REPORT: Od­dballs Rally

Co­in­ci­dence or not? It’s rather fit­ting that Od­dballs rally takes place at a rugby club, given the strange shape of what egg-chasers play their game with!

Scootering - - Contents -

Good vi­bra­tions, mad hatters and od­dballs.

Get ahead – get a hat

Fol­low­ing the death of a friend in 2015, Vince Wooloff or­gan­ised the in­au­gu­ral Od­dballs rally. The aim was to raise funds for the Teenage Can­cer Trust by hold­ing a scooter rally which in­cluded a week­end of fun, en­ter­tain­ment and a cus­tom show. Abing­don Rugby Club with club­house and siz­able grounds has hosted all three an­nual Od­dballs ral­lies. The rally name has no con­nec­tion what­so­ever with Rugby how­ever. It was taken from a mem­o­rable char­ac­ter in the Sec­ond World War com­edy film Kelly’s He­roes.

The pre­vi­ous two ral­lies had taken place early in the sea­son when the weather re­verted to win­ter tem­per­a­tures. This year the event was moved to Au­gust; not a de­ci­sion taken lightly as from Easter on­wards there are in­evitable clashes with other events. It was a gam­ble, al­beit a cal­cu­lated one, as so­cial me­dia gave a de­cent in­di­ca­tion of whether switch­ing the time of year would be sup­ported. It turned out to be a good call, with more than three times the amount of Od­dballers through the gates com­pared to last year.

Berets and tril­bys

Gates opened at 2pm on Fri­day with a steady trickle that turned into a tor­rent of scooter­ists as the af­ter­noon wore on and then two sep­a­rate groups of bik­ers ar­rived en­quir­ing if they were welcome, which of course they were!

With ad­vance week­end tick­ets priced at £15, on the gate tick­ets cost £20 plus the very rea­son­ably priced bar in the club­house – pocket-friendly is al­most an un­der­state­ment. For those want­ing to top up their skin art, a lo­cal tat­tooist was on site in a ded­i­cated room in the club­house. A one-off Vespa cus­tom chop was first prize in the raf­fle; at £5 a ticket there were plenty tak­ing a punt! The few re­stric­tions that ap­plied to the week­end con­sisted of rules such as only con­sum­ing al­co­hol bought from the bar in the club­house and fenced area. Of course, bring­ing your own for con­sump­tion on the camp and rally site was ab­so­lutely fine.

Par­ty­ing with friends and ac­quain­tances was ev­i­dent across the site and in­cluded restau­rant size bar­be­cues, flags, themed tents and seat­ing ar­eas. Pop up traders took over a whole side

of the pitch with food of sev­eral dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties, new and vin­tage cloth­ing and sec­ond-hand scooter parts out­lets. For this year’s rally, the live mu­sic mar­quee was big­ger and faced out­wards across the site. Dur­ing the day a va­ri­ety of DJs sup­plied an eclec­tic mix of tunes from a booth next to the club­house, mov­ing into the club­house later in the evening. Live mu­sic on Fri­day came from, chrono­log­i­cally: Filthy Spec­tac­u­lar with their brand of steam punk, No Lip pro­vid­ing raw n’ rau­cous punk, and top­ping the bill, Od­dballs rally veter­ans The Cor­sairs serv­ing up rock­ing psy­chobilly. Con­clud­ing Fri­day night’s fes­tiv­i­ties was the Dance of the Dead, (DJs cel­e­brat­ing the mu­sic of artists no longer with us, in­clud­ing Bowie, Queen, The Clash, Amy Wine­house and many others) an apt choice, as by this time nav­i­gat­ing back to the camp­site ap­peared like an out-take from Zom­bie Apoca­lypse.

Flat caps and bowlers

Satur­day be­gan with the sun beat­ing down, although the fore­cast was for storms later in the day. Full English brekkie for £5, in the club­house, was an offer taken up by many. From early on more and more scooter­ists were ar­riv­ing. The Cus­tom Show took place on the main rugby pitch. By late morn­ing, three siz­able and lengthy rows of an eclec­tic mix of ma­chines were on dis­play. Rad­i­cal chops, ruster­a­tions, re­stored, un­re­stored, full blown cus­toms, street rac­ers, rats, au­tos and more than a few odd­i­ties pro­vided an amaz­ing spec­ta­cle. Plenty there to catch the eye and turn heads, in­clud­ing a pris­tine 1951 Model C Lam­bretta rid­den down from Lan­cashire, a jour­ney made over two leisurely days. Alan, the owner, said he also has a re­stored Model D.

Andy Martin’s vin­tage Puch SR150 at­tracted a se­ri­ous amount of at­ten­tion. As did a proper odd­ity, which was a two wheeled scaled down model based on a 1950s Morris Ox­ford car, pow­ered by a Vespa en­gine, with han­dle­bars in­stead of a steer­ing wheel. A trio of street rac­ers had petrol­heads buzzing around them; there was a T5 in Du­cati liv­ery that had been used as pit lane trans­port for team Du­cati in France, a sim­ple but stun­ning yel­low GP with a Su­per Monza mo­tor. Nik Paloucci’s jet black 210 P-range, Dirty Magic, with a liq­uid-cooled head plus other power en­hanc­ing items was sur­rounded by ad­mir­ers.

Bea­nies and pana­mas

Around mid­day, the ear­lier blaz­ing Au­gust sun­shine was oblit­er­ated by filthy dark clouds over­head. It looked like the pre­dicted storms had ar­rived. Some­how a mere, min­i­mal five-minute sprin­kle was all that de­scended. The Od­dballs theme this year was mad hatters, with par­tic­i­pants in­vited to wear wacky head­gear, cul­mi­nat­ing in a mad hatters pa­rade with some truly in­no­va­tive en­tries. The ride out at 2.30pm was or­gan­ised by Lam­bretta Chop­per Own­ers Club. The route took in sev­eral pic­turesque South Ox­ford­shire vil­lages, fin­ish­ing at Abing­don’s his­toric mar­ket square. Un­for­tu­nately, as the ride out par­tic­i­pants were mus­ter­ing an­other wave of black clouds rolled in over­head. This time the rain did come down, al­beit for a short time, which damp­ened the en­thu­si­asm of some to take part. Tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tions, the hot-wings chal­lenge, fol­lowed by live bands com­pleted the day­time hap­pen­ings on the site.

Som­breros and top hats

Satur­day night live acts were 2Tone Al­lSkas, ska punk from Black Max and The Pi­rates and gui­tar pop­sters Get Ready. Other op­tions were to bounce the night away in the in­flat­able disco dome or watch clas­sic cult films on the club­house pa­tio wall. Sun­day was ba­si­cally a chill down ses­sion with no rush to leave.

Around 1500 went through the gates of Od­dballs. Peo­ple trav­elled from as far afield as Scot­land and France with in ex­cess of £9000 raised for char­i­ties! There is still, (at the time of writ­ing), an auc­tion for the main Od­dballs rally back­drop, adorned with par­tic­i­pat­ing clubs and band lo­gos to add to the to­tal. Scotty’s Lit­tle Sol­diers re­ceived £1000, with the re­main­der go­ing to Teenage Can­cer Trust. All credit to Vince and the Od­dballs rally team. The event re­tains the in­ti­macy of be­ing as much a party as a rally while rais­ing funds for wor­thy causes. Next year Od­dballs is on the week­end of Au­gust 10 and the theme is pi­rates. See Face­book page for more in­for­ma­tion. Words: Sarge

Pho­to­graphs: Sarge and Gill Moore

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