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18th July 2008

North West VMCC Events
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The Aintree Sprint and Show takes place at the end of this month. Odgie went to the Worden Park Show earlier this year, and shows us what we can expect at Aintreee...

The Aintree Sprint and Show is on Sunday 27th July 2008 at the racecourse of the same name, and is organised by the NW Section of the VMCC and Mersey Motorcycle Club. Earlier in the year – much earlier! – the VMCC team hosted the Worden Park Show.

Fit-looking ES2 Wideline was well hard in bare metal – shame he was going to paint it…

You might think the beginning of January, with its attendant freezing weather and post-festivities lethargy, might not be the best time in the world to hold a classic bike show. But we’re made of Stern Stuff (that’s like Real Stuff only More Stern) up’t North, so for over twenty years now, that’s just what the North West section of the VMCC have been doing.

How to make a Velo single look even more brutishly handsome - fit off-road tyres on 18 and 21 Akront alloy rims.

The venue is a lovely little complex of old buildings and cobblestoned courtyards, set in the centre of Worden Park, Leyland, and lends itself well to an influx of motorcycles varying from the old to the positively ancient.

Warren-Villiers stroker. It’s a tandem twin with a wet sump. Yep, you read that right. Watch for a full feature in RC sometime soon.

Despite predictions to the contrary, it wasn’t overly cold, and more importantly it was dry. The sun even made a brief appearance during the day. Crikey. Which meant there were around a couple of hundred bikes dotted about, and although some of the older ones were trailered in, I did follow a venerable and very old Indian as it chuffed along the lanes leading to the park.

Nicely used SOS with single cylinder, twin port, watercooled two-stroke lump. Note outside flywheel and unfeasibly groovy pipes.

With a refreshing lack of officialdom, the day takes on a beautifully laid-back feel. Space was allocated in the somewhat tiny Arts centre for a well supported girder fork display, cleverly arranged in date order (but packed a little too tight for photography), but other than that, it was turn up, find somewhere to park your bike, and bimble around enjoying yourself. That atmosphere of bonhomie, along with a very varied and eclectic mix of machinery, really did make for a very enjoyable few hours.

Purposeful-looking Moto Guzzi early laid-down single featured unusual exhaust-over-inlet valve arrangement.

I can quite see why the event has gone from strength to strength over the years. If you live anywhere around the North West, make a note in your diary – first Saturday of January 2009. Before then, of course, the same people play a big part in putting on the Aintree Sprint and Show on Sunday 27th July 2008.

Cezeta scooter dates from 1961 – when CZ were in their Dan Dare period obviously (do space heroes have picnics though…?) (Ah, it would be for Digby’s butties.)

Practice starts at 10am with racing from 12.30 until 4.30pm and competitors include former GP and TT stars. There’s also autojumble, trade stands, club displays, refreshments and free parking.

Real Classic regulars will have seen these bikes before – Red Rose Classic trials club had their own little display area.

You can enter your bike for the static display entries, book a trade stand or autojumble site on 0151 520

A brace of M20s in a woodland setting – if it wasn’t for the Honda in the background, this could have been 1940s Normandy.

Fire-engine-red Indian was just stunning. A one-previous-owner bike, the first guy bought it new, rode it a coupla times, fell off one some tramlines, and stuck it in his shed for a zillion years. Then a local VMCC member discovered it. It needed a cosmetic restoration, but the mechanics were perfect - even the honing marks were visible on the original bores.

Splendid combination of 1961 CZ single, and period (well, 1965) Pav40 trailer. The owner found the trailer at a swap-meet in Holland – despite having deliberately gone via Easyjet so he couldn’t buy anything to bring home… A UK jumbler brought it back in his van, but the real result was opening the lid when it arrived and discovering the full fitting kit, including hitch, all ready to bolt onto the CZ.

1910 Singer 3.5hp. G E (the ‘Wizard’) Stanley’s record breaking bike, which took the Flying Start mile in 1912 at 73.02mph, and the Standing Start 5 and 10 mile records in 1913 at 73.11 and 70.39mph respectively.

The frame had gone missing, so a 1909 replacement has been used, and the top ends exploded regularly (and still do when the bike is used in anger apparently), but the crank and rod, cases, magneto etc are all original. Reputedly this was the first bike tuned to utilise valve overlap, the exhaust cam contacts a bulge created on the inlet cam-follower to extend inlet valve opening.

Nortons on eBay

Triumph racing outfit looked more than capable. Sticker on the rear mudguard reads ‘Danger - Never pointing in the right direction’ and pretty much says it all.

Variations On A Theme 1: 1968 BSA B40 in military blue…

Variations On A Theme 2: ….or BSA B40 from 1966 in green.

Variations On A Theme 3: Yamaha TR1 V-twin shoe-horned into a Wideline frame…

Variations On A Theme 4: …or ditto with a Ducati lump (Norcati or Ducton?)

Cute little Gilera café-racer was typical of the unusual models that seem to appear from nowhere once a year.

Vintage Triumph racer was only recently put together, but still quick enough to take a class win at the 2007 Aintree Sprint.


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