11th July 2012
A spot of British summer didn't deter classic bike enthusiasts from visiting this popular show. Roy Workman even found some sunshine for his photos...
This was the 18th Swaton Vintage Day and Country Fayre held at Thorpe Latimer, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire. The weather did not look too bad as I set off to attend the show, but after a couple of miles the heavens opened and the plastic over trousers went on. The rain continued to the rally site. Joss Bourne, who for many years has run the motorcycle section of the show, ran out from his marquee and pointed to me. 'Your place is over there' he said and promptly returned to the dry. I parked my outfit and sought cover in the marquee as well.
Joss told me that he had 60 entrants booked in on motorcycles. However at 10 am, the official time to be on site, there were lots of empty gaps. The owners were probably put off by the rain; this was the same for the cars and tractors.
Most years at this show you can melt in the heat, so I had come prepared - I had my sunshade umbrella and my waterproof one as well. Later in the morning I was sitting under the sunshade holding up the waterproof one trying to stay dry! As the day wore on the weather improved, and then some more of the vehicles booked in turned up.
Bob Chapman turned up on his new outfit; he had part-exchanged his Chang Jiang outfit at F2 motorcycles for a new Ural, and he is delighted with it. He can now go that bit quicker, and it corners better and it stops quite quickly courtesy of the disc brake up front. The reverse gear is operated by a lever on the tank. Other outfits turned up later and we had quite a nice display.
The local AJS / Matchless Club turned up later and helped with the display, and eventually about 70 machines were on show. With good weather this show has attracted over 100 motorcycles in recent years.
Being a country show there is a good mix to look at, including medieval jousting in the show ring, terrier racing (you need to bring your own dog!), classic cars, tractors and commercial vehicles. Swaton has its own brewery in the village. and they put up a beer tent at the show. There were also craft tents and trade stands, and somebody even brought along a climbing wall. There was a live band and the World Egg Throwing Championships took place. There was a nice collection of stationary pumping engines in action as well.
The field held up very well considering the amount of rain that had fallen; the main entrance got a bit muddy but the rest was fine. However, in respect to the field, the car, tractor and commercial vehicle displays in the show ring were cancelled, although the motorcycles were allowed in. The sun came out to play in the afternoon and it was quite nice.
Something new this year was a collection of old pushbikes brought in by the Long Sutton and District Veteran Cycle Club, the newest being 1938. One member of the club told me that he has eight Penny Farthing bikes. For charity he once rode one from Hyde Park to Scotland. This is an amazing collection, and the people in the group were very willing to talk about their machines. They are hoping to come to the show again next year.
As usual - a well organised one-day show; well worth a visit, and hopefully next year a bit more sunshine earlier in the day would be good. See www.swatonvintageday.com
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