222nd January 2016
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Bristol Classic MotorCycle Show - 6th/7th February
Go west, young man, where all manner of vintage and classic motorcycles assemble on the first weekend in February...
If you venture down to Shepton Mallet on the 6th or 7th of February, set your sights on stand M53 in the main hall (aka the Showering Pavilion). That’s where you’ll find the RealClassic Roadshow, complete with (we hope!) new stock of the pleasingly popular new RC t-shirt. Apparently, the second batch are on a slightly darker colour shirt than the first, so clapping eyes on them may well be the highlight of your weekend. (Only kidding. Mostly).
When you’ve eaten the RC HobNobs, chewed the RC fat (that’s a metaphorical term in case you were thinking of being accompanied by a cannibal chum), bought an RC binder and renewed your RC sub, the whole astonishingness that is the Bristol Show then awaits you. This long-established indoor event always encourages hundreds of superb machines to emerge from their shed sanctuaries to bask in the spotlight in front of the crowds.
An extensive array of trophies and prizes for private entries and club stands attracts an intriguing selection of classic bikes and some truly creative club stands. Last year the Rudge Enthusiasts took top honours for their efforts, just ahead of locals from the North Devon British MCC who were awarded second place, and the Gold Star OC who came third. The overall show winner in 2015 was a 1914 Sparkbrook Roadster which owner Dave brought back from the brink of beyond.
Said Dave: “All I had of the bike originally was the frame which was fished out of a lake. It had some damage so I suspect it was in an accident. Given how rare it is, and because of the damage sustained, it took me a while to work out what it was, but once I did then I set about restoring and rebuilding it as a retirement project – along with the help of friends – and this is the result today. I found the JAP V-Twin engine at an autojumble but it was sourcing the gearbox that proved difficult. I managed to track one down in the UK but it could well be it’s the only one in the country, it’s that unusual.”
Other class winners included a 1930 Rudge – displayed by Cross Engineering – which took the ‘Most Technical Interest’ award; a Triumph TRW which scooped the prize for the military machine; Ivan Rhodes’ 1931 Velocette road racer; a Laverda Montjuic (Best Continental), and a Douglas Dragonfly (Best Postwar). Expect to see more of the same this year, with road bikes from Britain, Japan, Europe and America on display next to competition machines, three-wheelers, sidecars, scooters and autocycles.
Then there’s the bikes which are up for sale – always dangerous territory if your head is easily turned. After a very successful debut sale last year, Charterhouse will host another auction of classic and collectors’ machines. Sales totalled over £250,000 in 2015 and ranged from no-reserve barn finds to a Vincent Black Shadow which sold for £55,000. Most the their sale catalogue is rather more down to earth, however, featuring machines like the ‘for total restoration’ BSA B31 seen here (estimate £300-500), or a zero-miles since renovation 1959 Triumph Speed Twin (estimate £3500). The sale takes place on the Sunday, with viewing on the Saturday.
Take a pit stop at one of the refreshment stalls for groovy street food (excellent falafel stand last year) or take advantage of the sit-down restaurant and bar above the main hall. Then you’re all set to browse the jumble stalls, trade stands, club displays, clothing, accessories, memorabilia and more which sprawls through the smaller halls and across the hard-standing outside.
There’s plenty of visitor parking on firm ground at Shepton and, although this event is usually more laid-back than Stafford, the Saturday can be pretty busy. So if you want to avoid the crowds and have space to take some snaps of the display bikes, then aim for Sunday.
See you there…
What: The 36th Bristol Classic MotorCycle Show
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