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Surrey Vintage Scooter Club are the organisers of the London to Brighton Vintage Vespa Run. This event started in 2011 as part of the club’s celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the first Vespa leaving the Douglas factory in Kingswood, Bristol in March 1951. It is a run held for pre-1960's 125cc piston ported Vespas from Tattenham Corner to Devils Dyke near Brighton.
Entry to this run is limited to 125cc Douglas built Vespas - Rod, G, GL2, 42L2, 92L2, 152L2 and GS150 vs1 or their foreign equivalent (Piaggio, Hoffmann, ACMA etc.).
The event is organised to encourage people to own and ride machines that would otherwise not be used on the road and as a demonstration of the reliability and endurance of these vintage machines. Most other Vespas would be at home on any modern day ride out; whereas the pre-1960's 125cc piston ported Vespas that we are inviting would not be able to keep up with modern ride outs. The Douglas (and Piaggio etc.) 125cc machines were manufactured for a different era of motoring and, as such, they cruise at 25mph - 30mph rather than the later machines which cruise at much higher speeds. By limiting participation to 125cc machines this means that all bikes have similar engine outputs. Only scooters with the original style engine may take part.
Our first run, held on 19th March 2011, attracted 11 entrants, all of whom managed the 40+ miles down to Brighton without major incident. This inaugural run was a huge success and received glowing write ups in Scootering Magazine, Classic Scooterist Scene and the Veteran Vespa Club Journal.
At this first run we had entrants who had purchased scooters so that they could take part and we also saw many machines that had not been on the road for over 40 years. We even had two scooters that were on the first ever Veteran Vespa Club run in 1964.
After this success, it was decided to hold this run as an annual event. The second run was held on Saturday 17th March 2012, with 21 entries (nearly double that of the previous year). Again we had people purchasing scooters so that they could take part and others rescuing their old Vespas from the back of their garage, cleaning off the dust and getting them running again.
At this second run we were not quite so lucky with the weather, it was dry and cloudy at the start but as soon as the run started, so did the rain. But this did not deter anybody from pushing ahead. Unfortunately, one of our entrant’s bikes did not make it to the start and broke down a mile or so away from Epsom Downs – so 20 bikes started. There were a few mechanical problems on the way to Brighton (and one puncture) but 17 bikes made it through the rain to our final destination of Devils Dyke, where we had booked tables in the restaurant for a well-deserved drink, some lovely food and a warm seat by the open fires. In spite of the weather all entrants had a great day. The third run was held on 16th March 2013, this was also a very wet run, quite a bit wetter than the previous year - we had a record number of machines entered but a few of these deceived not to complete the run due to the terrible rain.
The run is not a competition or a race and is held on a strictly non-competitive basis. We feel that it is a real achievement for bikes that are nearly 60 years old to complete the course.
For all of our events we have produced a limited edition Cog Badge which is only available on the day of the event, to riders that take part in the run on eligible machines. They are not sold to people who do not take part in the event and are limited to one per entrant. Our cog badges are very high quality hand-finished chrome badges which have been produced in a consistent size, overall design and in the same material from the fifties to the present day. These badges are produced in very limited numbers and are highly collectable.
The date for the Vintage Douglas Vespa Run 2016 will be Saturday 7th May 2016. If you wish to be involved in this event please go to our VINTAGE VESPA RUN page and register your interest and we will send you an Entry Pack.
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