Saturday the 26th May saw Andy and I heading back to Donington Park for the first attempt at holding a new motorcycle festival â?? Bikefest UK. The weather was good so we were in high spirits on the ride down. However, as usual with Donington administration, bikers get the wrong end of the deal. We parked in the area designated for bikes and had to walk some way before we got to the entrance gate, passing the car parking areas on the way!!
Inside there were the usual stalls for bikes and accessories, although for such a high profile event, I have to say I was disappointed at the number and range of offerings on display. Iâ??ve seen better at regional bike events in Germany. At least it saved me being tempted to buy anything, even an event T-shirt, as they didnâ??t have any!! (I didnâ??t see any around the Craner curves at the WSB meeting either). Opportunities missed or what!
Positive points were watching the everyday bikers doing their stuff on track. We had contemplated having a go but our riding equipment was not considered good enough. In a way Iâ??m glad, as watching them come round the Melbourne loop, I wondered what I would have looked like on the Roadking!! Good on all of those who had a go, as it was very entertaining for the rest of us. In addition, we had the Rizla Suzuki superbike boys doing a demonstration test day. Seeing Chris Walker and Carl Crutchlow riding gave you a clear understanding of the difference between the professionals and the amateurs.
Finally, there was the KillSpills protest ride terminating on track. The Donington part started forming on the central area of the track behind the inner stand on the start and finish straight. We wanted to take part, but by the time we got there, we didnâ??t have enough time to go all the way back for the bikes. But I did buy a 617 Ride T-shirt. It was called the 617 Ride this year because that was the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by diesel spills between 2000 and 2005. So we stayed and watched the 255 riders arrive from London (after being to Downing St). They had a short rest and were then joined by the 263 Donington riders for a lap of the track.
In summary, it was a mixed day with good and disappointing points. As a national event, it has to be bigger and broader in itâ??s outlook. Maybe it was because it was the first time? I suppose we will have to go next year to see if it has improved.