Benzene Counter
AFSC gets first prize
at Vespa Meeting Japan 2009

by David Blower

166 scooters and vespa vans and guess whose was voted best of the lot? MINE



You can see the AFSC pennant on the rear carrier


Perfect weather, great crowd and great atmosphere. I set off at five for an RV at 6:30 on the other side of Tokyo. I've had my vespa for over four years and believe it or not - my first ride on a motorway. Being in the middle of a long bank holiday, there was hardly any traffic and so we flew down to the event.

Hooking up with other scooters on the way I began to appreciate the excitement you lot must feel on the way to the big events in the UK.

At the event the usual and loads of new faces. The furthest participant coming all the way from Hokkaido in the north of Japan. A four day ride away.

The event itself was well organised by the sponsoring Vespa Club Kanagawa. Two bands played. Ska, though, not Northern Soul. Don't know why but ska is synonymous with scootering out here.

A vote was held to decide the best scooter. My winnings; a vespa/addidas jacket, shoes and a bag and two tyres (which I had to put into my mate's side car to get home).

I think what clinched the win was the huge Union Jack I hung from the back flag pole. (Either that or me going round asking everyone to vote for me).

Out here the Union Jack is a mods symbol. For some in the UK it's synonymous with the BNP and National Front. For me though, the Union Jack flying in the wind reminds me of the marine signaller at the end of the Falklands War with a Union Jack flying from his clansman antenna.

Going home at night on a crowded motorway wasn't a thrill but carefully heading down the centre lane between the two lines of cars I began to appreciate the merits of attending rallies on scooters. I felt sorry for the guys on the small machines and the vespa cars having to go home on the even more crowded roads.

Still, what an unforgettable day. Which sadly may be the last of its kind here in Japan, because the financial crisis. Lets hope not and lets hope one day I can attend a rally in the UK with you guys.