As scooter rallies go, the Isle of Wight is pretty special. It attracts over 6,000 scooter fanatics every August Bank Holiday. Over the years the event has been quite controversial…thanks to the infamous riots of 1986 when hordes of rampaging scooterists looted the beer tent and set it on fire after becoming incensed at extortionate prices. Scooterists were banned, (or at least discouraged) from visiting the island for a couple of years but thankfully things are much calmer these days and the islanders and tourist board welcome us with open arms.
It may be a much friendlier event than it was in the 1980’s but the rally still has a certain buzz about it. That buzz isn’t just caused by the vibration as thousands of brightly coloured Vespa and Lambretta scooters whizz around the island, it’s also caused by their riders who certainly know how to enjoy a weekend of partying, mayhem and music. Although the majority of rally goers are in their 30’s and 40’s and have been on rallies since their teenage years there is also a growing number of younger people attending events up and down the country, finding an identity of their own and enjoying what has to be the best and most varied social scene around, carrying it forward into the next generation. Scooter riders include mods, skins, punks, casuals and just ordinary looking scooterists. They dress in a mixture of fashions from the sixties to the present day and nothing is too outlandish or likely to cause offence. Like the fashion, music is also varied and at this years event you could watch live bands like The Beat, Secret Affair, From the Jam, The Small Fakers and Who’s Next performing at various venues around the island. DJ’s also provide music from the 1960’s through to 2013 and pretty much anything from soul, mod, ska, punk, indie and Brit Pop can be heard during the weekend. As long as you’re not expecting some run of the mill cheesy disco and you don’t take yourself too seriously you won’t be disappointed.
Of course scooters are a large part of the event and many riders like to ride around during the daytime, (or take part in the massive Sunday ride out) but others show their heavily customised machines off at the custom show where a hundred of the top scooters are displayed. The hub of the rally is on the official campsite at Smallbrook Stadium where around 2000 campers live for the weekend and 40 traders sell everything from scooter parts and accessories to t-shirts and patches. Elsewhere on the island ordinary campsites are full of scooter riders and the B&B’s are booked a year in advance. For many riders, who have travelled 200 or 300 miles to get to the event they prefer to enjoy the social side of the rally, chilling out and drinking in the sunshine whilst sat around the tents, or doing the pub crawl in town before finishing the day off with the main do in town is what scooterists do best. Meeting like minded scooter fans, party people and making new friends is what a scooter rally is all about. If you’ve never tried it but have more than a passing interest in this way of life, get yourself a scooter and we’ll see you on a scooter rally before too long…
See the full photo album by Iggy here http://on.fb.me/195eSjR
Words and photos by by Iggy 2 Commute)