Scooter rallies are usually fantastic events – the work which goes on behind the scenes by the organisers is amazing. The amount of effort which is given shows a commitment and passion beyond belief, something which is now being enjoyed by generation after generation of families together.
When the hard work’s gone into organising a rally it no doubt gives a massive sense of satisfaction (and relief) to the organisers to see the event deliver a great experience to everyone. Scooter rallies are inclusive; they offer an opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends, talk about scooters, seek-out those hard-to-find spares and accessories, see live bands and of course have a drink… or two. Back in the day, basic ‘rallies’ started more as gymkhanas, usually one-day events, and involved all sorts of scooter-related challenges. As things progressed and time moved on this developed into a wider social experience and so began the evolution of the scooter rally as we now know it. In the late 70s and early 80s things really started to take off and it was during this period that most of us started our scooter rally-going experiences…
A lot of those rally goers from the 80s are still present on the scene and as a result we’re now seeing more and more families at scooter rallies and more and more kids enjoying themselves (as much as the adults) in the organised events and the activities.
Earlier in 2018, at the Big7 National Rally, I met Mark and Michelle Rogers, and their scooter pals Kev, Sue and Lucy Mahoney… who were all kind enough to share their scootering experiences. We sat down under the beaming hot summer sunshine and over a beer or two we chatted about scooters and the scootering scene in general…
Learning the craft
Michelle’s first scooter was a Vespa 50 Special. “I was a Mod at the time and I first bought the scooter to travel to work on,” Michelle explained. “It was great little scooter but I crashed it into a church wall when I was waving to my friends!” Michelle kept the scooter for a while and then moved on to a Servetta 125.
Mark explained that he’d initially got into scooters in 1985 when he met Michelle at the ‘Pink Toothbrush’ in Rayleigh when he was a skinhead and Michelle was a psychobilly. “If she’d have still been a Mod at the time we wouldn’t be sat here now!” Mark joked. “Michelle taught me how to ride a scooter on her Servetta and after that I bought my first scooter, which was a Lambretta SX150.” Mark explained.
Shortly after that Mark and Michelle went on their first rally together to Rhyl in 1986. “It was one which we’ll always remember. Not only because it was our first rally, but because it took us 18 hours to get there from Essex!” They laughed.
Over the next few years Mark and Michelle regularly went on rallies together. A few years later, Michelle fell pregnant with their first daughter and five years later their second daughter came along. “I still kept going to rallies; but I did always keep plenty of two pence pieces on me, so I could ring Michelle and check that she was alright while I was away!” Mark joked.
Although Michelle taught Mark how to ride a scooter and was the main influence which drew him into the scene, in 1961 Mark’s dad had owned a Lambretta Rallymaster.
History in its present form
Mark’s favourite model of scooter is the Lambretta GP, so it really wasn’t that much of a surprise to see his fantastic looking Casa 225 AF Rayspeed parked nearby, which was alongside Michelle’s show-winning Rallymaster.
Michelle explained that her Rallymaster was an exact replica of Mark’s dad’s scooter. The scooter displayed the competition number ‘31’, Alan Kimber’s original completion number and is also the day of the month when Mark and Michelle got married (31.8.96).
Local scooter shop
As we chatted, Kev explained that his first scooter was a Vespa PK50. “I wanted a 50 Special but my mum would only do the HP with a local scooter shop down the road, so I had to settle for a PK!” Kev said.
Sue got her first scooter, a Vespa 90 smallframe when she was 17. Kev’s first scooter rally was Clacton 1984, Sue’s was Yarmouth in 1986 and they’ve been rally-going scooterists ever since.
In 2006, their daughter Lucy was born who now rides pillion with Kev and Sue to rallies, and after 23 years together, in August 2014, Kev and Sue got married.
A romantic at heart
Sue explained that her favourite style of scooter is “as original as possible”, her favourite model of scooter is the Lambretta Series 2; and knowing this, just before they set off on their honeymoon Kev bought Sue the wedding present of her dreams; a 1960 original Italian Lambretta Li150 Series 2.
Getting it right
Kev said: “It took some work to get it running, it had been completely sprayed Battleship Grey and where it hadn’t been prepped too well some of the grey paint had come off revealing the original paint underneath. Having seen this I set myself the task to get all the grey paint off using Acetone. During this process, preserved underneath I found the original white paint and the original grey paint on the side panels and horn casting, and along with the patina it’s picked up over the last 58 years it’s developed a lovely original finish.”
