Scarborough Bike Week 2012, by Bruce Grant

The weather at this years 10th Bike week carried on as normal for May and June of 2012. Yes, it was wet and windy and then it was wet again. That didn't prevent 134 entrants and more people than that when pillion passengers are counted from braving the conditions and enjoying the company, the riding, the venues to be visited and the little sunshine in the week commencing Saturday the 23rd of June.

Our normal camping spot had been taken over by the resident club at Oliver's Mount race circuit, the Auto 66 Club. They needed the space mainly for car parking for the thousands of racegoers expected for the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy Races to be held on our first weekend. Normally they are a week behind us.

The wet weather put off many race enthusiasts and all of Saturday's events were cancelled. Sunday racing, the main event day, went ahead as planned.

But our first ride out, organised by retiring Peter Hird and Brian Wolsall after ten years in charge, did start ok. The departure of riders was preceded by an organiser/entrants meeting to decide whether to go or not. Some stayed, not wanting to ride in the very wet and windy conditions, but most, like me, took the route sheets and set off on a scenic North Yorks Forest run of some 86 miles. As we went West, East would have been to the North Sea, well I'll be blowed, the sun came out. It was there all the time.

Danby Forest was visited and here it costs 7 to drive a car into this recreational forest where umpteen pursuits await your energetic efforts. It's very popular with mountain bikers and walkers and regularly holds outdoor concerts with the likes of Robbie Williams, Will Young and other riff raff. The organisers had previously paid the 1 for each bike, so we were waved in. The lunch stop was at Thornton-le-dale and we had a look in the car and bike museum attached to the classic vehicle showroom. Then a nice country tour along quiet lanes and through pretty villages brought us back to the start.

That evening, the film show in the marquee didn't start when the projector bulb failed to light up ......

Some words about the bikes. There were four flat tankers and four vee twins present. The choice flat tanker was a mid twenties OHV Norton. Talk about oily rag condition, but it was lovely. Could it have been one of those rare B.R.S. Nortons?
(doubt it: the BRS was a single gear side valver: Bill) It justly won the Rider's Choice of machine. The vee twins ranged from 350cc to 1000cc, a Morini 3 1/2 and a Black Shadow. In between were a V50 Guzzi and a CX500 Honda. The Vincent had the 5 inch speedo and the OBM April Stafford auction report, lists such a speedo as sold for 637.

Like the Friday night, Saturday night had the old camper rocking about a bit due to the high winds in that elevated and exposed part of Scarborough that is Oliver's Mount race circuit.

Before we set off on Sunday the race meeting was underway, although it was wet once more. Today a route of a hundred miles was planned with a lunch stop in the village of Helmsley. It always has many visitors. A ride up super roads to Bilsdale and on to Sutton Bank, a mix of quiet roads and country lanes, the organisers attempting to keep us away from other traffic. The weather turned out fine but still windy. On return to Scarborough, with the race meeting still running I was able to watch some racing of solos and sidecars but this is in the wet. One race was red-flagged when a large branch, blown off a tree, landed on the track. Oliver's Mount has many trees.

Some words about the ladies. Five ladies rode their own machines in company with their partners. Very active motorcyclist, Brenda Hallard, rode her '20's Ajay ahead of husband Graham on his flat tanker, whilst the lady in the camper next door on her modern twist and go scooter and a learner at age 75, followed her partner each day who is 80 years of age and was riding a Honda Benly. The other lady riders had models of Tiger cub, Velo MSS and Ariel Colt.

Elvington air museum near York was the destination on Monday with the lunch stop at the museum's NAAFI. A jacket spud sufficed here as Di got her apron on and did a Spag Carbonara in the camper later. It was 110 miles this time. Elvington has the Halifax that was dragged from a Norwegian Fjord not that long ago and it looks like new. There were many aircraft there, Meteors, a Lightning, Gannet, HP Victor and that ugliest of aeroplane, the Comet based Nimrod. I helped push a MZ TS250 around the car park, which brought back memories of Rob Jones and his Velocettes. Not a peep from it, so the AA was summoned and they discovered a duff plug cap...... wasn't like that in the old days.

That night things looked up. Dave Stewart (not the Eurythmics Dave Stewart) got his keyboard in action and some dancing took place. Mostly females, of course, with men too lazy to get off their backsides - me as well.

Some words about threewheelers. There was six of them and two were 2CV engined Lomax. (I almost said powered) They were driven by West South Wales members. The sidecar outfits were a pair of Beesas and a pair of BMWs. Polly Palmer, proprietor of BRI-TIE motorcycles, rode a Rocket Three with Headingham forks and a palatial sidecar for wife Angie whilst Ann and Pat Davy rode their well known blue A10 outfit.

