If you love old school Vespas and vintage Lambrettas (or even shiny new ones), you’ll want to head to the Isle of Wight during the August bank holiday for the Scooter Rally. An unofficial-turned-official event which has evolved since its inception on the island in 1980, you can watch the riders make their way through various towns, showing off their prized scooters in true rally style. If you own a scooter, you could even get involved!
The history of the Isle of Wight Scooter Rally
The scooter rally came to the Island in 1980, having started out in Brighton as a club for scooter enthusiasts. It wasn’t an organised event, the members simply arrived in their droves on the island over the August bank holiday, much to the surprise of the residents and police force. They were asked to congregate at Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde, so they had a base to meet, and the stadium still served as their meeting point right up until 2020. In 1981 the rally group planned to head to the Isle of Man, but a ban on scooters entering the Island meant they came back to the Isle of Wight, and in 1982, the Scooter Rally became an official organised event in the Island’s calendar. Today, it is estimated to be the largest exclusive scooter rally in the world!
Ever since its humble beginnings in 1980, scooter owners have travelled the length and breadth of the country to come to the Island to connect with fellow owners, admire the variety of vehicles and enjoy a rally across the island, passing through many towns and villages along the way.
Where can I watch the Isle of Wight Scooter Rally?
The chances are if you’re on the Island during the August bank holiday, you’ll get to see the scooter rally (or ride-out) pass by. They tend to travel the entire Island, but here are some of the places you’re guaranteed to get a glimpse of these beautiful Italian vehicles…
Ryde: Before 2020, this was where the rally congregated to start their journey and holds great significance for the event, so it’s a great place to base yourself to see the Sunday ride-out.
Sandown: South of Ryde along the east coast.
Shanklin: Further down the coast from Sandown, still on the east coast.
St Helens: This is a great place to watch the scooters pass by as our local writer, Phillip Bell, describes sitting on St Helen’s green whilst enjoying a picnic without too many people or massive crowds getting in the way. Find out more about Philip’s experience and memories of the Scooter Rally.
Visit the main Rally hub for a fun-filled day out
Aside from watching the ride-out itself which takes place on the Sunday, you can head to the main rally hub which will now be at Sandown Airport to enjoy entertainment including a custom show and plenty of merchandise to peruse. You can also stay on-site if you wish as there will be a large campsite catering for tourists to the Island.
Staying on the Island during the rally
It will be no surprise that the Island is incredibly busy during the August bank holiday weekend, not just with scooter enthusiasts but also summer holiday visitors. So it’s highly recommended if you’re planning to visit during this time that you book your ferry travel and accommodation ahead of time so you can get your chosen dates and times for travel.