The scooter has an upgrade in performance to a Casa 185 kit with 28mm Dellorto and AF Clubman exhaust, which means that Sue can keep up with Kev (and Lucy), and today’s traffic without any problems. Sue said: “I call the scooter Isabella because she’s Italian and beautiful, and to add to the love she was restored by my own personal scooter mechanic!”
Changes with the times
Kev had ridden in on his lovely looking Eddie Grimstead styled Lambretta SX 200. “It’s called ‘Old Faithful’, it’s a 1968 SX200 and I bought it in 1987 when I was 18 for £80. It’s seen a few changes over the years. It went through a camouflage stage, it was street-racer for a while and it was lucky to have escaped not being given the cut-down treatment as well!”
Initially Old Faithful was going to be done as an original Arthur Francis ‘S – Type’, or an 80s metal-flake ‘S-Type’, but in the end Kev went for a homage to Eddie Grimstead / Rimmini restoration. “I like a simplistic look with nice paint and attention to detail.” So with that in mind Kev chose Joe Hatch to complete the paintwork.
Lucy explained that she wants a scooter when she’s old enough and she’s got her eye on her Kev’s DL150, which he’s currently restoring. “I would have been quite happy to get her a Vespa 50/90 small-frame but it’s a Lambretta or nothing,” Kev smiled.
Lucy said: “I also go to northern soul do’s that aren’t age restrictive, plus I help out at The Essex Soul Collective Northern Soul nights, which my mum and her friends run in Southend-on-Sea. I like scooter rallies because they’re fun, the music is great, especially the northern soul and reggae plus the Silent Disco tent here at the Big7 is always a laugh too.”
Having recently completed features on father-and-son and father-and-daughter scooterists, to also have the pleasure to meet people like Mark, Michelle, Kev, Sue and Lucy illustrates the true spirit of our scene. It also illustrates the true and inclusive nature of scooter rallies, and to see people having so much of a good time at scooter rallies is a credit to the hard work, which the organisers put into making the events so much of a success.
MARK & MACHINE
Name: Mark Rogers
Scooter club & town: Solo rider, Wickford.
How and when did you first become interested in scooters: My wife, Michelle got me into them in 1985.
What was your first scooter: Lambretta SX 150.
What is your favourite style of custom scooter: Don’t have a favourite, I like them all. I enjoy seeing what effort people put into creating their dream.
First rally or event: Rhyl 1986.
How did you get there: On my Lambretta, 18 hours from Essex!
Favourite and worst rally/event: Favourite of the past few years, Dutch Lions. Can’t say I have a worst rally I enjoy ’em all – just hate packing up in the rain.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever ridden on a scooter: Got to be either Rhyl or Bridlington, would like to go further afield though.
What do you dislike about rallies: Caravans and camper vans.
Favourite custom/featured scooter of all time: England Expects.
Scooter model: Indian GP.
Time to build & by who: Built by Tony Byrant and Paul at SRP Racetech.
Engine spec: Kit: Casa SS225. Crank: AF crank re-built using new RB spec’. Carb: 30mm Dellorto. Exhaust: Franspeed. Clutch: MRB race tour billet five-plate clutch. Gearbox: Indian GP 200 running 19/46.
Dyno done by: Paul at SRP Racetech.
Do you have any advice or tech tips for anyone starting a project: If it isn’t working out right, start on something different and then go back to it.
MICHELLE & MACHINE
Name: Michelle Rogers
Scooter club & town: Solo rider, Wickford.
How and when did you first become interested in scooters: I first bought a scooter to travel to and from work.
What was your first scooter: Vespa 50 Special.
First rally or event: Rhyl ’86.
How did you get there: On my Servetta.
Funniest experience with a scooter: I crashed into a church wall while waving to my friends on my Vespa 50.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever ridden on a scooter: Rhyl.
What do you like about rallies/events: I like the social side of the rallies, meeting new people and having a great time with my friends.
What do you dislike about rallies/events: Shit showers and toilets.
What’s your favourite Scootering Magazine feature: Show Us Your Scoots.
Scooter model: Li 150 Series 2.
Inspiration for project and theme: My husband’s dad’s Rallymaster back in 1961.
Time to build & by who: Five months by Keith Newman.
