Historian's Notes.

April 2014

Superb Stafford: this month Dennis revels in the excitement of the International Classic Motorcycle Show

I’ve just got back from the Stafford Show: what a great weekend. Years ago I used to work in the classic motorcycling world, but now my twice yearly visits to the Staffordshire County Showground amount to a dose of excitement which keeps me fired up right through to the next event in October.

I head up the concours judging team, and we had 1,200 motorcycles to choose from. Neil Redley’s 1969 Indian Velocette was awarded Best in Show – an unusual package of a 500cc single Hall Green engine and gearbox in American conceived but Italian manufactured cycle parts. A gold and white colour scheme sets these Bologna built machines apart from their Birmingham forbears. The Indian package was conceived in the late 1960s by Floyd Clymer, an American publisher and motorcycle promoter, and other versions were fitted with Triumph and Royal Enfield twin cylinder power units. The Indian Velocette is a hard to restore mixture of British and Italian components. They were built at Leopoldo Tartarini’s Italjet factory and a number of the limited production run ended up in the UK at Geoff Dodkin’s Velocette dealership.

The Club’s stand turned plenty of heads, with John Rose’s latest cut-away project – a Mk.II L.E. sliced in half and mounted on a slowly revolving turntable – the featured exhibit. Charles Phillips again took charge of designing our uncluttered and straightforward stand, where six lightweight twins were displayed. Brian Day brought along his latest Valiant special. I was delighted to see this red and silver beauty for the first time, having helped Brian re-register it with the DVLA.

I can’t walk more than a few paces through Stafford’s crowded show halls without someone wanting to chat. There are past show winners, concours hopefuls – “Have you seen my latest restoration, Dennis?” – and fellow motorcyclists that I’ve known for years. No wonder that the show is just the tonic as our UK riding season gets into full swing. 

Dennis Frost