Great Yarmouth Wasps Scooter Club celebrates 35 years of motoring heaven

Members of the Wasps Scooter Club on Gorleston Cliffs in 1991. Picture: Supplied

Members of the Wasps Scooter Club on Gorleston Cliffs in 1991. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

It all started with an idea by five sixthformers and 35 years later, the Great Yarmouth Wasps Scooter Club is still clocking up the miles.

The year was 1980 and the Mod scene was becoming increasingly popular with scooters, Northern Soul music and parka coats.

Founding member Dominic Hellingsworth, 53, of Gorleston remembers the time well.

Dom said: 'I think at the time it was the thing to be involved in. There were lots of scooters about and the film Quadrophenia had hit the cinemas, everybody thought that looks like fun.

'Scooters were very cheap back then, you could get one for around £100, and there was always something going on like discos and parties and all of your mates were doing it and it just seemed like a good idea to form our own group.'

The club was formed and the name taken from the one of the scooters of choice, the Vespa, which is Italian for Wasps.

Another fan, John Brooks of Lound, joined the club in 1983 and soon fit right into the edgy family.

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John said: 'I was in another club and it kind of went wrong and they had a bit of a split up and I thought, well the Wasps seem like a good bunch so I joined them.'

The enthusiasts have travelled all over Europe, including Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland and Holland, to meet up with other scooter 'boys and girls' and have created many memories.

Both Dom and John burst into laughter and conversation with each other as they reminisced about their European travels.

Dom revealed: 'There were two of our friends on this scooter, and it wasn't a very well scooter, and they had to go all the way to Austria on it. We got off the ferry and their scooter was making a terrible noise and then on the way back they didn't think it would make it so they spoke to the man from the equivalent of the AA.'

Then, speaking at the same time, in a mock Austrian accent, Dom and John said: 'The man turned and said 'yes yes, it's very hot and you are carrying a lot of luggage. Thank you, goodbye'.'

Their adventures have also included towing another member's machine down the same strip of motorway in Holland on three separate occasions after the engine blew. The Wasps have covered thousands and thousands of miles to get to rallies and in Dom's mind the travelling is actually one of the best parts of being in a scooter club.

'It's always unpredictable. To be honest the journey is often better than when you get to the event – the best memories are usually the travelling and what you've done on the journey, who you had to tow back, who broke down, who you lost on the way!'

Unlike many other scooter groups, both Dom and John admitted they had never had an argument about which bike was better: the Vespa or the Lambretta?

John said: 'I like the engine on the Vespa because it's very reliable, but then again I like the Lambretta because it handles nicely and I would say it rides a little bit nicer.

'There is a bit of a thing with both of them. I like riding both of them, they've each got different characteristics I like.'

Dom added: 'I bought my current Vespa in 1990 and have done around 37,000 miles on it.

'I've replaced no engine parts so far – that is good going for a two-stroke. John has been on the back of it to Scotland and back so with me on it plus luggage ...we've given it a hard time!'

Even though the members are older and the meetings are not as frequent, everything still works well in the eyes of Dom and John.

Dom added: 'After you have been on a few rallies you have been able to meet people all over the country and we have certain people who we still meet up with now.

'You might not see some of those people for years but it doesn't really matter because you have shared so many experiences and you have things in common. You just pick up where you left off.'

And the club, which has around 15 regular members, shows no signs of slowing or breaking down even after 35 years, with trips to Holland and Germany planned for next year.

Dom said: 'We all help each other out. We all do things together. If you want something doing, you can rely on your mates to come and help you out.

'You can't always guarantee that everyone will turn up or everyone will be able to do everything but if they don't, the next time we see them we just carry one where we left off last time.

'We all have that one thing to pull us together.'

Most Sundays members meet up at Key Largo's restaurant on Gorleston seafront and they have a Facebook page dedicated to their memories, chats and pictures.