Vintage events celebrate classics
Always admired the unmistakable beauty of the old machines? You’ll be in fine company
‘Vintage’. It’s a word you’ve probably seen overused by purveyors of brand new, artfully weathered tat in overpriced gift shops. But they know what they’re doing; with all the continually evolving technology saturating our lives, many of us are captivated by the style and innovation of the past – especially when it comes to bikes.
The Vintage Motor Cycle Club is living up to its name in more ways than one, having just celebrated its 70th year. Started in 1946, it has over 15,000 members based mainly in the UK, with 86 sections based not just geographically but also on special interest groups such as flat tanks, historic racing and grasstrack. With all the sections running numerous events through the year, there are over 10,000 to get involved with, so there’s plenty of small and large-scale events to cater for all interests.
The VMCC are also one of the few clubs with full-time staff as well as volunteers – partly because of the library and archive based at its headquarters in Burton-on-trent. One of the biggest of its kind in the world in terms of the amount of historical motorcycle information in one place, it contains ancient dispatch records, periodicals going back to 1902, and being freely accessible to all members it’s a powerful and unique pool of resources for enthusiasts.
General Manager Ian Botham has been involved with the club for more than 15 years. “The club is so diverse and all-encompassing but we have the same passion for the machines; not just preserving the past but keeping it current and on the road, educating people and hopefully encouraging them to get involved. Anyone who’s interested in classic, vintage veteran bikes will find a home here.
“I’ve had a bike since I was 16 – and I’ve gone backwards. Like so many of our members I lost interest in speed and the technology of the purely modern; older bikes present an entirely new challenge. You don’t have the gadgets to any work for you, you have to think further ahead as you don’t have the braking power… I’ve got a 1928 Triumph which is covered in knobs and things to twiddle around with, and riding around with no suspension and no brakes is very interesting in modern traffic!”
‘ The bike is covered in knobs and things to twiddle’
History has never been more fun