Classic Mechanics Show, Stafford, October 2009
"Have you got a seat cover for a 1976 CB750K6 ?". Hmm. It seems that even after 9 shows over 3 years it's still not obvious what we're about. Ok, we did have an all-Honda line-up this year but that genuine enquiry on the Saturday afternoon seems to be spectacularly missing the point.
Why all Honda's ? Well, Freddie Spencer was the guest of honour and as the all-Suzuki thing worked really well with Schwantz last year we thought we'd give it it a go. We also thought it'd be easy as there are loads of nice NSR's around but no 'rival' clubs trying to pull off the same theme. We wanted to show the whole evolution of the Honda watercooled 2-stroke, from MVX250 through to MC28-SP. An early post on the NSR-World forum saw an instant enthusiastic response which failed to materialise into genuine offers of bikes. We'd told the organisers we were taking 10 bikes but with a week to go we still only had 7...
Which, as it turned out, was perfect. There wouldn't have been room to display more bikes without cramming them all in. Rich was the lone volunteer from NSR-World but as he brought along a mint Rothmans MC21-SP and a stunning 2004 RS250 race bike we couldn't have asked for more. Chris (who helped us out with RC Honda's at Uttoxeter) lent us his lovely 1988 RS250 racer in Rothmans paint too. Darin took the MVX250F and NS400R that we used on our debut and to complete the early era we borrowed the NS250R TT proddy race bike off Andy. Finally, Sara's Nastro NSR50 gag bike was placed on a podium at the back of the stand.
Last year Darin had a bit of a rant at the organisers regarding our dismal location. They responded by moving us to the main hall balcony this year, which we were cautiously optimistic about. We anticipated a few problems with loading/unloading and actually setting the stand up and it was a bit more difficult than usual, but it was definitely worth it. There's an atmosphere in the main hall that you don't get elsewhere and up on the balcony we had a great vantage point with plenty of visitors, but without the claustrophobic feel that the main floor sometimes has. It seemed really well-lit up there too but the photos make it look gloomy for some reason.
We were kept busy all weekend with a steady stream of people wanting to take photos or ask about the bikes. The main interest seemed to be concentrated at each end - the MVX always had a couple of people peering closely at it and Rich's RS was under constant scrutiny from those who knew how special it was. Luckily he was around a lot to answer all the difficult queries ! Sadly Fast Freddie didn't pop round to have his picture taken but we did queue up with everyone else to get him to autograph a few relevant items of interest. A genuinely nice bloke who took time to answer our inane questions.
Needless to say, we didn't win anything when it came to trophy time, although a few of the people we respect from other clubs took the trouble to complement our stand. We're honoured to be told that we've inspired certain clubs to have a think about their own stands and take a cue or two from us. We can detect our influence in a few places and it makes for a better show for everyone. We won't be dressing up as Captain Pugwash any time soon though...
Thanks to Rich, Chris, Andy and Sara for volunteering their bikes and for making it all so easy for us. Thanks to Chell for the usual support and to everyone who popped along to say hello and make the show a great social event too. Who's the guest of honour next year ?
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