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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Gosh, I am living it up. That's the second year that I've been to the October Stafford motorcycle show. First, there was the possibility of getting a lift down with some friends of the Man from Muckle Flugga, who just happened to be heading that way, but then their plans changed, then there was a small chance of a lift down with Shorty, but his plans weren't confirmed, so in the end, it was a hunt on the internet for a cheap flight. The cheapest option was to stop off for lunch in Belfast, before getting back on another plane to East Midlands. Security is obviously tight in Belfast, and tourism is also obviously very important to them. Stepping off the plane and entering the airport, the first thing you come to is the tourist info desk, and the nice lady there gave out details of local buses, where to catch them, where they stopped, and she was empowered to sell tickets too. It seemed like a good idea to head towards the new Victoria shopping centre, where they've created a huge viewing dome on top, with views across the city in all directions.

With eyesight better than mine, (or wearing specs) Carrick Fergus power station could just be made out across the water, plus in the foreground sat the dry dock where the Titanic was built (according to the 'tour guide / security chap in the dome, "it was ok when it left Ireland"; I don't know what he was implying, to be sure), round to the right and up high on the hill was Storemount, and I didn't get a chance to see in the other directions because the built in movement of the platform was making one feel just a little bit strange.

Time to get some lunch. Disappointingly, lunch turned out to be a cold McDonalds, cos the other outlets were all too expensive. A short walk through the Cathedral area of the city led back to the right bus stop, and then I got told off at security. First of all, I had the 'wrong kind of plastic bag' for my liquids, so I had to re-bag them in the special bag she gave me, then I apparently tried to walk through the x-ray machine thingy before I was told to (good job it didn't go off), then my liquids were picked out for a random spot check, and then my netbook was picked out for another random spot check for explosives. Do I look dodgy or summat? Finally ended up with a fish and chip supper on the way back to my accommodation.

My bodyguards for the show were the MFMF and Pete. We arrived a little on the early side for the show, just before 10am, to enable Pete to get his Triumph Legend wheeled in and set up the 'for sale' sign. The sun was shining and the dark heavy clouds that were in the distance, stayed in the distance for much of the day. Sunday is usually the least busy day to go, and my snouts tell me that Saturday this year, was indeed, very packed. No sooner had we started to wander round, we bumped into Shorty fae Scotland, who did the right thing and handed over the chocolate bar he'd had melting in his pocket. Then it was time to meet up with Stu, a regular reader and commentor on the blog. Stu was hunting for a new jacket for his winter commute and I had a plan to buy some nice new winter gloves. Stu struck lucky first, and while he was busy trying a few jackets on, I stupidly browsed around the rails of waterproof armoured trousers. And then bought some. Well, they were cheaper than the pair I got at the Scottish bike show back in March, and I collared the sales lad and said if they're not waterproof I'm sending them back. Fair enough, he said, here's our address. So that sounds promising, I'll have to see if I can find a rainy day to try them out; shouldn't be too hard!

After a wander round the outdoor stalls of autojumble, looking at the piles of unidentifiable, rusty bits and pieces and many, many displays of shiny new tools; mmmm, spanners, hammers, socket sets, and best of all some pink tyres (I do have photographic proof) and cable ties about 3ft long and at least an inch wide, we made our way to the indoor halls. Full of club stands, more clothing and goodies you didn't know you needed, we had an interesting browse around. The Triumph Owners MCC were a friendly bunch, advising me on a modern colour match for Terry's Amaranth Red and giving me a free pen. We had a good chat about the new style Nacelle magazine and the changes in the Club over recent years.

They were up on the balcony, and downstairs there was a stand with a beautiful collection of vintage and veteran machines, but they were all priced at silly money. That selection alone must have totted up to about a hundred grand (£100,000).

They were beautiful, some were from foreign shores, French I think, many were British, and I wouldn't mind having any of them to ride, but d'you know which bike really grabbed my attention? The...........wait for it........the RACING TERRIER.

(I'm thinking this is the racing carb from the Terror...)

Stu had spotted it just outside the entrance to the hall and we went to have a closer look. With a racing hump, low slung handlebars with the levers nearly drooping on the front mudguard and modified 'rear sets', the little 150cc bike certainly looked the part. Ah, but it wasn't 150cc any more. The story that accompanied the 1953 bike, nicknamed the Terror, stated that it had been increased to 230cc, and raced right from day one, up until the early 1960s. I could have bought it, it was for sale, I nearly bought it - should I have bought it?

Unfortunately I missed the editor of Classic Dirt Bike, a certain Mr Britton, riding his Bultaco over a car, but I did catch a few words with him in the dirt bike hall, where his recently restored Bulto was on show, alongside 'Project CanAm' which he had finished just in time for the show. I did manage to snap this sneaky little shot of him o te Dirt Bike Arena though. There were a host of other machines that caught my eye, all trials Cubs plus another couple of Bultacos. Most were a bit too shiny for my own personal choice, but each to their own.

Just a couple of other pics that I thought were interesting - an MZ 150cc police bike...

And a Triumph Boss...

So that was at the end of a very long day, and it was soon time to head back to the accommodation for a bite to eat and to recover from nearly buying another Terrier!

Pics coming in a bit, but I'm doing this from my netbook, the pics are on my Blackberry and my main computer is pretending to be dead. At least, I hope it's just pretending!

And whilst on my travels, I spotted this rather handy Haynes book...covers all models too...


Bodger said...

Sounds like quite the adventure and that was before even getting to Stafford. One of the things I liked about living in England was the architecture, much preferred the old style to this new glass and metal approach. The shots of Belfast were nice. Airport security, doncha just love 'em!??? Stafford I've heard is a good do, all sorts to see there to include a racing Terrier. And to think I madea comment on Faceache to the effect that "I thought I had seen everything, but guess not." I was right, NOW I've seen everything...a racing Terrier.

Squire Neil said...

You should have bought it ;) (says the man with more bikes than could ever be thought reasonable!)

Stuart said...

. . . and a grand day out was had by all.

Can't help wondering if Paddy thought you might be a Triumph Terrorist!

Hairy Larry said...

I like old architecture as well, but I do like that geodesic dome though. Always thought it would be nice to have a geodesic dome as a shop structure to work on bikes in. Also love that giant Amal carb. I have a giant spark plug that would go with that.

Mrs BC said...

Are you boasting or complaining Larry?

Hairy Larry said...

Boasting Mrs. BC? uh no, and I'm too old to complain...see my blog for giant spark plug pics.


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