Quadrophenia fan Billie Whiz' passes driving test as Britain's youngest Mod
PUBLISHED: 20:10 01 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:30 05 October 2010
DON'T blink or you may miss Billie Lynch whizzing through East London... just a flash of bright red zooming past. This latter-day Billie Whiz' is probably Britain's youngest Mod, a born again' Quadrophenia fan just turned 16. She passed her Driving Test on Wednesday for a motor-scooter, just a day after her 16th birthday, getting to grips with her dad's bright red Vespa. Then she zoomed down Bethnal Green to sign up as newest member of the East London Motor Scooter club founded more than 50 years ago
DON’T blink or you may miss Billie Lynch whizzing through East London—just a flash of bright red zooming past.
This latter-day Billie Whiz’ is probably Britain’s youngest Mod, a born again’ Quadrophenia fan just turned 16.
She passed her Driving Test last Wednesday (July 30) to ride a motor scooter, just a day after her 16th birthday—after a few hours getting to grips with her dad’s bright red Vespa at East London’s Cardrome training centre.
“I was really nervous, really shaking, and sick before the test,” she admitted.
“But they were really nice and took me through it carefully and passed me.”
A few hours later, Billie was in Bethnal Green zooming down Cambridge Heath-road to be signed up as newest member of the long-established East London Motor Scooter Club founded more than 50 years ago (We only just managed to snap her as she whizzed passed!).
Her pals at school are now calling her Billie Whiz,’ after the Beano comic character Billy Whizz’ who disappears in the trailing dust of his own super running speed.
She got hooked on Swinging Sixties’ Who pop group after watching the 1979 film Quadrophenia—staring Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Sting Toyah, Wilcox and music by The Who—about the Mods phenomena in the early 1960s.
“My dad was a Mod in the Eighties,” she boasts proudly. “I grew up around scooters and going to rallies.
“I watched Quadrophenia with music by The Who and that’s when it hit me.
“I just wanted to be a Mod.”
But whizzing Billie is only licensed to ride a modest 50cc engine until she turns 17 when she’ll be able burn up’ on a more powerful machine.
“I’ve already got a Vespa GL locked away in the garage,” she revealed. “It’s my dad’s old scooter he rode in the 1980s, an original 1963 model.”
Billie went to Old Ford Primary school in London’s East End before her family upped sticks and moved from Bow down to Harold Hill in Romford.
But she comes back regularly with her taxi-driver dad Rodney Lynch for their scooter club meetings at a pub in the Roman Road, which are more like Mod conventions.
Billie rode pillion on her dad’s scooter the week before to join 300 ageing Mods who arrived in the Spinnaker pub on the Isle of Dogs for the club’s annual trophies for best dressed’ Vespa and Lambretta.
The club began in 1956 at Bethnal Green’s Oxford House community centre. Its oldest member is probably London’s oldest Mod, a club founder well into his 70s.
Now the club boasts having London’s youngest Mod, too.
Were you a Mod in the Swinging Sixties or later in the Eighties?
Did you burn the road down to the coast?
Tell the East London Advertiser your story with any pictures you took: