The 2013 BMF Tailend seemed more like it was tail between the legs time. I’ve been attending for 20 years on-and-off, and this year the Peterborough Showground saw the once-buzzing event hit an all time low.
Arriving early on Sunday morning, the gossip between the marshals was focused on who managed to catch Alvin Stardust’s glove during his performance on Saturday night – which was actually about the only smile the event managed to raise. The place was half empty, and I don’t mean show goers who may have been dissuaded by the weather, but more the stall holders and the like. It’s a sign of the times that the traditional Frank Thomas tents weren’t even there, as the pile of seconds has finally run out. Mind you, they lasted a few more years than the company did.
Having missed the moped mayhem, I sat in the grandstand with my 3-year-old son to eat some sandwiches and wait for the next spectacular to hit the area. Having watched the tractors removing the tyres it turns out that was it for the day, although Mikey did thoroughly enjoy the tractor show at least.
The next thing to get my attention was watching tents begin to take off. Thankfully the auto jumblers and their customers were safe, seeing as there were only 6 pitches. I caught up with a friend who was one of the half-dozen, and he explained that the BMF show organisers had insisted on a £100 deposit when he arrived on Friday. When he asked why, he was told it was so he didn’t leave before 5pm Sunday!
The ‘couldn’t make it up’ scenarios carried on. Watching some mad bloke doing things on a Harley 883 in the stunt arena was a master stroke, but not even that could stop me heading for the gate. The Best of Show was around 20 bikes in a cattle shed, and several of them could find their own way to the show based on how many times they’ve been entered.
I’ve no idea why the show has gone so downhill. The weather probably didn’t help, and the rise of internet bargains and cheap motorcycle kit being imported direct from the East and sold online probably means there’s less interest in an end-of-season sale event than ever before – and at the same time the entertainment has largely stayed the same.
The result is a show that’s slipping down the toilet to the point Dyno Rod couldn’t pull it back. But the big questions isn’t how the show can bounce back, but who did catch Alvin’s glove?