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18th March 2009

South of England Show Preview
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The 2009 Spring Ardingly RealClassic Bike Show is but a few days away, and some (fairly) famous motorcycles will be on display alongside an array of British, Continental and Japanese classics...

The season always gets off to a good start in the south of England with the RealClassic Bike Show at Ardingly, West Sussex. This year's event takes place on Sunday March 29th 2009, and will be graced by several intriguing machines which have been featured in the magazine -- plus a whole host of other classic bikes from the 'lovingly restored' to the 'regularly ridden' and the 'almost original'

Double take? It's deja-vue all over again Norton's Unified Twin

Factory prototypes always attract attention and Norton's Unified Twin often causes a few double-takes from people walking by who can't quite figure out what it is. AMC developed the unit construction engine with a view to replacing the aging Norton Dominator, but it was one of those projects which never made it into production. Enthusiast Anthony Curzon identified the engine and then spent an unholy amount of time, energy and effort reconstructing it into full working order, housed in a Dominator chassis. We rode the bike back in 2004 when it appeared in the magazine: at Ardingly it will be displayed on the Surrey branch stand of the Norton Owners' Club. See if you can spot it!

'The Hendersons will all be there - Late of Pablo Fanques Fair - What a scene' 1917 1000cc Henderson

More recently, in a six part series in 2008, engineer Peter Jenks demonstrated how you can upgrade a standard Hinckley Bonneville to extract more accessible performance and adapt the bike to suit your riding style and requirements. His own Bonnie has become a truly individual machine, a much-modified one-off creation which you'll be able to inspect in the metal at Ardingly. Peter founded the Jenks Bolts accessory company, so you can expect to see all manner of special fasteners and super-shiny embellishments.

MZ with blue-and-white seat upstages Jota... 1974 MZ ES150

If older classics are more your cup of tea then keep your eyes peeled for the 1937 Vincent Comet which will be on the Vincent OC stand. This machine was donated to the VOC by a long-standing member for the enjoyment of Club members. It moves around the UK sections on an annual basis - this year is the turn of the VOC South London section, and the Comet will be travelling to many events in their area during the year, ridden and enjoyed by a different Club member on each occasion. What a great idea - perhaps other owners' club should adopt the same strategy?

There are plenty of other clubs booked in to the Show who'll be bringing classics of all shapes and sizes and from all corners of the world (although there's a distinct leaning towards old Brit, as you might expect!).

The AJS and Matchless OC are represented by two local sections (Sussex and East London), likewise the BSA OC (South London and Sussex) and the Norton OC (Kent and Surrey). Strangely, there's no sign of a Triumph Owners' MCC entry, but we suspect there'll be plenty of Trumpets among the 150-plus private entries and probably on the Mid-Sussex British MC display, too. If your tastes range a little wider then you should keep your eyes peeled for the Indian Riders MC and a collection of Ner-a-Cars - truly something you don't see every day!

Among the private entries, we're hoping to see the 1972 Yamaha FS1E which was restored in 2007 with a special livery to commemorate the 15th annual Rockers' Reunion. A 1974 Kawasaki Z1A also sounds like its worth seeking out; this ten year rolling restoration 'has cost seven times more than a new one in 1974' according to its owner, but 'it's only money!'

Yamaha FS1Es on

Bikes arranged by class. Ones with seats nearest the front please, green ones near the door.

The display bikes range from 1920s Douglas, Levis and Ner-a-Cars through to 1970s Suzuki two-strokes and Yamaha triples. Mrs Elk, the Show organiser, aims to group the display bikes by class, which will make life a wee bit easier for the judges but should also improve the overall experience for spectators. And once you've exhausted yourself gazing at the array of metal magnificence, there should be a new social zone, with chairs and tables under cover, so you can have a cuppa tea and catch your breath before moving on to rummage in the autojumble and inspect the trade stands.

P57 Mustang?. NorBSA - Wideline frame, Goldie motor

So we'll see you for the South of England RealClassic Motorcycle Show and BikeJumble on Sunday March 29th 2009. Don't forget: RealClassic magazine subscribers can claim 1 off the gate admission price of 5 (please show your blue RC card when you pay), and the doors open to the public from 10am at the South of England Showground, Ardingly RH17 6TL - it's a 15 minute ride from the M23, within earshot of Gatwick Airport.

There's more information at or you can talk to Mrs Elk, the organiser, on 01797 344277.


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