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4th April 2008


2008 Spring Malvern RealClassic Bike Show
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The sun shone at Malvern this March and a bumper crop of Japanese classics and British old bikes filled the hall. And Dave Minton’s BMW Krauser finally showed up too (even if it did have to be pushed for the final mile…)...

Hosting a motorcycle show in March is always a bit risky. Previous show reports have featured snow, sleet, hail, floods and frogs. Well, maybe not frogs. The occasional Italian, but…

Top photo, top light. 1969 Kawasaki A7 350

Anyway, just to be contrary and despite a stinky weather forecast, the big yellowy thing in the sky came out and bathed the Three Counties Showground in spring sunshine. To add to our confusion, this particular Show took place on a different weekend to the usual one, and was located in a different hall to the usual one, which meant that entrants needed to enter the site by a different gate and ride past the pony club. So inevitably folk turned up a little later than usual, with slightly stressed looks on their faces. All cheerily resolved when they sussed that the replacement hall turned out to be a fair bit plusher than our usual digs, with carpet (!) no less, and well appointed facilities instead of the usual freezing cold outside loo…

Man with Ducati is clearly not sure he's parked in the right place...

The event was also blessed with an unusually varied and voluminous array of club displays, all of which were a credit to the organisations involved. That sounds a little snooty, but the truth is that local groups and branches put on displays which were every bit as good as the ones organised by national clubs and huge organisations. So although there was only one winner and a runner-up in the Best Club Display category, all the organisations should be given credit and kudos for making an exceptional effort, especially as the weather on the previous day was ghastly! Take a bow, then, the British Two-Stroke Club, the North Wiltshire British MCC, the Yamaha Classic Club, the UK Honda Association, the Norton Owners’ Club Gloucester branch, the VMCC Worcester branch and the CX/GL MCC. (Did we leave anyone out…?)

That's 'Bi' pronounced 'Bee'... 1954 (we think) Motobi ‘Spring Lasting’ 200

Among the bikes on display were some familiar faces – like the 1954 (we think) Motobi ‘Spring Lasting’ 200. Concours judge FW was motivated to give it a prize, not only because of its glorious standard of presentation but for bearing the most inspiring model designation of the day! The Motobi marque came to life in the early 1950s when one of the Benelli brothers broke from the family firm and set up his own Moto company bearing his ‘B’ initial – or ‘Bi’ as you might say in Italian, hence Motobi. Clear now? The four-speed 9bhp B200 was a technically tricksy two-stroke, using a rotary disc inlet valve arrangement within a compact ‘power-egg’ engine configuration. Full power was accessible at around 5500rpm, which would carry the 105kg elegant stroker to just under 70mph. The name ‘Spring Lasting’ had no relevance to any of this… shame!

Not sure what model the chrome-tank one is, sorry. Classic Yamahas; 350 and 400cc 2-strokes, and 'round tank' XS500

Then there were the new kids on the Malvern scene, from the Classic Yamaha Club. They took home one of the club awards at their first visit to the show and nearly sneaked the Bike of the Day trophy, too, with an array of old Yams which included the inevitable air-cooled RDs and XS650s. The judges also spotted an interesting, eight-valve XS500 in their ranks, which runs the risk of being featured in the magazine if it returns to the autumn event…

Business was brisk on the RealClassic stand, which was graced by the presence of Tony Lort’s Triumph TSS, Pete and Pauline Dawson’s very clean Matchless G80ES (which starts on the button, too!), and – finally – Dave Minton’s BMW Krauser.

The Krauser is proving to be one of those bikes; it should have made an appearance at the 2007 autumn event but came over all shy and electrically unhappy. Since then it’s been given the once-over by an auto-electrician – which probably explains why it ran fine until it reached the gates of the showground, and then refused to fire up for the final ride to the hall.

'Yes, that *was* me pushing in this morning... Dave Minton's Krauser framed BMW

So, on top of doing his share of the judging for the morning, Dave also had to push the Krauser into place and then organise a trailer to ferry it home again in ignominious disgrace. See? It happens to all of us. Even Dave Minton!

Classic BMW bits on eBay.co.uk

Still, much can be repaired with the application of a Jaffa Cake at an appropriate moment (if not the Krauser itself then at least Dave’s good humour). It helped that a crowd of sympathetic and interested RC readers were on hand to make soothing noises and express admiration – well done Jim Rendell, BikerMarc and Cal, Will Morgan, Ian Soady and all the others whose names escape us due to age and infirmity. Oh, and it was nice to see Pete Sole buying a wicker basket, presumably to keep all his concours awards in!

Of course, it’s much easier to remember the gorgeous bikes which caught our attention, like the well used, faired Francis-Barnett, the pair of stunning Tritons, owned by a father and son, and the matching BMW GS machines which took the off-road award. These high mileage bikes were obviously ridden in all weathers and were owned by a couple who must surely enjoy travelling together. The Norton Owners’ Club stand was knee-deep in handsome Commandos and the like, and Dave Catton, an NOC man, took home the Bike of the Show trophy for his splendid 40M Manx. That was a popular choice, too, if the roar of approval at the prize-giving was anything to go by…

If you were paying careful attention, you would also have noticed Rowena taking some snaps of a pair of interesting Kawasaki two-strokes. RC regulars Pete and Pauline were kind enough to bring along their cute 250 once again (and we’ll try not to lose the photos this time, folks!), while Michael England displayed his extremely unusual A7 350.

Pauline, Pete and the full range of RealClassic caps

Michael’s on a campaign to educate everyone about just how rare his A7 really is; ‘few people know of them, let alone have ever seen one’ he explained. ‘Kawasaki UK told me that only 100 of all models were sold… and with the early model like mine, the figure of 18 is often mentioned.’ Of those eighteen, Michael knows the whereabouts of five A7s still in existence today. Look out for more on both of these Kawasakis, coming to an issue of RealClassic soon!

2-Stroke Kawasakis on eBay.co.uk
Worth seeing twice, if you ask me... 1969 Kawasaki A7 350

So thanks to everyone who attended the show, whether you brought a bike, chocolate for TP, or just yourself and a big smile. Thanks also to Dave Minton for doing the judging, and to organiser Andrew Greenwood for putting the show together and being marvellously laid-back about where we set up our wee stall.

See you all again in November…

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The next RealClassic Bike Show at Malvern will be on Sunday November 2nd 2008 and will include the end of season Champion of Champions Motorcycle Concours Final. Private entries and clubs are very welcome: to display your classic motorcycle you should call 01484 452002 or see www.classicshows.org

The 2009 Spring event is scheduled for March 8th; back to its normal weekend in the calendar. It will be under cover in two halls, so even if the weather is poor the jumblers and traders will all be able to set up indoors and stay warm and dry. More details on our events calendar nearer the time…


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