REPORT: Great Yar­mouth Rally

For many scooter­ists of a cer­tain gen­er­a­tion, Great Yar­mouth holds a special place in their mem­o­ries.

Scootering - - Contents -

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!

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