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Identity crisis

by Andrew Pattle

Setting up on Saturday

As usual, we'd booked our stand at the Copdock Show in the name of the National Autocycle & Cyclemotor Club but, with all the political silliness that's going on in the NACC it seemed that it would be more diplomatic not to have that name on the stand.  We'd already had some "Iceni CAM Magazine" banners printed but this is a club stand and IceniCAM isn't a club.  What to do... revive the old name: East Anglian Cyclemotor Club - that's what.

With IceniCAM banners, EACC banners and an Ipswich Transport Museum display board, I imagine most visitors didn't really know who we were.  On the other hand, it probably didn't matter much to them either, so that was all right.

We started setting up around midday on Saturday.  I was first to arrive with Evans not long after.  Then Nelmo with a trailer of autocycles and Danny with a vanload of machines.  It wasn't long before we had two areas of the stand in place: the 'Feature Machines' area with four of the bikes that have been the subject of IceniCAM articles this year: Coventry Eagle, Clark Scamp, Aberdale & Alkro ByLight; and the 'Made in Suffolk' area with a Stella and a SIM.  Both SIM and Stella had been given a weekend pass from Ipswich Transport Museum, which is why we had that ITM display board.  A second Stella had been promised, but that wouldn't be arriving until Sunday.

Plan A was to put Neil's Fizzy up on a stand at the front - because a Fizzy always attracts visitors.  Then Danny wheels in Andrew Nahum's Moto Guzzi.  "The Guzzi's going up on the stand" says Danny.  Years of experience of setting up the Copdock display have taught us that the best thing to do in these circumstances is to keep quiet and put the Guzzi up on the display stand.

OK, Plan B, Fizzy on the ground at the front.  Malaguti Olympique next to the Moto Guzzi.  We had a few more machines to scatter around: James autocycle, Carl's Power Pak, Danny's Bown 3K Special.  Luke was bringing his multi-engined bike and Itom Tourist later that day.  Wally's Honda SS50, Evans's Puch and Alan's BSA Winged Wheel were due to arrive on Sunday.  Expected, but not confirmed, were Adrian Yallop's Stella and Brian Lilley's Cyclemaster.  With spotlights and floodlights set up all over the stand and the computer displays in place we'd done as much as we could until more machines arrived.

We're starting to get good at this - there hadn't been very much standing about wondering what to do next, and there were only a few things we'd forgotten to bring.  In fact, we were so well organised that we were able to help some of the other clubs.  The Coasters Scooter Club made good use of our ladders and the Vincent Owner's Club borrowed one of our spare mains leads for the duration.  We also supplied the Harley club with some paper for making notices.

Luke turned up at four-ish and, as well as the two bikes, he'd brought some of his power wheels: a Spartamet, a VAP and a Honda P50.  Fortunately, the 6-inch nails we'd put in the wall last year were still there, so we just hung them up in the same places as before.

Construction under way with the first few machines in place Nelmo fixes the spotlights Banner in place over the corridor More machines arrive and the display takes shape Italians: old and not so old Malaguti Olympique Plan B: put the Fizzy at the front The four IceniCAM Feature machines

The Show on Sunday

Arriving early Sunday morning, there were already more bikes waiting to be put into position.  Wally's SS50 was supposed to go next to Neil's Fizzy (which is an early 'SS' model).  It soon became obvious that these two, plus the second Stella, would not fit in the space.  Time for Plan C.  Put the Fizzy head-to-head with the Malaguti, the SS50 next to the Fizzy, leave the Stella where it was, but move Luke's Itom next to the Moto Guzzi.  That worked - and it gave us a 'Little Italy' of Itom, Guzzi and Malaguti in the front corner.  Then John and Mike Daborn turned up with a New Hudson!  After a short panic, we squeezed it in but, when the Cyclemaster and Winged Wheel turned up, we had to admit defeat.  The only answer was to overflow into the corridor.  The stretch of corridor down the side of the stand led to a set of double doors.  We checked, and they were locked, so we wouldn't be blocking a fire exit - problem solved.  All that remained to do was turn everything on, get the displays running and wait for visitors to arrive.

Then Ef turned up on his Tiger Cub, so we told him where he could put it.

After that, the crowds rolled up and there was a constant stream of visitors to our stand all day.  Both old friends and new faces.  There were always two or three animated conversations going on - nostalgic reminiscences, technical discussions...  We sold a big pile of Iceni CAM Magazines, we were offered another SIM50 (which Paul Nelmes bought), the VMCC's Coventry-Eagle marque specialist came to congratulate us on the Last Flight of the Eagle article, we renewed friendships with the other clubs who were there, and we didn't win the club stand prize.  Why not?  It went to the SEVRA, the South East Vulcan Riders Association.  I can't claim that "we woz robbed" and I can't tell you that their stand was really, really good either.  The truth is that we were so busy that I never managed to see them.

Come 4 o'clock and it was time to think about packing up.  This involves three trips in the big van: one to the Transport Museum and two to Danny's.  Then there are various other cars and trailers to be loaded and driven away.  An added complication was that Danny had a stall in the autojumble and that had to be packed away too.  It's no exaggeration to say that the operation went like a well-oiled machine.  The last of our vehicles rolled off the site at half past six.  We really must be getting good at this.

Everything set up ready for visitors The crowds arrive The 'Made in Suffolk' section Deep discussions between visitors and club members Bikes were packed in quite tightly Plan C: Fizzy and Malaguti head-to-head

This article appeared in the January 2008 Iceni CAM Magazine.

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