27th January 2010
The Springfields Shopping Centre at Spalding hosts an indoor winter motorcycle show. Roy and Chris Workman discovered a cracking display of classics...
This show takes place at the Springfields Events Centre, which is adjacent to Springfields Garden and Shopping Centre, just off the A16 in Spalding, Lincolnshire. It is an easy place to find because there are brown tourist road signs to show you the way. This is a weekend event held in January, a perfect reason to get the bike out and have a ride; if you were taking the family you could check out the show whilst the others browse the shops.
This was the fifth year that the show has been held here. The show features racing stars, past and present, including Phil Read on Saturday and Steve Plater doing the honours on Sunday.
I first got to hear about the show through Colin, a member of the Wolds Biker Group. They run the helmet park and the proceeds go to charity. Last year they raised about £140, as well as having a club stand in the club area.
Three days before the show I wondered how it would fare. I only live twenty miles from Spalding, and my road was still covered with ice. Luckily the weather cleared - but not soon enough for the Wall of Death Team who had been booked but they cancelled because of the snow and ice. Saturday it rained in bucket-loads for most of the day. I was told that the grass area where the cars parked was under water with ducks floating on it! Colin told me that the helmet park was very quiet on the Saturday. However, Sunday was bright and sunny and the bike parking area was fairly full. Motorcycle riders had hard standing for their machines.
Luckily the show is held totally inside, which means that you and the exhibits stay dry and the bikes on display can be left overnight in safety, Admission charges are £7 per adult and £3 for children aged 5 to 15, and parking is free.
The show area is split into three halls and there were several club stands. John, of Boston Motorcycle Riders' Association, told me that he had attended all of the shows and at the first show he brought along his 1952 BSA A7. Back then, his was the only classic bike there, and as he walked around the show he heard people saying 'Have you seen that old bike over there?' He feels that the classic part of the show is now very important. There were 40 classics on show this year, and these were limited by the amount of space available,
Wandering around the hall where the classic bikes were, the Royal Enfield Club had several bikes on display, ranging from a 1921 200cc two-stroke, a Prince model and up to the very latest model. Some of the machines were fitted with Airflow fairings and looked very smart.
Being a motorbike and sidecar man, I spotted a 1951 Norton Big 4 fitted with a BSA sidecar of the same period. I got talking to the owner, a chap called Ken, who used to sprint outfits years ago. The offer of this combination came up and he bought it. He told me that he gets lots of waves from other road users when he is out and about on it. Apparently the sidecar is very comfortable as the wheel is sprung and the body is mounted on leaf springs. He thoroughly enjoys using the Norton. He also had two solos on display. There were also some 1960's and 70's Japanese motorcycles on display.
Ken kindly pointed out Dave Bryant, who organises the Classic Section of the show. Dave was very pleased that on Saturday Phil Read had autographed a photo of himself racing a Norton in the 1960s. An official photographer wanted some shots of Phil so he brought the cameraman back to the Classic Section for the photo shoot. Dave had a very nice 1967 Triumph Bonneville on display. He explained that the machines on display all came from a ten mile radius from the show. He had several more bikes he could have called on, however space was limited.
A nice touch was Steve Plater sitting on a Rudge motorcycle having his photo taken. He told me the bike was in nice condition and he was pleased that the owner rode it regularly. Our conversation was cut short when he had to rush off for a question and answer session
This is not just a classic show; in the trade hall Honda had the biggest display of bikes, and there were also Yamahas, Ducatis, some Victory motorcycles and some very reasonable priced Chinese machines. There was a large stand selling tyres. There were also plenty of stalls selling clothing, crash helmets and the like, as well as a nice display of tool stands.
There was a restaurant doing hot food, light snacks and drinks, whilst outside the entrance were a couple of hot food trailers.
Overall it was quite a nice show, particularly as I was interested in the classic scene. However somebody I spoke to did not feel it was so good for the more modern rider. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and felt that it was well worth a visit. I spent an enjoyable couple of hours wandering around, further enhanced by the fact that there is a huge complex of shops next door to spend your money in.
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