Despite some indifferent weather, the Bikes, BBQs and Blues Festival delivered an excellent weekend experience.
While The Speculator’s knowledge of motorcycles could be snugly secreted in a flea’s underpants, the smell of barbecued sossies and whitebait fritters combined with live blues was more than enough to overcome the moody clouds and irascible wind to create a cordial atmosphere tinged – for The Speculator in any case – with just a hint of nostalgia.
While organiser Rob Lauder thought numbers might have been down on the previous year, there were still plenty of people streaming in when The Speculator departed half-way through the event.
One of the highlights of the event was Tim Swain’s collection of Indians, including a 1916 Board Track Racer, which was started by spinning the rear wheel. Working combustion technology of this age is extraordinary to see close up; there is an elegant minimalism to its design, which while beautiful, is nevertheless primarily functional. Check out the gallery for some shots.
Inevitably, at events like this, there are a few eccentric characters. Two in particular stuck in my mind. One was the singer for the first band known as The Quarry Cigar Box Company. The band itself were somewhat unique in that as the name suggests, some of their instruments were made from cigar boxes.
The singer – and I use the term loosely – had an impressive array of hoots, screeches, yelps and cries which he deployed pretty much non-stop throughout the set, when he wasn’t playing harmonica.
The other character arrived with some pomp on a bike whose age and worn condition were matched only by his own. Clad in what appeared to be a German military greatcoat and decorated with war medals, his crowning glory was a stunning, shining chrome German WW2 helmet. It soon became apparent the Prussian pretensions were more than skin deep; the old chap had a strong German accent, suggesting the coat and medals could well have been his own.
I shall say no more, for at a later time I saw The Flagstaff interviewing him, so its article will hopefully provide more details.
This event again brought home the fantastic entertainment riches we have on our doorstep in Devonport. A festival of this nature is unique in that it is a motorcycle event that is general-public friendly. Tons of fascinating machinery on display (even if one doesn’t understand what it is, one can appreciate the simple beauty of the early bikes or the gaudy ostentatiousness of the tour bikes), great music, relaxed atmosphere and good, cheap food.
All set of course, in one of the most beautiful spots on the Shore, Fort Takapuna. If you missed it this year, make sure you keep an eye out for it next.