Win­ter Gar­dens

Classic Trial - - SHOW BLACKPOOL 1973 - Words: Yoomee, Mo­tor Cy­cle • Pic­tures: Mal­colm Car­ling

With Great Bri­tain con­trol­ling sales of the huge motorcycle mar­ket in the six­ties with a wide range of home man­u­fac­tured ma­chines, many shows across the coun­try and Eu­rope dis­played the new mod­els soon to be re­leased into the busy show rooms at the deal­er­ships. The Lon­don based shows ruled the roost but there were many other shows scat­tered around the UK which also proved very pop­u­lar. I can vaguely re­mem­ber this Black­pool show we are look­ing at here, as at four­teen years old this sea­side town was more of a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion than a venue for a motorcycle show. As we lived only two hours away we had dipped our toes into the cold waters of the Ir­ish seas on many other oc­ca­sions.

Alife­long motorcycle en­thu­si­ast, my late fa­ther Ron, had taken me any­where to watch any­thing to do with his two-wheeled ob­ses­sion. As we took the mo­tor­way to Black­pool he was rem­i­nisc­ing as a young man how he had vis­ited the Black­pool show and look out for the crowds who would be lined along Vic­to­ria Street aim­ing to gain en­trance through the Olympia en­trance of the Win­ter Gar­dens venue. The show had run from 1963 but his last visit to the show had been in 1965 where, upon do­ing some re­search, I had found that the recorded crowd at­ten­dance had been around the 13,000 mark for the first three days. As it was Good Friday, and an of­fi­cial Bank hol­i­day, we had left home early to avoid the traf­fic and the queues!

How Much!

When we ar­rived, my fa­ther was now think­ing we had the wrong day as there were no queues vis­i­ble; I was think­ing about that ex­tra time we could have had in bed and the fact that we were lit­er­ally two min­utes from the beach. In truth, the show was go­ing to turn into a dis­as­ter for the or­gan­is­ing CMCA of­fi­cials. Billed as the ‘Out­door Leisure Show’ the organisers had had the vi­sion of get­ting more of the gen­eral pub­lic in­volved in mak­ing the con­nec­tion with the out­door world on their mo­tor­cy­cles. In truth, the stall hold­ers had been told it would be 65% mo­tor­cy­cles on show but they were very dis­ap­pointed with what they found. They blamed a dis­tinct lack of pub­lic­ity on the poor at­ten­dance. When the doors opened we also found that the en­trance fee was 44 pence for adults and 22 pence for chil­dren un­der four­teen years old. This was more than my fa­ther had ever paid to en­ter a show be­fore, and when his words “How much?” echoed out I knew he was not happy.

A Grand En­trance

The high­light of the day was the grand en­trance of the Ex-York­shire and Eng­land cricket player Fred­die True­men. A leg­end in the cricket world, I strug­gled to make the con­nec­tion with the show, but the sound of his ar­rival on the back of a White Hel­mets dis­play four-stroke Tri­umph to per­form the open­ing cer­e­mony was quite ex­cit­ing. When I say high­light of the show, that’s ex­actly what it was. There were no crowds to wit­ness the event de­spite its town cen­tre lo­ca­tion and no one in the show — it was very bor­ing. You could see that so much work had been put into the show but I strug­gled to find any off-road machin­ery, which was what we had come to see. If you wanted a cy­cle or a tent and some walk­ing boots it was fine. As I was very poor at school at Maths, (I got 13% in my CSE ex­ams – yes that bad!) I had to check the claimed 65% mo­tor­cy­cles on view was cor­rect — hmmm!

More Sand than Grand

To say it took an hour to look around the show was an un­der­state­ment. Yes, we were in­ter­ested in the other as­pects of mo­tor­cy­cling and, as in two years I would be 16, the new four-stroke Honda SS50S caught my eye, but in truth I wanted a Yamaha FS1E two-stroke. It was quite ob­vi­ous that the organisers were pan­ick­ing when they an­nounced later in the day that the ad­mis­sion prices would be dropped and they ex­tended the show’s open­ing times, which would run un­til Thursday.

At the close of the show the at­ten­dance fig­ures told their own story. On day one the organisers ex­pected around the 15,000 mark but in truth only 2,000 vis­i­tors had at­tended the show.

I have tried to find out if the show ran again but I have noted that there was a 2017 Black­pool Motorcycle Show, once again held at the Win­ter Gar­dens venue.

Eng­land Crick­eter Fred­die True­man opened the show.

Watched by Black­pool’s Lord Mayor Ed­mund Wynnne, Fred­die True­man takes a look at the tank.

On the in­side, the Win­ter Gar­dens venue looked very in­dus­trial.

It’s a happy White Hel­mets dis­play rider who re­ceives his Tri­umph back in one piece from True­man.

Check out all the guys try­ing not to look at the press girls!

Elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cles or scoot­ers are not new. John Schuck was the of­fi­cial UK im­porter of the bat­tery pow­ered Solo Elec­tra moped. It used a 24 volt elec­tric mo­tor with a sim­ple on/off switch to con­trol the power de­liv­ery. With a gov­erned top speed of six­teen miles per hour it had a claimed range of thirty-two miles on one charge and cost £170.

On the open­ing day the at­ten­dance was very poor.

Honda used the front num­ber plates to dis­play each in­di­vid­ual model in its range.

One day!

Agrati Sales UK Ltd dis­played the 1973 Kawasaki range of mod­els from Japan.

Bill Head’s stand had the long awaited Honda SS50S su­per-moped on dis­play. The small, com­pact, four-speed gear­box model had the law abid­ing com­pul­sory ped­als fit­ted which could be locked for­ward with a sim­ple lever re­lease sys­tem to ac­ti­vate them. The pro­posed rec­om­mended re­tail price was £144.

Fred­die True­men in­spects the new Bell full face hel­met im­ported from Amer­ica, which had a RRP of £29.99.

Any­thing as­so­ci­ated with a per­for­mance in­crease on a motorcycle al­ways arouses in­ter­est. Claimed to be the only rolling road in the UK, the Souriau stand had this di­ag­nos­tic test rig on dis­play, which can cope with power out­puts of 120bhp and a top speed of 150mph.

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