Chairman Paul Savin:
Torbay Mods Scooter Club (www.torbaymods.com) was formed by myself, Mike Edwards and Stanley Burton (“Stan”) in 2007 for riders of classic scooters in South Devon. It all started with a charity ride down to Lands End to raise money for the school which Mike worked at. On returning we chatted together in a pub and decided to form a scooter club for people who owned a scooter and wanted to become part of a club. We steadily grew in membership but sadly our dear friend Stan became ill and passed away in 2011 after a valiant fight against cancer. Rowcroft Hospice did an amazing job caring for Stan and it was then we decided to donate regularly to this worthy charity. Recently one of our members, Warren, suggested we individually donate to Rowcroft Hospice, as they were struggling due to their shops closing because of the Coronavirus pandemic. We also donated £200 from our club funds, which bumped the total up to £430! From time to time we do like to support other organisations and just before Christmas 2019 a group of us braved some bad weather on our scooters for a money raising ride out. With the £104 raised we bought chocolates for the children’s ward at Torbay Hospital and gave a donation to Torquay’s Tissues and Issues run by Jackie King.
As the years went by many like-minded people wanted to relive their youth by buying and riding a Lambretta or Vespa again, just as they did in the 60s, 70s or even the 80s. To date we have about 50 members, including a few ladies that own scooters, and not only do they come from Torbay but from Plymouth, Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Kingsteignton, Dawlish, Exmouth, Totnes, and South Brent.
In recent years there have been many new types of retro scooters on the market and more than ¾ of our members now own one of these new scooters, which they use mostly for reliability and long distant riding. Vespa was the first company to realise the demand for these retro style auto scooters, with the introduction of the ET4 in 1997 and the larger GT scooter (now known as the GTS) in 2003. These Vespas were slow to be accepted, especially by scooter purists, but now are regularly seen at scooter rallies around the country. We welcome all types of retro scooters in our club and recently many members have purchased either a Scomadi or Royal Alloy scooter, which resembles the Lambretta Series 3 style scooter of the 1960s.
Right from the start we decided to ride our scooters to rallies mostly in the south-west and either staying in accommodation over the weekend or just riding there for a day trip. Some of our members have enjoyed riding their scooters on very long trips, such as to France and Wales, but more recently the Lake District and Northern Ireland when we attended the European Vespa World Days at Belfast. You can see a video of our Northern Ireland tour and many other rallies on YouTube.
In addition to scooter rallies, a group of us watched some great live music shows such as Let It Be in London and at the Princess Theatre, Torquay. More recently, some of us watched the Total Who Show at the fabulous Palace Theatre in Paignton, where a Vespa with lots of mirrors on it was on display in the foyer prior to the show.
Also, we have had the great pleasure of displaying our scooters in a gazebo at local events, such as BMAD Festival Weekend and The Riviera Classic Vehicle Show held on Paignton Green. Very often this is where we attract new members to our club who want to join in the fun riding scooters in a group and being part of a local scooter club. Obviously, this year (2020), with most events cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have had to miss out on them but hopefully next year we will be looking forward to attending as many events as we possibly can.
We have occasionally been asked to display our scooters at weddings and birthday parties and also recently a classic Lambretta, belonging to one of our members, was used for a photoshoot in Paris for a leading fashion designer.
Last year we sadly lost a very enthusiastic friend and the Treasurer of our club and for his funeral we followed the cortege on our scooters. We have all ages in our club, ranging from 16 to the oldest, Jeff, who is 78, so remember you can be too young but never too old! There are many benefits of being a member in our club, such as the social side and large range of scooter knowledge available that some of us can offer. Prior to the pandemic we would meet every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning, often going for a group ride out to one of our favourite pubs in the local area.
Treasurer Dave Sheldon:
Having been a scooter fan since the early 1970’s and relatively recently moved to the Torbay area, I was interested to see groups of scooterists in the area. My interest was further aroused when I went to a BMAD festival on Paignton Green in 2017 and spent some time looking around the Torbay Mods Scooter Club display.
Later that year, the club held their own event on Paignton Green and I went along with the idea of finding out more about the club. I was warmly received by Paul Savin and his friends and while watching some of the scooters in action, I asked a few questions about the club, commitment requirements and so on. Paul advised me that ‘all I needed to join the club was a scooter’. That was 2017 and in December of that year I found a 33yr old Lambretta GP150 which suited my needs. By that time the club had gone into ‘winter mode’ and I needed to check out my new purchase so it was not until March of 2018 that I actually got to ride with the club. New friends of varying ages from the locality were soon made and we have had some fantastic rides, whilst also attending various events around the area with our scooters. For me, it’s been a social success at the same time as having a lot of fun.
When we sadly lost our Treasurer and one of the pillars of the club, Mike Gough to Cancer in 2019, I was approached by Paul to take over as Treasurer. I was happy to do this, since I believe the club provides a focal point and interest for a number of people (we currently have around 50 members) with the meet-ups, rides and events.
ALL YEAR ROUND: We meet some Saturday and Sunday nights for dancing in clubs in and around the bay with music like Mod, Soul, Motown, R & B, Ska etc provided by The Vinyl Avengers. Click here to see their facebook page with dates and to meet us but ALWAYS CHECK WITH US FIRST PLEASE 🙂
You can also support us by donating to our club (Proceeds help towards the running costs) Thank you