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Steve & Nick's Excellent Adventure (part two)

Again this all started on a Wednesday evening over a pint in the FOB. The main topic of conversation was the forthcoming Popham jumble, to be held on Sunday 18th Aug 13. Then “Big Malc” threw a large spanner in the works, “ I wouldn’t go to Popham, Brackley is a much better day out” It turned out that the Brackley Motor Cycle Festival and Popham was held on the same day. Now I’m not a great one for autojumbles; I’ve got enough junk in my garage already! So after the success of the Ace Café day, we decided to go to Brackley, me on my Ducati MHR and Steve on his 650 Triton. One small problem, where the hell is Brackley! A quick look on the internet found the site with directions, Brackley is just off the A43 south of Silverstone motor racing circuit, about 105 miles away. A straight forward ride, but we thought we would need to stop at least three times to stretch our legs, back, arms and hands !!

In the meantime I went on a two week holiday, coming back on the Saturday, (the day before) all the time monitoring the weather, after seven weeks of glorious weather, suddenly it seemed that we might get caught in heavy showers. That didn’t worry us, but the prospect of getting our pride and joys wet and dirty did, so we decided we would take our modern motorcycles (gasp, shock, horror!!). Yes I’m afraid we both own those horrid things that start (on a button) stop, and are comfortable. So again early on Sunday morning we met up by the Hogslodge, Steve on his very smart Kawasaki W800 special edition, and me on my BMW K1200 GT. Steve led, as his bike only had about 500 miles on it, and he wanted to go a bit steady. After a quick stop in Petersfield for fuel, we set off in earnest. I quite enjoyed this running in; we were belting along the A272 at 60-70 miles an hour, and when we got onto the A34 dual carriageway a little faster still! One and a half hours later we pulled into Brackley, we hadn’t even needed a stop.

As we entered the town we noticed other bikes pulling into a small side road, by a double lockup, we of course followed. We were greeted by a young chap, who for a small donation to the St.Johns Ambulance, would look after our bikes, helmets, and riding gear, what a great idea, we both happily tossed a few pounds into the bucket. We got back to the street and followed the crowd; yes it was already crowded before ten in the morning. When we got to the end of the high street, the magnitude of the event hit us; the whole high street was cordoned off, the lower part full of static displays of motorcycles of all types. There was something for everyone, from hand crafted choppers, to legendary MV Agusta racing machines, with just about everything in-between. We wandered around looking at all these fabulous machines, when suddenly we heard the raucous sound of a racing two stroke being warmed up further up the high street. We quickly set off to have a look, it was then that we realised there was a small street circuit further up the road, with a paddock area and all!  Having gained a decent vantage position, we waited for the bikes to appear, suddenly five or six old 50cc GP bikes raced from the pit area onto the track in a huge cloud of blue smoke, sounding like a swarm of wasps! then started racing up and down the street circuit. We just looked at each other and laughed our heads off ! When these little bikes were raced in earnest, the riders would have been six stone, sixteen year olds, now they were sixteen stone sixty year olds!  With the racing gearing, some were struggling to pull away up the hill. It then got even better, a mix of Honda 250cc 4cylinder, and 250cc and 350cc racing two strokes came out and put on a great high speed show. In a short period of silence, I asked the chap standing next to me “how come health and safety haven’t stopped this street racing?” With a smile he said “ no, no, this isn’t racing, this is just a parade, we wouldn’t get a licence if it was racing” Aah silly me, what was I thinking of.  During the course of the morning we saw a fantastic selection of racing machinery, the noisiest (fingers in ears job!) was a Yamaha TZ750, which managed most of the High Street on the back wheel, (one hell of a parade!) I do not propose to attempt to list all the machines that we saw, we did however photograph most of them, so have a look at the slide show. We had a quick and wet ride home, with big smiles on our faces, and our ears still ringing. What a great day, with a little bit of effort there is so much to see (and hear). I’m sure we will do it all again next year, why not join us?

Nick van den Braak

(Pictures taken by Nick.vdB and Steve Cox)

Note: All monies raised that day went to the Air Ambulance.