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21st September 2011

Sleaford Show 2011
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Roy Workman discovered Indians, Ajays and a super selection of sidecars at this enjoyable annual event...

This year the Sleaford Historic Car and Motorcycle Show had to move to a new venue. For many years the show had been held in the grounds of a local college; however rebuilding work at the college forced this change. Luckily the local Council loaned their car park and offices for use.

The show has sections for cars, motorcycles, commercial and agricultural vehicles; over 150 vehicles were listed in the programme at the time of printing, although more actually took part on the day. Talking to stallholders and vehicle entrants, the new location was given the thumbs-up. It would appear that the show could be held here again as the building work at the college may not be finished in time for next year's show.

All of life is here...

This showground is larger than the previous one, but more accessible in that it consisted of one big display area, as opposed to several smaller ones at the college.

I rode in and the second bike-and-sidecar outfit to arrive. I parked close to Bob Carrott's Triumph Bonneville one, which now hauls a Busmar child/adult chair. His wife was having trouble using the sports sidecar that was previously attached to the bike.

High-Viz didn't stop that bloke's head getting cruelly chopped off...

From the sidecar point of view this year we did really well, as several outfits turned up. We had four outfits parked up very close together , almost creating a 'Sidecar Corner'. There was a lot of interest in the rigs; several people who stopped for a chat had either ridden outfits, or still had outfits, and many told stories of the fun that they had with their motorbikes and sidecars. I gave out several Federation of Sidecar Clubs flyers and copies of 'Outlook', the Fed's magazine.

Everyone attending the show gets a voting slip showing each class of vehicle. There were five sections for motorcycles. The earliest section was for pre-1950 bikes, with three 1920 machines in this group; there was also a really nice Indian Scout and an AJS.


The next group spanned 10 years. I spoke to the owner of one of the machines, which was a BSA Bantam. He bought the bike new on 13th July 1950 -- 61 years is a long time to keep a bike!

Original owner bought the Bantam new on 13th July 1950 -- 61 years is a long time to keep a bike...

The following group covered 1961 to 1970 and it included, amongst others, some nice Triumph and AJS machines. One machine that interested me could only be described as a 'special'. It was built to the size of a 1920s motorcycle, but using modern parts, like a disc front brake. It was well done -- it had semi-drop handlebars, an oblong aluminium petrol tank was fitted and the top tube of the frame ran above the petrol tank. I wished that I had taken more photos of this machine -- it was certainly a one-off.

'I used to ride one just like that when I did my National Service'...

The 1971 to 1985 group was well represented, with several Norton Commandos on display. The final group ran from 1986 to date. One of these was a modern Royal Enfield that caught the eye of a gentleman being pushed around in a wheelchair. He told us that he had worked at the Enfield factory in England, and we pointed out to him where some older Enfields were displayed.

The programme stated that 55 bikes were entered; however, I felt that nearer 80 machines were on display, Unfortunately several motorcycles were turned away from the showground this year -- maybe they had turned up on spec or too late to be allowed in. I spotted about another 20 motorcycles parked across the road, opposite the showground.

The motorcycles were in a more condensed area this time, making the taking of photographs a little difficult. I mentioned this to one of the organisers, and I was told that they are hoping to make more space available for bikes next year.

I felt that it would be useful to mention in the show's leaflet, for visitors new to the town, that a short walk along the river bank, just behind the showground, would take you to the town's water mill and café. This would give something else for show visitors to look at.

The show opened at 10.30 am, with free entry for the public. There was live music playing for most of the day. First up were Steppin' Stones, folk musicians, then Sleaford Ukulele Orchestra entertained us, followed by two sessions from the Lincolnshire Hospitals Band. All the groups played a nice mixture of songs and music.

Royal Enfields on Right Now......

As usual, there was also an indoor craft fair at the show, This included wood crafts, gifts, cakes, jewellery, chocolates and much more. This year it was held upstairs in the Council's Civil Suite, but it was well signposted.

Outside there were the usual stands selling hot dogs, burgers, chips, ice-cream, teas and coffees and hot and cold drinks were available all day.

All of life is here, still...

The voting slips had to be entered by 2pm, with the results being made known at 4.30pm. I had voted for the Indian motorcycle, and this came second in its class. An immaculate AJS model 31 CSR also took a trophy and the sidecars did well. My friend, Dave Watson, came second in class with his Royal Enfield outfit, whilst Robert Chapman won a trophy with his 750cc sidevalve Chinese lookalike BMW copy. Richard Coulson took the RealClassic concours award with his Triumph Thunderbird.

This was a well-organised show in a new venue. Goody-bags were handed out to everyone, each containing a show programme, voting slip and lots of leaflets from the show's sponsors. The weather stayed dry and sunny. The show is well-worth a visit, especially if you have not been before, and parking is available opposite the showground if needed.


More information and details of the next event are available at


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