Easter at Stafford
By: Ian Grainger
Yamaha is set to celebrate 50 years in racing at this Easter's biggest ever Stafford Show.
Easter can mean boring telly, DIY and Crème eggs but not this year. The 31st Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show at Stafford takes place over Easter weekend so this year you’ll have the Bank Holiday Monday at home to recover and show the neighbours everything you bought.
It’s always been big, but this year it’s going to be even bigger. As well as five halls packed to the rafters with some of the best classic bikes in Europe, there are a record number of trade stalls, the first major Bonhams auction of the year, one of Europe’s largest motorcycle autojumbles and two live action arenas.
Plus, with half a century in top flight racing and almost as many world titles, Yamaha will be celebrating in style. No less than seven bikes from the Yamaha Classic Racing Team will be on display and a number of them (including the unbelievable-sounding four cylinder 125cc racer) will be fired up twice daily in the Classic Racer Grand Prix paddock.
Former GP stars including Phil Read and Tommy Robb will join guest of honour Steve Baker (America’s first world champion and one of only a handful of men who raced the legendary TZ750 flat track bike) to reminisce about the hairy, scary and wonderfully noisy old days when two-stroke screamers ruled the world. And these machines and many more will be brought back to life in the Classic Racer GP paddock.
If off-road is your thing then the Classic Dirt Bike Experience is going to get you all revved up with the best in dirty biking on show in a totally off-road dedicated hall. This area of the show has been growing of late, first with the live action trials demonstration courtesy of Dales Classic Club, then the incredible stunt riding display when the CDB editor launched his classic BSA trials machine over a car three times a day. Now we’re going up a gear and the inside of the hall will feature only dirt bikes and dirt bike displays. There’ll be trials, scrambles and enduro bikes plus a chance to see the progress being made on our ‘A Grand Idea’ enduro CanAm – the bike we’re rebuilding to ride and will give away in a reader competition next year.
The private entries for Classic Dirt Bike Experience are flooding in and include some tasty ex-works stuff like Roy Peplow’s ISDT Triumph, Gordon Jackson’s historic one-dab SSDT winning AJS and much more. On stage will be famous names from the off-road world telling tales of the unexpected, there’s tech clinics too where experts in their field pass on tips on how to keep your bike in tip-top condition. So, don’t miss the Classic Dirt Bike Experience, in the Staffordshire Life Hall near the trade gate there’s lots going on.
The Bonhams auction (on Sunday 24 April) is going to be huge, with half a dozen especially tasty machines up for grabs. But away from the headliners there’s always a bike or some memorabilia at Bonhams for every budget.
Away from the live action, there are the club stands, the awards contenders, more than 1000 bikes on display and 800 trade stands. If you can’t find it at Stafford, it probably doesn’t exist.
The show runs on 23 and 24 April at the Stafford County Showground. Advance tickets can be bought from www.classicbikeshows.com or on 01507 529529 and cost just £9.50 per day for adults (£11 on the day), £8 for senior citizens (£9.50 on the day) and £3.50 for kids (£4 on the day). Gates open at 9am on both days and close at 6pm Saturday and 5pm Sunday. Parking is free, dogs (on leads) are welcome and weekend camping is available for £40.
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