Cleethorpes BSRA National rally 2016 | RALLERY
19 continuous years is a long time, it’s certainly a long time when you’ve been part of the organising team for one of the most popular seaside rallies in existence. Hosted by (my club) the Mansfield Monsters, and Olympics scooter clubs it’s an event put on by rally-going scooterists, for rally-going scooterists. As such both clubs and a few friends run the whole event, from organising beforehand, to setting up the campsite, doing security and some of the first aid, plus DJing and cleaning up the toilets/showers and campsite after 1500 muddy scooterists have been there all weekend. We also ride our scooters there and back.
Organising a rally is a thankless task, one with plenty of hoops and red tape to navigate but seeing the happy faces, receiving positive feedback and watching everybody have fun makes it all worthwhile.
Cleethorpes is a rally that has grown and grown, from a (looking back on it now) tiny campsite next door to our present site, with 100 or so people and a couple of traders on there, plus a do at the now demolished but sweaty and nostalgic Winter Gardens, to a huge affair that takes over the entire town and surrounding area. It sells out every B&B/hotel/caravan park and still has around 1500 camping as well on the huge official site at Meridian Park. Without a doubt it is one of the largest national rallies other than the Isle of Wight. It’s also quite well respected thanks to our ‘scooter only’ campsite. Other than traders/security/first aiders the only way to access the site is either by scooter or on foot. Scooter riders also get a discounted entry, as they should, because without them it’d just be a themed weekend like any other.
Friday – wet & wild
Tales of ride there mishaps started to filter through on Friday, with ‘Chip Pan’ taking a tumble on his journey and ending up rolling down a hill into a field after a blow out (thankfully unscathed), to an unfortunate ‘headache tablet’ mix up which left one rider being spaced out for the afternoon on a grass verge, still nursing the headache hours later. Just say no kids.
For the organisers a nasty downpour caused extra hassle as the campsite became waterlogged early on Friday morning, leaving us to walk around stabbing the ground with a selection of hastily purchased garden forks before the site started to fill up with scooterists (or more water). In hindsight we were very lucky though, as nearby Thorpe Park became flooded and meant many campers were told their pitches were no longer available on the morning of the rally. We got away lightly and thankfully it dried up on Friday afternoon and the strong wind helped matters. The site started to fill up very quickly this year, maybe more people came on the Friday to miss the predicted even wetter weather on Saturday. Either way, we had 1000 camping by teatime.
Friday night was a busy one as well, both on the site, in town and at the Beachcomber where the official do took place. A great atmosphere and two rooms of music meant most people were kept entertained by our guest DJ’s from the UK (Twisted Sisters, Evo, Chevy, Mark, Kitch, Ade and Eddie). We even had Olivier Bille from as far away as that old place called Europe. He managed to get a special work permit just in time for the event…
Saturday – bring me sunshine!
You know when you really hope the weather forecast is going to be wrong? Saturday was one of those days. Cleethorpes is generally very lucky with the weather but its ‘Sunshine coast’ moniker wasn’t very accurate this time, certainly not as accurate as the forecast. We had some heavy rain from 10am until about 1pm, which kind of makes things a little less fun but lots of soggy scooterists still attended the ride in and braved the boggy conditions on site, all with a ‘make do and enjoy it’ attitude. Thankfully it dried up in the afternoon, the sun came out and normal service was resumed. Thanks for your patience and understanding during the dampness but unfortunately it is the one thing we can’t control and as one lad remarked “We live in Britain so we expect it and it was much wetter than this at the Euro Lambretta in Spain a few years ago.”
The afternoon saw a great turnout of scooters for the custom show with Start me up taking ‘Best of show’ (full results at the end). Personal favourites for me included tricked up carbon fibre Lammy cutdown Johnny 5, and a lovely silver Rally.
As seems the norm at rallies this year we had plenty of younger scooterists there enjoying themselves, always good to see. I met one young lad who needed to borrow my phone to call his mum because his battery had gone flat and she’d be worried about him. It was his first time and listening to his tales and wonder and amazement at the amount of scooters was encouraging to hear. He’d ridden his Vespa ET2 from Buxton, along the ‘A’ roads and ‘Finally saw signs for Cleethorpes’ after what seemed like forever on the road. He’d also thrown up outside his tent and was keeping out of the pubs for the rest of the day as he nursed a hangover. If you’re a youngster wanting to get into what will become a lifetime obsession like no other get yourself to a scooter rally this summer. It doesn’t matter if you ride an auto or a vintage scooter, just get yourself on the road and head to the seaside. You won’t regret it, or if you’re anything like us old has-beens, won’t grow out of it either (despite what our mums thought 30 years ago).
If you were out and about you’ll know the pubs in town were rammed to the hilt, pavements were flooded with people having a good time. Even the less popular back-street pubs were chocka block, not helped by the fact O’Neill’s had closed down and another one or two fine drinking establishments had vanished. You may also have spotted some ‘ladies’ behaving badly, dressed as dirty old men the ‘ladyboys’ terrorised the town, crude behaviour occurred, too disgusting to mention here but if you’re over 18 and not easily offended check out the gallery at the end. Hopefully Bubbles enjoyed her hen night though…
The free rally coaches started to fill as the evening progressed and scooterists headed up to the Beachcomber for the official do. As once again a near capacity crowd enjoyed the night. Away from the tribute bands in various overcrowded pubs (a world record was apparently broken for the most number of Jam tribute bands in one town) they were left to enjoy a night of wall-to-wall classic sounds from the DJs, who tonight were also joined by Gary O’Neill (a man less tolerant of repeated requests for some ‘proper mod music’ than many, especially when the dance floor is on fire and everybody is loving life). A great atmosphere and a banging dance floor is all a rally organiser, DJ, or the people who came to party wants to see at a national rally.
A great weekend with a few ups and downs but scooterists overcame the odds and had a fantastic time. on behalf of the Mansfield Monsters/Olympics SC I’d like to thank you all for coming…
Cleethorpes 20th anniversary
2017 will be the 20th anniversary of the Cleethorpes rally. No date has been set yet but it will be in early July as long as it’s not clashing with anything else on either the scooter rally calendar or Cleethorpes local events.
If you’re a Cleethorpes fan and would like to see something special next year feel free to comment on this post with a few suggestions. Usually the main do doesn’t have bands on (every pub in town caters for live music) but would you like one? Would you like something different on the campsite or have any other ideas to celebrate this big anniversary?
Custom show results
Best of show: Start me up
Best custom Lambretta: Avatar
Best mod/accessories: Vespa PGV 124 E
Best restored: Silver Rally 200
Best paint/mural: Start me up
Best custom Vespa: Fall from Grace
Best street racer: Johnny five
Best chop/oddity: Tangerine Dream
Best auto: Insane Kroozer
Best vintage: Green Model D
Do not enter this gallery if you’re easily offended/contains scenes of lewd behaviour