So the Coalition has just given Saddam a justified kicking for invading his neighbour and I’m in Riyadh looking forward to a well earned trip home and I had booked my leave so that I could attend a scooter rally while back.
However, it is the time of the NSRA and although the rally dates were known in advance locations were a guarded secret until two weeks beforehand. This was a bit of a problem as mail took ages to get to me and I may not get notification of the rally destination before I got on the plane home. So three weeks beforehand and a couple of phone calls to Jeff Smith and he very kindly let me know where the rally was going to be; Exmouth. Great – I lived just outside Aberdeen! During further phone calls home I discovered everyone else already knew the rally destination – so much for secrecy!
Anyway, further phone calls to the little bro and he promised to get my scoot sorted for the trip – a PX125 with 150 top end (cheers Digby) and Polini pipe – MoT’d on the Thursday morning ready for my arrival that evening and we would set off together twos-up the following morning after we got it taxed.
So after having to wait until 9am for the post office to open to get the tax we were off. Twenty miles down the road we get pulled by the boys in blue, really out of curiosity to see where we were headed on a fully-loaded scooter – needless to say they thought we were off our rockers (more of them later). As they had pulled us they had to do a documents check and licence and papers were duly produced.
However we hadn’t put the tax disc on the scoot and Tim couldn’t find it! Nightmare – the trip looked to be over before it had begun! After much frantic searching and stripping of the little bro it was found in the liner of Tim’s jacket, somewhere around the kidney area having gone through the hole in his pocket.
Off we go again and all is well until just south of Edinburgh, when we have difficulty selecting gear. We pull over and remove the selector to find the wee pin has come out that holds the selector arm in place but this seems to have disappeared. As we are searching around to see if it has fallen on the ground there is an ominous growl of a large bike behind us.
We look round to find a sight that could have been straight out of Quadrophenia – biker and bird in full kit on tidy Triumph, they really looked the biz. Expecting a bit of a ribbing they were really nice and were just checking to see if they could help out at all. Having just found the pin we thanked them for their concern and they left, heads shaking in disbelief at the trip we were making. Scoot duly fixed we were on our way again.
We made good progress until Penrith when disaster struck and we had a rear blow-out on the motorway. I thought we were going to stay upright but eventually we ended up sliding down the road and I got a rather closer look at the underside of the lorry behind us than I would have liked, but fortunately the driver had seen us go and was already breaking so thankfully a short look was all I got.
Now, as the scoot had only been prepped the day before I got home I had no chance to get a spare and it was now half six in the evening, so no chance to get the flat repaired – if we hadn’t had the earlier hold ups we might have found somewhere – hey ho. So the AA was duly called and we began a long and uncomfortable journey with numerous changes of vehicles and drivers on the way. This was to take all night and we eventually got to Exmouth at nine the following morning.
The AA man wanted to take us onto the campsite but I wasn’t having any of that and made him drop us off around the corner. While Tim was getting the scoot off the truck I legged it onto the campsite to the nearest dealer stall and bought a complete spare and a couple of inner tubes before legging it back to the scoot to put on the new wheel. Ten minutes later we triumphantly rode onto the camp site, massive grins on both our faces – we had made it, although about 10 hours later than expected.
We soon found our mate Wullie who had travelled down the day before to meet up with the Coventry Bonecrushers (I think that was them – age takes it’s toll you know) and new friends were made all round and stories of journeys swapped and embellished. Before long it was time to make our way into town for the evening entertainment.
The queues for the official NSRA do were all the way down the street, but there was an alternative do on run by some guys calling themselves VFM or something so we headed there instead. A great night partying, laughing and joking was had by all before staggering back to the campsite. Some folk might say scooterists had a bad rep, but it was the local lasses that were squatting between parked cars to have a piss!
All too soon it was Sunday morning and the drive home beckoned. After a great bacon sarnie from the Scout hut we packed up and headed off. After the initial mass of scooters on the road gradually got less and less as we headed north we ploughed on only to stop to refuel, have a piss and/or a quick brew and 14 hours and 10 minutes after leaving Exmouth we arrived back in Portlethen, tired, damp and cold but immensely happy and satisfied.
This had been my first long distance rally on a scoot and it had been fantastic from start to finish. I must end by giving thanks were due; first to Jeff Smith for letting me know where the rally was against the rules of the NSRA, Digby for the loan of the 150 top end, all those we met while there – everyone was so friendly – and finally massive thanks to my wee bro, not only did he prep the scoot for the rally while I was lounging in the desert, he also did all the driving as I hadn’t passed my test – Tim you were, and are, a star.
Scootering September 2015