Sidecarland

Festival of Motorcycling 2017

by Roy and Chris

On Saturday I had a good ride down the A1 to the Peterborough Showground.

Usually I wander around waiting for Lesley to give me a shout and point out where I need to go. This time I got lucky and I found the Tri-Anglia Wheels’ stand straight away. Lesley commented that she had never felt so much heat coming off my engine!! I had enjoyed my run down the A1 which is only a couple of miles from the venue. The club had a nice display of outfits on a corner plot. I dropped off a couple of magazines there before being directed to the Fed stand, and again I found this fairly easily.

Opposite the Fed stand was a chap selling mopeds; he seemed to have brought a job lot of Solex mopeds to the show. These machine have been around for years and are very basic, but they go quite well. The auto-jumble stand next to this one had a sign stating that “We buy Junk & sell Antiques”.   The Hedingham Club had their stand close to the Fed one, and they also had a nice display of outfits.

Mark Fowler showed me details of the Driffield Showground, which is where next year’s Annual Rally will be held; the layout looked good, with good amenities. Well done to Mark for organising this.   Whilst we were talking a chap from the next stand pulled up on a three-wheeler. This had a full-sized front wheel, with two very small back wheels. The rider said to his friend that the machine was lethal. He then proceeded to pull the handlebars hard right,   opened the throttle and did a u-turn in only a few feet, and then he drove off at a fair speed. This machine looked fun to ride.

Usually coming onto the showground there is one gate open, and you queue up to get through it, but things were better organised this year. On the Saturday morning there were three gates open – one for campers, another for clubs and the normal entrance for the public, exhibitors and deliveries. I was able to pick up a couple of show guides here, which were very useful to have with so much going on over the weekend. This gate was also used by riders taking out bikes for test rides. Six bike manufacturers had a choice of 55 different models for trial rides, so you could have great fun with all of these bikes.

There was a good range of rider / owner club stands, with a stack of bikes from every era and all sizes of machines. The auto-jumble was mixed in with the club stands, which some people felt was better than a designated auto-jumble area.

Browsing amongst the club stands I spotted the Nene & Welland BSA Classics Owners’ Club. I meet up with these guys three times a year, and they always have a good display of machines. One of them this year was a racing sidecar outfit.

Later I found the Indian club stand – again a nice display, including an outfit, but the bikes that interested me the most were two Brave models; these were made in England at Southport. They were fitted with 250 cc side valve engines. They either had solid rear or were sprung. These bikes were often advertised in the motorcycle press at the time with a sidecar attached. The Saturday and Sunday timetables were pretty full, starting at 9.30 am with the Kevin Carmichael Stunt Show, with Steve Colley riding later. Also at 9.30 am, in the arena, the DTRA and Hooligan racing took place; this is like speedway but a bit slower. This was really exciting, and talking to a steward he told me that there were several ladies taking part in these races. A full programme of events for the whole weekend, with plenty to see and do. Speedway racing took place on Saturday evening between the Peterborough Panthers who took on the Newcastle Diamonds. I was told that this was a very closely-fought match, especially in the final, with a real wheel-to-wheel finish.

Live music was available on Friday and Saturday evenings, with several bands booked to play, complete with a dance floor and a licensed bar in which to enjoy yourself.

The exhibitors covered a massive range of goods, with all the things you could want. At one clothing and helmet stand I spotted jackets down by £150;   however they were still £200. Various companies advertised tours; one that I liked was for a ride from Los Angles to Chicago following “Route 66“. This is a 2,800 mile trip – quite a ride!!

Wandering around I came across some Ducati motorcycles. These were Italian-registered and were used in the Ducati Road Enduro course which was laid out in a field. The instructors were Italian but spoke good English. This course proved popular.

The helmet park was very busy. Close by was a line of racing motorcycles which were advertising the Brackley Festival of Motorcycling which will be held on 13th August this year; this looks to be a good show.

“Get on”.co.uk had a good set up for people who had not ridden at all or very little. This provided taster-sessions on 125 cc machines. Four trainees were sitting on some motorcycles, and two instructors had their work cut out running up and down the training area and getting the pupils to stop before they hit the barrier fence! The firm supplied machines with low seats, making it easier for the pupils to put their feet down.

Frank had a lot of interest in his Flexit sidecar, as people noticed that the outfit was on the lean. John’s Africa Twin also proved to be a talking point.

Tri-Anglia Wheels had a nice corner plot and a good display, with plenty of interest from passers-by. It was also convenient for some of the many food outlets. One pasty stall did well, and I must admit that their products did look good!

The weather was pretty good, with a few showers.

This is a really good show, and I feel that you would struggle to see it all in one day. Luckily I was on a club stand so I had the whole weekend to enjoy myself. Next year there is already a space in my diary to come here again.

Roy and Chris

Is the chap with the bag saying, “all you need is two fingers for braking” Is the lad on the bike saying, “but mum it’s really lovely”. Is mum checking the finance options on her phone. As for the chap at the back, could well be an ex River Dance performer, judging from that pose!

Another great show and super turn-out from Tri-Anglia Wheels, all indications from the MCN team is the show will be on next year.

Little Sid your webmaster.