A two-wheeled tribute to all the fallen

The Great South Run

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This weekend I will be taking part in an annual scooter ride-out to attend a Remembrance Day service organised by the Royal British Legion Riders Branch.

Around 150 scooterists will assemble near Cosham before setting off for the First World War memorial on Southsea Common, joining more than 100 bikers for the service.

Over the years, members of several local bike clubs have fallen in the field of combat and wreaths have been laid as part of the official remembrance service.

My friend and fellow scooterist Shane Hayter is a member of both The British Forces Scooter Club and The Royal British Legion Riders Branch Hampshire.

Shane comes from a forces family, with both grandfathers and his father all having military careers.

He joined the local regiment, The Royal Hampshires, which later became The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, and saw active service in, amongst other theatres, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq twice.

In Iraq in 2004 his battalion saw heavy fighting, with two soldiers lost and 33 sustaining life-changing injuries.

During the tour his battalion earned a number of awards including a Victoria Cross, three Conspicuous Gallantry Crosses, two Distinguished Service Orders and 16 Military Crosses.

On two wheels since he was 16, Shane owns a Harley Davidson and two Lambrettas, including a customised model commemorating his 2004 tour of Iraq.

It features photographs from the tour recreated on the bodywork and bullet-belts mounted as floor runners.

The scooter has become a national custom classic, winning a number of prizes at scooter rallies.

Tomorrow the scooters heading for the seafront should be quite a spectacle, with the smell of two-stroke and the distinctive pop-pop sound of their engines filling the air.

The group will assemble at North Harbour from 9am, leaving at 10am and riding along Copnor Road and Milton Road to the Eastney swimming pool, then along the seafront to the memorial.

As I’ve been a bit too busy to ride my scooters for a while, I shall need to do some much-needed pre-ride maintenance and checks, or I might end up witnessing it from the kerb.

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