POPHAM CLASSIC BIKE MEET.
Bugger, bugger, bugger….Bugger.
I’ve been to Popham airfield today. It’s about 6 miles West of Basingstoke on the A303. They hold several vehicle meets there each year & today was the “Popham Mega Meet & Bike Jumble”. I usually manage to miss this one every year cos it’s held on the Bank Holiday weekend & clashes with lots of other events, but this time they’ve brought it forward a week. So there I was, digi-camera in hand, wandering around the large field that served as the bike-park, photographing all sorts of interesting machinery; loads of old Brits, some nicely restored classic Japs, a few customs, a trio of V8 trikes, a gorgeous minimal hardtail Harley, even a Sommer diesel engined Enfield. Lovely backdrop of rolling hills & woods. Spent a good hour or so taking shots before I even went through the gates. The best part of 100 piccies & some cracking ones among ‘em too.
Unfortunately, I then managed to delete the bloomin’ lot.
Isn’t digital photography marvelous. At the press of a button you can screw things up so much quicker than you ever could with normal film. I’d deleted a couple of naff shots as I walked around so presumably pressed “delete all” by mistake. Didn’t realise till I got home & tried to download ‘em -where dey gone? So you’re just gonna have to take my word for it that they were brilliantly shot photos of great looking bikes, O.K? And apologies to the guy with the pretty little Triumph scrambler I gave the site address to. Your bike was among the lost photos. Sorry!
Ho hum. So anyway, entry was 3 quid per person unless you had a bike over 30 years old, in which case it was free -or if the guy who fitted your new tyre yesterday gave you his pass cos he couldn’t make it. I never turn down a freebie! Several hundred classic machines were gathered in the main arena, with trade stalls & auto jumblers ranged around them. At the top of the field were a couple of large marquees, housing various club stands & in front of them were the food vendors & bar. Being an airfield there were light aircraft doing that landing & taking off stuff all day, plus a smattering of vintage bi-planes that had presumably dropped in, (though not literally I hope), for the show. Again, lots of shots of Tiger Moths doing low level runs over the landing strip, the helicopter display team, a James Bond style Gyrocopter, even the country’s largest single engined bi-plane -a huge thing the size of a Dakota…all lost on the same 64mb memory card. Bugger.
As I strolled among the aircraft I could hear STEViE, our very own mandolin playing, Triumph riding traveling troubadour, belting out a spirited rendition of “Riders in the Sky” from one of the marquees. Very appropriate STEViE! There’s a shot of him hereabouts giving me a little private demo of his much prized & highly polished new chromed brass mandolin. Sounding good mate.
The weather was perfect. Blazing sunshine. Bikes burbled & rumbled back & forth. Ice creams were slurped, pints sunk, biking anecdotes exchanged, unidentifiable, but maybe-useful-one-day bits bought from the auto jumble, paintwork & chrome polished, aircraft admired. Very nice. A surprisingly big show. No idea how many passed through the gates but I’d guess at maybe a thousand. The laid back, informal atmosphere made it seem much more intimate though. I’ve often seen this meet from a distance as I’ve passed by on the neighbouring dual carriageway, heading to some other event, but next year I’ll be marking it down on my “must do” list.
And maybe taking a different camera.