Each August bank holiday the Isle of Wight is home to over 5,000 vespas, lambrettas and more. Estimated to be the largest single gathering of scooters in the world, the annual rally takes place across the entire Island but with most riders venturing to coastal towns such as Ryde, Sandown and Shanklin.
So how did all begin? Traditionally most scooter clubs congregated on the ‘mainland’ with Brighton being the popular destination of the get together (we all remember Quadrophenia). However, the August bank holiday of 1980 saw clubs including Modrapheniacs and Portsmouth Cavaliers descend on the Island, with Ryde acting as the main meeting spot. Completely unexpected, residents and police alike were surprised by the sudden influx, and to say there was some discord would be an understatement. The groups had planned to go to the Isle of Man for the 1981 scooter rally but the government there put a ban on the scooters arriving, so they settled on the good ol’ Isle of Wight as second choice. Again it was slightly chaotic, with many visitors not pre-booking. The police at the time ordered Smallbrook Stadium to be the rally’s base – which is still the case to this day. The following year (1982) the ferry providers, the police and everyone else were prepared for the visitors and so the first official scooter rally of the Isle of Wight came about.
Now, the scooter rally is warmly welcomed by Islanders and is a huge draw for visitors and tourists. Seeing the Island’s scenic routes having a convoy of vintage and new scooters riding along them is a sight to behold. If you’re holidaying on the Island over the bank holiday be patient on the roads and enjoy the spectacle, there’s nowhere else in the world you’ll see this.