It’s always a crowd favourite at the Stafford shows, and this October’s ‘live start-up area’ – more officially known as the Grand Prix Paddock – will be no exception.
As always there will be a host of superb machinery being revved to your heart’s content throughout the weekend, but here we pick out three bikes which should be particular crowd favourites:
Les Archer’s 1949 Norton
Les (or Les Archer Jr as some of our more senior visitors will know him) was a top class national and international racer primarily in the 1950s, competing in a variety of championships.
Like many of his era, Les (whose father Les was also a leading racer of the 1920s) competed in pretty much any event on two wheels; a real talent both on tarmac and the dirt.
An early off-road success was ISDT gold in 1950, competing for the most part with a 250cc Velocette special and a 500cc Norton, based on a 500T. This was the start of a long Norton association.
Archer went on to win the European 500cc championship in 1956.
Coming to the paddock is one of Archer’s original bikes, a Manx Norton 490cc ‘Garden Gate’. This bike was ridden by him at the 1949 Manx GP and is still ridden in anger in British Historic Races and the Lansdowne series.
Mad Max Kwaka
Okay, Mel Gibson isn’t coming to Stafford (as far as we know from checking the bookings), nor do we have Jim Goose (the lawman in movie classic Mad Max). But what we do have is a faithfully recreated example of the Jim Goose Main Force Patrol (MFP) motorcycle from the 1979 cult film.
Goose’s motorcycle is a customised Kawasaki KZ1000, which is affectionately called the ‘Kwaka’: A powerful and rugged bike, reflecting the character’s personality and commitment to his duty.
This Kwaka recreation by Phil C (the UK’s self-proclaimed Jim Goose) features a striking paint job with MFP insignias and is equipped with all the gear needed to enforce the law, in that post-apocalyptic world.
Not only will this bike be on display, we’re sure ‘Goose’ – or Phil – will be starting it up in the live start-up area.
Going green with a feast for your ears
If one thing gets your motor running, it might be this beast of a bike, the Kawasaki ZXR400R.
The Stafford Grand Prix Paddock will be ringing to the sound of this machine revving-up in all its glory. Not only a feast for the eyes but also for the ears.
The back story of this bike is pretty special, and is one of real devotion from its owner. After losing everything in a lorry fire, Tony Griffiths, with the help of Derek Smith, built the bike back from scratch in his living room.
Tony originally turned up with just a rolling chassis and an engine, not even any bodywork in sight – they certainly had a challenge on their hands. As soon as it was back to its former glory, this beauty hit the North Gloucester championship competition, finishing in second place.
Head out to the Classic Racer GP Paddock where famous race machines of the past are fired up twice each day. Compere Steve Plater and our star guest will be on-hand to give his thoughts on proceedings… that’s when they can get a word in edgeways over the deafening raw of some iconic monsters from racing’s glory days. You can almost smell the Castrol R!