John sent this report in a little while ago, but your webmaster has been a little busy, but better late than never. Sid
Staged at the usual venue of Thetford Rugby Club, it was again well attended. There were bikes parked at least six deep across the full width of the training pitch from the try line right up to the 25 metre line. Even the sprightliest of wing three-quarters would have found it impossible to side-step his way under the posts through the mass of muscle-bikes. I had my £5 entry fee in hand as we made our way to the show entry point. My 12 year old Grandson, who was my sidecar passenger for the day and making his first ever visit to a bike show, qualified for free entry, or so I thought. The gent on gate duty took some persuading that he was really under 16. This got Grandson thinking that he could probably pass himself off as a 16 year old some other time when the circumstances suited him. That may be so, but there was no way mean old Grandad was going to pay for him to get in! Once inside, we headed straight for the coffee stand and the burger bar. Twelve year olds who are getting on for sixteen need their nutrition. On the way we passed a stall selling retro biking gear, another selling badges and a few others which were only loosely relating to motorcycles. Further on were the show-bikes, many of which I can remember seeing before but there were some very impressive custom machines on show.
It was at this point that we realised we appeared to have seen all there was to see! All that remained was to sit with the half a dozen or so rock fans listening to the band performing all the old favourites and finish off our burger and coffee, which were still warm. The band was like an up-dated version of the string quartet on the Titanic in that they refused to stop until the ship had finally gone down. I wouldn’t say the Thetford Show was sinking, but many of the exhibitors from previous years appear to have jumped ship. Fortunately, there was something we had missed in our rush to buy junk food. There was a stand with a selection of vintage speedway machines on show and a very amicable owner who was only too happy for us to sit on them. This we duly did and posed for selfies to show our mates.
It proved to be my highlight of the day as it brought back so many memories of my mis-spent youth watching the Hackney Hawks, Wimbledon Dons, Wembley Lions, White City Rebel and other long lost Speedway teams from the 1970’s. For Grandson, it was an afternoon out in Grandad’s sidecar and being mistaken for an over-sixteen year old that will stick in his memory, but probably not in that order. As a provincial bike show this one was ok, but I’m not sure if I will be back for a few years.