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Margate Meltdown rally 50 years on from infamous Mods and Rockers beach battles

By Peter Barnett
Motorcylists and scooter riders roar into town for the Margate Meltdown

The clock rolled back 50 years as motorcyclists and mods rock’n’rolled their way into Margate on Bank Holiday Monday.

Thousands of gleaming bikes and scooters and their riders packed the town for the seventh annual Margate Meltdown rally organised by the Ace Cafe in London.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the infamous Mods and Rockers beach battles on the bank holiday in May 1964 which turned the national spotlight on the town. Magistrates coined the phrase “sawdust Caesars” to describe the rioters.

This weekend’s event was a peaceful and friendly invasion as riders, holidaymakers and residents admired the bikes parked along the seafront and around the piazza and harbour area.

On Monday afternoon around 3.30pm, towards the end of the rally, a motorcyclist and cyclist collided on Marine Terrace, the main seafront road.

The 23-year-old cyclist was taken to hospital for treatment and part of the seafront was cordoned off, with traffic tailbacks stretching from Margate towards Birchington. The cyclist’s injuries are said to not be life-threatening.

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