Is it really a year since I last posted about Telford? Doesn’t time fly when you’re enjoying yourself. Alan Wright’s highly regarded Dirt Bike show was last year acquired by motorcycle publishing house Morton’s who appear to be achieving total world domination of UK classic bike events. Any fears they would somehow spoil or interfere with this popular regional show have been totally unfounded. Morton’s applied a commendably light touch to their administration of the show and Wrighty’s informal spirit lived on in the 2015 event. From an exhibitors point of view Morton’s PR and promotional clout can only be a good thing and from where I stood on stand 23, Hall 3 the show seemed better than ever.
Centre piece on the AdventureRide stand was a 1964 D.O.T. kindly loaned to us by Derek Hertzog from my home town of Altrincham. It provided a nice bit of eye candy for the stand and drew a lot of comments. If you’re not familiar with the D.O.T. motorcycle brand they were a Manchester based factory who established a reputation for building , amongst other things, decent clubmen’s bikes for off road sport. Whilst not exactly giant killers, a D.O.T. could be a very handy tool in the hands of an experienced national class rider and could often give more exotic works bikes a run for their money.
The D.O.T. had been restored by my chum Pete Priest, who kindly turned out for the second year in succession to lend a hand. For some years now Pete has built a fine reputation for classic bike paintwork and a number of his customer’s bikes have won concours awards. Pete is also a very fine mechanic, campaigning a very potent Commando in hillclimbs and sprints. He’s now moving the focus of his business into mechanical work and full restorations see http://www.priestbikepaint.co.uk
Pete, or Father Pete as we like to call him, hears yet another confession from one of his flock
Adjacent to the AdventureRide stand was my mate Nigel Land with his unfeasibly clean TLR Hondas. Nigel specialises in restoring these lovely little Honda trials bikes and has established himself as one of the countries leading TLR restorers. Nigel’s secret , which he confided over a coffee, was to source low mileage donor bikes directly from Japan, bring them in and then totally strip and rebuild them. Having built one or two bikes myself over the years I understand the logic of sourcing the best possible donor bike possible. It saves money in the long run and you end up with a bike which is as close to a new one as you can achieve.
As you can see from the pic, Nigel’s work is uncompromising and of the highest quality, check him out on http://www.trl-transformations.co.uk
Nigel’s TLR, ’tis indeed a thing of great beauty
The rest of the show was the usual mix of race and off road bikes, club stands and traders . Guest of honour was Mick Grant, who of course straddles both camps being a hugely talented road racer as well as a very good trials rider, especially on classic stuff. I’ve bumped into Mick on a couple of occasions when doing trials and he’s a very affable bloke always willing to have a bit of banter. One of the great things about motorcycling is our heroes are often so accessible. Mick was handing out the concours awards.
Gritty Yorkshireman more used to receiving trophies than handing them out.
One of the bikes which caught my eye at the show was this intriguing thing badged as a Rhind Tutt Wasp. Was it just sporting the tank off a wasp outfit or was it a solo built by Rhind Tutt? Sadly I didn’t have time to check out the details but it looked an interesting bike nonetheless.
Oner of my favourite bikes which I see from time to time is Steve Gard’s superb Jawa ISDT bike. I came across Steve with his bike at the Carlisle centenary ISDT celebrations in 2013 [if you scroll to the early posts on this blog you can read all about it]. To me , this bike sums up the heyday of the ISDT era and is in wonderfully original preserved condition, which is just the way I like ’em. Of all the nice bikes at the show this is the one I’d like to have bundled into the back of the van when no-one was looking.
It’s a real shame the ISDT morphed into the ISDE and somehow lost its character. I suppose it was inevitable with the development of modern dirt bikes but for me the ISDT will always be defined by two strokes, twin shocks and Barbour suits.
This year Telford was good for AdventureRide and I feel the business has now firmly found its feet. The light and easy to ride Pamperas on the AdventureRide fleet and the novice-friendly terrain around Shropshire make it an ideal experience for first time trail riders. We’re now concentrating our efforts on encouraging new comers to try off-roading and the majority of our customers are usually very experienced road riders who have little or no off road experience. A number of female riders came on to the stand at Telford and asked to sit on the Pamperas we had on display. A lot of riders, especially girls, are intimidated by the sheer height of modern trail bikes and the Pampera is a refreshing antidote to those who don’t need 12″ of suspension travel.
After an busy weekend at Telford it was good to be able to kick back and have a relaxing day out with a group of TRF riders. By way of a change I’d advertised a ride out suitable for larger machines or novice riders and was surprised to find all six quickly places quickly filled, obviously there’s a niche there…
Once on the trail it became clear none of the riders were novices, they were simply guys who , like me, don’t necessarily want an intense , white knuckle experience every time they go out. We had a very relaxed day avoiding the more technical trails and instead concentrating on the longer , elevated drover’s trails in the borders. Trail riding doesn’t get much better, here’s a few pics.
Tim making a splash on a well known brand of orange bike
Big country, little bikes. The group threads its way along Adstone Rise.
Hugh Clearly, a TRF stalwart and tireless rights of way campaigner, shows a bit of trials stylee negotiating deep ruts on the Kerry Ridgeway
Smiley riders, always a good sign. Jason clearly enjoying himself on his XR400
Smiley walkers, an even better sign!
Will turned up on an impossibly clean KLX 250. Needless to say we soon sorted that out.
Little Britain , on the A49 between Craven Arms and Church Stretton. The best bacon butties this side of the Onny river. A Michelin-starred diner if ever there was one.
left to right : Hugh, James, Will, Jason, Craig and Tim
The tremendous weight of James’ BMW caused this sink hole to appear in Bucknell woods.Fortunately I was there to record the moment on camera.