Day four and how time flies. Today would be a good day. We were heading to the Theakston Brewery's Lion Inn on Blakey Moor, the highest pub in England, and a pint of Old Peculiar. Our meal choice was made at signing on (the meal choices were phoned through to the pub to speed service) and another 100 miles to do before our Scarboro return. The food is A1, a steak pie, for example, choc a bloc with steak, for the veggies a nut roast.....

A couple landed alongside the pub in their helicopter, literally dropping in for lunch. "Oi!" shouts Les Thomas, Chairman of the West South Wales Section, "your down draft has just blown those helmets off those bikes". Cue - silent smile from Pilot thinking of food.

Some words about our transport. I had intended to take the 3HW Triumph with the Tiger100 engine, but in the end settled for the reliable Honda CB400. A problem that I have with putting the T100 motor in the 3HW chassis is that the 3HW primary chaincase will not fit. The chain is more or less exposed and has little protection and lubrication. It would have a tough time with the 700 + miles that were planned. At one stage my conscience played up when observing Brit bike owners tinkering, especially those with Velos who seemed to spend more time doing that than any others. I felt bad that I wasn't doing any maintenance so gave the rear tyre a hefty kick to make sure that it was at the correct pressure. This did make me feel better.

Day five and it was a familiar run to the South Yorks Wolds and Fridaythorpe. I'd done it last year, so we knocked it on the head and set off for a steam train ride on the North Yorks Moor Railway starting from Pickering. But before leaving camp we had to obtain our raffle tickets for the FREE fish and chip supper that evening. The loco that pulled us to Goathland (TVs Aidensfield) had been saved from the Barry steam graveyard. We left the train at Goathland and walked along the footpath to Grosmont that was laid along the old railway route, first used with horse drawn carriages. Having inspected "Mallard" (
surely it's Sir Nigel Gresley: Bill) in the engine sheds at Grosmont, with some of it's wheel linkage adrift, we mounted the train back to Pickering and a main road, seventeen mile run back to base.

With the fish and chip supper consumed, in two sittings, a quiz took place. Question - what Shadows tune spent the longest time in the charts? Question - which country in ancient times was known as Mesopotamia? result 14.5 out of 20, must do better.

Some words about bike trouble, The Dutch couple alongside us had two bikes. He rode a Comet whilst she rode a Velo MSS. Out on the route the fibre gear (a single helical tooth form) stripped and the Velo mag stopped rotating. A guy tightened a dome nut on his A10's rocker box shaft and the shaft started to come out of the rocker box - funny. On a right hander my mate slipped off his immaculate Shooting Star when trying to avoid gravel, he ran wide onto a soft grass verge.

It was Thursday and todays run of 110 miles would see us on moors up above Pickering and Goathland, perhaps 50 miles to the lunch stop. We parked up as normal on Cripp's Garage forecourt (Bobs garage really) and this year no award was made for Bob's choice of bike. "Too many narrow lanes with grass down the middle" we heard said a few times. I suppose that you just can't please everyone, so don't try. Only once did I concur with this view when it seemed that to achieve a decent mileage of 100 miles or so, we went round in circles - but I could be wrong. Regarding breakdowns, travelling Marshals were about, other riders would help, and you might even have an AA card in your wallet....

Stan Bartle, lovely chap, always films the riders each day and towards the end of the week presents 'Stans Video Magic' film show and this we had tonight in the marquee.

Colin Bell announced the rider's choice of bike, the Norton first and in second place the absolutely
immaculate 1969 BSA A65 Thunderbolt - a bike that was washed and polished every day.
Colin went on to reveal that the event will continue next year, new organisers having come forward. Then he issued a welcome to the foreign riders, "Welcome to our Dutch friends and those who have come from Wales". His little joke. He got a raspberry and a chorus of Oggy Oggy Oggy, led by me.

Some words about the organisers. Peter and Brian had stated from the event's inception that they would only organise it for 10 years and this year was the 10th running of the bike week. The event will continue in 2013, with Peter and Brian helping in lesser roles, with the new organisers. Could it be a different Scarboro Bike week next time?

 The seventh and final day had arrived and as per tradition we were off to Whitby and the display of our bikes on the jetty with kind permission of the Harbour master.  Normally bikes are banned in this area. Another 100 miles or so with our pal Martyn Roters on his 1935 Sunbeam Lion. At Ugglebarnby, only a short distance from Whitby, we had a couldburst. This caused some wimps to tree shelter, whilst other twerps like me and Martyn rode on. Oooooh, the rain really hurt your lips. Anyway the public really did enjoy our jetty display - "I had one like that once" was heard quite a few times. We had lunch in the Quarterdeck fish restaurant once again, where, two years ago, a trannie in a blond wig and giveaway brown moustache had caused a rumpus in the ladies when he left the seat up....... We had a look in a Jet Jewelry workshop and then it was a belt down the main Whit - Scar road and back to the site only to find a hired JCB unsticking the campers from the water-logged field - see you next year???

Bruce Grant