REPORT: Great Yarmouth Rally
For many scooterists of a certain generation, Great Yarmouth holds a special place in their memories.
Sarge brings us the best from the broads.
During the 80s it was one of the most popular destinations on the annual calendar of National rallies. Although not all establishments in the town were welcoming, both The Long Bar and The Barking Smack became firm favourites with scooterists. Saint Nicholas car park at one end of the seafront evolved into the main rally camp site. At some of the earliest Yarmouth rallies, Tiffanys hosted all-nighters often with big-name live acts.
Five years ago, Great Yarmouth Sidewinders SC took the decision to take on running a scooter rally at the local racecourse. Starting as a local rally, over the past four years, the event has grown in both size and stature.
The winning formula includes on site camping, food, drink and loads of entertainment to choose from on both an outside stage and two sizeable indoor venues. Coupled with a dealers’ market, plus of course a custom show and afternoon ride out. As such, the Sidewinders rally is now very much one worthy of regional status.
Under starter’s orders
Gates opened at 2pm on a mainly sunny and warm Friday, with early arrivals eagerly waiting to obtain their wristbands. What would become a canvas village had been under construction for a few hours. Traders arrived, setting up their stalls close to the entrance, food outlets further up on the right-hand side and the outdoor live music stand just beyond. The Paddock bar under the main grandstand opened for business and everything was in place for the show to start.
Chilling out on the campsite, sinking a few cold ones, while catching up with mates and making new acquaintances before the night’s entertainment commenced was the choice of some. Others opted to wander onto the main site, familiarise themselves with the layout and grab a pint and a bite. Entertainment kicked off at half six with Off Beats serving up a mix of live ska, punk and soul favourites. Eight o’clock marked the opening of Vice Admiral’s Bar, which was home to the well-loved Olas Boss sound system. Simultaneously the Victory Bar offered soul, northern, Motown and a smattering
Best of Show and Punters’ Choice, among other awards went to ‘Remember Them’ confirming that the judges were on the same page as rally goers.
of other scooterist sounds, as well as the live music headliners. As the sun began setting, Stylotones arrived with their own brand of ska sounds. By now the Friday night was in full party mode, both rooms filling up as well – a fair sized crowd getting down to the band. As the night wore on, both DJ rooms were cooking. Half past ten saw headline act Gregory Gang deliver a scorching set of Mod and indie classics in the Victory Bar. Partying continued officially until two in the morning, and, of course, unofficially on the campsite till who knows when!
Neck and neck at the halfway marker
Saturday morning’s officially scheduled events began with the opening of the custom show at 10am sharp. Over the following hour or so a varied array of entrants mustered in the marked out area. From restorations to rats, chops to street racers and unrestored to full blown customs, there really was something to suit all tastes. Clichéd though it may be, the show judges really did have their work cut out.
There were several late arrivals that would very likely have been in with a shout, except judging concluded by midday. As the old adage goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. It was precision planned so judges and show entrants could participate in the rideout which was very well subscribed, with around two-thirds of scooters on site heading off en masse. Some participants completed the rideout, others opted to stop off in town and return later.
The broad variety of on-site traders appeared to be enjoying a healthy interest in their wares. Anglia Scooters, with their mobile workshop, provided a useful service, resurrecting to full health several sick scooters over the afternoon’s duration.
Live entertainment on Saturday commenced around three o’clock with a performance from blues rock outfit Hot Cold Ground. Following on straight after the band came the awards presentation.
A stunning, full blown custom Vespa ‘Remember Them’ picked up both Best of Show and Punters’ Choice, among other awards confirming that the judges were on the same page as rally goers.
Furthest travelled award went to Jennifer Parker who rode over 1900 miles from Prague to Great Yarmouth!