Good turn out for Motorcycle show

BY Jim Gardner Motorcycle Action Group WELL 2007 hasn t exactly been a great year as far as biking weather is concerned. More like the Indian monsoon season than July in Blighty. Still the start of August seemed to hail the arrival of summer at last, wit

BY Jim Gardner

Motorcycle Action Group

WELL 2007 hasn't exactly been a great year as far as biking weather is concerned. More like the Indian monsoon season than July in Blighty. Still the start of August seemed to hail the arrival of summer at last, with clear blue skies and sunshine in abundance. It must have been a relief for Savages MC, as they had their 3rd annual Custom and Classic Bike Show at Christchurch in the Cambridgeshire Fens on the first Saturday of the month.

I'd organised a ride out to the show from our regular meeting place, the Rose and Crown in March, to the show. Now seeing as how it's only seven miles from March to Christchurch I'd sorted out a run that would take in some nice quick twisty's and a few miles out on the very flat and sparsely populated fens to get us there. Apart from loosing one bike to a rapidly deflating tyre, it was a lovely run. Eventually arriving en mass at the Dun Cow, venue for the show.

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Relatively unobstructed by other traffic as only the fens and the Sahara can be, there are some real advantages to biking here too. A good ride will take in sweeping bends and ninety degree turns leading into slow cruises through riverside villages and along drove roads to take in the 360 degree panoramas. Many first time visitors to the area find the flat landscape bleak and uninspiring but over time you come to appreciate the feeling of space and the massive skies.

The flat farmland and a paucity of hedge rows gives you a clear view of the road ahead so you can set up for some fast cornering safe in the knowledge that the bend wont tighten up unexpectedly and that there wont be a stationary combine harvester, complete with medieval looking spiky attachments on which to impale yourself, lurking just out of sight.

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Watch out for the uneven surfaces though. The area was once a giant peat bog and though you will see no evidence of it in the much ploughed and eroded fields, the original geography has left its mark on the roads. You see at one time small streams ran everywhere, criss-crossing the land. After the land was drained for agriculture the peat beds dried out and in doing so shrank and continue to do so even today. So what's this got to do with bumpy roads, is it the peat shrinking that's causing it? Well yes and no. It's more to do with those streams. Over time silt collected in the stream beds, layer upon layer of it for hundreds of years, silt being a much more dense material than peat doesn't shrink at the same rate and as the roads date right back to when they were drove tracks, which have simply been surfaced over, the former steam beds are forever trapped beneath. So whilst the rest of the road sinks down as the peat contracts the bits over the steam beds don't resulting in lots of mini launch ramps which will unseat the unwary rider

Another feature is the rivers and drains that run along side many of the roads for mile upon mile, people holiday on canal boats wave as you pass, swans preen themselves on the banks and miscanthus grass sway gently in the breeze its seed heads glittering silver in the sunlight. There is a really laid back feel to riding through this landscape, great for spending time with your thoughts and very calming, then make a turn and your back on the more challenging roads

For what is a fairly small, local one day show, the variety and quality of the bikes on show was outstanding. There were customs and classics aplenty. There was even a Brough Superior. Lets face it most of those are now in rich collectors private, humidity controlled garages, never again to be viewed by us oiks. So it was a real treat to see one being ridden in to the show in all its un-restored glory.

There was a lovely Harley Springer chop in black with chequer graphics, a guy with a Matchless which was his regular everyday ride and some very tasty sporty numbers such as an MV Augusta and some classic Ducatis. A few nasty rats and a couple of trikes nestled amongst the highly buffed and polished customs and classics, which completed the picture and ensured there really was something for every one.

Local residents and their families mingled amongst the usual biker crowd creating a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The pub itself offered great food and a good selection of ales. Mid afternoon the band started up followed by the prize giving of some very fancy trophies and the draw for the raffle. The star prize of a lovely black mini moto went to a young lad of just the right age to really appreciate it.

Overall turnout was up on last year, which bodes well for the future of this great traditional one dayer. So if your looking for a good ride out destination next year you could do a lot worse than head for the Fens and some of the South's few remaining empty roads to visit the Savages show. Check out

(N. Cambs MAG 'The March Hares' meet at the Rose and Crown in March on Monday evenings. Everyone welcome).

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