Attendance at NEC bike show remains high, despite downturn in motorcycle sales
More than 110,000 bike fans flocked to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre between 27th November and the 6th December to get their fill of the latest bikes, bits and, of course, birds at the Carol Nash-sponsored show.
Even though UK sales are down, 21 manufacturers were at the event, displaying some of their machines to the UK public for the first time: BMW unveiled their stunning S1000RR superbike, which goes on sale early next year. Ducati’s new Multistrada, complete with active suspension option, was a big attraction at the 10-day event, while British icon Norton was present with their stunning range of hand-built machinery.
The event had the usual sprinkling of the slightly rich and sometime famous: Gordon Ramsay, James Martin and The Hairy Bikers were just a few of the celebrity chefs to grace this year’s event. Charley Boorman, from Long Way Round/Down/Up/In/Out, was on hand to chat to punters, while Richard Hammond, of Top Gear fame,wasn’t.
Top-name racers on the Visordown stand included: James Toseland, Troy Corser, Bradley Smith, John McGuinness, Carl Fogarty, Carlos Checa, Leon Haslam, Steve Plater and Leon Camier all on hand to sign autographs and chat to fans. A few of them, and we’re not saying who, drunk more than their fair share at this year’s Visordown pre-show bash. Thought you looked a bit peaky the next day, chaps.
If you’ve got an ear, or nose, for the ring-ding of a two-stroke engine then you may have seen 500cc GP God Niall Mackenzie, along with former BSB racer Jamie Whitham, firing up Barry Sheene’s 1981 Yamaha racebike, on the Visordown stand.
The machine was campaigned by Sheene in the first three rounds of the 1981 500cc championship, and was loaned to Visordown by racebike fanatic, Chris Wilson. A Big thanks to Chris for lending us the bike; Chris didn’t even blink when Visordown operatives Skilton and Forsyth whisked off his £100,000 racebike from his home in their van.
Niall and Jamie kept the crowds entertained with their special brand of top quality piss-taking banter heading up Visordown’s All Star Forum. But the top award went to Visordown’s very own special constable Jamie Whitham who successfully tackled a dangerous thief attempting to make off with someone else’s property in a carefully planned plastic bag heist. Good to know the “c’ word is alive and well.
If he’s very lucky he might get a proper uniform next year, some type of small attack dog and a 2004 Ford Escort van with vinyl lettering saying DOG PATROL. Then again he might be forced to work with Mackenzie for the ninety-fifth time. Poor Whit.
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