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11th October 2004

The 1st Japanese Ride-In, Show and Jumble

This whole show came as something of a surprise, 'cos we didn't know we were going until we did. Last minute decision. Likewise for Paul G80...

Surprises are always nice to be a part of. I am of course talking about the one Frank and Rowena got when I showed up at the Japanese Ride-In organised by Andrew Greenwood on the first weekend in October. I say 'surprise' because they weren't expecting to see me until the other end of October, but that's another story...

Warwickshire Exhibition Centre is just outside Leamington Spa near the Fosse Way and best of all is an inside venue, which was handy given the weather we experienced. The show was well-attended with emphasis on the quality of bikes rather than the quantity. But this was the first time this show had been run. The autojumble was doing quite a good trade as were the stands inside. Certainly, CB Paul was having a field day looking for bits for his motley collection of Hondas. I'm pretty sure he got a good deal on a new old stock air filter for one of the CB350s.

Any way back to the plot at hand. Shows are about prizes and this was no different. The judging detail was given to Frank and Steve The Toaster (as Frank insists he knows little about Japanese bikes and wouldn't do it on his own). Various prizes were awarded -- and I'm sorry but I wasn't taking notes, so if I leave you out I apologize now.

RG500 'Sheene Replica'. Kind of. Almost.

Best In Show went to an RG500 a replica of the one ridden by a certain Mr B Sheene(funny, he didn't have moustache or a plane). The proud owner was absolutely made up when found he found that he had won.

Best Honda went to a CB750 owned by some Mr McCann geezer. Runner-up was a lovely Gold Wing.

A special RealClassic prize (made up on the day) was given to a gorgeous Bridgestone as it was so lovely but didn't fit any of the proper categories.

Did you know that the Bridgstone company was set up by a Mr Stonebridge? No, really.

Best Suzuki was an immaculate GT750, and the runner-up a GT250L.

Best Kawasaki was either a Z900 or an awesome homologation-special inline watercooled 2-stroke twin which was hiding on the VJMC stand (but we can't remember which way round the awards went).

Best Yamaha was a smart DT175. An Elsie almost won an award too but it ring-dinged off before the presentation.


Paul's quite right: we had no idea we were going to this show until the tickets came in the post and we thought 'what the heck. New event; let's drag ourselves out.' Glad we went too.

The exhibition centre is a brilliant venue but it has been jinxed for classic bike events until now (I can think of three which have started up there and subsequently disappeared). That must be in part because it's bloomin' awkward to find the first time.

Once you know that it's on the junction of the Fosse Way and the A425 then it's a doddle, but unlike most county livestock centres and showgrounds it isn't marked on any maps. So even if you take the right junction off the M40 and avoid Warwick town centre, you still spend much of your time with a nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach, wondering if you're heading in completely the wrong direction. All the tourist signs point towards Gaydon's Heritage Centre - the trick is to go the other way!

Once you're there, it's a smashing venue. Clean, warm indoor hall, good autojumble area, plenty of bike parking space on solid ground and a grass arena for summer sprawling - plus beautiful loos (A65 Bill will be so pleased to hear!). Good cafe, super snake-and-pygmy pie... never mind going to a show here, I might consider moving in.

The trade support was pretty solid for a new event, and FW managed to collect himself another bag of swag from the autojumble to bring back to The Shed. The informal show - the Ride-In part of the event - was well populated, with some cute looking kit parking up within eyeshot of our stand. Liked the green and white Commando, I did. The trikes made a big impression, too. Emm failed to buy a 500/4, I believe, although I think Oxford Classic Honda might be able to help her out if she still wants it...

Green and white Commando spotted lurking outside the hall.

The clubs stands and private concours made for a small but interesting show - as Paul says, it wasn't packed with bikes but there were plenty of good 'uns to admire. I was surprised to see so few from the VJMC, mind, as I thought they could probably fill the entire hall with Rising Suns all on their own. In fact, given how many people keep telling me that the classic Japanese movement is about to take over the world, and how we should lean far further in that direction ourselves with the site and the magazine, the concours entries were low compared to the National Clubs Show (which also kicked off this year), or the annual Classic Jap Show at Donington which takes place in January and is really busy, packed with bikes. It will be interesting to see if Andrew Greenwood's new British bike event, scheduled for January 9th at Warwickshire again, attracts more support. Or less. Gulp.

Emm is about to test the ability of Steve the Toaster's hat to withstand a variety of hot and cold drinks. This is never his favourite part of any bike show.Still, whenever you go to a new event, as a trader or as a paying punter at the gate, you're taking a step into the dark. (I suppose that attending a new event is considerably less scary than starting one). I can't say that we made a lot of money this weekend, or that we put the magazine in front of thousands of people. But it was a good excuse to get together with the usual RC suspects, and say 'hi' to a bunch of folk we hadn't seen before, and to wish a new venture well.



The next Japanese Classic event is Andrew Greenwood's well-established Vintage and Classic Japanese Motorcycle Show and Jumble at Donington Park Exhibition Centre, on Saturday and Sunday 5/6th February 2005. More info from

The next big event for the RealClassic Roadshow is the South of England Motorcycle Show at Ardingly in West Sussex, on October 31st 2004. We'd love to see heaps of RealClassic reader's bikes in the concours, so enter yours here and save on the 5 admission fee. The show opens 10am to 3pm and you'll find it on the B2028 which is 15 minutes from J10 off the M23. If you're a RealClassic Club member then take your card and show it on the gate cos that'll get you in for 4.

Can't get to Gatwick? No problem. We'll be back in the Midlands the following weekend, 7th November 2004, for the Malvern RealClassic Show and Jumble, at Three Counties Showground. Again, don't be shy - come and show your bike - and we'll see you there!


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