies at Margate and Hastings it totally blew my mind to see the difference. I knew I’d found my ‘home’. Not my tent, the scooter scene…!
Were you in a club?
I can’t remember to be honest. We weren’t cool enough to join the established clubs around Medway at the time so a load of us younger ones started Ye Knights Who Say ‘NI’ SC inspired by the nonsense knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I think we touched 30 members at one point a year or two later.
Do you have any memories of the rally itself? Any funny moments?
I remember getting up freezing early one sunny morning, so I thought I’d ride over to the tea wagons without getting out of my rectangular sleeping bag. I hopped to the Vespa, and there was enough space inside the sleeping bag to kickstart it so I set off and rode to the tea bar. Once there I pulled up and tried to put my feet down either side of the scooter, but the sleeping bag was too tight so I ended up falling flat on my side in the mud in front of the queue. I didn’t mind everyone laughing, I liked being a clown.
Was the journey home eventful?
Only one incident stuck in my mind. I was one of many who spent 50p to win Russ Mitchell’s chopper Exile which was raffled at the rally. I was so hopeful that I’d win that I’d made arrangements for someone to ride my Vespa back while I rode the chopper (despite not being old enough or insured, but never mind that). Obviously I didn’t win, but I was extremely relieved on the way home that I didn’t because I saw the winner stood at the roadside with an AA patrol, broken down!
Do you remember what your favourite rally anthem of that period was? What type of music were you into?
By this stage we’d been listening to a lot of Motown and Northern Soul for a couple of years. I never really liked the ’79 Mod music. I liked upbeat stuff like Sliced Tomatoes by the Just Brothers (later a sample for Fat Boy Slim’s Rockafeller Skank) and Boogaloo Investigator by the Matt Parsons Orchestra – these were Medway staples at the King Charles Hotel.
What was your favourite custom scooter of that era?
Undoubtedly the one that had the most impact was the Lambretta chopper Exile but IoW was awash with lovely Vespas and Lambrettas. I’ve always loved both brands but for the first few years I only rode Vespas.
Do you still have a scooter now? What do you ride?
I have several. I’ve got an SX200 that I went around 15 countries on, for an as-yet unfinished book project. I have a couple of old Scootering magazine project scooters (Underdog – my Quattrini SS90 and Dreadnought – my hub-centre-steered PX/T5 hybrid built for cannonball races), but the last few years I have done most miles on motorcycle-engined scooters. I’ve got a Lammy with a Honda CRM 250 engine and I built the Mrs a 1959 Maicoletta with a Suzuki DRZ400 engine in. Those scooters feature in my book ‘Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle’ about a tour we did to Istanbul with Dean Orton and his daughter.
The Maico is so lovely to ride that I plan to build another for myself this winter. My old Lambretta chopper is still sitting without an engine at the back of the garage looking sad.
What do scooters mean to you now?
Scooters have been my work since the early 90s when I joined Stuart Lanning’s incarnation of Scootering Magazine as assistant editor. When Mortons bought Scootering in 2003 I did 3 issues as editor but I couldn’t handle their management style so I went freelance again and have been ever since until myself, Iggy and Tracy started SLUK. I’ve left SLUK as an owner but still contribute to it. Nowadays I’m back to authoring with the third edition of the Complete Spanners Lambretta manual just released and a commission for the book on scooterboys to follow next year.
Lately I’ve also been working on products to solve problems of scooter riding that have always irked me. The slip-on ‘SLUK Clips’ Lambretta bridge piece fitting kit is a concept I developed and produced, and the latest release is the Buzzwangle Timing kit with The Scooter Republic. There are more new products in the pipeline too.
Back to the question though, scooters remain my lifestyle. Our Anglo-German Club (Speed Demons SC) is my family and our worldwide friends from the scooter scene are like an extended family. I still ride scooters and go to scooter events by scooter even if there’s nothing to be earned from doing so. In fact I prefer it if I can just go without responsibilities and act like a silly kid, just as I did in 1984. I think you’ve always been able to tell who the cool, genuine people are on the scooter scene by whether you see them riding to events; particularly ones that they have nothing to do with. All the VFM people, the LCGB and some of the modern Vespa Club of Britain people deserve respect for that.
Thank you so much to Sticky for sharing these stories, I can’t wait to read the next installment of his escapades! Photos kindly provided by Sticky and Mark Golding.
If you’d like to see more of what Sticky gets up to then you can visit his Stickyfeatures Youtube channel and there is also a SLUK channel too with all sorts of tips, reviews and entertaining nonsense. My favourite has to be “Underdog’s Revenge” which you can watch below!
If you’d like to read more from my First Rally series, here are the other scooterists I’ve featured
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