A sunny summer Sunday morning in August. Woken up to the sound of engines. Motorcycle engines. Lots of motorcycle engines. Town centre is barricaded, manned by orange clad official looking people, while the town seems to be overrun by leather clad, helmeted people. It's the 2015 Brackley Festival of motorcycling.
Started in 2008, the Brackley Festival of Motorcyling has become a national event bringing together motorcycling enthusiasts from all over the country. Organised and run by volunteers, the festival operates on a "not for profit" basis, supporting charities which benefit Brackley, the main charities being the Warks and Northants Air Ambulance service, which, it must be said, receives no Government funding. The festival is unusual in the UK, in that the Brackley High Street is closed for the day, and turned into a short race track. A good opportunity to burn up the high street LEGALLY!
Names like Matchless, Honda, Yamaha bring back memories of learning to ride, and riding trail in bits of African bush as a young man. These days I am more interested in observing, camera in hand. With a full house of family staying over, an early start was not an option, and I hate photos of bikes with disembodied legs in the background, so I chose to keep this year's photos to the action, both on the track and on the sports field, where the arena and scrambling tracks were.
The High Street track offered successive demonstrations of motorbikes of all types, classic racers, custom bikes and even a few classic three wheelers. That was the plan, though in a few cases the "demonstrations" showed a clear bit of competion, with more than one wheelie popped, and a couple of three wheelers lifting a wheel at the top corner. I did see one bike go down, with no injuries, but a bit of embarassment for the rider.
The main sports field hosted a good turnout of motorcycling clubs, alongside a few manufacturers showing off their machines. An abundant supply of food and drink occupied the middle field with plenty of stalls selling various motorcycling products. The main event here, though, was the main arena, featuring various displays from Steve Colley, Extreme BMX, some classic scramblers, trials demonstrations and the like.
The big action that caught my attention was the display of flying motorcycles from Broke FMX. Simple jumps between a couple of ramps are one thing, but turning the bike in the air, somersaults and flying alongside the bike are a whole other matter. Some amazing riding there.
All told, it was an excellent day out, with great attendance from the motorcycling community, and very good for the town. I heard that there were in the order of 14,000 motorcycles parked in the town. That may or may not be correct, but there was certainly a lot of people there. Must add the Brackley Festival of Motorcycling to the diary next August.