The hal­cyon days of 1970s scooter rac­ing

When a Vespa en­thu­si­ast un­ex­pect­edly meets a for­mer Lam­bretta racer, ‘brand al­le­giances’ are set aside for a com­mon cause… the love of scoot­ers.

Scootering - - Contents -

A Vespa en­thu­si­ast and an ex Lam­bretta racer set aside brand al­le­giances for one com­mon bond… the love of scoot­ers.

Who knows what in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters you are go­ing to bump into dur­ing an other­wise bor­ing and mun­dane day at work? I cer­tainly didn’t! I work in a small pri­mary school near Mac­cles­field in Cheshire, and part of the cur­ricu­lum in­volves year four and five pupils tak­ing part in the Bike­abil­ity scheme, or ‘cy­cling pro­fi­ciency’ as I re­mem­ber it (I think I’ve still got my badge and cer­tifi­cate some­where!). Any­way, dur­ing this par­tic­u­lar lunchtime, the Bike­abil­ity in­struc­tors joined us in the staffroom for a brew, and this is where the real story starts…

On this par­tic­u­lar day I was wear­ing a VCB T-shirt, as I do, which prompted the ques­tion… “Have you got a Vespa then?” Here we go, I thought, and po­litely replied that yes, I had, and then the in­evitable hap­pened… he told me he used to have a Lam­bretta back in the 1970s. Noth­ing un­usual about that par­tic­u­lar state­ment, loads of peo­ple seem to have sto­ries of how they had a ‘350cc Lam­bretta that did 120mph’ in the olden days (sigh… yes mate, course you did). How­ever, the con­ver­sa­tion didn’t go that way, it in­stead took a far more in­ter­est­ing twist, it turned out the gen­tle­man in ques­tion was called Lau­rence Moore and he used to race Lam­bret­tas in the 1970s. He was a keen mem­ber of the LCGB and be­gan his rac­ing ca­reer with the Manch­ester Lyons be­fore set­ting up his own race team with a mate called Mike Hat­ton. The team was called Lam­bros Rac­ing and was made up of Lau­rence on his 150 Spe­cial and Mike on

Loads of peo­ple have sto­ries of how they had a ‘350cc Lam­bretta that did 120mph’ in the olden days (sigh… yes mate, course you did).

a stan­dard 150. They com­peted at sev­eral race meet­ings with Lau­rence com­ing sec­ond and third on a few oc­ca­sions in the 150 Class be­hind the leg­endary Dave Web­ster – even beat­ing him on one oc­ca­sion! They did all their own work on the scoot­ers and tried out lots of ways to get an ex­tra bit of speed, sim­ple things like drilling holes in com­po­nents to make them lighter.

Of course it was all guess­work for him back then, he wasn’t an ex­pe­ri­enced tuner, so had to be cre­ative. He told me how he ex­per­i­mented with the in­fa­mous Wal Phillips fuel in­jec­tor which was great on the straight but ran out of fuel when lean­ing into a cor­ner thus caus­ing lean run­ning, so it ended up in the bin, like a few other tun­ing prod­ucts at the time!

Lau­rence Moore might not be a big name in mo­tor­sport but he played a mas­sive part in scooter rac­ing in the 1970s, along­side such names as Terry and Ian Fran­k­land and Dave Web­ster.

We had a good chat about many scooter re­lated top­ics and Lau­rence kindly of­fered to lend me his photo al­bum, which con­tains some fan­tas­tic pic­tures of both race meet­ings and ral­lies in the early to mid-70s. I was hon­oured to view this snap­shot in time. Along­side the pho­tos are some old tick­ets and mem­o­ra­bilia from var­i­ous race meet­ings. So I ar­ranged to meet him at a lo­cal pub where we had an­other chat over a pint (or two) and he en­trusted me with the al­bum.

As well as rac­ing he at­tended a lot of ral­lies and he ex­plained the lo­gis­tics of a few of the com­pe­ti­tions which took place, such as: a team of two race on a scooter across a field with hay bales placed in the mid­dle. When they reached the bales, they re­move the scooter’s wheels, lift it over the bales, re­place the wheels and carry on un­til the end.

There was also a sack race which was per­formed while wear­ing crash hel­mets. This in­volved jump­ing down the field in a sack with a crash hel­met on and then get­ting on a scooter to ride back. My favourite event he told me of though, must be the one where a pas­sen­ger gets onto a tray which is tied to a rope and gets pulled at high speed across a field by a Lam­bretta! There didn’t seem to be much thought for health and safety back then! Lau­rence Moore might not be a big name in mo­tor­sport but he played a mas­sive part in scooter rac­ing in the 1970s, along­side such great names as Terry and Ian Fran­k­land, and the leg­endary Dave Web­ster. His photo al­bum is a fan­tas­tic snap­shot in time and he has got some amaz­ing sto­ries.

Although Lau­rence gave up his scooter in 1978 to con­cen­trate on cy­cling, he re­mem­bers his rac­ing days with fond­ness. He’s a re­ally nice chap with some great sto­ries to tell and I feel priv­i­leged to have met him; it’s not ev­ery day you get to meet a leg­end in your own lunchtime! Words: Russ Machin – VCB

they sup­ply them. No need to bring your own bale,

Sack race any­one?

Rac­ing mem­o­ra­bilia from back in the day,Lau­rence kept it all these years. Fond mem­o­ries.

WD-40 at the ready.

Health and safety? Not back then.

Wheels off, over the bale, wheels on... away you go.

Ei­ther along way in front, or along way be­hind? Look­ing cool.

Look­ing atad slip­pery.

Tip­ping the scooter in, no knee down or slider though.

Abrisk day’srac­ing.

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