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...
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.
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.