Top Gear duo bag £77k at storming Stafford show
May and Hammond sell their bikes at the most amazing Stafford two-wheeled event ever
Selling their top gear
JAMES MAy and Richard Hammond were among the Staffordshire County Showground crowd to see their personal motorcycle collections go under the hammer at a recordbreaking Bonhams’ bike auction.
All of the 12 machines owned by the duo were snapped up by enthusiastic bidders at the sale, which took place at the 35th annual Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show, on April 25-26.
The two shared laughs with onlookers as Mr May even jokingly bid on his first lot after auctioneer Malcolm Barber had opened with the line: “We all know why these are being sold…”
Despite their time as presenters on the BBC motoring series Top Gear appearing to be at an end, both men seemed in good spirts and played along with the joke despite the fact their auction appearance had been organised long before the recent Top Gear furore.
Hammond’s 2010 Norton Commando raked in the most money from the pair’s garage clearout, selling for £15,180. A range of British and Japanese examples completed the line-up achieving a total of £77,625.
Well-known for their love of classic motorcycles, both considered bids during the auction but continued to play the part when asked about potential purchases. “I was interested in a 3.5 horsepower Raleigh but I lost my bottle because I am unemployed. I did have a job in a pub but they said I am too old,” May said.
The two also became disgruntled when the same TV crew asked about their Top Gear futures despite the subject clearly having been banned from discussion before the chat. The clip has become something of an internet sensation, appearing in the national press and on the popular Lad Bible website.
A Stafford Spring record-breaker
Pulling in more than £2.2 million and with 86% of lots sold, Bonhams’ 2015 Stafford Spring Sale surpassed all previous totals for the annual event.
A 1939 Vincent HRD Series-A Rapide, originally bought as a swap for a £10 note and an Amal TT carburettor, topped the lots selling for a staggering £275,900 to a bidder in the room.
Bonhams reported that it was British machines which sparked the highest bidding with nine out of the top 10 lots sold coming from iconic UK manufacturers. Among the highlights were: a 1930 Brough Superior ohv 680 Black Alpine (£138,140), a 1955 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-D (£72,060), the 1926 Coventry Eagle 980cc Flying Eight (£106,780), and a 1933 Brough Superior 1096cc 11-50hp Project (£52,900).
Ben Walker, international director of the motorcycle department at Bonhams, said: “This is our best-ever Spring Stafford Sale and we’re delighted with the results. We’ve seen some fantastic prices, with a new precedent being set.
“The level of enthusiasm at Stafford is always brilliant with people travelling from across the globe to attend and those that couldn’t were able to bid from the comfort of their homes on the phone or via our online bidding platform.”
Stafford welcomes racing royalty
This year’s April Stafford showmight just have seen the greatest ever collection of motorcycle superstars to have graced the event, according to Classic Racer magazine editor Malc Wheeler.
Nick and Tony Jefferies, star guests of the Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show, were joined by Charlie Williams, Alex George, Steve Plater, Colin Seeley, Sammy Miller and Mick Andrews as the weekend saw the great and good of motorcycling descend on
Staffordshire County Showground.
Malc said: “By my count there was a total of 17 Isle of Man TT race wins present; Williams, 8, George, 3, T Jefferies, 3, Plater, 2, N Jefferies, 1. That’s not to mention two of the best and most successful off-road riders of all time in Sammy Miller and Mick Andrews.
“While the bikes and celebrities in the auction might have stolen a few of the headlines, there’s no doubt in my mind who the real stars of the show were!”
The brothers Jefferies took part in several of the event’s attractions across the weekend including regular on- stage interviews with compere Steve Plater. The Yorkshiremen talked about their decades of racing experience, touched on their family’s history in the motorcycle industry and brought two of their winning machines to showcase.
There was also a focus on The David Jefferies Memorial Fund, which was set up in honour of Tony’s late son. DJ, as he was affectionately known, died following a crash during TT practice in 2003, prematurely bringing an end to a career which had already yielded four North West 200 victories and nine TT wins.
From £10 and a carb swap to nearly £276,000! The Rapide was the best seller.
Hammond (left) and May (right) get tips from James Robinson, editor, The Classic Motorcycle
Top: Tony Jefferies (Above: Classics in the cavalcade)