19th April 2010
The Ardingly Show was blessed with fair weather, a great turn-out and some genuinely rare classic motorcycles on display. Thanks to everyone who participated...
The first Ardingly event of 2010 broke new ground by expanding into a second hall, which meant that the enlarged autojumble and trade stalls could be safely tucked away from the elements. In the main hall, this allowed more space for organised displays of show bikes - arranged by class - with room for visitors to see the more interesting and unusual bikes from all angles.
And there certainly were some very rare beasts on display this time, as well as a huge selection of mainstream British classic bikes plus a good representation of vintage motorcycles from overseas. Maybe the most remarkable was the 1950 IMME R100, built for just two years in Germany between 1949 and 51. Owned by Mr B Stevens, this compact lightweight was designed to use as few resources as possible, so the front suspension works with just a single fork while the 98cc two-stroke motor is serviced by a single exhaust pipe. Concours judge (and RC's editor) Frank Westworth had never seen one in the metal before and was delighted to award it the runner-up prize in the 'lightweight' class.Steve Elston's 1919 AJS Model D
Another unusual machine which took a Runner-Up award was Steve Elston's 1919 AJS Model D. It would have cost £180 new, and has never been restored. The Ajay still has its original handbook and toolkit, although it has been separated from its original sidecar which was taken off when the machine was stored in a basement during WW2.
All the show bikes inside the halls enter in advance, which means that Mrs Elk who organises this event can prepare a proper show programme and info boards for each machine. This requires a little bit of forward planning on the part of the entrants, but gives visitors a much broader perspective on the bikes they are viewing. It also allows proud owners to boast a little (and often with considerable justification) about their accomplishments!
A wide range of owners clubs also attended the show and arranged superb displays of their members' bikes. The judging here was a little tricky, because the Francis-Barnett Club took top honours last time around and a sense of fairness suggested that it should be someone else's turn. However, we enlisted the aid of RC regulars Paul, Paul and Karl (who really should change his name, just to make life easier) and they independently and without any external interference … chose the FBOC again. So the rightful winners are the FBOC, and we hope that maybe the BSAOC, Cinque Ports, AJS and Matchless OC, VMCC, Triumph MCC, Indian Riders, Norton OC or any other club will take up the challenge for this year's autumn event!
Guest of Honour Dave Degens enjoyed a very busy show, providing a bike clinic where he offered to resolve any tricky tuning questions. Many autograph hunters went home happy after chatting to the Dresda Triton expert, and he was kept so busy with enquiries and conversation that when lunchtime rolled along he'd not even had time for a cuppa all morning.
The 'special guest' theme is a new attraction for the Ardingly Shows, and it obviously went down very well with the crowds. Mrs Elk has lined up another interesting guest for the autumn event; some RC readers will already be familiar with AMA World Record Holder Eric Patterson who rode his 1200cc JAP-Norton straight through the previous record of 100.022mph and all the way to a new level at 121.8mph at Bonneville in 2008. If all goes well then both Eric and his record-beating beast will be at Ardingly in October.M 250, Honda CB750, Laverda SF... All of life is here
There were plenty of other stars of the show, and among our favourites were Neville Bolding's 1947 AJS Model 18, which until 2007 had known just one single owner. Mr Cole's 1968 Commando Fastback was bought by him back in 1973 for £175, upgraded with the long-range tank and seat. During their 36 years together the engine has been rebuilt twice and the bike was completely restored in 1989. By complete contrast, Mike Love's 1977 Silver Jubilee Bonnie is completely original and has not been restored. In fact, it's probably never been out in the rain!
All those who display their bikes at the Ardingly Show can take home a commemorative memento, and the class winners and runners-up receive handsome awards. We also provide an additional prize from the magazine for the 'RealClassic' of the event: not the best in show, but a classic motorcycle which shows every sign of being much-loved and well used. This time it went to Mr G Simmonds for his extremely standard 1957 Douglas Dragonfly - and thanks to the Pauls and Karl for making that difficult decision.
We'd also like to extend our gratitude to all those who brought their bikes along to the Show and created such impressive displays as well as making it a very enjoyable day. Mrs Elk should be congratulated for developing the event into a highlight of the calendar, and we're looking forward to the October Show already…
The South Of England Realclassic Bike Show returns to the South of England Showground at Ardingly near Gatwick, 15 mins from the M23, RH17 6TL
South of England RealClassic Bike Show, March 2010, Full Results
Best Club Stand
Photos kindly provided by Paul Morgan-Knight and Alan Goff
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