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It’s been pouring with rain here in Basingstoke all morning, so very nearly didn’t go to this. The Berkshire Triumph owners always put on a good show though, & it’s only six miles down the road, in Tadley so I thought I ought to do my bit & attend. Last year I won Best in Show here with my little green Reliant trike, so this time I took my Speed Triple along. There was a break in the rain around 2.o.clock this afternoon, so I togged up in all my Goretex gear & set off. It’s true what they say about the sun shining on the righteous! Arrived to find the show site bathed in sunshine! Paid my 3 quid entry & hunted for a spot to park up. This is a weekend camping event, held at the Tadley Rugby Club, but Saturday afternoon sees the crowds arrive for the custom & classic show. Always attracts huge numbers of machines. Just about every model of Triumph ever built, plus plenty of specials & customs. I was surprised at how many were locally owned -where do all these bikes go for the rest of the year?! Lots of non Trumpets too. The marshals began by segregating the Triumphs from the Japs, but by the end of the day they’d given up as more & more bikes arrived to fill the carpark completely. Several VERY expensive Harley show bikes, one with huge front wheel, unfeasibly wide bars, a supercharger & air suspension that raised & lowered at the touch of a button. Impressive, but personally I found the lovely Beeza café racer with Norton gearbox & no lights, (proper bike!), parked next to it far more desirable. Some bikes will just always be cool, no matter what trends & fads are “in” with the mega buck crowd.
Great to see so many vintage bikes being ridden by equally vintage owners. One or two needed a push start to get ‘em fired up, (the bikes, not the owners), but there were plenty of willing helpers on hand, & small puddles of oil under bikes were almost obligatory. Some cracking examples of the marque though, both Meridan & Hinckley built. Not just Triumphs though, Beezas, Enfields, Nortons, AJS, Matchless, Scott & a dozen more besides. Glad I didn’t have to judge ’em. Must be a nightmare trying to choose one over another when they’re all in such beautiful condition. Our own forum member, Stevie, who was playing his mandolin on both nights at the rally, was chuffed to bits to win Best Paint with his recently completed 750 Bonny chop, while forum member Janie Postie’s Dad, jacko, won Best Engineering with his much travelled V.W trike. Nice to see you fit & well again Jacko. Trophies took the form of triangular plaques mimicking the Triumph timing case badge shape. Prize giving was at 5pm, which was perhaps a little too late. This is one of those events where people drift in & out all day & by tea time most were beginning to slip away, including the Best in Show recipient, so I’m not really sure who won what. That’s my only criticism though, & it’s a very small one. Nice little show, plenty of trade stalls, a 50p helmet park, good prices & efficient staff in the club bar, a barbeque & cooked breakfasts for those that camped, music, a nice genuinely friendly & enthusiastic welcome -and the sounds & sights of hundreds of lovely old Brit bikes rumbling back & forth all day.
My personal favourite? For sheer oddness & good old fashioned ingenuity, it had to be the big old 1930s Brough Superior combo. The only running example of just 10 built by the factory using Austin engines, it had electric start, reverse gear, bevel driven shaft drive -& TWO rear wheels spaced a couple of inches apart with the drive shaft running between them. Coupled with a huge lifeboat sized sidecar sitting on giant coiled spring suspension, it was a motorised celebration of that peculiar British inventiveness that made this little country so great.
Climbed back aboard my own example of the breed, rolled out the gate & headed home to Basingstoke. Half a mile down the road & the heavens opened again!
I like this show. Very simple, very laid back. Just a nice way to spend an afternoon.
Maybe see you there next year?