Scooterists have been descending upon the Isle of Wight since the 1950s when owning a scooter was part and parcel of being a mod along with wearing sharp suits, parka jackets and liking Northern Soul, Ska, Beat and R&B music.
The fashion peaked in the early to mid 60s and these weekends would coincide with rallies by the rival ‘rockers’ who rode motorbikes, liked rock and heavy metal music and favoured leathers and long hair. This led to a few unpleasant altercations between the different sub-cultures and local opposition meant that rallies were discouraged for a while.
But the tradition never completely died out on the Island and although numbers dwindled through the early seventies there was a revival towards the end of the decade with scooterist rallies back on track by the early eighties. Now it is the August bank holiday (August 23rd to 27th 2012) that sees the greatest number coming to the Island with over 10,000 scooterists expected this year.
The atmosphere is much friendlier these days and locals welcome the well behaved, often middle aged scooterists who flock to Ryde. Most camp at Smallbrook Stadium and Kite Hill Farm camp site in Wootton is another popular camp site for scooterists, although others take advantage of local hotels and B&Bs.
The event is organised by the VFM scootering collective and people come from all over Britain as well as from places like Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, USA and even Australia. The social scene is centred around the seafront and Ryde Ice Arena hosts a massive custom show on Saturday where the coolest vintage scooters compete for a prestigious trophy, which is well worth a visit and only £3 entry.
There are social events every evening with an opening party on Friday night at Ryde Ice Arena hosted by Miss Jenny Bellestar and 1 Stop and starring ‘the big fat legend that is Bad Manners,’ according to their flyer. On Saturday night the longest running and arguably best Who tribute band Who’s Who will be supported by the Phoenix City Allstars and Trojan legends Dave & Ansel Collins. On Sunday night there’s an end of Rally party at Coburgs (Royal Squadron).
During the day on Sunday there is a Ride Out from Ryde from 1pm and this is really something to be seen to be believed with over 5,000 scooters driving off to another of our seaside towns – often Sandown. Be sure that over August bank holiday weekend you won’t be able to go anywhere on the Island without seeing, smelling or hearing a scooter.