Top 10s

Top 10 events for your 2018 motorcycle diary

We might still be in the grip of winter but the year is new and the days are lengthening, so plan your motorcycling year now.

THE depths of winter might mean that trips out on the bike aren’t at the forefront of your mind right now. But there’s a pretty strong chance you’ve got a largely unfilled 2018 wall calendar hanging somewhere in your house and now is the perfect time to fill it with the key bike-season dates.

So get out a permanent marker and start filling in those boxes before your other half decides to schedule some dreary-yet-unavoidable event that clashes with the MotoGP at Silverstone.

To get you started, here are 10 dates to get stuck in there straight away. We’re counting them down in date order to make that calendar filling a little easier.

1: International Classic Motorcycle Show: April 21-22, Stafford Showground

For the last few years Britain has tended to see some surprisingly summery weather in April (which is more than can be said for the actual summers!) so it’s not a bad idea to schedule in a couple of excuses to get out on the bike. Even if you’re not a classic bike nut there’s sure to be something of interest at the International Classic Motorcycle Show and its accompanying Bonhams auction.

What more do we need to say? It’s WSB. It’s at Donington. There’s a pretty strong chance that you’ll be able to watch a Brit winning it, too. If you haven’t been to a WSB race recently, remember that the actual races are spread across Saturday and Sunday now, not concentrated purely on the Sunday.

Does the term ‘street tracker’ mean anything to you? How about ‘brat-bob’? If your answer’s no, then you may have missed one of the biggest things to happen in motorcycling for decade: the new-wave custom bike scene.

2018 is the year to pull your head out from whatever Jurassic rock it’s been under and catch up by going to the epicentre of the scene in the UK, the annual Bike Shed show, usually held at Tobacco Dock in Docklands, east London.

Assen has long been adopted as something of a second British MotoGP round with vast numbers of fans from the UK making the trip across the channel to see it. Whether it’s an annual migration or you’ve never been, it’s well worth a date in your diary. Rossi is always strong in Holland, so it’s got to be among his best chances of a win in 2018.

While the main focus is cars, there’s always been a big motorcycling element to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and it usually manages to attract stars – both human and two-wheeled – that you won’t see anywhere else during the year. Tickets usually sell out well in advance of the event, so make sure you stake a claim early.

For the first time in what seems like ages there’s actually no question mark hanging over where the British MotoGP round is going to be held. The proposed Circuit of Wales, which actually had the MotoGP hosting deal for the last few years and subbed it to Silverstone since the track still isn’t built, has handed over to the Northamptonshire circuit officially now. So Silverstone will host the race until at least 2020. It’s bang in the middle of the country, so wherever you live it’s within reach. Get the date in the diary; there’s no excuse to miss it this year.

Like the Festival of Speed, the Goodwood Revival is a petrolhead event covering both cars and bikes, but it’s more exclusive and relaxed than the Festival, with proper on-track racing rather than just demonstrations. Tickets are very limited, so book early if you want to be sure to get there. And if you haven’t been before, it really is worth throwing yourself into the event with period costume (it’s required for access to the paddock). Incredibly, 2018 is the event’s 20th anniversary.

Like the Festival of Speed, the Goodwood Revival is a petrolhead event covering both cars and bikes, but it’s more exclusive and relaxed than the Festival, with proper on-track racing rather than just demonstrations. Tickets are very limited, so book early if you want to be sure to get there. And if you haven’t been before, it really is worth throwing yourself into the event with period costume (it’s required for access to the paddock). Incredibly, 2018 is the event’s 20th anniversary.

Travelling abroad to a motorcycle show might seem like an odd thing to do, but if you want to be among the first to see 2019’s new crop of bikes, Intermot in Cologne will be the place to be. Given how cheap flights and accommodation can be, particularly if booked well in advance, it might not cost much more than a trip to the NEC show in Birmingham. However, remember that not every new bike will be launched there – some manufacturers always hold back models to show at EICMA in Milan the following month.

The same arguments for visiting Intermot applies to EICMA in Milan; book early and it doesn’t need to be expensive, and however much you love Birmingham, Milan is a tad more glamourous. While exactly what will be launched there remains a secret until the event, unsurprisingly Italian manufacturers usually hold back their most important new models for EICMA.

Stunt supremo Travis Pastrana has built Nitro Circus into a such a spectacle that its appeal extends well beyond motorcycling and into the mainstream.

This year the show is back for a European tour, starting with four UK dates, in Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and London.

It’s your chance to see the ‘the best riders on the planet to go big or go home’, as the website puts it.

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