Northern Ireland Scooter Rally Review

Gathering of the Clans Scooter Rally  9-11th September 2022

By now you will have received your free 2023 Wallplanner with ScooterNova Edition 34 and ours is already filling up fast with another a busy year ahead for scooter rallies.  If you’re looking for something different to do, with the bonus of some stunning roads to ride on the way, then look no further than the Gathering of the Clans rally.  Held in September in the seaside town of Portrush, Northern Ireland since 2005 and hosted by the Damsels in Distress Scooter Club, if you’ve never been and wonder what you’d be letting yourself in for, read on…

Thanks to Ian Hedges for taking the time to send us his review.

A good crowd of scooterists had started arriving on the Thursday evening making the most of the good weather we’d been having with a late Northern Ireland summer. Their arrival combined with the ones off the early Friday morning ferries made a noticeable addition to the Portrush streets, scooters pretty much everywhere, reminiscent of a 90’s national.

Friday afternoon had now arrived and the Damsels in Distress SC girls were out at Kelly’s to get front seats at the bar…. *edit… I meant the girls were out at Kelly’s to get set up and have the venue ready for the weekend entertainment!

This is the third year at Kelly’s but the first one since lock down restrictions have been lifted. The previous two were hosted in the outside village area but this year the evening entertainment was to be inside on two floors.  On Friday night the ground floor hosted XSLF, made up from ex-members of Stiff Little Fingers, well if anyone had started fading from their journey these guys fairly woke them up. Belting out a mix of Stiff Little Fingers songs and an ever growing catalogue of originals.  Meanwhile a collection of Northern Ireland’s top rally DJs were starting to fill up the dancefloor nicely on level two of the venue and by the end of the night the place was literally rocking.

Saturday arrived too quickly and scooters were streaming in ready for the ride-out, anyone not having experienced the Causeway Coast… you really need to!! Many prefer to use this coastal route from the ferry to the rally and it’s strongly recommended. The ride-out itself follows the coast road out of Portrush, past Dunluce castle, Portballintrae, Giants Causeway, Dunseverick Castle, Port Bradden, Whitepark Bay and on to Ballintoy harbour (Lordsport Harbour from Game of Thrones).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Meanwhile the village at Kelly’s was where rally stalls where set up along with the custom show, Vespa Club of Britain signing on, as well as the afternoon entertainment.  On stage was the boy about town ‘Harv’. Catch him now before he hits the big time, belting out his eclectic mix of tunes, playing covers and self-penned stompers, he was then joined on stage by 3 others which made up the ‘Harv Project’, well this definitely kicked it up a few steps and the buzzword muttered between the crowd was… “ear orgasms!!”

Custom show trophies were then awarded:

  • Best Vespa: Brian’s Chelsea themed Vespa
  • Best Lambretta: Dean Jordan’s TV Series 2
  • Best Vintage: Sam Arthur’s TV Series 2
  • Best Auto: Ian Hedges’ Joey/Robert Dunlop GTS
  • Best Overall (Colin McQuillen memorial trophy): Dean Jordan’s TV Series 2
  • Best Turned Out Club: Northern Coasters SC
  • Furthest Travelled: Northampton Vespa & Lambretta Club

Saturday night was an Emergency Services fancy dress theme, so it wasn’t long before soldiers, nurses, doctors, milkmen and a lollypop lady were strolling through the door. Tonight’s downstairs stage was host to one of the best young ska bands about at the moment, The Skatuesques from Dublin; they bossed it from start to finish, and had the floor bouncing to their rocksteady beat.  Again the Clans DJ collective were upstairs spinning the wheels of steel and going full party mode, old classics mixed with new movers ‘n’ groovers and even squeezing in at the end of the night ‘Oops upside yer head’ which had the party people quickly sitting down to rock the boat style floor dancing, unfortunately it wasn’t a pretty sight to see them struggle to get back up again though!! Luckily it was emergency themed so help was at hand and many will be able to say “last night a DJ saved my life”!

Then sadly it was time for another cracking rally to draw to a close. Old, new, near and far friends said their goodbyes and a few took their time wobbling along the coast to B&Bs, hotels and the odd bush!!

The Damsels would like to thank the Diddles and the team at Kelly’s for working tirelessly all weekend to ensure the whole weekend ran smoothly. Thanks also to the trophy sponsors: Ulster Lambretta Club, Northern Coasters SC, Streetstyle Scooters, Bogspeed, McCrums, Lakelanders SC and The Damsels in Distress Scooter Club.

Last word from the Damsels SC… “A massive thanks must go to each and every one of you who came to The Clans this year and made it another unforgettable one.”

Save the date and get booking for 8th-10th September 2023.


**ScooterNova is an independent scooter magazine, published bi-monthly. We support our fellow scooterists and as such ScooterNova is available in all good scooter shops. Click here to find your local stockists. You can also buy and subscribe online for delivery to your door via our secure online shop.
Click here for details.