Thursday, 28 March 2013

It’s Show Time!

Seeing that beaming smile spread across Ben’s face as we pulled up inside Hall 3 of Eventcity  Manchester made all the stress of the past two days just dissolved into insignificance.

One very happy young bike exhibitor. 

Getting to the Manchester Bike Show 2013 had turned into an absolute “nightmare” thanks to the weather. 23rd of March and it decides to snow again! There was no way on earth I was going to be towing Trinity through all the slush and salt, on the Moto-Lug Trailer we have.

It's the end of March for goodness sake!

As ever I’m getting ahead of myself. To start with I’d best explain (to those who do not already know) “Trinity” is a 1993 Kawasaki ZXR750 L1 which I have lovingly “restored” to almost new condition for my son Ben.

I bought ”Trinity” back in November 2010 a well-used & somewhat neglected project. The reason being, I bought a brand new ZXR750 back in 1993 at shortly afterwards met Jeannie my dear “Bike widow” wife of 18 years.

Bournemouth November 2010

I realised early on in the project that the bike would be 30 years old when Ben turned 21. It was a no-brainer, at that instant “Trinity” became Ben’s 21st birthday present from me to him.

Ben’s been involved right from the start, from stripping the bike down, it’s refurbishment and finally the re-build. He’s made video’s, taking numerous photos and even helping polish her ready for the show.

The decision to exhibit “Trinity” at the Manchester Bike Show 2013 however was purely down to Twitter. After reading the Tweet back in January I contacted the organisers Andrew Greenwoods at Classic Shows and booked our slot as “Individual Exhibitors”.

Before I knew it the show was just 5 days away so after yet another reorganisation of the garage “Trinity” took centre stage in Mr T’s parking spot. All I had to buy was a rear paddock stand and a small silver Kawasaki sticker for the front fairing and we were ready to go.

On Monday I dropped Oggy a quick text asking if he fancied a ride over to Derbyshire as the weather was glorious sunshine. If only a mere 6 degrees C. The response came…..Housework, Not today, let’s ride!  

After the ride I asked if he wouldn’t mind coming round later in the week to take some photos of “Trinity” as she was all polished up ready to go to the ball. I’d seen photos on Oggy’s Hot Air Balloon Blog which looked very professional and hoped he could do “Trinity” justice in the photo department.

So on Wednesday morning Oggy came round and we spent a fun filled freezing morning in the garage taking photos. The results are amazing! This was followed by lunch at the Wine Press in Littleborough. Can I just say, Oggy you did a brilliant job mate, thank you very much.

Oggy at his Best 

Friday came around all too soon. The plan to tow “Trinity” went right out the window when I saw the fresh covering of snow. I tried desperately to rent a trailer but was not willing to fork out over a £100 for weekend’s hire. A trip to the local timber merchant didn’t impress me. I even called Keith Dixon to organise the loan of a bike ramp but by 4.00pm I just felt so dejected I decided “Trinity” would not be going to the ball!

Then at 4.35pm I thought “Raymondo get a grip! Stop being a defeatist and sort it out.” With that I shot off down to Robinsons ofRochdale where I used to work as a bike salesman. Chris kindly borrowed me their spare bike ramp and we were back in business. Chris you’re an absolute show saver, Thank you. Trinity would go to the ball after all.

The First & Last Time

 We were up bright and breezy at 6.30am as “Trinity” had to be in place no later than 9.00am when the doors opened to the public. Having loaded her up last night it was just a case of shovelling the 2 foot deep snow drift away from the front of the garage and away we went. Giving Uncle Tony a lift to work, as he couldn’t get even get off his drive, further up the village.

My heart was in my mouth as I started to roll “Trinity” out of the VW onto the ramp. Suddenly out of nowhere  a guy appeared and offered to help. Mystery helper, thank you. Ben could not believe just how many Individual Exhibitors Bikes there were. I felt somewhat humble in such company.

Trinity was in "Good Company"

After a brief chat with the organiser “Trinity” was set up back to back with a 1992 Black Kawasaki Zephyr 1100 owned by a really nice chap called Nigel from Chapel-en-Le Frith. He and his wife had set up camp at the side of his bike along with another couple at the side of their bike. It was 8.35am and Ben was having the time of his life looking around the other exhibits and stands.

Lot's of TLC & Hard Work 

We then had to wait around until 10.45am in order to collect our free ticket and get our hand stamped by the Eventcity Administrator who had also been snowed in. Tickets in hand we shot off back home to collect Jeannie & Lilie Rose before returning to enjoy the show as a family. An absolute Wandering Walton’s First! Not only Exhibiting “Trinity” but also attending a full on Motorbike Show as a family, day’s out just don’t get any better than this!

I won’t go on too much about driving home that evening leaving “Trinity” behind to face the whole of Sunday alone! Needless to say I put on a brave face and wished the night & day come to that, away. Sleepless nights don’t get any worse I can tell you.

Lilie Rose was appearing in a show at the Gracie Fields Theatre at 6.00pm and so collecting “Trinity” was organised down to the last minute. Dropping Jeannie & Lilie Rose off at the theatre at 3.30pm
Having read a post at about 2.00pm by Lefty had really put me on edge, it read :-

“Ironic …. On the whole the show was sh**e. Lots of fingerprints on Trinity. Raymondo won’t be best pleased.”

I wasn’t the only one who read the post and Dave kindly sent me a couple of text photo’s at 3.45pm saying “Trinity is fine!” by which time I was driving over in the VW with Ben to collect her.

Here's Just a few of the
Amazing Bikes
On Display

Ducati 450cc Street Scrambler

Suzuki GT750

They were all here!

Arriving to find Nigel, his wife & grandchild still sat watching his bike made me smile. I could not have done that all weekend. It was 4.00pm and I asked the Eventcity manager if we could take “Trinity” early as Lilie Rose was in the show.

The answer was a resounding  “NO! If I let you take your bike everyone will break out and I’ll have no show left!”

I was chatting to the lads on the Royal British Legion Riders Stand when Ben re-appeared.

Best in Show
Custom Class

“Dad, there all taking their bikes out” it was 4.40pm and sure enough about 15 bikes were all being rolled away towards the exits. It looked like a free for all and I was just thankful we were there to take “Trinity” home. Anyone could have taken any of the Individual Exhibitors Bikes as no one was checking anything!

Again outside a passing stranger helped me load “Trinity” into the VW and within half an hour Ben & I were unloading her at home.

Sat here almost one week later having reflected on the show I can honestly say I’m pleased we exhibited “Trinity”.

It’s another boxed ticked on our “Thing’s To-Do List”.

Would I do it again? To be 100% honest I’m not really sure. If it was a single day show then yes as long as we all attended the show together. Leaving “Trinity” at the show on Saturday night made me feel physically sick. Something I’d rather not do again.

What did I learn from the whole experience?

Well as I’ve added a few parts and changed a few others Trinity” will never be accepted as a true “Restoration” bike.

Nor would I bother trying to join the “Classic Japanese Bike Club” Especially after the way I was spoken to by the rather obnoxious chap on their stand late on Sunday afternoon. Rude does not come close!  

Did we enjoy the overall “Individual Exhibitor” experience. That’s a 100% categorical,  YES! We had a fantastic time on Saturday.

Now Who's
Having a Great Time?

Arriving at the Gracie Fields Theatre at 5.50pm on Sunday and watching Lilie Rose appear in the Creativity Moves Show transformed a brilliant weekend into and absolutely inspirational experience.

A truly unforgettable weekend of family memories to cherish forever.

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