Finally got myself to the Classic Bike Show in Stafford after years of thinking about it. I never realised what a huge event it was. I was inside flogging books but took could not resist taking off on wanders during the lulls. I discovered more adjacent halls followed by acres of stands outside. There’s everything here from Vincents with quarter-million-pound reserves in the Bonham’s auction, to unrecognisable bits of rusted pre-war 2-litre, 4-hp wheelbarrows.
Must be my age but I found it much more engaging than events like NEC or Excel – part auto jumble, part concourse and everything in between. I liked the way stand holders could brew up on camping gas stoves under the table. Can’t be doing that at Excel without a Code One alert. Clocked lots of machines I’d heard of and admired but never actually seen and snagged a nice pair of flat track bars to fit to whatever will have ‘em.
If you’ve never been, take yourself there one year. The one in October is said to be more 60s-70s–80s bikes than pre-unitary exotica. Below, a few pics of what caught my eye.
More about the 5-litre Flying Millyard here – and yes it is two cylinders from a radial aero engine. The same guy built a gorgeous-sounding 100cc v-twin from a Honda SS50 (right). More on that here.
Sponsored by Solvol
James May sizes up an XS
Behind Tesnou – Elephant Rock
More classics than a box of Quality Street
XR650L Tasili N’Ajjer
Norton looks better than ever.
Nice Triton – one of many.
I love the smell of Castrol R in the morning.
Behind Erg Mehajebat
An aero engine?
I do fancy these Mashies
Akar Akar plateau
Camp at Tadjemout Spring
SP! My first trail bike that started it all.
Small dunes in Ahnet
Sleeved down XBR500 mash motor – or something.
‘Needs some work…’
The sunny throng.
Don’t fancy wall-of-deathing this thing.
MT reporting for duty.
A maroon dream. Takes me right back to the Gower Street years.
Sli Edrar – Saharan slickrock
H2, X75, Z1 and a 999 / 888 of whatever at the back.
Remember when bike controls were like this? No, me neither.