Diff'rent Strokers

Classic Mechanics Show, Stafford, October 2008

Two years ago we started this thing with four of our own bikes, a borrowed RGV, some secondhand plastic floor tiles and a couple of hastily printed vinyl banners.  We thought it might be a one-off but our vague hope was that we'd eventually reach the point where we could pick and choose people to bring bikes along and simply turn up and take all the credit !  Actually, that's almost the case now, but I still find myself having to hire a van just so I can bring along the black backdrop, three lighting units and the raised display platform (newly built for this show).  What would be really nice is if the show organisers recognised the effort we put in and allocated us a bigger stand in one of the main halls, rather than shove us in the very far corner where a lot of people never actually visit...

RGV's, Stafford, Oct 2008 Suzuki theme, Stafford, Oct 2008 RGV's, Stafford, Oct 2008

With Kevin Schwantz being the official guest of honour at this show, we decided to switch tack slightly and see if we could put together an all-Suzuki line-up.  Obviously we needed some Pepsi and Lucky Strike paintjobs and Nigel and Justin offered their VJ22-model RGV250's accordingly.  We wanted to show the evolution of the RG line so we were very happy to get Rob's original MK.1 250 Gamma at one end and Nick's stunning VJ23 at the other.  Robin's lovely VJ22M and Andy's RG500 complemented those nicely, it was just a shame we couldn't add a Mk.3 Gamma and VJ21 too.  Oh, and we took our Gags along too, in case you were bored of two-strokes !

On arrival at the venue, our hearts sank as we realised that the pitch we'd been allocated was even worse than expected, and a big step down from the previous two years.  Luckily, complaining to the organiser did the trick and he switched us to a much better stand across the aisle where the intended exhibitors hadn't yet arrived.  Oh the guilt...

Rizla Gag, Stafford, Oct 2008 Merchandising, Stafford, Oct 2008 RB50 Gag, Stafford, Oct 2008

The stand was quickly set up and the bikes started to trickle in one by one.  Hopefully you agree that it's the best display so far, helped by moving the usual 'clutter' to a small satellite stand a few feet away.  Another innovation this time was the deliberate selling of T-shirts and stickers, items normally reserved for the generous volunteers who bring their bikes along.  They didn't exactly fly off the shelves, but money was seen to exchange hands more than once.  If you want something yourself, contact us via this site.

Rob's Mk.1 Gamma, Stafford, Oct 2008 Nick's VJ23-SP, Stafford, Oct 2008 Andy's prize-winning RG500, Stafford, Oct 2008

First thing Saturday morning, we took the opportunity to wander the autojumble hoping for bargains and those elusive rare parts.  At the far end of the site, my phone rang and I answered it to hear "Kevin Schwantz is on our stand, shall I take a photo ?" !  Christ, yes, stick a pen in his hand and get him to autograph all the bikes too !  We legged it back to the stand to find the 1993 500cc World Champion wandering away with a free (!) Diff'rent Strokers T-shirt clutched in his hand and some very happy RGV owners admiring fresh scribbles on their immaculate paintwork.

Robin's VJ22, Stafford, Oct 2008 Nigel's VJ22, Stafford, Oct 2008 Justin's VJ22, Stafford, Oct 2008

After that, anything would be a bit of an anticlimax, but the whole weekend went well with plenty of familiar faces popping by to say hello and lots of interest from new people too.  Of course, we didn't win any awards for our stand but a few respected people said we ought to have done so at least we're getting some recognition.  Andy's RG500 did win Best 1980's Bike overall though so we'll take credit for that instead.

Darin forces King Kev to autograph his bike, Stafford, Oct 2008 Roll of Honour, Stafford, Oct 2008 Lucky Strike and Pepsi, Stafford, Oct 2008 Kevin Schwantz, Stafford, Oct 2008

Thanks to Justin, Nick, Robin, Nigel, Rob and Andy for volunteering their bikes and especially to Garry for making it all happen so easily.  Thanks to Sara, Chell and Nick for their hard work on the stand and of course to Kev (as I call him now we're best mates) for making everyone's weekend.  Next time it could be you...

Back to Home Page