After the shock of a bank holiday weekend that coincided with beautiful weather, Dave Manning braved April showers for Stafford’s spring classic bike bonanza.
As we all know – or at least you should do if you have any interest whatsoever in classic bikes – the Staffordshire County Showground holds two classic motorcycle shows each year, one in spring, one in autumn.
Traditionally, the earlier event has had a focus towards older machinery, while the later show has a content based around Japanese and Italian bikes from the 1970s and 80s, although the boundaries have started to cross of late, and there is more common ground between the two.
As a focus for this year’s spring show, the organisers were celebrating 100 years of TT races – not 100 years since the racing on the Isle of Man started, as that landmark fell back in 2007 – but the 100 years of actual races, for there was no racing during the war years, and in the year of the foot and mouth epidemic.
This was marked by a collection of iconic machinery that had raced on the Island, including the factory Rudge raced by HG Tyrell-Smith in 1932 in ‘survivor’ condition, a diminutive Honda CR110, the AJS GR10 that gained Frank Longman a third place in the 1926 TT, an ex-Joey Dunlop V4 Honda, Charlie Williams’ Yamaha TZ, and the Formula 2 Ducati owned and raced by previous Old Bike Mart editor, Malc Wheeler.
There was also on-stage interviews with a stack of TT racers, including the ultra-successful sidecar racing brothers, Tom and Ben Birchall, and the softly spoken Bingley Bullet, Ian Hutchinson, alongside Steve Plater, John ‘Moon Eyes’ Cooper, Honda team-mates in 1962 Jim Redman and Tommy Robb, winner of nine TTs Charlie Williams and three-time winner Alex George too – a line-up that justified the entry fee alone!
In order to give back to the Isle of Man TT, show organisers raised just over £518 to donate to the TT Riders’ Association by selling commemorative posters to visitors for signing opportunities with the star guests.
Read more and view more images in the June 2019 issue of OBM – on sale now!