30th Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show

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Lovely circa-1976 Benelli 750 Sei at the Bristol Classic. Check out the broken crankshaft on the floor! No word on what happened there.

The weekend of the 20th/21st of February 2010 saw the British Classic bike show season start @ the Bath and West Showground in Shepton Mallet,  Somerset, England, with the 30th Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show.

The weekend again saw unseasonably good weather with the sun shining after a frosty start to the day. My Brother Barry, Adam and myself left Berkshire at 8am for the 100 mile drive to this wonderful event.

Once we arrived and had a brief bite to eat we did a lap of the show to get our bearings, there were four halls and a Marquee of motorcycles and motorcycle accessories/parts stalls along with an outdoor market place with stalls selling motorcycle parts new and used, clothing, memorabilia and tools; all a classic bike fan could want.

Although this show historically leans more towards older British motorcycles, the last few years has seen many more Japanese and European motorcycles from the 70s on show. This is particularly pleasing for me who at 46 years old loved that era.

Very nice first year 1975 Honda GL1000

Suzuki GT750 “Water Buffalo” at the Bristol Classic

Lovely Kawasaki 750 H2 2-stroke triple

Although Japanese bikes dominated, Brit bikes on display included this perfect 1971 BSA 650 Lightning

There were some fantastic machines on show from the 70s, including a particularly fine Benelli 750 Sei which had been restored to an incredibly high standard, a 1969 Honda CB750 in a similar condition also caught my eye, along with a lovely Kawasaki H2 and a nice Suzuki GT750A.

Mention must go also the fine Triumph Hurricane, one of my all time favorite bikes. There were many awards, however the best in show was John Guy and his 1929 Magnat Debon 350.

Japanese awards were:
3rd place – 1977 Yamaha RD250
2nd place – 1976 Suzuki RE5
1st place – 1967 Kawasaki 350 Avenger

Best American made machine:
A 1942 WLA Harley Davidson.

I’m not sure if America ever had a moped scene, but in Britain in the 70s Mopeds were the only bike a 16-year-old could legally ride on the road so the Japanese factories built sports mopeds. The Yamaha FS1E & Suzuki AP50 were the two most popular and the FS1E was well represented at this show with a great stand that also had a couple of Gilera models, as well. These little bikes are so popular in the Classic scene now that restored examples regularly fetch £3,000 !

An attendance this year of over 17,000 for the two days proves that this show seems to have something for everyone, with a great family atmosphere with everyone happily chatting away like old friends – and you always seem to bump into someone you know. A great show and a fabulous start to the Classic Motorcycle season. – Tim Claridge

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