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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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???