Spanish rally draws classic Brit bikers

Published: 09 November 2011

Three hundred British bikers descended on the Spanish port of Santander to take part in the XXIV Ancient Motorcycles Meeting aboard their classic bikes.

They were treated to a celebrity welcome as they rumbled off the ferry from Portsmouth, with local press photographers scurrying to snap riders and machines, ranging from a Jawa 175 two-stroke through to Triumphs, BSAs, Velocettes and Vincents.

The annual rally was previously held in the small town of Colombres, 50 miles along the Cantabrian coast, but attendance has grown so much in recent years that organisers decided to relocate to Santander for the October 5-9 event.

The crowds enjoyed rideouts on the stunning local roads including the famous '5000 curvas' (5000 corners), an autojumble/historic racing exhibition and specially-organised classic road races around the outside of Santander's football stadium - the location of the town's historic El Sardinero circuit. The 1.2km track, marked out by rudimentary barriers, attracted a crowd of several thousand with a glorious and typically Spanish disregard for health and safety.

Races were divided into several classes, highlighted by screaming Spanish two-strokes - Bultacos, Montesas and Derbis. In the four-stroke classes, Moto Guzzis, Ducatis and Moto Morinis diced with Nortons, BSAs and Triumphs to the further delight of the enthusiastic spectators.

Overall, the rally provides a great opportunity for British classic bikers to enjoy their machines on some fantastic roads in one of the most bike-friendly countries in the world - with a dose of mad Spanish road racing thrown in.

Because it's supported by the Spanish Tourist Agency, ferry discounts and subsidised accommodation are all part of the deal. More information: