‘She’s got soul, she’s worth her weight in gold’

Scootering - - Scootering - Car Park Custom Winner -

With thou­sands of scoot­ers on the Is­land it should be an im­pos­si­ble task to pick just one as this month’s Car Park Cus­tom win­ner, but as soon as I knew ‘Bella’ was on the is­land the de­ci­sion was easy. This isn’t just my pick for the IOW, it’s my favourite scooter any­where. Al­though Bella rides high on the cur­rent trend of pati­na­tion, it’s not just her looks that make her a win­ner, she sums up ev­ery­thing that scooter­ing should be about.

Jane and her hus­band Tim are fa­mil­iar faces at ral­lies across the UK and Europe, par­tic­u­larly Vespa Club events. Many peo­ple claim to be ‘dyed in the wool’ scooter­ists but few can match their de­vo­tion to the cause. When chil­dren came along it was a side­car that pro­vided fam­ily trans­port – not four wheels. They are both fans of the Rally 200 and Tim owns a very neat sil­ver ex­am­ple ‘Lit­tle Bitch’ which has the rare dis­tinc­tion of be­ing de-seamed by a pre­vi­ous owner and then re-seamed for Tim!

Based on a 1965 Mo­tovespa 150S, a Span­ish cross over model that brings to­gether the curves of a GS with an SS style head­set, Bella wasn’t in­tended to be fin­ished in this scheme. “I own a cus­tom Rally 200, ‘Bat­man’, which is a lovely scooter but us­ing it every day is hard work. Just keep­ing on top of the chrome is a night­mare,” ex­plained Jane. “The idea was to have some­thing ba­sic that I could use every day with­out too much ef­fort. When we bought Bella she was cov­ered in emul­sion. Tim tried to strip that off and leave the orig­i­nal paint fin­ish but it wasn’t pos­si­ble so we de­cided to go for a bare metal scheme.”

The en­tire scooter was stripped us­ing drill mounted wire brushes then, af­ter a pe­riod of pati­na­tion, the paint in­side the leg shields and lac­quer was ap­plied by Tim. It was all done in their back gar­den us­ing rat­tle cans, with smaller parts be­ing hung off the wash­ing line. Their son, Kyle, was en­listed to paint the fla­menco dancer and Jane ap­plied the sign-writ­ing, tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from a favourite J J Barnes track. The seat was do­nated by a friend and was ini­tially in­tended to be tem­po­rary, hav­ing started life fit­ted to a Span­ish Post Of­fice PX be­fore be­ing re­uphol­stered by Jane. “It’s the most com­fort­able seat I’ve ever had so it’s stay­ing put,” she says.

Bella was com­pleted only days be­fore the cou­ple headed off for Vespa World Days in Croa­tia last year, al­though her first rally was ac­tu­ally Alp Days which the cou­ple took in en route. In lit­tle over a year Bella has vis­ited 12 coun­tries and at­tended events all across the UK, with more ad­ven­tures al­ready planned. The phrase ‘count­less miles’ is en­tirely ac­cu­rate as al­though the stan­dard P200 en­gine built by Tim has been re­li­able, the speedo hasn’t and is prov­ing prob­lem­atic to fix.

One irony of the build is that Tim thought his Rally 200 may at last get a look in now that it didn’t have to com­pete with Bat­man, but un­for­tu­nately for Tim that’s not the case. “The amount of at­ten­tion she gets is in­cred­i­ble,” says Jane. On the IOW camp site passers-by rou­tinely stopped to chat about Bella and nu­mer­ous pho­to­graphs were taken while parked.

Jane and Bella are de­serv­ing re­cip­i­ents of a year’s sub­scrip­tion to Scooter­ing. They prove that a stun­ning scooter can be built on a bud­get and give a whole lot of plea­sure. Surely that’s the very essence of scooter­ing.

Scooter name: Bella Type: Mo­tovespa 150S Owner: Jane Light­foot Club: Smug­glers (Red­car) and VCB En­gine: Stan­dard PX200 Paint: Tim, Kyle, Jane

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