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Mods V Rockers celebrate ‘clash’

59 Club members at the Mods V Rockers ride
59 Club members at the 2016 Mods V Rockers ride

The third annual Mods V Rockers ride to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the 1964 Brighton beach clashes in the UK between Mods and Rockers will be held in var ious places around the world this weekend.

Instead of riots, there will be riotous fun as clouds of blue smoke rise from the two-stroke Mod scooters and the oily old Brit bikes.

This year’s Brisbane ride on Sunday (May 15, 2016) assembles at Harry’s Diner, 104 Newmarket Road, at noon and departs with a police escort at 12.30pm.

The police escort isn’t to ensure there is no fighting between the greasy Rockers and smartly dressed Mods, but to ensure a smooth passage through the city and Fortitude Valley without the ride getting split up.

It worked well last year and delivered all riders in one swarm at the Redcliffe seaside. This year, the ride terminates at Redcliffe’s Pelican Park on Clontarf Beach for coffee.

If you want to celebrate and join the ride and the fun, it’s free!


Mods V Rockers ride regroups celebrate
Mods V Rockers ride regroups

Organiser Matt Jones of Rocker Classic Motorcycles, which is in the process of relocating to Samford, expects to see many classic and modern Triumphs, Nortons old and new, cafe racers, scramblers and even some old Harley bobbers as well as the usual massive showing of decorated scooters from the Canetoads Scooter Club.

However, riders of all bikes are invited to attend and dress up in 1960s costume to celebrate.

More than the 130 attended the 50th anniversary ride in 2014 and Matt said there were even more at last year’s event.

We also found a similar event in San Diego and there is bound to be an event in the UK!

Mods V Rockers ride organiser Matt Jones celebrate
Mods V Rockers ride organiser Matt Jones


There has always been a bit of a rift between motorcycle and scooter riders. The conflict reached its famed zenith when rockers on motorcycles and mods on scooters clashed at the British seaside town of Brighton on the bank holiday weekend of May 18-19, 1964.

Motorcycle riders were known as rockers back then because of their love of ‘50s rock and roll. They rode mainly British motorcycles and wore leather jackets, jeans and had greasy hair. Mods loved the modern music of The Who, The Kinks and The Beatles. They rode scooters which kept the chain grease and engine oil off their pristine fashionable suits and parkas.

Rockers and mods celebrate
Rockers and mods

Mods and rockers were youth subcultures of the early to mid-1960s and when they clashed, the newspaper coverage sparked a moral panic in British establishment. The clash was brilliantly depicted in the 1979 film, Quadrophenia based on The Who’s rock opera.

The mods versus rockers clash continues today, but as a cultural and fashion clash, not a physical one!