Royal Highland Centre revs up for motorbike show

The Purple Helmets stunt team. Picture: comp
The Purple Helmets stunt team. Picture: comp
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STUNT displays, competitive racing, wheelie machines and live music will be among the attractions at Scotland’s biggest motorcycle show, which will be racing into the Capital next month.

The Carole Nash Great Scottish Bike Show takes place at Ingliston’s Royal Highland Centre on the weekend of August 9-10, with organisers promising an action-packed live event alongside the many trade stands, display bikes and motorcycling luminaries in attendance.

This year’s focus is being widened out to appeal to families as the event moves to the Royal Highland Centre for the first time, with daredevil displays and stunts designed to draw in the crowds.

Two major stunt displays will be at the heart of the action with the madcap Purple Helmets bringing their own unique brand of stunt style from the Isle of Man, alongside the Dave Coates Stunt Show which is part of Yamaha’s Dark Side MT Tour.

There will be wheelies, jumps and heart-in-the-mouth moments as they wow crowds with their risk-taking repertoires.

Exhibition manager Nick Mowbray explains: “Our roots lie in motorcycle trade events but over the years we’ve included more and more exhibits and displays to add that touch of excitement for show goers and encourage family members of all ages to come and get a taste of the wonderful world that is motorcycling.

“We’ve gone to great lengths in our efforts to provide an all-round motorcycle weekend for our debut at the RHC and with the line-up in place, it’s going to be just that.”

For biking enthusiasts – who are expected to ride into the show from across the country – Japanese manufacturing giant Yamaha will bringing its entire MT range to the venue, giving UK riders of all abilities the opportunity to take free test rides.

A fleet of MT models will be available to test for those with a full motorcycle licence, while novices, A1 and A2 licence holders can get involved too on a specialist test course with instructors on hand to assist.

In addition, the Yamaha tour includes a number of “have-a-go” activities such as the MT-09 Extreme Wheelie Machine where visitors can safely try out their wheelie skills on a static machine.

There’s plenty of competitive action in the form of Moped Mayhem and Scottish Supermoto. Moped Mayhem sees teams of riders compete on a specially created circuit to set the best time and is sure to provide plenty in the way of thrills and spills, as will Scottish Supermoto – where road racing meets motocross.

“The show will celebrate all that is best about biking, from classic to modern and everything in between,” adds Nick.

“We’ve even got Scottish indie-rock cover band Shardlake, who’ll be playing three separate hour-long sets each day of the show, there’s face-painting for the kids and the usual assortment of burgers, hot dogs, bacon rolls and ice creams to keep everyone fuelled up for a day of fun.

“Whether it’s someone looking to fill their boots with biking bits or a family looking for a great day out, there really is something for everyone.”

Carli Smith, a bike journalist who works for Motor Cycle Monthly, has been riding bikes since she was 12, and knows the thrill a bike show like this can give to youngsters and families.

She will be celebrating her birthday at the event, and says she can’t think of a better way to do so.

“Bikes have very much been a family thing for me,” she says. “My mum rides as well so quite a lot of our quality time together is spent getting on our bikes.

“This show has something for everyone. And even if you haven’t got a bike licence, you can still enjoy things like the static wheelie machine where you can rev the throttle and do a wheelie without danger or even going anywhere.

“A lot of people will come up to this event from further down the country on their bikes and spend the weekend up here. There’s lots of good road to ride on in Scotland. The whole weekend will be buzzing with excitement. It will be a nice way for me to celebrate my birthday!”

Carli says that the stunt shows will be a particular crowd-pleaser, even amongst those who aren’t self-confessed bike lovers.

She adds: “I do love stunt shows and watching things that people should never try at home. You don’t even have to like bikes to appreciate how mental some of the wheelies are.

“Stunt shows always draw people in as they like to see others doing possibly dangerous things.

“I’ve always loved watching people going fast and doing stunts, it’s a really exciting element of bikes.

“You can’t believe sometimes what people can do on two wheels.”

As well as being fun for all the family, the show will feature a host of top dealers and manufacturers, including Kawasaki, Aprilia, Ducati and Moto Guzzi.

There will also be an “auto jumble” offering all manner of machines and motorcycle parts and accessories.

The event will also welcome racing royalty, with Giacomo Agostini as star guest, as well as one of Scotland’s own, three times TT winner Alex George.

Crowned world champion ten times during his 13-year career, Agostini also holds the record for most Grand Prix race victories with 122. Visitors to the show will be given the chance to meet the racing legend.

Nick says: “Undoubtedly a legend and an icon, Giacomo is not only the most successful top level motorcycle racer of all time, but is a genuinely charming character.

“I am sure that show goers will be fascinated to hear him speak and share tales from a truly remarkable career.”

He adds: “We are well aware of the special history that motorcycling has in Scotland, and we are looking forward to visiting its beautiful capital city to celebrate all that is best about biking.”

A one-day advance ticket costs £6, a discount of £2 on the gate price. Gates are open from 10am to 5pm on both Saturday, August 9, and Sunday, August 10.

gemma.fraser@edinburghnews.com