January 31st 2014
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Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show Preview
Scrape the frost off your saddle and join the RealClassic Crew at the Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show on February 8th and 9th...
If we're lucky then the Bristol Show provides a perfect excuse for a brisk ride out on a crisp midwinter morning, the eerie mists of the Somerset levels swirling around our wheels, heading for the Bath and West Showground at Shepton Mallet where a mass of assorted motorcycles mingle in the bike park; some bright and shiny P&Js and usually a whole bunch of hard-done-by winter hacks.
If we're unlucky then it'll be hissing down. Or foggy, snowing or all of the above. In which case, take the car: there's plenty of free parking on firm ground.
Then amble indoors to find the RealClassic Crew - we'll be setting up in the main hall (also known as the Showering Pavilion) on stand 53. Look for us on one long side of the hall, fairly near the first aid post - but not in the corner (which is where you will find us for the VMCC's jumble in March. Confusing, eh?). Anyway, once you've got your bearings please deviate via the café (coffee: white, no sugar; much obliged) and we'll reward you with a HobNob, Jaffa Cake and the opportunity to give us your money in exchange for some magazines. Boy, bet you can't wait!
Apparently, there's also an entire show and autojumble as well as the RealClassic Roadshow, with over 60 different clubs putting on displays of more than 600 classic motorcycles. The London Douglas Club has promised a wide ranging display and, in Cotton's centennial year, the Cotton Owners and Enthusiasts Club will be making a special effort with 16 bikes earmarked for display; the earliest being a 1926 Blackburne. The Stonehenge Section VMCC will have their usual collection of immaculate machinery, including Jim Devereux's 1931 Ariel SG. Clubs compete for cash prizes of between £250 and £750 - last year, the North Devon British Motorcycle Owners' Club were among the winners. Who will take top honours this time around?
Private entries are also judged in a wide range of concours classes, with the best bikes winning £100 and handsome trophies. The outright Best in Show bike goes forward to an end-of-year champion-of-champions competition at the October Stafford Show, too. Hence the held breath when the winners are announced on the Sunday and awards are handed out - and all of this friendly rivalry means that the standard of bikes on display is usually very high. If you do want to spend lots of time gazing at the display bikes and maybe chat to their owners then it's best to come along on the Sunday, when the halls are a little less busy.
As well as the Showering Pavilion - and don't forget to look at the stands on the upstairs balcony in the main hall - there are usually three more indoor halls and a sizeable marquee, all connected by tented passageways so you won't get drenched while searching for spares. The trade stalls include a wide variety of restoration specialists offering services and supplies to help finish off your winter project. Look out for City of Leather, known for visiting India to track down specially made pieces of clothing, Davida Helmets with their range of retro headgear, and Metalman - offering you the opportunity to go DIY and make your own metal parts.
West Midlands Motorcycle will also be there selling top quality clearance items and Motorcycle Lifts will make working on your bike that little bit easier with the bike benches it supplies. There are also more trade and autojumble stalls outside and the occasional complete machine for sale - worth braving the elements, even if the weather does get a bit wild.
Look out for us on stand 53 - we'll have magazine binders with us, as well as woolly hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs and such. See you there!
The Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show is on Saturday and Sunday 8th and 9th February 2014, at the Bath and West Showground, at Shepton Mallet.
Opens 10am to 5pm both days. Tickets £10 in advance from www.classicbike shows.co.uk (£12 on the gate)
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