If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 22 August 2010

West Wales Motorcycle Show, Day 2

As predicted, the weather today was much better - great, in fact - and the numbers attending the show were much improved. In fact, most of the day was very busy, and there were a lot more vintage bikes there, too. Half of the hall was old bikes, and the other half was old cars. There was a lot to see, and the stream of visitors past our stand was constant.

We got a lot of interest in the Triumph Owners' Club, and have probably signed up several new members. We had a policy of asking anyone who paused momentarily in front of the stand "do you have a Triumph?" An astonishing number said 'yes'. Of course, then the game was to sign them up. Of those who answered 'no', quite a considerable proportion said they used to have one, and stayed for a chat about the olden days.

News item: 86% of the population of Carmarthenshire used to own a Triumph T140R (six of which were the first one off the production line) which they sold for a song and which they bitterly regret getting rid of, as the bike would be worth millions today, seen 'em on eBay, they knew how to make bikes in them days, no mistake, aye, yes.

For someone who likes both motorbikes and chatting to strangers, this was a very pleasant way to spend a day.

I have to admit that a lot of the interest in the club stand may have been generated by the appearance of our Club Secretary in leather hot-pants and fetish footwear. Apologies for the poor photograph: there were better views, but snapping them could have got me a very sharp toe in the sensitive bits.

I had a long chat to the owner of an unrestored but roadworthy Standard 8 saloon car. This was the first car I properly remember from childhood, and looking in at the back seat brought back memories of long journeys (before they invented motorways) to various holiday destinations. No seat belts - just a blanket to cushion a youngster from the crashing of the crude suspension. And one detail I had forgotten: no boot. There was a luggage space in the back, but you had to reach over the back seat to get to it. This one was black, whereas Dad's was light blue. 603 EHN, where are you now? No longer known to the DVLA, that's where, which suggests scrappage. This makes me sad.

I didn't get out and about as much today, as the stand was busier, but I did get to see the Wall Of Death. I hadn't seen anything like this for many years, so it was worth a punt of £3 (and a bit more change when they pleaded for help with their 'accident fund' as "no insurer in the world will take on the risk of the incredibly fast and dangerous work we do"). Yeah, right, but I threw a few bob down anyway.

The bikes were small Honda trailies, which were capable but dull, but the star of the show was a 1923 Indian Scout, which was used for the main part of the display. Low, light and incredibly loud, with worn leather saddle and padding, it was a genuine working antique. The rider mashed the throttle to create plenty of backfires that made the kids scream, and the show was exciting and, predictably, very short. What made it a bit surreal was the riders' dress. No circus outfits here: they were all young men in their early-to-mid twenties, wearing normal white shirts, blue slacks and knee-length horse-riding boots. They looked like Man At C&A on a stag weekend.

The Scout is at the top of the picture.

Life has its ups and downs. Despite it being almost impossible to find a job at the moment, I have been chosen ('elected' would be incorrect) as Chairman of the club, effective immediately. I think the role is largely ceremonial, but it does mean that I will have to organise things when the Sec and her husband go to Australia for six weeks later in the year. And I will be hosting a quiz night in January at the first club meet of the New Year. I shall look forward to that; I have done a few of these before, and I can be wicked.

Next weekend, a few of us are journeying Northwards to take in a race meet at Tonfanau, near Towyn in mid-Wales. Provided the weather stays good, that should be a decent day out. More on that later.


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  2. Thank you for that fascinating insight, Sir Spamalot.

  3. Re the Club Secretary - I see what you mean (but only just)... personally I would have risked it for a thigh boot in the nadgers (or where you referring to your wife's foot wear?).

  4. Hehe. It's amazing the interest that a nice pair of legs can generate. The TOMCC stand was well-attended throughout the day, mainly by blokes. She's our secret weapon.


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