When Easter becomes but a fond, chocolate stained memory you know that a trip to Stafford is just around the corner. Yes, it’s time to welcome once more the 33rd Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show. It certainly looks like being a vintage year – if you’ll pardon the pun – for the UK’s biggest classics showcase. Could there be even more turning up than the 30,000 enthusiasts who graced the Stafford County Show ground last year? There are certainly plenty of reasons to bless the show with your presence, including…….
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Show organisers Mortons have a canny knack for attracting top notch stars and this year is no exception. Be sure to catch guest of honour Phil Read MBE as he regales with tales of an extraordinary racing career – 52 GP victories, eight world and TT titles each – and fires up his old championship winning Yamaha 125 and 250cc machines which his former mechanic Ferry Brouwer is bringing to the show. Phil will be appearing twice daily so there’s really no excuse not to see the great man in the flesh. Hot off the press! Three time BSB champ, John Reynolds will also make an appearance at the show on Sunday – so get yourself down there!
A particularly fine Vintage policy
The Stafford show is the official launch platform for three new vintage and classic motorcycle insurance policies through Carole Nash. This is good news for owners of bikes as old as motorcycling itself as well those with relatively youthful models as young as ten. Here’s why. The new Vintage policy for bikes aged over 30 offers a zero excess, the welcome freedom of unlimited mileage, multi-bike and multi-rider cover, owners’ club discounts and free agreed value. It even includes breakdown, homestart and accident assistance worth a good £100. A new Classics policy, for bikes between 20-30 years old, offers the similar benefits but with a fixed excess of just £50 and low mileage discounts. Finally, for bikes between 10-20 years old the new Future Classics policy offers owners of more modern bikes access to typically more advantageous classic insurance rates and benefits like agreed value. That could see a 35 year-old 2003 Fireblade owner saving over 55% as the cost of his or her comprehensive insurance plummets to just £313.10^.* The bottom line is that it’s well worth bobbing over to the Carole Nash marquee to see how the changes might affect you.
It’s hammer time
Sunday will see the hammer coming down on an estimated £1m worth of bikes. Naturally we are not talking literally but rather of the annual Bonham’s auction of classic and vintage motorcycles. The legendary auctioneers have some real treats in store with top billing going to a Vincent Black Shadow which set eight new records at Montlhéry in France back in ’52. Its owner for the past 40 years has fully restored this iconic machine which bears matching numbers. If it tickles your fancy then you will need to raid a sizeable piggy bank: Bonham’s pre-sale estimate values it at between £110-130,000. Other auction highlights include three Broughs – a 1931 SS80, 1926 SS80/100 and 1921 Model G – a 1914 Indian Model F once owned by Steve McQueen, 1957 Ariel Square Four 4G Mk2 and among many foreign marques on offer, a 1972 Laverda 750SFC production racer.
Cummins to get you
Saturday sees road race ace Conor Cummins hitting the show to check out the two Manx Nortons he’ll be riding in this year’s Classic TT. Douglas born ‘Conrod’ is more than familiar with those Isle of Man roads but wants to get up close and personal to Tony Dunnell’s 350cc and 500c machines before taking them on the Mountain course come August.
Bag a biking bounty
Another reason for visiting the Carole Nash team at Stafford is to get in with a chance to win a biking bounty worth up to £20,000. How? Well get a motorcycle insurance quote and you’ll be entered for The Ultimate Biking Giveaway, a free prize drawing offering an immense prize package. Up for grabs is a shiny new Suzuki GSR750, a GP or SBK holiday for two, helmets, leathers, tickets to the UK’s top bike shows, Ace Cafe goodies and Carole Nash’s pioneeringSix Wheel insurance which allows you to cover both a bike and car on one handy, money-saving policy. Why the Six Wheel insurance? That’ll be because as well as that bevvy of biking brilliance the prize includes a nippy Suzuki Alto SZ for those odd occasions when you need four wheels!
Eye for an aye
Among the countless classic and vintage machines on display keep an eye out for TT winner Austin Munks’ 1951 Norton TT. Not only did Munks ride to victory in the 350 and 500c Manx Grand Prixs in 1934, ’35 and ’36, but he did so one-eyed having lost an ocular in a shooting accident. The highly acclaimed rigid framed trials 500 is also thing of some beauty. Say show organiser Nick Mowbray: “Austin Munks is one of the great names from the Isle of Man’s history and was a great character. His Norton 500T provides a link to those glory days which are gone but not forgotten.” We say “aye” to that.
OK, so Walls of Death have been around since time immemorial but, heck, they’re great aren’t they? We at Carole Nash never tire of seeing riders far braver than us defying Newton and his Law of Gravity. This year will see 1920s machines getting up speed to hit the 3Gs spot necessary to prevent an untimely plummet to earth. It’s full on family entertainment as this clip from the 2010 show demonstrates. Do you reckon the camera operator flinched at any point?
The great thing about events like the 33rd Carole Nash International Classic Motorcycle Show is how they bring together our great and varied classics community. Stafford is always a great social event as enthusiasts – over 33,000 of you last year! – swap banter and browse. More than 500 trade and autojumble stands will offer the chance to track down that elusive part whilst no fewer than 70 clubs are attending. What’s not to enjoy?
Fans of classic dirt biking have of course not been forgotten. The Dirt Bike Hall is hosting demos by former European trials champ ‘Magic’ Mick Andrews (catch him in full 70s Yamaha glory here) whilst the Norton Owners Club is bringing Finnish legend Yrjo Vesterinen to its ever popular stand. Vesterinen notched up 11 consecutive championship titles in his native Finland as well as three World Trials titles between ’76-78. He was also the first foreign rider to triumph the Scottish Six Days Trial back in 1980.You can catch him in action, though not at his finest, alongside scores of other 70s international trials aces in this cracking archive footage of the “Superstar Trials” at Yorkshire’s Pateley Bridge. Also on the Norton stand will be 1953 Word Sidecar champ, Stan Dibben.
Let’s cut to the chase. There are many classic events of all types and sizes – and we at Carole Nash pretty much love them all. It’s unmissable n’est pas? If you don’t believe us – we’re not sure though why you wouldn’t! – check out these highlights from last year’s top notch event. It’s got it all right?
^Compared to £707.96 on our existing scheme.
* The Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show is at Stafford County Show Ground on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April. Doors open 9am both days, closing at 6pm on Saturday and 5pm Sunday. Tickets on the gate cost £12 for adults, £11 for seniors and £4 for under-15s.