I was pottering in my workshop on Saturday when my mate Dan sent me a text asking 'coming to the Norton owners' club café racer day?' I didn't know it was on, despite having been last year. So, seeing as my bike is currently proving reliable and the sun was shining, there was no excuse not to go, so got quickly kitted out and off up the road at speed. I met Dan on his Le Mans special at the H Cafe at Berinsfield, which is our nearest bikers' café, and Trevor too, who was on his very loud and fast BSA A10-engined rough-round-the-edges caff racer.
The event was held at the Vine Pub at Cumnor and like last year's, was a small but very interesting gathering of local bikes and their owners, some of whom are real characters. It was a proper English meet, at a pub, in the sun (ok not so English), and very friendly, and to be honest what was refreshing about it was that most of the Brit bikes there were very much of the old school café racer style - not a Brat style thing or Honda with alloy tank in sight. Apart from the Brit-based Nortons, BSAs and (not many) Triumphs, there seemed to be loads of Moto Guzzis, including a nice special or two, an interesting Harley WLC special, and a fascinating Nimbus Sport with inline four cylinder motor, shaft drive, and produced in Denmark.
Prizes were handed out by the wonderful Stan Dibben, who won the 1953 World Sidecar Championship on a Manx Norton outfit, along with Eric Oliver. More about Stan here. The winning bike, voted best special, was an amazing BSA Trident engined special, with Laverda 750 front brake.
One of those great days when get to ride in the sunshine, look at some bikes, chat to nice people, and understand why you love motorcycles so much...