Friday 13th June 2014
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BMF Show 2014
Roy Workman mans a stand at one of the busiest motorcycling events of the summer season, and enjoys a day of mixed motorcycling in surprising sunshine...
The day started off really well bright and sunny before 7am, and I had a great ride to the Peterborough Showground. As I approached Grantham a hot air balloon was rising off the ground, and it was nice to see someone else enjoying the summer weather.
I travelled on my motorbike and sidecar so when I arrived at the showground I was looking for The Federation of Sidecar Clubs' stand (www.fedsidecarweb.com). This I found fairly quickly, situated next door to the Tri-Anglia Wheels Sidecar Club stand. The new stand position - close to the manufacturers' stands - gave us a larger number of people walking past than had our previous position in the club stands' area.
Just behind the Sidecar Club stand was the Wall of Death, and this was busy on both days.
There were lots of manufacturers displaying bikes at this even, including Indian Motorcycles who lined up alongside Victory. These new Indian machines come with a 5-year promotional warranty. The bikes looked good and they are apparently selling quite well. Interestingly, the other stand next door was Harley-Davison, so there were three cruiser-style manufacturers together. Harley had a bike set up in a frame, with the wheels of the bike resting on rollers, so anyone could ride the bike without actually going anywhere! There were nice displays from other makers, including Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki and KTM, who also had stands close by. Some dealers had demo bikes available for you to try.
Talking to Dave Johnson of the Vincent Club, he told me that the Classic / Vintage Hall was busier this year than last. The Vincent Club had a nice display of machines to look at, including Mighty Mouse; a 500cc Vincent single-cylinder drag racer. At one time this machine had held the world record for its class. During the show, its rider fired it up outside the hall and it was so noisy that the club members helping wore ear protectors! There were several owners' clubs in the hall including AJS / Matchless and Triumph. Bonhams auctioneers also had a couple of bikes on display on their stand.
Wandering around the Club Village there were some good stands, with lots of classic and modern machines to look at. It was nice to meet up again with a friend who was helping out on the Jumbo Run stand.
As usual for the BMF, there were lots of bargains to be had. On one stand I spotted £129 jackets reduced to £40; and even better - Frank Thomas jackets were selling for £20 and crash helmets from £20 upwards. There was lots of gear to look at and plenty of people were carrying away bags stuffed with goodies.
The main arena was as busy as ever, with stunt riders giving displays, speedway sidecars racing, motoball was being played plus the Moped Mania, which took place both on Saturday and Sunday. A friend of mine who rides motorcycles had never seen sidecars racing before, and he was amazed at the way they went, and also at the antics of the passengers ('mobile ballast' as somebody called them!)
At a show like this food and drink are important, and luckily there were plenty of outlets to choose from.
Back on my own club stand, plenty of people admired the new pop-up banners. These feature an older photo of members and their outfits - we had lots of comments like; 'my dad or granddad had a sidecar like that.' We had a lot of interest in sidecars again this year, and we gave out lots of flyers. Dave Baker's BSA outfit, with a full period Avon Streamliner fairing, proved to be a draw, as did the Vincent outfit, and a BMW outfit attracted the attention of the BMF people.
I spotted Jacqueline Bickerstaff (whose PUBtalk column appears in the monthly RealClassic magazine) heading towards our stand. She was interested in the Vincent outfit, and talked to the owner. I mentioned to her that by the autojumble section one dealer had 25 or so small foreign motorcycles for sale, including some Solex machines. Having ridden a Solex in France I quite like these little bikes. Jacqueline was interested in this group of motorbikes and headed off that way.
For those camping and making a weekend of it there was entertainment on the Friday and Saturday evenings.
The BMF this year was a really great show with plenty to look at. The Indian motorcycles looked good as did the WK machines nearby. The weather helped to make things go with a swing. The show is well worth a visit, with machines of all ages and makes to look at.
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