Old and New at British Bike Day


Both bikes have the classic look of Triumph motorcycles, but one is 47 years older than the other.

That is what British Bike Day is all about for bike enthusiasts and co-ordinators, Bob Vercoe and Hartley Hay.

Like many other British bike owners they would be polishing up their prized possessions in readiness for this year’s event.

Mr Vercoe’s T120, being more than 40 years old, is now classified as vintage.

Manufactured in 1970, it is a kick-start bike, like many others from its time.

On the other end of the spectrum Hay’s T120 was imported from the factory in the United Kingdom just a couple of months before the event.

“She has the retro styling of the earlier Bonnevilles but she is all computerised in comparison with the older bike,” Mr Vercoe said.

Another stark difference between the two bikes was the engine capacity.

“The 1970 is 650cc compared with the new bike which is 1200,” he said.

The two co-ordinators of the bike day were hoping for a similar range of motorbikes for the event.

New and old .. Hartley Hay (left) with his newly acquired T120 Triumph motorcycle and Bob Vercoe with his vintage T120. Two Triumph T120 bikes will be part of the display of British bikes at the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre this Sunday.

Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs, and many others will be among the dozens of bikes represented on the day, which is a regular feature on Mandeville’s event calendar.

This year will be the 24th year the British Bike day has been hosted at Mandeville.

The event has been shifted a couple of hundred metres, and will be staged in front of the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre.

It is good to feel welcome, the men said.

Just ride in towards the hangars, and follow the sign.

The event will be held on Sunday, March 19, starting at 11am.

It provides a chance for enthusiasts from far and wide to meet, check out each other’s bikes, and exchange yarns.

About 12.30pm a prize giving would take place.

“We’ve been British bike guys for over 40 years,” Mr Hay said.

Vercoe said Hay and his wife Karen started the informal gatherings and various people had helped out over the years.

It was expected up to 80 or more British bikes from as far afield as Dunedin, Queenstown, Te Anau and Invercargill, would be at the gathering, he said.

Not only would there be British bikes among the line-up but a wide variety of other manufacturers would also be represented, he said.

All motorcyclists and visitors are welcome.

Hay encouraged the community to attend the event, which was free, and to enjoy the range of bikes on show. And the weather forecast looks good.

“There are only two things that are free, the air we breathe, and British motorbike day,” Hay said.

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