Scottish Coast to Coast
Largs to Dunbar
Saturday 21st July, 2007
The first Scottish Coast to Coast, set up and organised by Ian Johnstone (Arfur) was an unknown quantity, much like the first Cannonball in 2005.
There was interest from a few racing teams from down south straight away, but a lot of Scottish clubs seemed not too bothered about it (much like teh first Cannonball again !).
Never-the-less , I got my name down for it and got prepared, now owning a GTS , it seemed like a good idea,
The route was set up to run from Largs to Dunbar, taking in the Erskine Bridge, a check point in Buchlyvie, through the middle of Stirling, Grangemouth , checkpoint at Bo'ness then meandaring to the Edinburgh by-pass and to Dunbar. Around 150 miles.
The full route , witth all my extra wee "watch out for points".
With about a week to go , I started my homework , I'd planned on driving the full route through to get used to the areas, but that didn't happen, so I studdied maps & auto-route for days... watching out for any possible wrong turns, making notes of potential fuck ups.
I remembered taking Skolar through to Wemyss Bay for the Animals rally and him showing me a short cut through Greenock , avoiding the one way systems in town so I'd noted that down to, Skolar penning me out a map on the Friday night over a few Magners. He's a no' bad crew you know , I'ven even started to drive like the bammer... he's such a bad influence :)
So come Saturday morning I was ready. 2 full petrol cans strapped to the scoot to avoid having to stop, gaffa tape mini maps taped to the inside of the fly screen with water proof pen instructions on certain junctions and km turn offs. So at 7:45am , I set off planning a leisurely ride through to Largs , to be there for 11am. This should have given me an indication of how quick the GTS can do trips like this , as by 9:50, I was in Largs - and that was after stopping at Harthill for a coffee ! What a scoot !
At Greenock , I stopped at the gas station just up from wee Colin's , and had a wee wee at the big advertising hoardings as there was no nearby bog, and my back teeth were flooding. On through Greenock , refreshing my memory of Skolar's short cut.
The start of the race , with Niffy (Black scoot & green cans at back) whippin' off quick !
So in Largs , I topped up with sweets & crisps and waited for more scoots to arrive. By 11:am ish , 17 were ready to race, MB Developments promised winning 100mph Lammie had broken down on the way up it seems , but there were still a few tuned up Lammies and Vespas, and a couple of standard machines. Graeme & Ian from the Coyotes were there also, on a specially built Vespa & a GTS.
The scoots were lined up facing out from the pavement, along from the 1st junction to get on the main road, but hang on, I was way along to the left, and would be at the back of the pack, I knew I'd need a quick start to get ahead.
We were asked to stand across the road and wait for the horn (oooer) and as Ian blasted it off... everyone just sort of ambled across to their scoots... fuck this I bolted jumped on and was away as most folk were getting on their scoots ! One GT was in front of me at the junction but he was edged out as I opened up to full throttle and away , in and out of the town traffic like a maniac (see reference to Skolar earlier).
By the time we were heading to Greenock , it was me and 2 Lammies right up my arse, and closely followed by Ted, I was tying to shake them off before hitting the Greenock short cut, but they followed me though (Ted dropping off) , so by the A/M8 it was the 3 of us screaming along to the Erskine Bridge and along the A82.
On the straights I was loosing the Lammies easy, but come the twisties , the were more adventurous and catching up. All kinds of mental driving ensued , with those 2 guys matching my moves, passing a few groups of cruising bikers at break neck speeds was a laugh !
The 1st disaster of the day was about to happen, I flew passed the turn off for the first check point, too busy trying to shake the green Lammie off, but he followed me , and we both ran a couple of miles of course !
We both stopped after realising, then spotted the B835 that would take us back to the checkpoint, it was dirt tracks for a couple of miles , but we still ripped it up, getting to the checkpoint and seeing other scoots there was a blow though.
The green lammie stopped to check on his mate (and probably fuel up) Riki stamped my card and I was off... shouting apologies to the other guy for getting us lost as I tore off towards Stirling.
Thankfully there was scant Police in site , so full throttle was employed again, as I (thought) I could increase my lead.
Getting to Stirling fucked me up good , as there was some new road layouts that Bill Gates didn't know about , so after stopping all the traffic at the 1st roundabout for a moment or two , while I gathered my thoughts - all the cars tooting their horns at me while I shouted back at them "fuck off ! I'm in a race", then picked my route and thrashed on through to the town centre, going down and back up a one way street then seeing the Grangemouth road at last ! The next section was the one I was dreading , I've never been to Bo'ness in my puff , and had no idea where the check point was meant to be, I plodded on (very fast plod mind) and came across them soon enough, shouting "how ma doin" , expecting "aye you're winning", but instead hearing "2nd!" BASTARD !!!! Ian on his GTS had got through!!!
I couldn't even get 1st auto if that was the case!
While I was getting my card stamped i threw in one of the cans of petrol, then fucked off toot sweet, the filler tube bouncing down the road behind me... ach, I'll not need that again today anyway.
I had no idea how far ahead he was, so I decided to let rip anyway , the GTS would handle it, so if the roads allowed it was 80mph no matter where I was, the speedo showing 90 at times. On the Edinburgh by-pass the torrential rain started , smacking my bare neck like marbles, but still kept the throttle open full, at about Tranent , I caught a glimpse of a scoot under a pass-over, but I didn't think it was a racer, into Dunbar and the Rossborough , and calm down...
The East Lothian guys were there and someone said I was 2nd , ach well . I looked outside for Ian's GTS and couldn't see it. I asked the guys where he was and they told me they were just winding me up - I was 1st back !
YA DANCER !!!!
It turns out Ian had slowed up , then stopped because of the rain ! Ah well :) So Ian arrives in about 10 minutes later, then a short while later the other Coyote (Graeme) on their yellow peril. The 1st tuned Lammies coming in a good half hour or so afterwards.
So a poke in the eye for those scooterists that say the GTS isn't a real scooter. And am I bothered ? Well let's just say that by the time the "real" scooters started coming in, I was on my 3rd or 4th pint, and didn't care about much ! I might do the race next year on a geared scoot. I might not ! Depends if I want a chance of winning or not I suppose :)
The do at night was quite a quiet afair , the mental rain not letting up all day (or night) probably putting a few folk off, but a big hello and well done to the Lonesharks who brought a big crew through, Willie & Stew from the Blues, more Coyotes (hello Gus & Ross), Scottie & Lorna, Ronnie & Mrs Ronnie fae Dalkeith, Stevie from the Beerpigs, Sparky & John from the Tynsiders, and a few others (I'd been throwing pints back since 2:45 so bear with me while I try to remember everyone !
Other clubs throughout the day to be seen included East Lothian & Berwick Bulldogs.
A good laugh anyways.
Well done to Cat for her negotiating skills with the local polis after a wedding party kicked off. And well done to Tam from the Soul Kitchen for his , eh , calming down skills with the same party :)
The Police looked utterly dissapointed to find that , on being called out to a disturbance at the hotel , it wasn't anything to do with the ageing scooterists, all having a cracking time as ever, but with some neds at a wedding party wanting to fight amongst themselves.
I've rescued Sparky's CD's , and will be reunited with my trophy at Wigton if Tam remembers it - both these things being scooped up by the guys as they packed up at the end of the night.
A big shout to Tam, Grant & crew from The Soul Kitchen , crackin' sounds, and a chored an Animals 20th pin badge ! Nice one guys.
Big well done to Arfur for getting this together, hopefully (and I'm sure it will) it will be bigger next year for me to defend my title. I'll try to get a full finishing list from Arfur soon , and some more pics.