Stars and bars at Stafford October 15/16

On Any Sunday and Transatlantic Match Race stars David Aldana and Gene Romero proved to be extremely popular guests of honour at the Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, with thousands of fans gathering to see the legends at Stafford Showground.

Steve Foster’s picture-perfect ex-Martin Sharpe 250 Yamsel won the Best Race Bike award at the show.

Also along for the weekend should have been Daytona 200 winner Don Emde and Flat Track legend Mert Lawwill, who both succumbed to illness the week before the show and where unable to travel. Both have made a good recovery and it is hoped that they may be able to visit the show in the future.

Compere Steve Plater clearly had his work cut out keeping the dynamic duo in check and their stage time turned in to something of a comedy double act at times. The pair not only covered their time during the making of the iconic film On Any Sunday, but shared many behind-the-scenes tales from their long and successful careers as they crossed the USA chasing the lucrative AMA number 1 plate.

Visitor Ian McDonald said: “Every year the guests of honour are great, this year they have gone up a gear… fantastic!”. Fellow showgoer Kev Hewitt added to the praise calling the pair “brilliant blokes and great characters”.

Also attracting lots of interest was a Husqvarna dirt bike, previously owned by Hollywood legend Steve McQueen, who appeared in On Any Sunday showing that he could ride as well as act, and who part-funded the making of the film.

Race fans also got a rare treat with the opportunity to get up close to two of Barry Sheene’s World Championship-winning Suzukis, shipped over from Australia and on show in the popular Suzuki Village.

Best in Show went to regular award winner Heidi Cockerton with her rare Suzuki 1965 K11T, displayed on the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club stand.

Bonhams’ auction once again demonstrated the strength of the classic bike market as a 1924 Croft-Cameron Super Eight sold for £203,100, contributing to a sale total of £1,572,712.

And the Classic Racer Grand Prix Paddock once again proved hugely popular, giving visitors a chance to get up close to rare race machinery, chat to the owners, and get their earwax loosened when the bikes were fired up.

Exhibition manager Nick Mowbray said: “The clamour to see, and hear, our two guest stars was unprecedented, and there were long queues after each interview with people wanting to meet the pair and have items signed.”

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