AJS pair steals the headlines at a sun-kissed Stafford show
A PAIR of rare AJS machines have made history at the world-leading Stafford classic bike show by becoming the first joint winners of the event’s coveted Best in Show award.
The identical 1928 AJS K10s, in the custodianship of restorer Alan Smith, were immediate stand-outs for the judging panel at the Carole Nash-sponsored exhibition on Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23.
It was no surprise when the twins were revealed as the best motorcycles at Staffordshire County Showground towards the end of the weekend.
Head judge Dennis Frost said: “Just when you think you’ve seen it all at the Stafford shows, we get this incredible pair of bikes the like of which we’ve never had before. They were contenders from minute one, and we had to treat them as one entry given their fascinating story. They are a fantastic example of restoration, and an absolutely worthy winner.”
The nearly 80-year-old duo were bought to Wiltshire in the UK four and a half years ago by Alan, at which point he began a joint restoration with Australia-based Peter Robinson who had originally sourced the bikes down under.
Starting with the skeletons of two worn-out production racers, gradually the machines came together with parts made in Australia, the UK and Europe – plus other components sourced from around the globe. The black-and-gold beauties are identical in every way.
Alan said: “Lots of work has gone into the project. It was a mammoth job.”
It was also a successful weekend for the Rudge Club. The group, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, won the £1000 Best Club award for a superb display that included stand members donning 1940s period clothing.
The weekend saw the venue basked in glorious sunshine, and it clearly brought the crowds out in force with many traders reporting busy and profitable weekends at what remains the biggest show of its kind in the world.
Steve on the Amal carburettor stand said: “We were flat-out Saturday. It was non-stop. Nobody had a break from the stand until 3pm.”
Venhill Engineering managing director Max Adams added: “We’ve been exhibiting here for six years and it’s always been good to us. Saturday was particularly excellent this time. We’ll have a stand here forever and a day.”
Feedback was just as positive for the event’s superstar guest Troy Bayliss. The Australian three-time World Superbike champion was a major hit with the packed crowds who gathered to hear him interviewed by compere and TT winner Steve Plater.
Fans who flocked to see their hero will be glad they did, because it was Troy’s first appearance in the UK for nearly 10 years and he caught a flight back to his homeland late on Sunday night. It really was a unique chance to see the racing legend on our shores.
Rounding off proceedings on Sunday, the premier Stafford Spring Sale from auction house Bonhams generated excited bidding both in the room and from across the world via the internet and phone lines.
The event achieved a remarkable 90% sell-through rate and achieved a total figure of more then £2 million, headlined by a 1949 Vincent that realised a substantial £163,900 against an estimate of £60,000.
Bonhams’ co-chairman and auctioneer Malcolm Barber said: “Even after 30 years of Stafford sales, the auction continues to go from strength to strength, and this year perfectly illustrated Bonhams’ continued dominance in the world of collectors’ motorcycles.”
Attention for the organiser now turns to October, and the second of the two annual Stafford classic motorcycle shows – both backed by insurance giant Carole Nash.
Exhibition manager Nick Mowbray said: “The Stafford events have become the biggest classic bike shows on the planet, and I think it’s fair to say that we retained that crown this weekend with yet another superb offering. It’s a testament to everyone involved – including key partners, traders, clubs and private entrants – that the shows just keep getting better and better. Roll on October!”