Rally Re­port: Big 7

With the EuroLambretta and the Dutch Lions events both hap­pen­ing on the same week­end, and the Vespa World Days event hap­pen­ing the week after; some thought that the Big 7 Na­tional Scooter Rally might suf­fer. They were wrong...

Scootering - - Contents - Words & Pho­to­graphs: Stu Smith

With the dates of so many other events clash­ing, some thought that the Big 7 Na­tional Scooter Rally might suf­fer. They were wrong.

Big num­bers, big acts

The gates at The Hop Farm venue opened and a steady stream of early ar­rivals, pre-paid rally go­ers, and deal­ers and traders be­gan to take their places in the field. The en­ter­tain­ment started up at 1pm in The Dray and by mid-af­ter­noon the main camp­site was three quar­ters full with the at­mos­phere be­gin­ning to build. Friends met up with each other and the buzz of scoot­ers round the venue was ex­cit­ing.

In the mean­time, the area around The Dray be­gan to at­tract a large num­ber of rally go­ers who were en­joy­ing a beer in the sun and the mood in gen­eral. In the back­ground, the smell of bar­be­cues cook­ing drifted across the camp­site, and while all this was go­ing on, the Main Venue, Reg­gae Rum­ble and Back-to-Skool mar­quees were be­ing or­gan­ised for the week­end ahead. Fri­day evening’s en­ter­tain­ment in the Main Venue con­sisted of The Curb Pilots who played an im­pres­sive set of ska, Mar­quis Drive fol­lowed with a fan­tas­tic set of Brit­pop and Mad­ch­ester tracks and the night closed with Bas­ket Case who got the crowd charged up with their set of new-wave and punk clas­sics. Olas Boss took care of busi­ness in the Reg­gae Rum­ble mar­quee and a suit­able se­lec­tion of old skool tracks were de­liv­ered in the Back-to-Skool mar­quee.

Big day, big show, big mu­sic

Satur­day morn­ing ar­rived and it was time to have a look round the im­pres­sive lines of deal­ers and traders. There were nu­mer­ous stands sell­ing scooter parts, ac­ces­sories, and both vin­tage and mod­ern cloth­ing. In the mean­time, Shiny Red Tun­ing per­formed dyno test­ing to a large crowd. At 12.30pm the ride-out set off, which made a stun­ning spec­ta­cle as the hun­dreds of scoot­ers lined up and then rode out through the main gate to com­plete the cir­cuit. At 2pm the ea­gerly awaited cus­tom show opened its doors in the main mar­quee and an en­thu­si­as­tic set

of on­look­ers and own­ers flooded in. With around 60 en­trants in the cus­tom show the scoot­ers were lined three deep. All va­ri­eties of scoot­ers were rep­re­sented and the fi­nal num­ber of scoot­ers en­tered into the show ex­ceeded the ca­pac­ity of the mar­quee! The cus­tom show re­sults were an­nounced and the awards were pre­sented by Barry Lud­low of the Big 7 to the proud own­ers. After the awards had been pre­sented there was just enough time for a quick bite to eat and a beer be­fore the evening’s en­ter­tain­ment started up. DJs played in The Dray; Skabretta, Doo­jip and Vi­cious Ru­mours played in the live mu­sic Main Venue mar­quee, Olas Boss played in the Reg­gae Rum­ble mar­quee and again non­stop ‘old-skool’ tracks were dished out in the ‘Back-to-Skool’ mar­quee. At 10pm, back in The Dray there was the ‘Bout of the Cen­tury’ be­tween Dave Porter and The Dark­side. Both acts played half-hour sets against each other, which cre­ated a lively and fun at­mos­phere. Dave knocked out a su­perb se­lec­tion of clas­sic North­ern Soul tracks, while The Dark­side de­liv­ered Manch­ester, ‘Ibiza’ tunes and Brit­pop. All went down in good spir­its and the feel­ing of an el­e­ment of com­pe­ti­tion in the air added to the vibe. In the early hours the en­ter­tain­ment closed and ev­ery­one headed off to get some rest be­fore their re­turn jour­neys home in the morn­ing.

Big suc­cess

The level of en­ter­tain­ment and the blend of acts which the Big 7 team at­tract to the event each year is al­ways out­stand­ing. The Big 7 week­end wasn’t af­fected by any of the chal­lenges, which some thought might have had a com­pro­mis­ing ef­fect on at­ten­dance num­bers. More than 700 tick­ets were sold in ad­vance and an­other 2000 peo­ple paid at the gate! The di­ver­sity of the Big 7 Rally is re­fresh­ing, the en­thu­si­as­tic staff are al­ways friendly and help­ful, and the at­mos­phere of the week­end is al­ways wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive.

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