News, as it happened, from Press Day at the NEC Show

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Eighth update: Thursday 5pm: German firm Sachs has revealed it is going to put its Beast into production.

MCN’s Keith Farr reports the bike will be on sale by summer next year but no prices have yet been announced.

Seventh update: Thursday 4pm: James Toseland and Neil Hodgson are to be radio stars for a night.

They will be appearing on bike-mad Radio One DJ Mary-Anne Hobbes’ Breezeblock show on December 10. It runs from 12 midnight until 2am and the GSE riders are likely to feature for at least 45 minutes.

They will be choosing their favourite music as part of the show. Speaking of which… James Toseland is following in Jamie Whitham’s footsteps; he’s joined a band, MCN’s Andy Downes reports.

Made up of mates from Sheffield, Toseland plays the keyboards. The band (and no name has yet emerged) plays its first gig, in Liverpool, on Friday night. We’ll bring you a venue and other details and soon as they become available.

Sixth update: Thursday 3.30pm: We’re at the press and trade opening of the NEC Show today and news is constantly breaking. Leon Haslam’s 500-class dreams may be over but he is is likely to stay in GPs, with a move down to the 250 class for 2002.

MCN’s Matt Birt says Haslam is considering an offer to ride the new development Honda 250, again with Shell Advance. Tentative talks have also been held with Team Roberts to ride the Proton. V&M is also thought to be keen to sign his services for their 2002 World Supersport effort.

Fifth update: Thursday 3.05pm: It seems Noriyuki Haga has no place in GPs next year.

His place in the Red Bull Yamaha team with Gary McCoy is being taken by John Hopkins and MCN’s Matt Birt understands Haga is now talking to Honda, Aprilia and Suzuki… about WSB rides.

Karl Harris is now confirmed as riding a Suzuki GSX-R1000 for Crescent Suzuki in the 2002 British Superbike series, ending speculation that he may be part of the Sauber WSB effort. Steve Hislop is also likely to stay in British Superbikes, with the Monstermob outfit.

Fourth update: Thursday 2.15pm. Triumph is launching a new bike early next year in the UK, and it says it has The Queen’s support for its new Union Flag paintwork on the Bonneville Special Edition it revealed on Thursday.

Though not required by any kind of statute, Triumph thought it reasonable to run the design past the Palace. And it turns out the Queen approves, according to MCN’s Keith Farr..

The new Triumph will be unveiled at the MCN-supported Alexandra Palace Show in London, early next year. It is thought to be the long-awaited TT-based naked 600, a bike to rival the likes of Honda’s Hornet and Yamaha’s Fazer.

MCN’s Steve Farrell has been able to get a quick interview with transport minister David Jamieson, who is at the show today.

He revealed he’s an ex-biker and he’s gobsmacked by how far bikes have developed since he rode in the’50s. He’s also calling for GATSO’s to be brightly painted (that is, easier to spot!).

Third update: Thursday 1pm. We’re at the press and trade opening of the NEC Show today and more news is breaking. Steve Hislop is there and looking much better. He’s clearly fighting back after the horrendous injuries he suffered at Rockingham.

Where not so long ago he wore a full-leg cast, he now has just a small ankle one.

Second update: Thursday 10.45am. MCN’s Andy Downes reports that there will be a one-make Ducati Monster S4 series as a supporting class in British Superbikes next season.

The grid of up to 30 bikes will be identical and riders will take keys from a hat to decide who gets which bike.

There are suggestions that this series will replace the expected Buell one-make series.

First update: Thursday 10am. CCM is to build a limited-edition factory rep of its R30 machine, like the bike Chris Walker rode at Mettet.

MCN’s Dale Lomas says 30 of them will be built in the blue and silver factory colours. MCN’s Kevin Smith rode that version at Mettet when he joined Walker in the factory squad.

The upgraded bike will make around 65bhp, is bored out to 700cc and has a race tune and race pipes. It is likely to cost in the region of £6250 when it arrives in showrooms this Spring.

We’ll bring you news of the latest prices and new deals coming from the major importers, as it breaks. We’ve got a 19-strong editorial team at the show on Thursday.

And as the week goes on we’ll pick out the highlights of the show, the things you shouldn’t miss when you visit for yourself.

One of them, of course, is the MCN stand. There you’ll find a great deal: for £2 you get MCN, a copy of MCN BikeMart Fortnightly and a copy of Performance Bikes.

We’ll also be asking for your votes on what the highlights of the show should be, to guide those who visit after you. We’ll ask for your tips on what grub to tuck into and what to avoid, where the best bargains on kit and clobber are and which stands the most visually pleasing ladies frequent.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff