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Report - Stafford Classic Mechanics Show

By N.W. Shuttleworth

Classic Mechanics Magazine Show Stafford 13-14th. October 2018

Living under 4 miles away from the Stafford Bingley Hall Showground I tend to go to the Classic Mechanics Show every year, albeit somewhat reluctantly. I say that, because every year when I see the ad in the September issue of Real Classic Magazine I say to myself 'same old, same old' but then a couple of days before the show my mate Mick texts and says 'shall we?' and of course we jump in the car! And the thing is, when we're there we thoroughly enjoy it.

Looking down from a balcony we see a plethora of stall and banners all motorcycle related

OK, so the lady that sells the super-duper leather treatment is sat at the bottom of the stairs to the balcony same as last year and Pook's book stall selling old manuals of the obsolete and the obscure is at the foot of the stairs at the other side of the balcony like last year, and the MZ and CZ and Dniepr clubs manned by grizzly old buggers in malodorous Belstaffs are still where they were last year and the year before and the decade before that. Despite it all being reassuringly the same, somehow we still manage to find lots of new stuff like a whole stand chockfull of World Championship winning Cagivas and beautifully restored 1950's Moto Guzzi Falcone 500s with their 'bacon slicer' external flywheels, and a whole tent full of Suzuki Katanas and stand after stand of shiny chrome bits and useful tools such as circlip pliers, and a gothic-looking lady in a purple shawl selling bling for Witches and lots of stalls with fake enamel signs for Harley-only parking. 

A collection of bright red Cagiva racing motorcycles

The April Stafford Show is almost exclusively Brit iron but the Classic Mechs Show in October is mostly Jap and Itie stuff from the '70's and 80's and I love it! Some beautiful restos caught my eye on the Suzuki OC stand such as the ill-fated Wankel-engined RE5 and a 1972 kettle (GT750cc water-cooled two stroke triple). On another stand all on its own we found an NSU Quickly in very fine fettle; now that brought back some memories, oh dear me yes! My first two wheeler at the age of 14 was a Quickly which a neighbour had left out for the scrapman and I managed to get it going and belted it round and round and round a bit of wasteland nearby. I can't remember what happened to it but it must have succumbed to the rigorous 'lightening' i.e. removal of any item not directly associated with going faster, and 'tuning', a process very similar to that of 'lightening' probably! To think that nowadays the starting price on eBay for one in 'barn find' condition is £1000. On the Sunday, Bonhams hold their famous auction but as the catalogue costs £25 just to view we gave that a miss – added to which I don't have £80,000 for a Vincent in cardboard boxes anyway! 

A Suzuki GT750 2 stroke in a bespoke and modern frame and bike
An NSU Quickly, it looks like a very early scooter or even a bicycle

Back outside the morning's rain had abated and we were attracted by that lovely nostalgic smell of Castrol R to the Classic Racer Magazine 'paddock' while ear shattering TZ250 and Manx and Ajay 7R engines were run up. We gave the Wall-of-Death a swerve this year, sure the show is three very skilful girl riders in tight leathers but too long standing about waiting for it to start. Instead we ambled along row after row of every conceivable part for every conceivable motorcycle made since the turn of the last century spread over the grass alongside tired secondhand 1980's Suzies and Hondas and Yams for sale with rusty chrome, bald tyres and mismatched indicators all commanding sums which any eBay seller would give his eye teeth for! I'm sure if one was doing a restoration and looking for that elusive left side crankcase for a 1961 Francis Barnet or the choke lever for a Rudge Ulster one would eventually find them at the Classic Mechanics Show but since Mick had been at work at 3am in the morning and my arthritic hip was giving me gyp after 4 hours on our feet we called it a day.

Will we go next year? Well, it'll be the same old, same old .... but yes of course we will.

A most unusual looking bike with fairings, hub centre steering and the name Graham Sykes on it
A classic or vinage motorcycle engine with a bright red frame and flywheel
A chap smiling joyfully amidst motorcycles from the 90s
A rusty old Norton motorcycle with a price tag on it for sale outside the show
3 much smarter brit bikes for sale out the back of a van outside at the staffs show
A Honda CB350 at the Classic Stafford show amidst lots of older men all milling around

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Reader's Comments

Ian Soady said :-
I used to go to this and the other Stafford show but haven't been for years. Far too boring, crowded, expensive, etc etc.

What I do try to get to are the two VMCC events: Founders Day at Stanford Hall in July and the Banbury Run in June. Both have excellent jumbles (many just people clearing their sheds so bargains to be had!) and also the chance to see old bikes actually on the road.

I will also be at the National Motorcycle Museum's Open Day on the 27th of this month although I have to say the presence of Henry Cole put me off a little.......
16/10/2018 9:13:59 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
ps how much was being asked for the 16H in your pic?
16/10/2018 9:14:51 AM UTC
Upt'North said :-
Very nice report on the show, good pics and what about that gorgeous GT750? Do you think he rides it in the rain?
Haven't been myself for about 7 or 8 years but I used to run the Bike Safe stand outside for a number of years. I bet you thought, oh yes they're here again by the front gate! We usually had some nice old British Police Bikes as well as one of two American imported Police specials on display.
Thanks again.
16/10/2018 12:33:38 PM UTC
Upt'North said :-
Small world innit?
16/10/2018 12:34:40 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
GT750? Gorgeous? It's a blooming 2 stroke. Pfffffft.
16/10/2018 1:01:04 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
'grizzly old buggers in malodorous Belstaffs'

What an absolutely wonderful sentence. Following my recent visit to the ramsbottom show where I met ren and Sharon we had a brief talk about the people attending the show and their rather eclectic garb.

Ren gave me a really interesting small lecture on chapters and groups and prospective members.

I have been searching for an ideal description of these bikers from now on malodious is it.

17/10/2018 5:18:08 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Can I recommend you don't make a habit of using that sentence when you're talking to the malodorous bikers
18/10/2018 6:55:38 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Most of the folk you see in the malodorous belstaffs haven't ridden a bike in years. We genuine grizzly old buggers wear goretex and don't need waxed cotton - we're quite malodorous enough au naturel.......
19/10/2018 9:16:38 AM UTC
Upt'North said :-
You have a point Mr. Soady, from what I've seen at said events they seem to be collectors of ferrous oxide rather than motorcyclists, but it takes all sorts. I don't know if Belstaff planned it this way either but have you ever seen a malodorous type smile; is the slogan, put the jacket on and have a face like a slapped arris.
19/10/2018 10:17:58 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Motorcycling does seem to have several "clichés" for want of a better word. There's your sports riders, easy riders, adventure types, vintage enthusiasts and so on, including the Belstaff wearing peculiar motorcycle owning non riding types. I'd imagine there's similar clichés in most chosen groups.

Like most people I like to think I'm unique, individual and breaking the mould. Logic dictates I'm probably not. It's probably best I don't know how people see me, I might not like it.
21/10/2018 6:28:15 AM UTC
NigelS said :-
May I correct one misapprehension, MZ grizzly old buggers in malodorous Belstaffs definitely do ride, some several hundreds of miles to attend national MZRC events for instance. How otherwise, except by the process of getting drenched and slowly drying again over a period of several decades can one get that particular rotting vegetation mixed with dog smell into s waxed jacket? Until a couple of years ago I was myself a GOBiMoB (grizzly old bugger in a malodorous Belstaff, this one for Ren as he doesn't do acronyms), riding my TS125 stink wheels across Cannock Chase the first Sunday of every month to meet at least 40 other MZ owners at the Victoria WMC in Church Rd, Hednesford. There we would go off for a ride out around the parish and return for a chicken stew and a pint of warm and foaming all for £3.20. I can't speak with authority on either CZ or Dniepr grizzly OBs however as I never belonged to either club.
21/10/2018 12:31:03 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I'd forgotten about MZ riders but surely most of them use tatty ancient Rukka kit as it does at least keep the rain off (but also sadly keeps the sweat in......)
22/10/2018 8:53:29 AM UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
A donkey jacket rendered waterproof by the leaking bottles of 2T carried in the pockets used to be the normal attire of the affluent MZ'er back in the 80's Ian....
23/10/2018 12:37:19 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I know 4T is 4 stroke and 2T is 2 stroke, but what does the "T" stand for in this instance?
23/10/2018 12:48:09 PM UTC
Jim said :-
I always thought the 'T' stood for Takt - German for cycle / stroke. Could easily be wrong though.
23/10/2018 8:39:48 PM UTC
NigelS said :-
I always understood the T to mean mean 'Temps', the French for 'times' (we would write it as x).
24/10/2018 7:35:28 AM UTC
bill said :-
I would go with Takt as the inventor of the 4T engine was German
Nikolaus Otto created the first internal-combustion engine that used the four-stroke cycle.
Vorsprung durch Technik :-)
24/10/2018 5:10:35 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
So basically what you're all saying is no-one actually knows for sure? Personally I'd prefer 4S for "Stroke" but of course not ALL the world is English-language-centric. I'm still trying to learn Spanish, que?
25/10/2018 7:37:53 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
As the resident pedant, I would suggest that it doesn't actually matter what it stands for as long as you know what it means......
25/10/2018 11:47:46 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
In that case Ian if the premise of language is to convey and share thoughts and ideas then you ought not to be concerned regarding discrete or discreet and the numerous spelling mistakes on here.

I cannot believe you would let such an import matter slip by so easily. I feel you are letting the pedant side down.
25/10/2018 1:20:49 PM UTC
Upt'North said :-
With all due respect ED. Behave yourself; we saw what you did there.
Consoder youself told.
Sound like a line off "Hello Hello".

25/10/2018 4:54:46 PM UTC
Upt'North said :-
Did a thread hijack just take place?
25/10/2018 4:56:47 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
We don't worry about thread hijacking here on BAT Upt'Norf.

I'll av u no I as lernt fot spek proper innit. I was brung up reet an I bin edumificated proper like.

An I still canny believe no-one has gotten me a definitive answer wot the "T" is fer.
25/10/2018 6:37:22 PM UTC
Bill said :-
Oh Ren ye of little faith, two of us have told you
from the German word "takt", which also means cycle or stroke.
Temporarily losing the 8mm has obviously shaken your believe in your fellow man.
Don't worry post Brexit we can adopt your 4S acronym without those pesky Europeans forcing the non Anglo terminology on you and balance will be restored until the next Steckdose goes astray :-)

25/10/2018 10:14:56 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I had to google "Steckdose".

Aaah, the silver lining to the cloud of Brexit - being able to say "4S" rather than "4T". I guess after all the shenanigans and millions of pounds/euros are wasted it'll all be worth while then.
26/10/2018 7:55:57 AM UTC

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