Friday, 12 September 2014

Margate Scooter Rally 1989

My very old mate, Col sent me this photo and the message.

I'm really enjoying the mags, I look on the blog most days.... it would be real good to catch up on the phone at some point...
The latest pic of you and Guy Martin is cool, but not as cool as this one of me and you 25 years ago this month on Margate seafront... Quarter of a century ago can you believe???? 

Do you still have the hat with flames on it..?? I've just resubscribed. I'm only missing the first two issues for the full set keep up the top work fella, 
all the best, 

I'm the one with the long hair. Col is wearing my Life's A Beach beret. I was very much into all the grebo bands - Gaye Bykers On Acid (below), Crazyhead, Wonder Stuff - at that time.
I never looked much like a scooterboy and I was a couple of years away from buying a CBR600.

There's a lot of instagram chatter (too dumb to be hating) about men, scooters and wind in vaginas - well, I started out on scooters, and I own a Lambretta that I'm as attached to as the day I got it over 20-odd years ago. The years I spent riding around Britain and Europe, trips further than most people tour on their 1000cc bikes, made me what I am.

My old mate, Col from Scarborough (in the photo above) and I used to meet up in Leeds at some ungodly hour on a Friday morning (he would have already been on the road for 1.5 hours), then ride to a rundown seaside town as much as 300 miles away. After camping on wasteground for two nights, we'd turn around and crawl home at 58mph after two nights on the lash. We'd do it eight or more times a year. Col still goes now, having never stopped.

A proportion of the 3-5000 scooterboys who went on rallies in the 1980s were thugs, split 60/40 right-wing, left-wing. The Calverton Hornets would fight the London nazi skins if they came across them. The Cardiff Cougars SC were made up of the city's football hooligans. There was another whole club of cro-magnon-looking scooterboys who all had their heads shaved into short mohawks like the 2000AD character Rogue Trooper (who gave their scooter club its name). I'd like to see some of the instagram warriors tell these lads they only rode Vespas because they liked wind in their lady parts.

Where the top photo was taken is/was a pub that got smoke bombed that night, while we were drinking in it, but I never find out exactly why. 1980s scooter rallies weren't Wheels and Waves, that for damn sure.

Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane, Col. G


Chris said...

discovered apropros of nothing in conversation with father-in-law that he had a Lambretta. Rode it to the Artic Circle one year. Proper!

Mick P said...

Great post GI and all well said. Coincidentally, just the other day I found a couple of old tickets from Gaye Bikers gigs in the late '80s. Greeeebo!

Mick P said...

Yes yes 'Bykers'. FFS.

rustyli150 said...

Lesbian dopeheads on mopeds!!!

Col is one of the finest gentlemen to grace the earth by the way. (But you already knew that Gary)

rustyli150 said...

And he looks like Captain Sensible in that photo

Capion mc said...

That brought back memories! Never a scooterist but 80's Mod (same thing different tribe!) Meet up for a run at local south London pub, wait till closing time, drive to Gatwick airport for an all night breakfast, then drive all night to Scarborough. Arrive at six in the morning, get moved on by the boys in blue several times while waiting for the cheapest guest house we could book to let us in. Sleep an hour, hit the pastis then go dancing in tailor made suits none of us could afford. Wind up the local casuals, fight, drink, dance and then drive 12 hours home with only nose Red Bull to keep us awake. Then same again next bank holiday.

Nowt soft with Veps and Lambos

capnsimo said...

As a thoroughbred cycle bore, from teenager on a yammy 100 to a ducati 900 I had nowt but fear and respect for scooter gangs, as it happened the terraced street me and dad lived in Shotton was a hotbed of lambretta men, North Wales and Merseyside was a sea of vespas and parkas, M1 jackets and DM's, they were great they had a sort of cohesive purpose and focus the greebos seemed to lack, well sort of, whatever, a vibrant period of dynamic cultural exchanges, music, machinery, lifestyle, clothes....blah blah....oh and Gay Bikers, I remember them on at Planet X liverpool, glowing skulls and jets of dry ice from the eye sockets, stinking dance floor...brilliant

bikegrim said...

Top shot..Col is a very nice man. Still puts all the miles in and had a decent catch up with him at IOW this year. Glad to say he shares our love of the Lambretta as well as the mine of the smallframe Vespa

Dan said...

Terrific post - a reminder of a time went youth cultures took commitment, and couldn't be bought or sold.