What do Italian vintage scooters and the Heineken Cup final have in common?
Two Ulster rugby fans who will ride to Twickenham on Lambrettas specially customised for the May 19 Ulster v Leinster clash, that’s what.
Childhood friends Conor Wylie (45) and Iain Montgomery (48) have taken their vintage 1960s Italian-made scooters to pieces to bedeck them in Ulster Rugby paraphernalia.
Between Thursday and Friday, residents of Middle England’s quiet villages will catch a glimpse of two middle-aged men trundling through the A roads between Liverpool and London with ‘Stand up for the Ulstermen’ signs emblazoned on their scooters.
The east Belfast men have customised their rides with Ulster logos and graphics of star players Stephen Ferris — who was voted the team’s ‘personality of the year’ last week — and Rory Best.
A rainbow of Ulster Rugby flags attached to the scooters will signal their journey through England down to London.
The trip will take the Cooke Rugby Club members on the Belfast-Liverpool ferry before travelling through Hereford, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Oxford, High Wycombe and Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.
They hope to have their 1966 SX200 and 1969 SX150 Lambrettas — which have not been manufactured since 1969 — signed by players Ferris and Best ahead of Saturday’s final.
Conor said: “Twickenham is a difficult place to get to so we decided to take our scooters for the occasion. We wanted to spread the message to stand up for the Ulstermen.
“We will be travelling through places with a strong rugby tradition and, because the scooters only hold 1.5 gallons of petrol and are two-stroke engines, we’ll have to stop every 50 miles along the way for a small break.”
He added: “These are vintage Lambrettas but we will be keeping our scooters like this as a souvenir.
“It’s just such a big occasion for Ulster to get to the Heineken Cup Final — it’s worth a road trip like this.”