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Inside Bikes

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The 16th Classic Mechanics Show, held at Stafford showground and sponsored by Carole Nash Insurance, was a success this weekend, with more visitors than last year and traders reporting plenty of interest in the classic bike market.

Guest of honour at the show was former 500cc and 250cc World Champion Freddie Spencer, who answered questions from the crowd and signed many pieces of memorabilia for his fans. Freddie said he admired many of the machines on show, rating them as being `awesome’ and was especially impressed with the Classic Racer paddock. Great bikes like Barry Sheene’s old Suzuki RG500 and Kenny Robert’s TZ250 were started up for the fans.

Inside the main hall, crowds gathered at Dave Marsden’s Z Power, where a Z1 turbo special and a replica of the MFP `Goose’ pursuit bike from the Mad Max movie were the star bikes. Other Kawasaki bikes which impressed included a V6 500 special, made with two KH250 engines and the celebration of the H1 500 on the Kawa Triples Owners club stand.

The H1 500 was launched as the Mach III back in 1969 and some outstanding examples were on the club’s stand, plus a working cutaway model of the famous three cylinder two stroke engine, which had been originally used by Kawasaki UK to train their mechanics.

The VJMC won the overall Best Club stand, and a £1000 first prize, with their pirates fancy dress theme, one member even came dressed as a parrot. Notable prize-winning bikes in the concours sections included the Kawasaki V6 for best technical Interest, a Kawasaki Mach III 500 for best 60s machine, Malc Nettleship’s Yamaha AS1 won best Yamaha and Les Benson took the honours for Best Rotary with his 1974 Suzuki RE5.

The best motorcycle in show was Paul Scanlon’s amazing Kawasaki W2 SS, a 650 twin that the Japanese company manufactured in 1968, very much in the style of the BSA twins of that era. Incredibly, the winning W2 hadn’t been restored and was in immaculate, original condition.

Collectors gathered in the Bonhams auction arena, where an ISDT style Vincent Series B Rapide made a healthy £57,600. More affordable classics included a BMW R90 S at £1995, a 2008 Egli Vincent at £25,300, whilst the late Rod Gibson’s Kawasaki Z1A made £9,430. Rod was the editor of Classic Mechanics magazine for some years and will be sadly missed at this show and in the world of classic biking. An annual award will be made at the Classic Mechanics show in his memory.

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