We arrived in reception to be told we’d been ‘upgraded’ to a refurbished lodge – which was great news – until they showed us where it was on the map. It couldn’t have been further away from the do – and I always try and book accommodation as close to the action as possible. The receptionist said it was a ‘2 minute walk’ – but I’d defy Mo Farah to run it in 2 minutes, let alone walk!
Anyway, as there was no hurry to unpack we skulked around the main venue, Lee drinking coffee and me taking photos of scooters. Normal rally stuff!
I’d offered to collect a floormat for a friend in Bognor from somebody I didn’t really know, Beck. I knew his scooter and had spotted it parked outside the amusements so knew he was somewhere around. I asked a few random people inside if they were him, which they weren’t, and by the time we got back outside there were a few guys gathered around Rocket From The Krypt, his scoot. I’d found him! I took charge of the floormat and stopped for a quick chat, before we headed down to our lodge to chill out for a bit.
It was indeed a bit tidier than the last time we’d been in a place like that, even though it was in the back end of nowhere. Or ‘Cornwall’, as Stacey put it (“are we in Cornwall with you or in our usual place”, she’d asked!).
Friday evening at Warmwell 2021
After a relaxing bath it was time to head out for the evening. We swung by the posh lodge where the rest of the Detours were staying and had a lovely catch-up. We’ve seen so little of each other in the past couple of years, mainly because everyone has been so busy being keyworkers. Stacey works all hours in the lorry and Gail is a superstar senior midwife. So we had a lockdown debrief, took the piss out of Champs, Mark plied Lee with a stiff rum & coke and we planned some adventures for next year, assuming some sort of normality can return.
Lee and I then went to the do, to do more chatting with people we hadn’t seen since forever, or so it seemed. Following Project Floormat I had another mission to complete. This time it was to find a certain Dave Harrison, from the Lowriders, who would be occupying our lodge on the Saturday night, as we had to head up to the midlands for some family birthday celebrations.
Searching for Dave in a flat cap
I asked around and managed to find out that Dave was wearing a flat cap, which one would have thought would narrow it down, given that flat caps aren’t a common headwear choice for scooter people. And I was right, there were very few blokes wearing caps; so I confidently approached a couple of guys wearing them and asked “are you Dave Harrison?”. Yes, he said, laughing. I looked at his hoodie, which mentioned a different club than the Lowriders and smelt a rat. So I made a swift exit and carried on with my search.
For the next flat cap man I tried a different approach. “What’s your name?” I asked. “Andy”, he said. “Thanks”, I said, “but I’m looking for a Dave”. I may have looked silly but at least I wouldn’t be duped by any more Dave imposters.
The next guy I approached with a “What’s your name?” put his arm around me in a very friendly way. I can’t remember his answer but it wasn’t “Dave” and I think he thought I was chatting him up! This wasn’t going well…
Finally, I asked a guy with Sean Robinson, and although he wasn’t Dave, Sean was able to describe the real Dave and tell me what t-shirt he was wearing. I searched in the bar and found him! We had a lovely chat and hatched a plan for me to hand over the key the next day (via Ness, who was – helpfully – happy to be the keeper of the key).
So then it was time to get properly sociable. Daz was on DJ duty and I couldn’t resist a quick solo boogie to the Style Council. I popped into the soul room too, where Chilli was on the decks. I was annoyed that I hadn’t brought my proper big camera as night-time shots aren’t the best on a phone, generally, although my new iPhone did better than previous models.
The band were the Decatonics, and I dragged Stacey up to dance to Sally Brown. They did a decent job of covering ska and other scooter-friendly covers such as Echo Beach. They did go on for a long time though, seemingly playing ‘just one more’ quite a few times. I think an hour is plenty for a band, as I’d rather hear a mixture of stuff played by the rally DJs, but I appreciate that organisers want to get their money’s worth.
It was so lovely to see people, and I had a lovely chat with Ann Murphy and a big hug and natter with Emma Cox (who sent Lee into delirium with a neck and shoulder massage). Mark, Loz and Trotsky got involved with helping a neighbouring table build a tower of empty plastic beer cups. The boys then made paper aeroplanes out of flyers, trying to knock it down. I was slightly worried it would collapse and soak everyone nearby with a horrible mix of cider, lager and who-knows-what-else. But just as it had nearly reached the ceiling, sadly the fun was abruptly ended when a member of the bar team took them away to a chorus of boos!
By then it was past midnight, and Lee was on a mission to get some chips. Mark told us the chippy was closed, which wasn’t a good sign. But as we could smell the sweet stench of vinegar we followed our noses to the soul room where a guy was serving a late night menu of hot dogs, chips and burgers. Sadly, Lee had to queue behind a gaggle of drunken scooterists at the bar to get some though, and after a while gave up. He then roped in Buster to try and fathom the Pringles machine, which took his money but sadly didn’t supply the goods. Watching two grown (middle-aged) men pressing random buttons and trying to read the LED display was quite entertaining for me, but disappointing for my hungry husband.
So we went to bed, happy to have had plenty of fun and laughs with our much-loved scooter family.
Saturday at Warmwell 2021
Saturday dawned and we had to pack up as we were going home. But not before a quick whizz around the stalls and custom show.
We could hear a noisy exhaust buzzing around and when the scooter finally arrived it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It was a mobility scooter! With a PX engine in it! Ridden by Ricky Lake from the New Forest, his lockdown project was slightly different to anyone else’s. Sadly it’s not road-legal which is a shame because if I get to the stage where I can’t get around on foot then I’d love nothing more than to zoom around on one of these. He said I was more than welcome to have a go but I was worried about something going wrong and making a fool of myself in front of everyone.
Next, was Chris Ibbotson’s beast of a Series 1 Yambretta (are they still called that?). Naked Again (named after his regular streaks on the rallies) is an RD350 with a 421 Banshee kit, which packs a punch. It pulls at 80bhp, and has been clocked at 99mph – at only 3/4 throttle! Scary stuff, it’s definitely a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
There were others too. Like the Scream Lambretta which caught my eye at the Isle of Wight and it was nice to see it up close again here. So although Warmwell doesn’t host the biggest or best custom show, it certainly included a few interesting machines.
Time to leave
And so it was time to go, although we didn’t head straight home. We went into Weymouth to find a pub which was showing the Coventry vs Sheffield United match, and quite by chance ended up in Rendezvous where there was a posse of holidaymakers from the midlands in full force. I counted 30 Sky Blues fans, so Lee was happy. We had a delicious lunch there too, it was just perfect, apart from the final score. They didn’t lose, but could so easily have won. For a 0-0 draw it was still exciting and Lee was out of his chair a few times!
And so the rally was over, for us. Well done to Andy, Ness, Stu and all the SWSC team who do it so seamlessly. We really appreciate all the hard work it takes to put on these events, especially with all the challenges that covid has added into the mix. I’m already looking forward to 2022!