Kettering Run – Sunday 9th March 2003
‘Twas a glorious Sunday morning, birds a singing, sun a shining and in Bedford’s old market square there were scooters a rumbling as we all set off for the Kettering Parts Fair. Im in the middle of the pack, (about 15 of us), on my Series 2, as we wind through and out of Bedford heading for the A6.
What is it about going on a run? Is it just me that feels like you’re with friends you’ve known forever? Everyone looking out for each other, making sure that they’re alright?
Maybe it is just me, seeing as I’ve probably got the shittiest Lambretta in the Bedfordshire Scooter Scene and they all know that I need keeping an eye on!
Anyway, we’re past the Sainsbury’s at Clapham and onto the new dual carriageway on the A6, by now I’m nearly at the back of the pack. I have a feeling those behind me feel sorry for me or are just keeping an eye out to make sure something doesn’t fall off!
Sod it, bit of dual carriageway, open the throttle before everyone has a chance to get out of the 30mph and see how the old 175 conversion is doing.
Wheeeeeeeeeeee! I’m at the front! I’m actually at the front!!!! And now I’m checking the speedo and trying furiously to work out what 65 kph is in mph (wishing all the time that it was mph). Then two things happen. First I realise it’s only 40 mph and when that sinks in I also realise that I’m still at the front, knowing full well every other scooter behind me is easily capable of going much quicker than that!
Of course my little moment of glory ends when I hit 70 kph, the exhaust leak kicks in and it’s backfire city! Settle down to just below 70 (44mph) and wait for the inevitable.
Yep, there goes Squirrel (no he’s not from Belfast!) on his Special, the only work he’s done to that in 4 years is a couple of oil changes, lucky bastard. And there’s Wilstead Dave on his Blue and Silver Special with a 190 Suzuki conversion, then slowly just about everyone is past me including Stuart who’s riding two up on a PX200E and flies past the bleedin’ lot of us!
Ah well, that’s life. So I settle in for the next 20 or so miles, trying not to backfire or get blown off by the windy conditions we had on the way.
We reach the parts fair, (me last) and park up. Apologies here to Wilstead Dave who’s foot somehow ended up below my centre stand as I put it down!! Sorry. (Ouch)
The parts fair was pretty good, some overpriced stuff I felt, and in this bracket I include a Series 3 TV175 that, although looking immaculate and shiny, was priced at £4000! Also, was it just me or did anyone else think that £2.75 was steep for a plain cheeseburger??
Still, a pint at the bar with a couple of the lads had a melancholy effect on me. Ooohh there were some nice parkas there too, nearly bought one to replace my current Primark Parka wannabe but thought the missus will kill me if I ask her to take off all me patches and resew them on another parka. Also, it was £40 I could spend on the bike and maybe even sort out that leaky exhaust. Which reminds me. Off I go to find Scooter Loopy and get that exhaust clamp for a tenner. Some may say that’s steep for a clamp, even if it is a “specialised” part, but if it would cure my exhaust woes it would be worth every penny.
Anyway time’s moving on and before I know it, it’s gone 2pm and there’s talk of the ride back home, so back to the car park we go and this time I manage not to hole Wilstead Dave’s toe. Between you and me though, I think he was watching out for me.
Gloves on, helmet on, choke out, pull clutch lever in to get into neutral before I kickstart the old girl into life and SNAP!!!!! Bugger, one snapped clutch cable! A couple of the lads notice my predicament (everyone’s started up but me) and someone says I should still be able to get home as long as I don’t stop at roundabouts and the like.
You have to realise at this point in the proceedings that the sensible thing would have been to park up, go back into the parts fair a hundred yards away, buy a new inner for a quid and of course fix the problem. You should also know that I am a relative newbie with Lambretta’s at only 32, always wanted one but only actually had one for 2 years!
Of course, being a stubborn sod and never one to shy away from a challenge I thought, feck it lets go!
Well it was a sight to behold. I think in total, I did five wheelies on the way back to Bedford because of stop signals and roundabouts; one of the wheelies was almost respectable too!
A big thanks does go to all the lads though for holding back for me, its really appreciated and I obviously made it home in one piece.
Moral of the story? Don’t know, don’t care, but maybe I will have to invest in some spare cables to carry from now on.
Oh, and the exhaust clamp is doing the job nicely, not perfect but that I think that’s down to a substandard exhaust anyway, but no backfiring and off the clock at 90kph plus (55mph), oh and the new clutch cable is fitted now too.