Blimey; remember me? Sorry we’ve been off air for so long but finally with Classic Bike Live, my show season has officially ended and, hopefully, everything will be a bit calmer from now on.
So, Classic Bike Live; this was the first attempt at a new Classic Bike Magazine show. Held at the Peterborough Arena at least it's only a stone's throw from the office - although it was a long drive for me - Fridays and motorways are a bad combination! This is a bit odd; above is the cover of the programme but can you see the front registration plate, SV6078? That's my first BSA flat tanker, so that's the third of my old bikes to turn up this year! I sold the bike when I lived in Edinburgh so I guess this picture was taken at the MCN Scottish show; nice to see it out and about. I have to be honest I wasn't sure how this show was going to go. Just a couple of weeks after Stafford, at the tail end of the year, would anyone take a chance on a first-time event? All I knew about it was that I was to bring up a few of my old bangers to put on display and that I would being doing some time on stage, on Saturday with racing commentator Fred Clarke, seen here on the stage with guest star Mick Grant... ...and on Sunday with Henry Cole and Sam Lovegrove from the TV Programme 'Shed and Buried'. Now, I haven't met Sam before but I have spoken to Henry on several occasions in the past. Not having a TV, I haven't seen much of him on screen but in real life he is a good fella who always takes the time to chat to his viewers and fans. We've had a few laughs in the past so I couldn't see any problem with doing a couple of half hours on stage yapping about old bikes. All I needed was a five minute chat with them in advance to work out some sort of plan, no problem. Except that they were both besieged from the moment they arrived. I hovered for a while but I couldn't get near there was always someone wanting to shake hands or grab a quick photo. Eventually I had to elbow my way in to get them to the stage in time to go on, I leapt up the steps - microphone in hand, like Bruce Forsyth on a bad day, only to turn round to see the stars stuck into yet another hand shake and picture call! Gulp. Unfortunately, unlike Brucie, I can't tap dance... but luckily the boys broke free before the rest of the audience started stamping and booing me off and after that it all seemed to go pretty well. The show followed the usual trusted formula of autojumble, concours display and a selection of club stands and the only complaint I heard was that there were too many 'tool stalls' for the proper autojumble stands but this is inevitable for a first time event. Few amateur autojumblers will bother if they don't know how busy the show will be. Luckily there was no shortage of visitors on Saturday or Sunday so hopefully the event will happen next year and the jumblers will turn out in greater numbers. Some nice bikes on display; I have little to do with Italian bikes but I admire them from afar and this little DOHC Grand Prix Ducati 125cc was a cracker. r On the other side of the coin was this James 125cc Cadet. This bike represents my idea of restoration, it looked like new - not better than new. The board suggests it's the only known survivor in original condition, unfortunately I didn't see the owner otherwise I would have had to tell him there's at least one more out there, somewhere... Here's one that I did up and ultimately sold to Eric Patterson (of Kempton Park fame) in about 1993. I think it ended up on the Continent. On the subject of British Two Strokes there was also this Aberdale Autocycle. The Aberdale became the Bown Auto Roadster (see My bikes page) which was an altogether superior thing with a duplex cradle frame; but I have never seen another Aberdale. Here's another rarity, a 250cc twin version of the Greeves Scottish Trials bike. The 2T engine is a torquey thing but I suspect it was just too heavy and bulky to work. Speaking of which... How about this for a bit of craziness? It's said that originally the Gold Wing was going to be a sports rather than touring bike but I don't think anybody anticipated it could turn into an Adventure Wing: top effort! Among the trade stands I was surprised to find the lovely Jaqui from CB HQ (Bauer Media) with a display of archive prints and other items for sale. The original EMAP archive was sold to Mortons Media some years ago but Bauer does still have the MCN Archive which has a comprehensive selection of 1970s onward images and Jaqui decided to escape the office and take the show on the road. Check out the website www.greatprints.co.uk. I got a tap on the shoulder from John Smith (above). "Do you know who owns that Norton?" he asked, "Only I sold it in 1967, I just recognised the plate!" As he told me the story the current owner Mark Savage came over and I left them discussing old times. A nice way to round off the day. Right that's it from me for now. Hopefully I'll be back a bit more regularly from now on, it's definitely getting colder out in the workshop! Cheers Rick