It could be considered a walk down memory lane, but it’s likely to be a lot quicker than a mere stroll. 

The 39th annual Classic Motorcycle Festival, set for Pukekohe Park Raceway in just three weeks’ time, on the weekend of February 3-4, is sure to bring tears to a few eyeballs, either as former racers share funny moments from their past and recall distant memories, or from racers still active, still keen to prove themselves on the race track. Or perhaps eyes will merely moisten slightly as enthusiasts survey some of the truly classic bikes that will be on show over the two days. 

Whichever category you fit into, the host New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register (NZCMRR) promises that this event will certainly be high-class entertainment.

The bikes on display, and racing on the track, will include various models of bikes from famous factories all over the world – BSA, Jawa, Ducati, Aermacchi, Bultaco, Velocette, CZ, Benelli, Husqvarna, Royal Enfield, Montessa, AJS, Matchless, Triumph, Honda, Morini, Yamaha, Rudge, Norton, Triton, AJS, Suzuki, Weslake, Kawasaki, Ariel, Harley Davidson, Moto Guzzi, Suzuki and others.

NZCMRR president Ken McGeady said that while this event is the opening round of their 2018 race series, it is unlike most other race meetings. 

“It’s more than just a race meeting,” he said. “It’s a celebration of motorcycling history and has quite a different atmosphere.”

The NZCMRR will again be celebrating its heritage with an incredible display of World Superbike Championship machines and some of their riders, while also providing a tribute to the legacy of New Zealand great Geoff Perry, a world class rider taken early, in his prime. 

Australian three-time former superbike world champion Troy Bayliss will be riding his favourite 996RS Ducati while New Zealand heroes Aaron Slight and Andrew Stroud will also be on the race track.

Stroud will also be demonstrating the World Bears Championship-winning Britten bike, while former superbike and Britten rider Gary Goodfellow will demonstrate the very first Britten – Aero-d-Zero. 

Parking and camping is free and entry prices remain as they have done for many years at $25 per day or $40 for the weekend.

It could be a special weekend for the entire family – a special family pass (2 adults and 2 children) costs $50 for the day, while children under 12 years are free. 

In the main marquee will be the display of world superbikes and the tribute to Geoff Perry with both static and action displays, while there will also be a display of famous photographer Peter Beazley’s work, classic photos from the 1960s and 70s.

The pit area will be open to the public and recreate a bygone era, where the fans can mingle with the bikes and riders, taking their photographs and getting autographs while talking with their heroes. Racing will continue throughout the two days with classes from Vintage to Pre 1989.

“We are over-subscribed in terms of racer entries, but that’s probably a good problem to have. Since the NZCMRR recently combined with the New Zealand Post Classic Association, our numbers have ballooned. 

“We have amalgamated some classes to cater for the extra numbers.”

Words by Andy McGechan