I say London to Brighton ride.. for me it was a Tring to Epsom to North London ride!
An early rise, setting off from home in West Hertfordshire on my Motovespa GT160 just before 6am, I arrived at Epsom Downs pretty much on the 2 hour mark, after a brief coffee and loo stop at the Shell garage in nearby Ashtead village.
Light rain and strong blustery conditions made for slow going at times and that was with my 200cc engine; the wind would no doubt slow the 1950s Vespas and Lambrettas to a crawl, in some cases, on their route to Devil’s Dyke and Brighton!
On arrival, I said a quick hello to co-organiser Matthew Phillips, who told me an impressive 100 entrants had registered for the ride. Most having 'vanned' their vintage ladies to the start in sight of Epsom Downs Racecourse; understandable with riders turning up from across the country. A few staying nearby overnight, allowing for a short hop to the start this morning.
Lambrettas more than outnumbered Vespas at the start, no doubt due to the VVC being invited latterly and word getting out later to Vespa owners. I'd photographed this event twice before in 2011 and 2013 when it was all Vespas on both occasions, so seeing a wide range of '50s shaft-drive Lambrettas was a welcome sight for me, along with some lovely 1950s Vespas.
It was nice to see a few Veteran Vespa Club members in attendance, Roger Green, Chuck Swonnell, Dave Sheppard, Roy Puttock and Dylan Kenny all spotted, with Colin Hart and John Titchner on marshalling duties on their GS150s (VS4 and VS1 respectively) - also a pleasant surprise to see Dick Smith there, our former General Secretary.
These two dapper Vespa riders pictured below, should I think start up a 'Distinguished Gentleman's Vespa Ride' to rival the established Distinguished Gentleman's Ride …
I will be bringing you a full report from riders taking part in today's London to Brighton ride, which will be featured in the next upcoming issue (No.80) of the JOURNAL, No.79 is currently being printed as I write this and will be sent out to club members next week.
After an hour and a half spent photographing, I had used up my current roll of 35mm film and exhausted the charge on my phone. Just before the gathered riders set off for Devil’s Dyke I donned my helmet for the hour and a half ride to North London and a day's work. Getting up at 4.30am and being blown around the Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Surrey A & B roads I sometimes wonder what on earth I'm doing.. but as a friend recently told me, we do this because it's our hobby/passion - so it is and I wouldn’t change it!