This past Sunday was the 69th Vintage Motorcycle Club’s Banbury Run.
I first heard about the event watching a repeat of “The Motorbike show”, when good ol’ Henry Cole covered it a few years back. It’s held at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire. As it’s not too far from me, I thought i’d go along. In a spectating capacity, obviously.
So what is the Banbury run? Well, it’s somewhere between a race and a ride out. Approx 500 vintage motorbikes leave the start line and the goal for most of the riders seems to be, make it around one of the three routes available in a reasonable time! The routes are based on class of vintage bike and when I say vintage, I mean vintage. The Banbury run is only open to motorcycles that were made before 31st of December 1930. Class A are veteran bikes built prior to 1915. Class B are early vintage (1915 – 1924) and Class C is late vintage (1925-1930).
Some absolutely amazing bikes were being ridden here. Traditional classics, some flat tankers and even some strange two wheeled contraption that can best be described as a steampunk segway. It’s truly astonishing that some of these machines are still here, some over 100 years old and still running.
The conditions on the day were far from perfect. It was one of the hottest days of the year so far and even for the spectators it was a struggle in the red hot sunshine. I wouldn’t want to imagine what it was like for some of the riders. Especially some of the gents dressed in tweed.
Which brings be on to the picture above. As you can imagine not all of the bike are perfect runners and unfortunately this chap’s machine broke down just in front of me, not far from the start line. What I saw next will stay with me for a good, long while. This gentleman took off the petrol cap and blew a long, hard breath into the tank. He was literally giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to his motorbike! The best thing is, it worked and he was soon on his way again.
Included in the price of a ticket was also free entry to the British motor museum itself. It’s great museum thats more gears to cars than bikes but a really interesting place to visit. It even has the first bicycle made by William Morris, who you might remember from my previous post and a full post about him is in the pipeline.
Next year is the 70th Banbury run and I can’t wait to come back again.
Hope to see you there!