TWO SHOWS, TWO RACES
POSSIBLY THE IDEAL BIKING DAY
I'd set the TV recorder before I left. Moto GP from Italy and almost six hours of BSB from Oulton Park (that way I could fast forward through the ads). Then it was out with the bike into the sunshine to visit a couple of shows. Could be the ideal biking day.
First up was a visit to Squires Cafe Bar, which featured recently in one of our cafe slots. When I arrived mid-morning, the 'joint was packed' (as the old rock and roll song goes). Riders had come to just hang out, but the other interest advertised this weekend was a '2 Stroke Rally'.
Not so much a rally as it turned out, but more of a gathering. A place where restored, polished and fast little Japanese 'strokers' could be rode and admired. I stress Japanese because I only noticed a couple of non-Japanese makes. A lovely MZ International Six Day Trials model and a couple of Ariels parked next to each other. The fully enclosed Leader, and the Arrow. The bike whose engine should've been developed before the two-stroke Yamahas and Suzukis.
I'd guess that when the north European weather first got at the chrome and alloy of those imports, few people thought they'd be restored. And certainly not as lovingly as the British and European bikes for the era before. Yet here they are at shows and on the roads. Time, money and modern restoration methods having kept them alive. Sparkling and smoking through those narrow pipes and expansion boxes.
Yamahas were a gaggle of air-cooled RD 250s and 400s, and a few liquid-cooled RDs showing some imaginative touches. A number of Suzuki X7s were there, looking as if they were still in regular use. And a few examples of how the GT750 three-cylinder 'kettle' could scrub up. Talking of three cylinders, no two-stroke gathering would be complete without a group of super fast Kawasakis. No doubt with uprated suspension to take care of the notorious handling.
Keep those two strokes smokin'.
Back on my home turf of Huddersfield, the annual bike show that takes place in one of the town's parks - also host of the Tolson Museum - was underway. A free event where anyone can wander around the bikes surrounding the museum buildings. Meaning people who're not usually exposed to motorcycling can get an idea of what attracts us to riding and restoring these machines.
Get a group of people, usually blokes bent over an engine, and other interested individuals are bound gather and look on. By the museum wall, three were tending to a rather scruffy Triumph engined Metisse. They were about to deploy starter rollers. It didn't look hopeful.
There was little formality here. One couple had lined up their Yamaha V Max sidecar outfit and had come equipped with a picnic table, food and drink etc. Riders who had brought along more unusual or rare models had typed up and attached information sheets. Just as well in the case of one bike, the tank of which on observation, told you it was a Royal Enfield; the engine, like nothing I'd seen on a R.E before, or indeed on any other bike.
The printed info revealed that it was a 1950 Enfield, but with a small diesel engine fitted. One that is usually found powering cement mixers or similar industrial equipment. It wasn't a pretty sight, but the owner, a confessed tight wad, was proud of the 150 miles per gallon return. Top speed around 60mph.
If there was a centrepiece at the show, it was the Triumph Greeves we featured in our series of Spa stories over recent months. Conceived and built by Andy Haworth and his colleague, Nick Parkin. Andy was busy answering questions about his creation. And Andy's aunt, who is a friend of the museum and helped organise the day, was also there. Helping to steer the bikes that were coming and going to the right part of the show area.
Free events like this are such a good showcase for motorcycling. It enlivens public spaces and promotes a more positive image.
Later that day and into the evening the race meetings didn't disappoint. If you didn't catch Dani Pedrosa's chase down of Marquez, Lorenzo and Rossi to win the San Marino GP, keep an eye out for the repeats. A master class in race tactics and unbounded skill and courage.
Here are a few other pics of the day I couldn't resist sharing:
Did you go to either of these events? Let us know what you thought at email@example.com.
16/09/16 - Passed me test on one of these. ran out of petrol half way , when i got back to examiner i said there had been an accident and police made us wait , passed
16/09/16 - Ariel arrow! Had one!
17/09/16 - Great pics cheers
17/09/16 - Used to have a Golden Arrow.
18/09/16 - They were a bit agricultural, but a good "Solid" bike. I hate to admit it but I "chopperised" mine and fitted stack pipes and apehanger bars which folded forwards under heavy braking. In my defence I was young and stupid then.
19/09/16 - I love the look of the Golden Arrow
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