A LITTLE BIT OF SCOOTER HISTORY

 

How it all started........in the mid 60’s I got involved with the local Scooter Club, in Glasgow, Scotland, The Glasgow Vespa Club, (GVC), and from those early beginnings, scooters became a “Way of life" to me. Born in Scotland I was immediately drawn to the little Vespa 152L2 as a way of getting to work. It was cheap to run, and you could work on the little motor with little or no great effort. My first scooter cost me a mere £15.00 Pounds Sterling, ($25.00), and from there I joined the Glasgow Vespa Club and riding scooters for fun from then on, was the order of the day.

Prior to joining the GVC I was a Mod, loads of mirrors, air horns, hand bells, and chrome. Furry tails, and military jacket, and the wind blowing in your hair, all this before it was UK law to wear a helmet. Those times were good fun with other scooter lads from the area of Glasgow I lived in. However the runs to the seaside were all very well, but I needed more from riding my scooter. Meeting the GVC members one day at Dunoon, I was hooked, Got to get into the club life I thought, and guess what, the club met just round the corner from my home. That was enough for me, I joined within a week and was a member till it ceased in 1978. I did meet some great guys and gals, many I am still in contact with to this day. Having joined the club, this was a chance to get involved in a whole new range of scootering activities, road trails, sporting trials, gymkhana's, hill climbs, sprints, even racing.

The ultimate scooter event was the Isle of Man Scooter Week, a seven day extravaganza of scooter sport events and great social gatherings. Parties, discos and literally thousands of like minded scooter people out to have a good time and join in the sporting side of scootering. The event ceased in 1976, but is revered by all who attended to this day, as the best events ever staged in the UK for scooterists. The culmination for me, was to have a corner named after me on the Isle of Man, Scooter Road race circuit at Ballaugh, "Kerr's Corner", in fact I used this title to cover the articles I wrote in the Lambretta Club GB, Jet Set magazine. All in all, the Isle of Man was the top event, but several events in the UK mainland were a great proving ground. Overnight 250 mile road trials, and other tough events gave riders a great deal of satisfaction, and brought forth many great riders into the ranks. Each type of event had it's own "top gun", and the range of abilities shown by these riders was exceptional. I was a lucky guy to have competed against the very best in UK competitive riding.

I have many great memories of the super rallies and sporting events of the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. It was obvious that involvement with the GVC would bring me closer to the Vespa Club of Britain, and indeed scooter sport was essential, almost habit forming in those heady days of the early 70's. Eventually I got involved nationally in the Vespa Club of Britain and that resulted in 10 wonderful years when I was fortunate to win the VCB National championship a staggering 10 years on the trot. I was proud to be the UK National Vespa Champion and what a great period that was for me. Eventually I decided to get into racing Vespa’s. The upshot of that was probably the best time of my Vespa sporting career. I still hold dozens of lap records and was delighted to win the British Scooter Championship in 1983, and alongside that, several National Sprint Championships and dozens of sprint records into the bargain.

During this time I started Midland Scooter Centre as a partner with the top Lambretta man of the time, Dave Webster. The business was an unprecedented success, however all good things come to an end in 1990 I decided to leave the partnership, and head off on my own to run a new venture what was then Malossi UK, now VE (UK). It was not difficult to establish Malossi UK as it had several quality Exclusive brands. However prior to my purchasing Malossi UK, it had been quietly run down to low levels to accommodate the previous owners wishes. Under my direction the company required a considerable injection of cash to bring in new stock and even more new brands to bolster the foundations of the company. Unlike at MSC, where there had been two of us, I had to do it all again from the ground up, mostly by myself, but I had my family behind me and friends to help. It started out as a one man business, and we now have a workforce of fifteen. We have a stock range second to none and today we are continually expanding and adding new lines every
week.

VE (UK) supply dealers only and offer them what is believed to be the best selection of scooter parts and accessories available from one wholesaler. If you'd like to visit the VE (UK) site type in the following - http://www.ve-uk.com. The VE (UK) website has increased considerably to include various sub websites for the major products we import. There are some great brands and our UK dealer network is extensive, over 2500 dealers. I would reiterate that VE (UK) only supply Dealers who have an account with the company. If you are interested in any products and require more details, email sales@ve-uk.com and you'll be sent details of a dealer near you. Overseas inquiries may also visit our LINKS page to see if anyone there could be of assistance to help.
As I siad we have now included several brand related sub websites as listed below:

