Rally re­port

Some­times the gods of scooter­ing smile on rid­ers and on other days they give us a kick­ing. At Woola­combe they couldn’t make up their minds what to do with me.

Scootering - - Contents - Words & Pho­to­graphs: Stan

BSRA – Woola­combe rally re­port.

Last year I rode my P2 around Europe with scarcely a hitch but this year’s been a dif­fer­ent story. Some­where there’s an elu­sive air leak which is eat­ing pis­tons faster than a drunk gets through a ke­bab at mid­night. En­gine re­build num­ber two had sur­vived trips to the Isle of Wight, We­ston on Trent and plenty of lo­cal rid­ing so, full of con­fi­dence, I set off for Woola­combe.

All went well un­til Bridg­wa­ter, when the world sud­denly went silent. Once on the hard shoul­der a quick prod of the kick­start con­firmed a holed pis­ton. I’d barely had time to take things in be­fore a van pulled onto the hard shoul­der. Not just any van, but one con­tain­ing three very friendly ladies. “Get in the back, we’ll take you to the ser­vices and you can sort it out there.” This was Sally, Sam and Paula, sup­port van for Barry and District (BAD) SC or, more ac­cu­rately, my guardian an­gels for the week­end. The P2 was loaded and we were away within five min­utes of the holed pis­ton. Clearly the scooter gods were hav­ing sec­ond thoughts about the break­down. In the back of the van I con­sid­ered the op­tions and had only one ques­tion when the door opened – “Can you get me to Woola­combe?’

Now in its 17th year, the South West Scooter Club’s Na­tional at Woola­combe has ac­quired a cult fol­low­ing, Held at the Golden Coast Hol­i­day Vil­lage, the rally’s un­usual in that it in­cludes Sun­day evening. Hav­ing set up camp and en­joyed a quick beer, I was ready to turn in af­ter the day’s events, but hav­ing heard great things about their set on the Isle of Wight, I wanted to see Fri­day’s live band, Dexy’s Boot­leg Run­ners.

Walk­ing into the main hall I was sur­prised to find it packed and I later learned that by Fri­day evening 2000 wrist­bands had been sold, with around an­other 100 guests ar­riv­ing on Satur­day. The Bootlegs in­stantly packed the dance floor, pro­vid­ing great au­di­ence en­gage­ment and ev­ery­thing any­one could ask for from Dexy’s cat­a­logue, which when mixed to­gether with clas­sic soul made for a fan­tas­tic set. If you haven’t seen the Bootlegs play then you’re miss­ing a treat.

Satur­day started off dull and breezy, only hint­ing at the weather to come. The Golden Coast Vil­lage is a pur­pose-built camp with chalets among pitches for car­a­vans and campers

(I quickly dis­cov­ered that if you camp on an all-weather pitch you'll need spe­cial equip­ment and I wasn’t alone in find­ing that trying to use nor­mal tent pegs was about as ef­fec­tive as trying to ham­mer in cooked spaghetti!). De­signed to be self-con­tained there are bars, a pub, restau­rant, bar­be­cue area and shops all on site. It’s also laid out to give ev­ery­one a lit­tle pri­vacy so my favourite pas­time of wan­der­ing around look­ing at parked up scoot­ers did feel a lit­tle like walk­ing into some­one’s gar­den at times.

The cus­tom show saw old favourites mix­ing with sev­eral ma­chines I‘d never seen be­fore. The qual­ity was high and it cer­tainly drew in the crowds. I’ve pre­vi­ously trav­elled along­side Start Me Up, which took Best of Show, but it was also pleas­ing to see Apoc­a­lyp­tic Pre­lude be­ing rid­den to the rally and then go­ing on to win Best Vespa. Both prove that it’s not nec­es­sary to van scoot­ers to a show in or­der to pick up tro­phies. There was also a se­lec­tion of ma­chines that aren’t of­ten rep­re­sented at shows with small frame Ves­pas and Lam­bretta Ve­gas making a par­tic­u­larly re­fresh­ing change.

The trader fair fea­tured a wide range of cloth­ing and spares with the lat­ter be­ing par­tic­u­larly wel­come in my case. With en­gine drama con­sum­ing my af­ter­noon I only caught the end of the hyp­no­tist’s act but judg­ing by the amount of laugh­ter and cam­era phones in ac­tion the vol­un­teers suit­ably em­bar­rassed them­selves.

For many Satur­day night head­lin­ers King Kurt were the week­end’s high­light. I’d never caught the Kurt bug but it looked like I was in a mi­nor­ity as the hall was at ca­pac­ity. All the clas­sic el­e­ments were there in­clud­ing drink­ing games, a bloke in a dress and the dance floor wreckin’ crew seemed to be hav­ing a ball. Un­for­tu­nately by Satur­day night the weather had de­te­ri­o­rated and rain of bib­li­cal pro­por­tions mixed with strong wind made for a good test of any tent. It was a test that sadly the stage roof failed to pass, with the band mop­ping up as part of their per­for­mance. I’d be ly­ing to say I’m con­verted to Kurt’s mu­sic but so far as en­ter­tain­ment goes they cer­tainly take some beat­ing.

The story of my ‘re­build in a field’ is told else­where but with a run­ning en­gine and a chance to beat the weather I de­cided to leave on Sun­day lunchtime, un­for­tu­nately miss­ing the fancy dress party which is a big at­trac­tion for many. This year Shomad­dy­maddy pro­vided the tra­di­tional kitsch back­drop to what I’m cer­tain was a night en­joyed by all.

There’s no deny­ing that Woola­combe’s a long jour­ney for most of those at­tend­ing but with stun­ning scenery, a great venue and full on en­ter­tain­ment it’s cer­tainly worth the ef­fort. Even the scooter gods can’t bear to put a damper on that much fun!

Joker.

61 Trick.

Pre­lude.

Card Cheat.

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