Sometimes in life, and in scootering, the sad times can really hit home. But the pull and solidarity of the community always shines through no matter what...
At times like these the scooter community can put aside its rivalries and come together. I think it will always do that. The machines and lifestyle we all share bonds us together and gives us a lot in common.
Idon’t normally write about scooter racing as part of the column, but forgive me the indulgence this month. The recent race meeting at Cadwell Park was the climax to a race season that has seen some brilliant International racing all year. But the last meeting was one of incredibly mixed emotions for everyone involved. Just a couple of weeks earlier we had learnt of popular racer James Campen sadly passing away at just 48.
James had been a previous BSSO champion, riding engines developed by tuning legend Charlie Edmonds who spent a week rebuilding and preparing James’ ex-championship winning Group 4 Lambretta to ride in a memorial parade. Young rider Joe Ravenscroft was doing similar with James’ track motorcycle and it was repainted to match the Group 4 Lambretta. These gestures showed the incredible camaraderie and respect that exists in the scooter community at such times. To see these machines along with James’ Scomadi heading a parade lap around Cadwell was touching. As the parade passed the spectators simply clapped and showed their respect, scooterists and motorcyclists alike.
On Saturday morning a practice tumble had seen Stephen Hamilton taken to hospital with broken collarbones and ribs. His two rivals for the new LCGB Production class honours were truly gutted that they could not have a three-way battle right down to the wire. The friendly rivalry and spirit in that class has been a highlight of the year and has been a joy to watch for the spectators. Even from hospital there were messages going both ways to and from his rivals for the championship.
But before we got to the Sunday parade the riders and spectators were shocked by a huge startline accident late on Saturday, which saw several riders unconscious on the track. Sadly, JB Tuning rider Tom Russell was seriously hurt – suffering two broken legs. Racing for that day was abandoned and the other riders had a somewhat subdued evening for the last race weekend. Everyone was very concerned for Tom and it showed. Other riders were nursing broken machines and bashed up bodies. Once again it was a reminder to all of the dangers of racing these super-fast machines.
So on Sunday with most class championships ready to go down to the wire we saw some of the best of the scooter community spirit as competitors wished each other luck and got down to racing fairly and with riders taking maiden wins, as well as different people winning races there was some incredible joy and delight in the paddock and as we moved to the final race there were still classes undecided. There was genuine delight for Gary Peacock who took a race win after developing his own machine all year.
Then disaster hit during a motorcycle race, resulting in the sad sight of an air ambulance on track. The race officials abandoned the meeting at this point. The rider later died. This is something none of us ever wishes to happen to anyone, whether it’s a racing or a road incident.
So the day showed the high points of riders taking their first race wins, and championship wins, but this was tempered by the accidents – which people can’t fail to be affected by. And added into the mix was saying goodbye to a popular rider with a hugely touching show of respect.
At times like these the scooter community can put aside its rivalries and come together. I think it will always do that. The machines and lifestyle we all share bonds us together and gives us plenty in common.
I’ve touched on it before but this camaraderie, support and respect has always been part of our scooter scene, whether it be road riders or racers and when bad things happen we come together and support. When good things happen we can be joyous. So this September weekend was a total rollercoaster of emotions for all the BSSO Racers and supporters. Laughter and tears… That’s life…
Paul Green Paul Thomas