Classic Racing Festival Pukekohe 6th and 7th February 2016.

Or Knobster and McSnottys Big Day Out.

As one grows older there are fewer things in life that one actually looks forward to. The regular visit to the barber for a catch up on goss whilst getting that trim becomes less frequent as the hair line receeds, the pending visit of the in-laws is of no consequence because now we ARE the inlaws, and fine days are reserved for family gatherings, not the more important motorcycle riding. Knobster and I have both welcomed some of the changes, but generally no to most. So when we heard that a bit of normality had resumed with the return of the classic racing festival to Pukekohe we decided that we would have to go.

The decision was to travel in cognito aka the donning of the true english sunhat (a handkerchief tied in four corners) fake plastic glasses, noses and moustache, sandels and socks, and the all too familiar english white singlet. We were a picture of loveliness in the true english spirit.

Our transport was of the more modern type, a 4 wheel carriage with the proper accessories that we had become used to – a radio to listen to talk back, and AIR CONDITIONING. It seemed a good choice by many that had also attended. Actually we gave up taking older bikes out to put on display as there was constant interferrring with them from the disrespectful public who thought that it was their right to sit on them to have their photos taken, knobs and levers were played with, and occassionally you would come back to find somebody had moved your bike so that they could park theirs next to their mates (enough grumbling here thank you!!). So to take an older machine meant that we couldn’t leave them unattended which meant we would not be able to take in all the racing from the various vantage points on the track. And so, on we move –

Classic racing is changing every year, and perhaps the more correct title would be evolving. What may have been suitable 25 years ago is now proving unworkable so changes have had to be made. This last year would have to have been the most significant within the organisation since the introduction of the pre 76 class in 1994, after the adoption of constitution changes resulting in more flexibility within the acceptability of the classes ie the introduction of Post Classic class with pre 1982 and pre 1989 machines.

As we walked around the pit area it was pleasing to see the effort that has gone into the preparation of these machines

From machines like this impressive sidecar.


 – to ‘work in progress’ like this little Ariel powered Rudge Special.

For all the brainiacs out there who like figures the breakdown on machines and riders is as follows. There was 140 riders entered with a total of 210 machines entered. Of these there were 124 pre ‘63s (all machines – clubmans, factory, modified, vintage and pre war), 55 pre ‘76s, 14 pre ‘82s, and 17 pre ‘89s. Of that there were 7 riders who had entered in both the pre 63 and pre ’82 or ’89 classes. These figures are subjective as they are taken from the race programme and there appeared to be a few more entrants racing that were not included on the programme, particularly post classics.

This entrant taking advantage of the new classes. Both pre 63 and post classic machines in the same stable. And a bit of advertising for LJ Hooker.

Was there a perceived threat of a takeover of post classics at Pukekohe? No. Was there a whitewash within the mixed classes of the combined races of pre ’63, pre ’82 machines with the later bikes trouncing the older bikes? Definitely not. In fact what there was was some excellent racing between all variety of machines. In one race the first 8 machines over the finish line were Pre 63 clubmans (albeit very quick clubmans) with the 9th being a Honda (gosh did I really say that word?) So no great threat there then. And as with any race the smiles are still the same and the stories – well they never change do they?

If you are not quite sure if racing is your thing but would like to give it a try there is the Regularity Parade. It allows a person to get out on the race track with other like minded individuals who want to sent their own steady pace and not be savaged in the corners by the more faster experienced racers. An excellent way to have a play.


 Machines taking advantage of the regularity parade.

For those who were watching the weather reports and trying to decide what was going to happen for the classic racing at Pukekohe would have been mighty confused as to what to believe. Reports of heavy showers for Saturday resulted in fine cool weather for the Franklin area, the forecast of rain clearing to light showers by midday for Sunday just resulted in many people getting sunburnt.

Idle chatter on some forums about the dangerous nature of the Pukekohe circuit may have affected the total number of entries however Knobster and me didn’t really notice. The riders who did enter seemed to enjoy themselves and most classes were well supported. Could have done with a few more sidecars though. Perhaps the abstainers forgot the mantra “Riders don’t race to crash they race to have fun”.


Racing bikes at their best. In no particular order they were all there for fun. Did notice that some of the later machines had ‘electric slippers’ covering their tyres. A bit chilly perhaps?

My only critism would have been the programe. The gaps that existed with machines listed in the programe and what actually raced was wide and varied which made it difficult to follow. I doubt that it was an error with the the programme and with the amount of riders missing off the programme it was more likely that they entered after the closing date. Remember if a racer enters after the closing date they won’t be in the programme and therefore will remove all bragging rites when telling people in later years that they raced and came 3rd, 5th or whatever. And it does make it extremely hard for the race organisers to do their jobs.


Interesting machines spied around the public car park


Knobby loves Enfields and this one caught his eye – number plate appropriate or name of the elderly owner?

With the interest growing in late 1970s early 1980s machinery there is definitely hope for my old CB750 and CB1100R languishing in the back of the garage. Who knows – they might get an extra trot around the track if my pension can stretch that far!

As for the pre war and vintage classes – well they are languishing a bit as the numbers are decreasing. So what we need is more, more, more. Fun is the game, and it is far safer than riding on the road.

There was an excellent selection of bikes on parade and both the organisers and entrants could be nothing but proud of what was achieved for the weekend. For those who didn’t or couldn’t attend you missed out on a excellent weekend. Hopefully it can be repeated next year.

KnobsterCam is responsible for all photos taken at this event. In keeping up with modern technology he did try his own version of a selfie stick however the camera duct taped onto the end of his walking stick didn’t work, he kept falling over!