A hundred years of BMW bikes, the 75th birthday of the BSA Bantam and a stack of Norton rotary racers. All this and more at Shepton Mallet at the end of the month…
The ‘and more’ of course includes the RealClassic Roadshow, which you should find in the Edmund Rack hall, by the main doors (facing the refreshment stalls: how convenient!). We’ll have magazine binders, a selection of back issues and – fingers crossed! – those snazzy new T-shirts which many people requested. Subscribers can of course claim their statutory HobNob – and take home a nifty RealClassic coaster to park your cuppa on. Oh, the thrills.
Once you’ve performed contractual obligations (coffee white no sugar thanks) then you’re free to enjoy the rest of the event. Yes, apparently there’s more to life than just RealClassic – although we find that hard to believe! Among the entertainment you’ll discover heaps of club displays and private entries. It’s worth checking all the halls because the club stands are situated throughout the indoor spaces and have sprawled into the new hall on the far side of the Showering Pavilion.
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Among the notable displays, the Cotton Owners’ Club plan to celebrate the centenary of Stanley Woods’ first TT victory on a Cotton motorcycle. Woods first raced aboard a Cotton in 1922 but won the Junior TT aboard a bike of the marque the following year. He went on to win nine more TT races, but it all started with that first TT victory on a Cotton back in 1923.
The BMW club will also commemorate a centenary; 100 years of BMW motorcycle production. They plan to feature machines from BMW’s first century – does that mean they’ll have a 1923 R32 on display, we wonder? Meanwhile, the Redhill and Clevedon Classic MCC will focus on competition machines – the club was born from its founders’ passion for the Isle of Man and for classic trials. Club members took a trio of rosettes last year, including the Best in Show award, so they’re hoping to please the judges this time, too.
2023 also celebrates the 75th anniversary of the BSA Bantam, so make sure to stop by the Bantam Club to pass on birthday greetings – and you might also spot a brand-new BSA somewhere in the display. Then jump in your time machine and head back to the 1970s and 80s with the Honda Owners’ Classic Club. Club members will recreate the days of ‘Teens and Twenties’ when riders started their motorcycling journey. Look out for examples of 50cc mopeds, 125 learner bikes and then the first steps into ‘big bike’ riding: no doubt a Superdream and a 400/4!
In fact, there are so many classic clubs and British bike enthusiasts in the south-west that this show usually has the most extensive array of interesting old Britbikes at any event. I will definitely be snapping away and looking for future feature bikes – so if you’re displaying a particularly handsome old motorcycle then don’t be amazed to discover a little note on it, saying ‘Can we feature your bike in the magazine?’
Then there’s the extra-special guests of honour. Bristol hasn’t hosted many special guests in the recent past – but this time there’s a definite rotary racing theme. There will be four rotary racebikes on display, with special guests Trevor Nation and Brian Crighton appearing on stage to talk about life on track and in the garage with the John Player Nortons. Crighton will be bringing with him his latest state-of-the-art rotary racing beast, the CR700, which is sure to let out a tremendous howl in the Live Start-up Paddock – alongside the RCW588 racebike, once ridden by the late Robert Dunlop.
All that plus the autojumble and trade stalls, a proper sit-down restaurant should you desire a proper sit-down lunch, and a great opportunity to meet up with your classic co-conspirators. There’s usually some decent bikes to buy, too, often in the outdoor autojumble areas. Just don’t encourage Editor Westworth to buy any more. He has a Commando to get fettled!
WHAT: The Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show
WHERE: The Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN
WHEN: Sat and Sun 25/26 February
WHEN AGAIN: Doors open 9.30am
TICKETS: £14.50 advance from 01507 529529