Lovely circa-1964 Ariel Pixie at last year's Clubman's show
There’s still plenty of time to plan a visit to the 22nd Annual Clubman’s All-British Motorcycle Weekend at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, Calif., March 28, 2009. Saturday’s show will feature more than 100 British bikes, with Ariel as the featured marque. The show and swap meet runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and $1 raffle tickets for a 1973 Norton 850 Commando Roadster will be for sale. There will also be a “Morning After” ride on Sunday organized by the Ariel Owners Club.
This 1973 Norton Commando could be yours -- tickets are only $1!
As anyone who’s made the show will tell you, this is a fully day of immersion in British motorcycles, with as many cool old bikes packed in the parking lot as inside the official show area. The day also includes a more general European motorcycle show, AMA professional indoor short track racing (these guys are nuts, racing indoors on slick floors with little between the riders and spectators besides hay bales and fencing – it’s great fun). This year’s special guest of honor is ex-BSA factor rider and 1964-1965 World MX Champion Jeff Smith, who rode his BSA B40 to six victories in 13 rounds in the 1964 season, and never once finished off the podium. Smith, who was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000, went on to help develop Can-Am motorcycles in the 1970s and was active in AHRMA and AMA, heading up AHRMA from the early 1990s until he retired in 1999.
1961 Velocette Viceroy at the 2008 show
Although I’ve yet to make the Clubman’s show, I get more pics and hear more great things about it every year, and there’s no question it’s become one of the must-do events for West Coast classic bike fans, regardless of what they ride. It also keeps expanding, now including the Asian Motorcycle and Scooter Show & Swap (featuring both modern and vintage machines), and the European Motorcycle Show & Swap, also featuring modern and vintage machines. And if you’re coming in from out of state, don’t forget Sunday’s “Morning After” ride, organized by the Ariel Owners Club and a great way to finish up an All British weekend.
And this time around, a few lucky souls will get to take in the show for free, because we're giving away two complete sets of tickets, good for all the events during the Clubman show, including short track racing. Just go here to sign up for your chance to win, and don't forget, win or not, the individual shows are a bargain at $5 a pop, and even the racing's cheap at $20. Sounds like a recipe for a great time if you ask me, and getting to the fairgrounds is easy, just follow this link for directions. – Richard Backus