“The Normans may be long gone but the bikers have been invading Hastings since 1979…”
In 2018 and 2019 Hastings will be celebrating 40 years of the legendary Mayday Run, one of the biggest FREE to attend motorcycle happenings in Europe. May 7th 2018 is the 40th Mayday Run while May 6th 2019 is the 40th anniversary of the Mayday Run. As part of the celebrations bike1066 have teamed up with Hastings Museum to curate an exciting and innovative exhibition of the history, impact and legacy of the Mayday Run. The exhibition will include a documentary to be screened at the museum and online. It is intended that the exhibition will open over April / May / June 2019 – If you wish to be a part of the exhibition we are looking for relevant photographs and video / movie footage as well as anecdotes and experiences. We particularly need material from pre 2000. If you can help in the first instance please contact: Mike Bradley on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hastings has a long history of being a great destination for those who love riding motorcycles and other powered two wheelers like scooters – back in 1964 the town was the site of the infamous “Battle of Hastings 2” when rival groups of “mods and rockers” clashed on the towns beach.
In 1978 the then Labour Government declared the first Monday in May to be a May Day Bank Holiday.
A year later in 1979 a young Naval Engineer and keen motorcycle builder named Tim Gooderson got together with a group of his mates and decided to ride their bikes from Locksbottom (nr Bromley) in Kent down to Hastings, a distance of about 60miles.
They decided to call it the Mayday Run in recognition of the S.O.S Morse Mayday signal used by the navy. That distinctive spelling “MAYDAY” as opposed to “May Day” was used on all the flyers they distributed around pubs, cafes and biker hang outs:
Tim was instrumental in running the event for 25 years and saw it grow from a few hundred mates to thousands of bikers descending on Hastings every May Day.
The Mayday Run has grown to become an almost legendary experience and rite of passage for bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts from all across the Southeast and further afield. Many still take the traditional ride from Locksbottom to Hastings but even more now ride from many start points from all over the country and even near continent. On May Day 2014, according to official estimates, 41,000 motorbikes visited Hastings, making the Mayday Run bigger in one day than the World Famous Isle of Man TT races are in a fortnight!
The Mayday Run isn’t an organised event, traditional rally or charity ride-out. There is no official start time or route and everyone is welcome whatever they ride - bike, trike, scooter or twist n go – The Mayday Run is a massive spontaneous movement of people, a pilgrimage for those who share a passion for motorcycles – it is FREE and when you arrive in Hastings there is a massive friendly welcome whatever the weather.