This club is one of the oldest in the country but they are also one of the most fearsome. They do not make apologies for what they have been involved in. One famous incident that brought them to public attention was a confrontation on Chelsea Bridge on 17th October 1970. The protagonists were, on one side, the Essex & Chelsea Nomads, and opposing them, were the Road Rats, The Nightingales The Windsors(long before they were granted a HA charter)& The Jokers. One of the Nomads was killed, and a number of others arrested. One of the Road Rats, 20 year old Paul Luttman, was jailed for twelve years.
The RR again made a headline splash was at Cookham on 18th September 1983, at a Hells Angels party. Versions vary as to what happened, but it was said that a woman was staked out in a tent and bikers lied up to rape her, and a fight broke out. Another version has a photograph being taken, to which bikers objected to, that is being photographed in their colours and being identifiable. What is not in dispute, is that two Road Rats, Colin Bunting & Ozzie Harrison were killed. Four of the Rats were said to have forced twenty of Satan`s Slaves into a small building, using axes and knives, then set the place alight, but things were quietened down by the Hells Angels. Four were badly wounded and the Police arrested fifty one.
Exactly how many members of the Road Rats, over the years, have been killed or jailed, is testament to just how they do not take prisoners. There are some of the Slaves where I come from; in fact one lived two streets away, and some of the Slaves from around here, where I live now, periodically go over to visit them, and drink in the pub I did before I moved. The only bike gang that existed around there was in Chester and called the Renegades, but there is no doubt in my mind, if they ran into the Road Rats, they would soon realise they would be way out of their depth. I remember in my roadying days, one member of the group telling the young singer about biker gigs he(bassist) and the guitarist did. "You have bikers in Chester & Wrexham but these are in a totally different league". These gigs were for a bike club around the Chorley/Lancashire area.
UPDATE: Howard Smedley has a right to reply and wants the following facts published to set the record straight. On October 17th 1970 on Chelsea Bridge, the stand off was between the Essex & Chelsea Nomads and The Road Rats/ Nightingales/Windsors & Jokers. Subsequent reports of a fatality are incorrect. Peter Howson, from the Essex Nomads was shot and wounded. He was later jailed for a shooting in the New Forest, then later went to Brighton University where he gained a PhD. There were a number of arrests and one Road Rat, Paul Lutman, was jailed for twelve years.
The incident at Cookham Dean in September 1983 does not have just the version provided by the media. One story as that a woman was staked out to be raped by the bikers and a fight broke out. Another was that a photograph was taken showing bikers in their colours and also identifying them. The brawl with Satan`s Slaves resulted in two deaths. Rats Colin Bunting & Mike Harrison. Twenty Slaves were forced into a small building and it set alight. The Hells Angels calmed the situation. Four were badly wounded and fifty one arrested. Most of the RR & HA left the scene and some took up to a month to be arrested. Mr Smedley points out that the photograph incident is true, but much involving the RR is rubbish printed by the media. Thank you to Mr Smedley.