Stafford is now permanently on my calendar and twice a year at that. The shows are becoming not just a sketching trip for myself but a great chance to catch up with motorcycle friends old and new. I spent just as much time talking motorcycles as drawing them, which is a great balance.. I also have a chance to see if I can find the missing bits for my current projects, and resist buying new ones!
More information on the Classic Bike Shows at Stafford and elsewhere can be seen here:
1914 FLYING MERKEL 980CC V-TWIN
(watercolour & ink)
The Flying Merkel was the star of the Bonhams auction and fetched a staggering £104,540 (incl premium). There were some great elements on this early machine including the rear suspension setup, seen in more detail in the photo below. Also an intriguing tap on the front exhaust as it exits the barrel, thoughts from people I spoke to ranged from just a plumbing fitting that worked for a fix at some point to an exhaust whistle.... any thoughts please comment.
Bonhams had this to say about the bike's history:
"This rare Veteran-era American classic was discovered in an Ohio barn in 1956 by one Mort Wood, who sold it on to a fellow 'antique motorcycle' enthusiast, Emmett Moore. It appears that ownership reverted to Mort Wood, for it was from him that the machine was purchased in 1994 by the late Bernard Thomas, proprietor of Antique American Motorcycles. In original condition when acquired, the Flying Merkel has been treated to a mechanical and light cosmetic rebuild but otherwise remains untouched."
Read the full Bonhams write up for more information on this stunning machine.
1954 MV AGUSTA 123.5CC BIALBERO RACING MOTORCYCLE
(watercolour & ink)
1929 Ariel Model G Sprint Bike
Running on pure methanol this Model G sprint bike looked right, and so I had to sketch it. A lot of tuning has gone into the engine making this a true sprint bike. A great touch is a Norton positive device has been added to the original Ariel gearbox. A positive stop means you cannot push through more than one gear at a time, which is pretty handy on a sprint bike.
Ducati 600 Supersport
The October Stafford show is geared more towards more recent classics like 80's Japanese bikes and sports bikes rather than my usual fair of vintage and veteran machines. I was asked to sketch this Ducati which I was glad to do and actually found that there is just as much to draw on a modern Ducati as there is on a classic bike. It was tricky to fit the details between the frame as there is only small sections visible. I really enjoyed drawing something different to my normal choice, and learnt a lot from the sketch.
My choice from the jumble would have been this 80's sprint Bantam. By chance I met with the builder of this great machine Ron who told me that it was doing sub 15 second runs and topping out at 90mph which is pretty impressive for a 175cc running with 25% methanol. At one meeting the bike came second to a Norton Dominator which show that Bantams in the right hands are real contenders!
One of Rons more recent creations was this Bowns Autocycle sprint bike, styled on a Brooklands racer. I love this sort of thinking and hope to see more of it. The Villiers engine has been tuned beyond it's 2hp origins and in it's previous bike won the Coast to Coast run last year. So the owner has good hopes for it in the National Sprint Association next year.
More Sprint Bikes were to be found in the jumble and auction, such as these Rudge and Norton examples...
Trials and Dirt Bikes
Another bike on my wish list turned up as a pair of consecutive numbered 1956 competition factory built AJS Trials machines being sold as a pair! Unfortunately I didn't have 6 odd grand.
Interesting Villers powered mud plugger
Intriguing Aermacchi Harley Davidson
1953 TT Sprint, Norton JAP
Nice New Hudson!
Possibly the most over ambitious price for a Power Pak at £325!!
Vintage and Veteran
1920 New Hudson Deluxe Touring Model, for sale at Vintage and Veteran