www.ve-uk.com - Specialised Scooter parts & Accessory site

www.malossiuk.com – Malossi performance UK website for Scooters & Moto 50/125

www.polini-uk.com – Polini performance UK website for Scooters & Moto 50/125

www.giannelli-uk.com – The UK dedicated website for this top Italian exhaust

www.corazzo.co.uk - Specialised Scooter clothing website

www.leo-vince.co.uk - Specialised UK website for LeoVince exhausts

www.dellorto-carbs.co.uk - Dedicated UK website for Dellorto Carbs and spare parts

www.tnt-uk.com - UK website for TNT range of scooter parts and accessories

www.ve-moto.co.uk – The VE (UK) Moto 50-125 Parts & Accessory website

www.ve-quad.co.uk - Dedicated UK website for ATV/Quad machines

www.ve-supermarket.co.uk - VE (UK) online Supermarket

Looking back during my period at MSC I developed what was the best Vespa I have ever raced, the LC1 - 90SS with a 125cc full race engine, LC standing for Liquid Cooled. Indeed I still have LC1 in my modest collection of Vespa's. LC1 was the platform for LC2 a hard to beat, hard to ride 150cc - 90SS, LC3 a P200 Liquid cooled Racer, and LC4 a reed valved 125cc 90SS. At the time Scootering Magazine asked me to start a Vespa tuning section, which culminated a year later in the production of a book aptly named "Tuning Vespa's the Norrie Kerr Way" which was a culmination of all the Scootering magazine articles and a lot more that never appeared in Scootering. Some years earlier I produced the magazine Scooter & Scooterist. The magazine ran for 14 years without break. During that time Dave Webster penned "Tuning a Lambretta" articles monthly for the magazine. It was then put into a book by S&S and that was book number 2 in the S&S stable. Since then I have added to that title with the purchase and ownership of the Lambretta Home Workshop Manual, and lastly, the 60's Original Lambretta Tuning Manual.

Meanwhile in the late 90's at Malossi UK we decided to rename our company to that of VE (UK). Having been associated with Malossi for some 15 years the Malossi UK tag was confusing our customers, not the original dealers who deal with us day to day, but the newer breed, who saw Malossi UK as suppliers of 'only' Malossi parts, when in fact we were supplying many different brands. We decided to create VE (UK) to accomodate all the various brands we represented in the UK. We had launched our own brand of scooter spares under the VE banner and wanted to use our new company name to bring the whole thing together. Thus Malossi, Polini, Giannelli, LeoVince, Kundo, Athena, etc etc, and our own VE products were brought together under the VE (UK) banner. To give you an idea of how we continue to expand - we currently offer over 40,000 different items, that would fit some 100,000 fitment applications.

So VE (UK) was launched, and we have never looked back. At the same time we initiated the Malossi Tech Centre's, UK and Eire based Centres of excellence who give up to date Malossi service to the end users. The Tech Centres are dealers with a proven record. Over the years some may change but the principle allows UK based dealers to offer super service, top quality (bang up to date) technical support, off the shelf delivery and the lowest prices - unequalled throughout Europe. So a big turn around in the company and one that has benefited customers worldwide. Why not look in at our sites listed below. In addition there is our online scooter VE SUPERMARKET at www.ve-uk.com where you can buy from the vast range of parts that VE (UK) offers the trade. However all transactions are done through a number participating dealers and all prices are retail. Try the Supermarket and see for yourself. We all know it is not possible for a dealer to have every item we stock in their shop, so we now give you the chance to buy any part we have in stock through the Supermarket and your choice of participating dealer. Online sales will be a feature of the future, we offer the latest "IT" to help our dealers and the end users.

Nowadays my racing is all but over but I still keep involved, hopefully repaying the sport for all the good times I had. I am President of the BSSO, British Scooter Sport Organisation, My days of competition are over for me, but not for the two scooter racers I sponsor. the two riders, Jon Uffindell and Joe Hardy are sponsored by VE (UK), using Malossi performance parts on their machines.

My own love of the Vespa scooter is well known, but my favourite scooter is the 90SS, I own a few - 90SS’s, and other models consist of an ET3, a 152L2, and as normal road transport I ride that rather quick Gilera Runner 180 2 stroke. As I get older I still find the
little scooters of great interest. Even the new style automatic machine are interesting. Whilst I have my favourites, I do admire all scooters in general
.

Thanks for visiting my site.

Site updated May 2009

Vespa Enthusiast ---------- Norrie Kerr