‘I re­alised the fol­low­ing year was 25 years since it closed. Re­union!’

Mark Wilsmore is re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing the Ace Cafe back to life

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

“I’m 59-years-old, which puts me smack in the 1970s 250cc L-plate gen­er­a­tion. It also puts me in the age group which, as a kid in the ’60s, can vividly re­call the Mods and Rock­ers.

“One day, I re­alised that bik­ers had no home and just along from where I was liv­ing was the Ace Cafe. It was a place with a fan­tas­tic his­tory, but it was be­ing used as a tyre de­pot.

“Over time, I’ve be­come some­thing of a master or­gan­iser. At the tail end of ’93, a dear friend of mine at the Tri­umph Own­ers’ Mo­tor Cy­cle Club said ‘do you know when the Ace shut?’ I didn’t have a clue! It was when he said Septem­ber ’69 that I re­alised the fol­low­ing year was 25 years since the Ace Cafe closed. That’s when the light­bulb went off. Re­union! “From that point, it was how to do it, rather than shall we do it. The first Re­union was in ’94 and the thou­sands of peo­ple that turned up proved I wasn’t mad. I ap­plied for plan­ning per­mis­sion to re­open the cafe and spoke to the site own­ers to get hold of it. “It was around 1997 that we got per­mis­sion to re­open. In 1996 I came out of the po­lice and bought the free­hold. The tyre place didn’t op­er­ate on Sun­days, so we opened a burger van in a small, empty part of the build­ing on that day. “From the mo­ment that started, it proved to be im­mensely pop­u­lar. Full re­fur­bish­ment of the Cafe be­gan in Jan­uary 2001 and it was func­tion­ing by August – just in time for the Ace Cafe Re­union.”

Thou­sands of peo­ple turned up to the first Ace re­union MARK WILSMORE

The Re­union takes three days and is an an­nual event

de­pot Mark stands out­side the tyre Ace that he turned back into the

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.