For this International Classic event I decided to take my Canon 40D DSLR with Tamron 18-200 mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II LD lens ideal for both on track action and paddock shots. I bought this lens with my Canon 20D many years ago on recommendation and was instantly disappointed. Images often had a “muddy” look, weren’t as sharp as they should be and the auto focus was unreliable. Consequently I rarely used it. However I’ve recently been using it on the 40D and to my surprise it’s a completely different lens on this body and autofocus is much better! Obviously it’s not as sharp as my favourite Canon 70-200mm L but its perfectly acceptable and overall, gives good results.
Anyway, the meeting was one of the most enjoyable events I’ve been to for a long time. Besides the track action there was a display area in the paddock with variety of club displays, collections and a stage. So much was going on it was difficult to get around without being distracted. A programme was a must and even this impressed – nice design, a good read and well worth a fiver.
First stop was the Gold Star Owners Club immaculately restored bikes and lots of chrome, a nightmare to photograph close up on a sunny day!
Further on there was a nice line up of RC45s, Honda’s iconic 1990s superbike.
I stopped quite a while for a chat at Road & Race Classics who specialise in the sales, repair and restoration of classic road and race motorcycles. The two bikes that caught my eye were a Honda RVF 750 RC45 and a Honda VFR750R RC30 (a French Bol D’Or import). Both great bikes but I love the classic paintwork of the RC30, if I had a spare £17000 I’d have it! You can find more bikes and details at Road & Race Classics.
On to the stage where Steve Plater interviewed Peter Williams – a brief but interesting history of his time as a rider and engineer with some amusing anecdotes.
James Hayden had his work cut out but did a good job interviewing Phil Read and Giacomo Agostini. Plenty of banter and a some good laughs – Ago was very funny and charismatic.
Wandering around the display area a little later I came across Phil Read firing up the MV Agusta 4 cylinder on his way to one of the parades.
Here he is earlier in the paddock after returning the John Player Norton. Peter Williams in the background.
This is a photo I never thought I would take – Giacomo Agostini on the MV Agusta 3 cylinder going through Hall Bends…….
and this was a bike I never thought I’d see or hear in action, the fantastic sounding Honda 6 ridden by John Cronshaw.
All in all a great success, rare and exotic bikes with past and present stars seemingly around every corner. Jonathon Palmer should be rightly proud of the Classic International event that he and the staff have organised. My only regret is that I didn’t attend both days.