The Bats South East London Scooter Club was formed in 1955 originally as a Lambretta only club.
It soon became an all makes club making it one of the largest scooter clubs in the UK. The club put scooter scramble events on Royal Elstead Common attracting large crowds. From the ranks of The Bats came such riders as Pete Smith, Ray Collins, Don Noys, Brian Marchant, Tedd Winn and Dick Jordan. The club declined during the 1970s, as did other scooter clubs across the country, including the Lambretta Club of Britain.
In 1981 the club agreed to pass the club name and mantle to Barry Baker to carry on the clubs traditions and principles. During the 1980s and 1990s the club again became a successful event organiser and competitor in UK competitions. The Bats also competed in Europe on behalf of the Vespa Club.
We often get asked what does The Bats name stand for. During the 1950s some club members were sitting outside the clubhouse on their scooters.
A passer by went past and remarked "You must be Bats to ride these!" and the name stuck
Today The Bats upholds its original traditions and principles. We organise an annual scramble event on Royal Elstead common with the original scooter scramblers from the 1960s making an appearance.
We also organise social runs, social events and Green Laning.
We have a social network in place to keep the original members in touch. We aim to keep the legacy of the club including it's history and scooters alive for future generations.
In the 1960s the motor scooter was the people’s transport, and it was cheap and easy for riders to compete in motorsport events. In theory it was completely possible to turn up to an off-road scramble meeting on your every-day road bike, compete, and ride it home again afterwards. But realistically most riders would modify old Vespas and Lambrettas, and the rules meant that they had a lot of leeway.
But the flexible regulations that allowed this also killed the sport, as riders with scooter dealership facilities behind them could build expensive ultra-competitive machines, which were perfectly legal, but a million miles from anything that could be recognised as a true road-going scooter.
In this hour-long video, early enthusiasts from The Bats Scooter Club remember the bikes and the riders, and visit the main venue at Elstead Royal Common in Surrey to find that the course can still be traced after 40 years. The video includes film footage from an actual 60's race meeting, and brings back memories of the days when a scooter rider could enjoy a good day’s motorsport for a fiver
In the 1960s, London scooter dealer Don Noys built six 'Lambretta Specials' specifically to compete in scooter scrambling, now known as Noys Stingrays. Those that still exist today are sometimes exhibited at events and occasionally fired-up and ridden in demonstration events. ScooterNova magazine's Andy has been invited on a couple of occasions to ride them. Here is some helmet-camera footage from an event that took place at the Lambretta Club Great Britain rally at Lincoln in 2015.