May 23rd 2016
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Peterborough Festival of Motorcycling
This weekend event picks up where the old BMF show left off. Roy Workman recommends the fruit cake...
The show guide listed which events were on and where, with something to watch from 10am to 5pm on both days. Most of the major motorcycle manufacturers brought along bikes that you could take for a ride on routes that were a mix of fast A-roads and twisty country lanes. These ride-outs proved to be very popular and were going out at regular intervals. Steve Colley, well known for his stunt trials riding, gave several displays over the weekend. The Wall of Death was busy as well.
You could get on the showground from midday on Friday, with passes for club members putting on a display. That nice man Dan Sager was very helpful organising the plot for our sidecar display. Talking to members from the Federation of Sidecar Clubs, I was told that the musical entertainment on both Friday and Saturday evenings was good.
The various club stands suited all tastes, as did the variety of fast food outlets. There was a stand from the Brown Bread Company which seemed to do a steady trade - as well as bread it also sold cakes, samosas, pies and pasties. I really enjoyed a slice of their fruit cake!
The Transatlantic Trophy Races were a highlight of the weekend, featuring Colin Edwards’ American team and Chris Walker’s UK team. This was dirt / flat track racing on an oval course in the centre of the showground, with plenty of seats to watch from. It was excellent - plenty of excitement to get the adrenalin going. Close to the oval track was a parade loop, where classic machines were run. It was nice to hear the different types of engines having a real go. An AJS 7R looked and sounded good amongst all the multi-cylinder bikes.
Chris Walker, best known for riding in British Superbikes, has recently turned his hand to sidecar racing and he did a few parade laps on his outfit. Apparently, at his first sidecar race at Snetterton, Chris finished in sixth place. Being a sidecar rider myself I was impressed with the way that Chris’s outfit went. You should not forget the passenger moving around on the sidecar, trying to get the best out of the outfit.
Saturday’s weather had been dry but a little windy and cloudy with some sunny spells. Sunday turned out to be a perfect day, and the ice cream stalls did a good trade.
Opposite Sidecar Island was an autojumble area. Among the stands here were Steve’s Rockers, selling rocking motorbikes made out of good quality plywood. These were really impressive. The one on display was like a Triumph but he also does V-twins. The price was from £400 for a half-size Bonneville rocker (details from stevejbaughn @gmail.com). Makes a change from the bog-standard rocking horses…
I got talking to Brian Rust, an ex-sidecar racer. His son, Colin, used to race a Norton rotary outfit, but this is now used for parade laps only. Colin had told me on a previous occasion that some spares can be expensive and tricky to obtain.
On Saturday, I spotted the Haywards of Cambridge stand. They had a couple of old motorcycles on display but I did not take too much notice of them, looking instead at the various Royal Enfield models. Later one of the guys on our stand explained that these were new machines done in a 1920s style, complete with a flat petrol tank. The machine called the Sterling Drayton was the work of a chap in Italy and had taken several years to perfect. The bike comes in either 125 or 230 capacities. David Stanley of Haywards told me they have sold several so far, and that some of the owners are going to ride them back to Italy. This is a cracking bit of kit that you could have serious fun with!
There was a parade track and it was nice to see racing machines of all ages, one an AJS model 7R, battling it out with multi-cylinder bikes. One bonus was that the National Motorcycle Museum brought eleven classic and historic bikes for visitors to ride - for FREE! The team from the museum offered rides around the parade track. The bikes ranged from the oldest, a 1914 New Comet, to a 1990 Norton F1 Rotary. My choice was a 1939 Triumph Tiger 100; I paid £10 for one of these in 1960 and it came complete with a box sidecar. Spaces were quickly snapped up to ride these machines, and they all sounded good.
There were lots of stalls selling riding kit at good prices, plus plenty selling tools etc. Traders ranged from motorcycle specialists; powder-coating, custom workshops, ear plugs, action cameras, etc, to books. Or you could book a holiday trip abroad. There was so much to chose from.
Thanks to all the clubs and owners who turned up and gave us such a diverse range of machines to look at.
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