National Motorcycle Museum Free Day

by Roy and Chris

Well – another great free day at this museum. If you are interested in British motorcycles this is the day to come as there is so much going on. Chris and I arrived at 9.00 am and people were already queuing to get their cars parked. There are normally loads of motorcycles parked in front of the museum; however, it rained hard all day and this let you know just how good your riding kit was.

Luckily there was an area set up where you could safely leave your very wet kit!! The museum houses the largest collection of British motorcycles in the world with over 1,000 fully-restored machines. On entering the museum everyone was given an excellent plan / timetable. The events start at 9.00 am and finish at 5.00 pm. 

In the entrance foyer there are normally a couple of outfits on display; however this time there were four – two were from the 1920’s, together with a 1936 AJS (this outfit came complete with a spare wheel)

and finally a late model BSA with what looked like a double adult chair.

Whilst taking some photos here I had to step aside to allow John McGuinness to push a racing bike through to the museum shop.

About this time Henry Cole of “Shed and Buried” TV fame also walked in. Sam Lovegrove, also from the TV show, was there for a book-signing event. There were also several other well-known racing stars there for you to talk to. Officially Henry Cole’s “Shed and Buried Live” started at 11.00 am. However the World Cup rugby match was being shown on a huge screen so this got delayed a bit. There was a great cheer when the game finished, with a great result for the home team.

The stars on stage were Steve Plater, John McGuinness, Henry and Sam from the TV and Allen Millyard. The specialist motorcycle builder.

This was a cracking good show – Steve is an excellent compere and is good at asking the stars questions. Trade, auto jumble and club stands gave you plenty to look at; there was a great mixture of motorcycle interests here.

Walking through the trade halls I had a chat with Mitch who was manning the BMF stand. We often meet up at shows. Likewise I spotted Ken, who races classic Norton motorcycles; he often has bikes on display at the Newark Classic show in January and then again a week later at the Spalding show. He had two of his bikes (both numbered 65) on display here. Two well-known auction house firms were here, as was the “Ace Café” with a good display.

The raffle had a top prize of a new / old stock 1977 Triumph Trident T 160; this raffle prize winner was announced during the second “Stars on Stage” session in the afternoon. Twice during the day they had “Warm Up” sessions of racing motorcycles – luckily this was done in the courtyard because the throttles were well twisted. It is amazing who you meet at events like this.

One couple I spoke to had driven up from Devon that morning. I mentioned that I knew Cullompton, and they told me that they live just 5 miles from there. Apparently at the age of 15 (many years ago) the chap had been part of a team felling lots of elm trees in that area and he also drove a Drott clearing the site of roots etc – this area then became the Forest Glade camp site!! I joined a talk by an expert doing a tour of the museum; he was very knowledgeable about the machines in the different halls.

James Hewitt and his team who run the museum have done a first class job with this event, as usual. I have been several times and it is always worth the trip.

If you ride in the parking is free; however if you bring a car then it costs £10 to park, but entry into the museum is free for everyone.