Classic Bike Guide

Happy New Year!


Greetings all, here is to hoping you all had a jolly fine time over the festive period. Seems forever ago now, doesn’t it? Luckily, I have my growing waistline – thanks to all that lovely food and lack of exercise – to remind me of Christmas…

In the S’West, Oli’s festive activity has been mostly indoors: “I’ve been clearing some space in the dining room for some project work, and I have acquired a wonderful and virtually unmarked 1950s hardwood workbench from the junk shop next door. This bench is a thing of beauty and considerab­le heft. There’s also a 350 Sport tank for the Morini, a bag of assorted electrical connectors to replace the last bag of electrical connectors which I have put ‘somewhere’, and a new battery for the ‘Guzzi. And a rubber mat to protect the dining room carpet, improving the chances of domestic bliss.” A fine move.

Here in Naarfolk we had a largely bikefree time, too. There was some Morris Minor fettling and some wonderous woodland walks, but we did manage a ride to Cromer on New Year’s Day. Maria took the Ducati, which she loaned to her dad as some pillock had knocked him off his three-week-old Triumph before Christmas (he’s aching, but otherwise hopefully alright). Uncle John rode his Triumph, and I jumped on the BMW R100RT, except it decided mimic a kangaroo... an angry kangaroo! It managed to get home, where I shut it in its bedroom to consider its behaviour, and I got the trusty B31 out, then bounced that up to the coast to meet with the others – they had cake and coffee, you see. Cromer has New Year’s

Day fireworks in the evening, so the town was filling up nicely, but we decided to get home before dark as the new CBG puppy, Chuck, needed some cuddles...

Last weekend was the Classic Bike

Guide Winter Classic show at Newark, the first show of the year. Everyone seemed merry, with more stands and, as always, the club displays looked fantastic. A massive thank-you to all club members and helpers, none of whom get paid; all just do it for the love. The weather had been atrocious during the few days before, but on the weekend we were lucky. The ever-smiling Steve Plater interviewe­d

Brian Crighton, mastermind of the Norton rotary bikes, and Trevor Nation, twice a TT winner and forever remembered as one of the riders in those infamous black and grey JPS-coloured leathers. There are many oft-exaggerate­d stories in our world: if the amount of people who claim to have seen Hailwood’s ‘78 comeback was true, the Isle of Man would have sunk under the weight. But I was at Snetterton in 1990, standing atop a van, and I did see Norton teammates Trevor and Steve Spray pull away from the chasing pack like they were stuck in quicksand. That’s my Hailwood moment.

One of Trevor’s best stories was from 1985, when his RG500 racebike was in pieces, so he borrowed a proddie Suzuki GSX-R750 from his sponsor, the gov of

Oxford Products, and rode it down to

Spain to tackle two rounds in the TT-F1 championsh­ip. Can you see anyone doing that now? In a tassled leather jacket and a tent strapped to the back? Great stories from a man who was truly thankful for the life he’s lived, and both Trevor and Brian were really friendly and likeable.

Lastly, I want to say a huge thank-you to the Dabbers Trials Club, which was more than welcoming. It felt less like a competitio­n and more like a social club, such was the friendly, fun atmosphere.

The oldest competitor was 81 years old, and any twin-shock was eligible, so Bultaco, Ossa, Yamaha and Honda were commonplac­e, as well as the British pre-65 bikes like BSA Bantams, Royal Enfields, and even a heavyweigh­t Triumph twin – fair play, sir! Bike of the day must go to our dear friend and trials stalwart Mr Peter Yarham, on his beautiful Honda fourstroke TLR200 in Rothmans colours. That would look good next to our Rothmansli­veried classic Opel in the shed!

From all of us at Classic Bike Guide ,we hope that 2024 brings you all a great year for riding and sorting projects. May the sun shine, the air stay in your tyres, and the smiles never leave our faces!

Matt Hull editor@classicbik­

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