Any specialised parts or frame mods. What & by whom: Custom made air-box visually Series 2 style with GP wider neck, Smiths mechanical tacho drive from end of crankshaft, Scootronics AC stator plate.
Engine spec: Kit: RT190. Crank: MEC crank. Carb: Scootopia 22mm Dellorto through the air-box with Series 3 scoop for improved air flow Exhaust: Casa Clubman. Clutch: Standard with MB slightly stiffer springs. Gearbox: Li150.
Is the scooter reliable: It seems to be, although I had some initial problems with bolts shaking loose.
SUE & MACHINE
Name: Sue Mahony
Scooter club & town: Rayleigh, Essex.
How and when did you first become interested in scooters: When I was a Mod at the age of 13 then I started going on rallies from the age of 17.
What was your first scooter: Vespa 90 smallframe.
What is your favourite style of custom scooter: Original all the way and I even like a bit of rust for good measure.
First rally or event: I think it was Yarmouth 1986.
How did you get there: On the back of a friend.
Favourite and worst rally/event: Loved Morecombe singing in the Bierkeller.
Funniest experience with a scooter: Seeing Duncan from the Jokers turn up on his Vespa with a sidecar and a Staffie wearing goggles and a motorcycle hat!
What’s the furthest you’ve ever ridden on a scooter: IoW.
What do you dislike about rallies: The smelly toilets!
Name of scooter & reason: Bella, because she is Italian and beautiful.
Scooter model: Lambretta Li 150 Series 2.
Date purchased: August 2015.
Time to build & by who: My husband.
Engine spec: Kit: Casa 185. Crank: Rapido. Carb: 28 mil Dellorto. Exhaust: AF Clubman big-bore (noisy). Clutch: Standard. Gearbox: Li 150. Dyno done by: JB Tuning.
Describe engine performance, power delivery and scooter handling: Nippy, pulls well up hills and keeps up with those all riding 200cc scooters.
Are there any other unique details we have missed: Plenty of patina!
Top speed & cruising speed: Top: 60mph. Cruising is 55mph
Paintwork & murals done by: Innocenti original.
Is there anyone you wish to thank: Of course; Kev, my husband for getting me on the road and keeping me onthe road.
KEV & MACHINE
Name: Kevin Mahony
Scooter club & town: Southend Classic Scooter Club.
How and when did you first become interested in scooters: In about 1982 I noticed a few scooters around town back in NW London where I used to live, they looked the ‘nuts’ and I was having some of that!
What is your favourite style of custom scooter: Old-school style such as, Time Trouble and Money, Superfly, Billy Whizz, Brazilian Love Affair, Brassy Bitch. If it’s got a 30mm Delly a DJ/ Fresco pipe and metal-flake paint it’s a ‘Yes’ from me!
First rally or event: Clacton Mod rally 1984.
Any stories: The rally was a constant battle between the local casuals and Mods. At one point it went around that a Mod called Chad was run off the road and killed by some casuals in a car, which stirred everyone up for revenge only for Chad to ride back on to the site later on in the day much to our relief.
Your favourite custom/featured scooter of all time: Spiritwalker.
Name of scooter & reason: ‘Old Faithful’ – I’ve had it for so many years it’s been a great scooter to own and ride plus it’s taken me to many places over the years.
Time to build & by who: Completely built by me.
Engine spec: Kit: GP200 cylinder Stage 4. Crank: AF race. Carb: Dellorto 30mm plus Breathe Sweet. Exhaust: AF 48mm Reverse-Cone Clubman. Clutch: Standard four-plate. Gearbox: SX200. Porting & Dyno by: JB Tuning.
Describe engine performance, power delivery and scooter handling: Pulls like a train and no problem with my daughter riding pillion.
Paintwork & murals done by: All paintwork by Joe Hatch of Brewsters Motors.
Any advice or tech tips: Look at other people’s scoots, talk to them and find out where they got their parts or who did their sandblasting plating etc. Try to use local people, it’s easier to keep an eye on your project and communicate with them. Sticky’s book and quality tools along with good advice goes a long way.
Is there anyone you wish to thank: My wife Sue for being a scooter widow for a while, Joe Hatch for doing an excellent job, JB Tuning, Scootopia, my best mate ‘Bones’ for selling me the scoot, and Old Faithful that’s got me to scooter rallies and all-nighters for the past 31 years.
Words & Photographs: Stu Smith
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