Vin­tage events cel­e­brate clas­sics

Al­ways ad­mired the un­mis­tak­able beauty of the old ma­chines? You’ll be in fine com­pany

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week In Mcn - By Char­lie Lester

‘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

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