I do like a bit of diversity, and I don’t mean the London dance troupe. Too many motorcycle events have become soulless over the years and leave me cold. It means that in 2014 I’ve hardly been to any bike shows, so I decided to round out 2014 with a mooch around Kempton Autojumble.
There are lots of reasons I enjoy a good autojumble. I went to my first one back at the end of the 1980s, and other than a good ride from Dagenham on my Yamaha YPVS350, I can’t remember too much about it.
But I’d return again in the early 90’s. By this time I was a bit more involved in the world of buying and selling. It wasn’t just the motorcycle knowledge I was acquiring, but also the art of settling on a good deal. In the days of internet commerce, the art of a good haggle is dying. There’s a joy in going in low, and then creeping up to that seesaw point where buyer and seller can both feel like they’ve achieved a decent deal.
You can still witness these ancient art in practice at Kempton, with varying results. And the beauty of it is that it remains focused on motorcycles. I used to also attend Newark, but having been a great event in the past, it’s declined in the pursuit of profits. As a result, you don’t have geezers selling washing powder and vacuum cleaners at Kempton, which we can all appreciate.
It’s also a chance to catch up with friends in the real world rather than Facebook, and compare our hauls. After all, we’re all big kids, some bigger than others, and the classic impulse buy is never too far away. I spent a good 10 minutes negotiating on something that hadn’t even crossed my mind when I woke up for the day – and lurking in the shadows of the car park I saw plenty of other people returning to cars and vans with stuff they just couldn’t pass up.
In some ways it’s as much about the people as the motorcycles. The variety of bikes and parts is matched by the variety of buyers and sellers. From the keen dealers and the one-marque specialists to those who just want to avoid a Saturday in the local shopping centre. And there’s the humble jumble dog – the best autojumble addicts always seem to have a mutt accompanying them, presumably to guard their collection of previously loved bits and peaces.
Unlike a day browsing virtual parts, I clocked up more than 4 miles of walking around Kempton between 7am-1pm according to an app on my iPhone. I’d seen old mates, made new ones, taken lots of pictures, and bought stuff I never even knew I needed. I’d also laughed, taken the mickey, seen the new Brough Superior SS100 (More on that in a separate article), and even a V8 special shoved in a Norton chassis.
If you’ve never visited an autojumble or made the trip to Kempton before, you really should. One key ingredient is that event organiser Eric Patterson really does love his motorcycles, along with his event team. The only way you could leave feeling cold about Kempton Autojumble is if you’d forgotten to bung your long johns on.
More pics from Kempton Autojumble 2014: