It's All About Me
Or rather, it’s all about her. Her being Vicki, the owner and rider of this high mileage custom auto-Lambretta.
Well kind of. Apparently the name bestowed upon Vicki’s scooter here was given the first time around, following a few jibes from friends at the time. But before I continue I suppose I should point out that I’ve known Vicki and her husband Mark for a while now, and living fairly locally to each other we’ve often ridden to rallies and events together. Of course the only thing that has to do with this article is the fact that not only have I spent many miles admiring Vicki’s scooter, but I also know that it does the miles, having ridden through hell (well, some dodgy looking places) and high water (literally, including the 10 hours to Llandudno in 2015, and flooded roads on the way back from the Isle of Wight in 2014), together.
For those who don’t know, husband Mark also has a custom scooter, the Rolling Stones themed Start Me Up, but their joint dedication to riding and then showing clean scooters has led to some mirth
among friends as they spend the Friday night of a rally cleaning while the rest of us are in the pub!
But enough of her cleaning habits and back to Vicki and her scooters. She got her first one, a Vespa P125E, in the early 90s but never really rode it much, not getting on with it. As a consequence Vicki spent a lot of timing riding pillion, which also meant she never got around to passing her test either.
Fast forward to the 21st century and when husband Mark bought back his old early-90s custom Lambretta, Start Me Up, and began revamping it, memories of the small Snetterton seat on this scooter the first time around came flooding back to Vicki, who decided she wanted a tidy bike of her own to ride.
It’s All About Me was originally purchased as a Frank Sanderson Series 5 project that had never been built by the previous owner. Finished in Lambretta GP turquoise, the main parts were there, namely the modified chassis to accommodate the Piaggio built Aprilia SR125 air-cooled two-stroke auto engine, forks, bars and bodywork. Mark and Vicki set about sourcing the missing parts and Mark completed the build ready for the 2012 scooter rally season. The finishing touch to personalise the scooter was painter Jon Holme adding some subtle Metalflake-type effect, stars and the name: All About Me.
Using it for rallies around the UK, unfortunately on the way to Exmouth in 2013 a car driver clipped the back end of her scooter as she rode through a roundabout resulting in a shattered wrist, broken elbow and torn muscles, and a considerable amount of damage to her scooter too. Oh and she also missed the rally!
Now if any cloud has a silver lining, then in Vicki’s case it came in the form of discovering Mandy who worked for an accident repair company in Surrey and turned out to be a bit of a whizz when it came to custom paintwork. After a bit of discussion with Mandy over design, a deal was done to pay for the scooter to have a makeover above and beyond the basic repairs that were (partially) covered by the insurance claim after the accident. And no, before you ask, getting involved in a RTA and ending up in hospital is not a cheap or painless way to create a custom scooter! Finding Mandy was a touch though and Vicki is over the moon (or the stars!) with the finished paintjob.
My big question here though was ‘why did you go to an accident repair centre rather than a scooter specialist?’ As Vicki told me, at the time of the accident, understandably her husband and son Jordan (who also rides scooters) were more concerned with her well-being rather than her scooter, so the bike ended up with said company via the police and recovery services. However when they went to collect the scooter they saw some of
the work Mandy had done on other vehicles and were so impressed they decided to commission her to paint Vicki’s scooter too.
The company then rebuilt the scooter but Mark and Vicki were not satisfied with the result. This meant that when the scooter was back at home, Mark ended up stripping bits and rebuilding them to make it right; like refitting the legshield toolbox because he felt that it hadn’t been secured properly, correcting the legshield rubber trim that had been glued on and the stand which was fouling on the exhaust.
Chris Sadd at CS Engineering was commissioned to fix the stand, while Leon Bugbee added some final art such as the stars on the engine casing, and painting the wheels, splash plate and modified stand.
Newark 2014 was her first outing since the rebuild, and Vicki’s been on It’s All About Me ever since, attending every BSRA national rally from Scotland to the south west, as well as a regular attendee of LCGB rallies too, picking up a fair few trophies along the way for her well-ridden custom scooter.
In recent months she’s finally passed her bike test and, with a full licence for geared machines, can also be spotted riding the ‘black bogey’ sometimes, aka hubby Mark’s Series 1 Lambretta. That said, while Vicki did tell me, “I wish I’d done my test sooner and persevered with gears, most of all I have loved riding my auto up and down the country.”
And that folks, is what scootering is all about.