long is it since we had significant rain? The organisers of this
show must have wondered what they had done to upset him upstairs!
Having prior engagements we chose to make a visit on Sunday 1st
October. The previous two days had seen heavy rain, thunder, lightning
and strong winds. Sundays weather was almost the same. It was
therefore decided to forsake the joys of two wheels for four.
We justified this choice to ourselves by having extra luggage
space to take home all the goodies on sale and therefore helping
towards the shows success.
being very familiar with the south, the directions to Newton Abbot
race course were sought via the bike show link to the course site.
These were not as clear as they might be and although Newton Abbot
is nice, it meant that we took in more sights of the town than
we expected. Might I suggest signs from the A380 next time please?
Apparently, many of the
stall holders marquees had been washed away by the Saturday nights' heavy
rain, loads had given up in the fight against impossible weather and left
for home. I understand that the remainder sought refuge in the beer tent,
listened to the bands and hoped that they could salvage things in the
exactly knowing what to expect, the entrance fee was a very reasonable
£5, so we decided to take a chance, face the elements and
support a Devon bike initiative.
After a little
tour of Newton Abbot, we entered the site by way of what appeared
to be a ford, the puddle was so deep. As we approached the men
in hi-vis coats waiting to take our money, we were curious as
to why the two cars immediately in front of us chose not to hand
over their dosh and made a hasty exit. All was revealed by Mr
Hi-vis, apparently, the cars in front thought that they were coming
for a boot sale!!!
Perhaps another reason for more signs?
prepared for the worst, we were pleasantly surprised to discover
that although there were many puddles and the occasional downpours
were pretty intense, the site was far from the Woodstock image I
had expected. Oh...Woodstock? For the younger readers, that was
a huge music festival in 1969 in the USA that turned into a quagmire.
Think of Glastonbury multiplied a few times. The grassed areas were
a bit muddy in some areas, but wellies were not necessary. We were
a little embarrassed when we saw Big Dave amongst others who had
chosen to ride from North Devon. Street cred straight out of the
window for us, hats off to you Dave.
arse that I am, I chose not to stump up for a programme. With hindsight,
I wish that I had. Firstly, I would have been supporting the event
and I would have known where to find things.
Had I not been directed to the hall with all the bikes entered into
the show, we would have been oblivious to their existence. There
was no sign outside, apart from one telling us that we can bet on
the gee gees that usually take centre stage at the venue. We had
bought some grub from the good selection of food outlets and started
to head back towards the band/beer tent when our folly was made
A few phone calls were quickly made alerting others to this area
and in we went.
inside this section, the first machine we come across is a remarkable
machine based on a Suzuki GXS750. Not the prettiest machine, but
it had an air of ingenuity and simplicity about it that you simply
had to admire. The owner enthusiastically leapt up to inform us
about it's virtues.
Encouraged to get aboard and admire the lightness of the bike, we
duly obliged. The said owner turned out to be the owner of a local
bike shop. I think that he was called John T. John had developed
the machine over a 10 year(?) period and tells us that he alters
the appearance by using a combination of high speed and tarmac.
Apparently, the tarmac rubbing against the bike at high speed has
helped to dictate some of the style employed. If you are reading
this John, we liked it and admired your approach.
into the section and we are met by some stunning machines, a number
of which are on the area reserved for Chopper
Haven from Exeter. We are told that the green paint job on one
is the first time that anybody has used this particular 'crystal'
effect. After many attempts, the fella perfected the finish shown
in the photo next to this text. If you want it recreated, it will
set you back a cool grand for tank and mudguards, or should that
be fenders? The paint has 30 layers of lacquer to add to the lustre.
Chopper Haven will also provide your machine with a complete new
look and performance. One of their Harleys with some improbably
long forks is capable of 156mph. I didn't see any other type of
bike on the stand, so I am guessing Harleys & Buells only.
band playing on Sunday was very good, I assume that Saturday was
equally good. This was the first Westcountry Bike Show and I would
like to applaud the organisers and look forward to next year. It
deserves better weather and it deserves our support.