Stafford Classic Bike Show

Stafford Classic Bike Show Up 11%

Stafford Classic Bike ShowA record-breaking auction, a stunning ‘Best in Show’, heart-warming restorations and a multiple world champion entertaining the crowds all went to prove that if you missed this year’s Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show, then you’ll have missed out on a treat.

Huge crowds turned out to the event at the Stafford County Showground over the weekend of April 27-28, with final figures showing a bumper 11% rise on last year’s attendance, and with a host of brilliant bikes on display it was Graham Bowen’s stunning 1969 Triumph Tiger 120R which was named Best in Show.

Well known in classic circles for his string of fabulous Triumph restorations, Graham has actually owned the US spec machine for about ten years, though it was only restored recently.

He said: “I did this one mainly because I really liked the colour. I saw a petrol tank like it years ago at (Triumph specialist), John Critchlow’s shop, and said, ‘One day I’ll do one of those’. Eight bikes later and I finally did.”

Graham’s success was only one of many highlights though, and the show once again proved it’s the place to be for doing the business. The Bonhams auction topped £1.4 million on Sunday, with the top-selling lot, a 1952 Vincent Black Shadow raising £113,500. The fully-restored, ex-works machine formed part of the factory’s bid to set a new 24 hour speed record at Montlhéry in France in May 1952.

Other auction highlights included a 1931 Brough Superior SS80 motorcycle won in a raffle more than 40 years ago and a 1914 Indian Model F once owned by Hollywood star Steve McQueen. The latter sold to a European telephone bidder for £32,200, while the SS80 realised £57,500 – more than a million times the cost of the 1972 raffle ticket.

An eclectic selection of 30 machines owned by the late Clifford Jones proved popular with bidders, selling for a total of more than £175,000.

Ben Walker, head of the Bonhams Motorcycle Department, said: “Once again our auction at the ‘International’ Classic proved to be exactly that, with interest from bidders from across the globe. Record-breaking machines like the 1952 Vincent Black Shadow and the movie star charisma of Steve McQueen were among the draws for the crowd, and there was fierce competition for the Ducatis in the collection of the late Clifford Jones.”

Guest of honour and eight-time world champ Phil Read enthralled the appreciative crowd with tales from his glittering track career, while another heart-warming story involved the BSA of Peter Edwards. He bought an A50 on the Isle of St. Lucia in the late 1960s and brought it back to the UK in 1972. However, it languished in the shed for years, surviving an attempt by son Andy to customise it.

Then, as a surprise, Andy decided to have Wiltshire-based restorer John Phizacklea refurbish it… and presented it to his father at Stafford. Peter was, it’s fair to be said, delighted… albeit rather taken aback.

The event, as always, featured great club displays and chances to bag a bargain whatever your budget, and the stunning displays included some from trial legends Mick Andrews and Finn Yrjo Vesterinen in the Dirt Bike Experience.