Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show 2020

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The doors have closed for the third and final day of the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show, with thousands of biking enthusiasts flooding the halls for a celebration of the latest and greatest metal, classic racers, flat track racing and more.

The show has played host to everything from the launch of the 2020 Classic TT races, exclusive first UK public appearances for a number of key new models and even official launches of a number of racing liveries and rider line-ups. Find out what happened below.

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"I have been a couple of times before and I think this one is better than last year," Honda Hornet rider, Steve Constant, from Kent, told MCN. "It’s a small venue, but it feels like there’s more here. It’s a good day out.

"The chicane [in the Thunderdrome] makes it a bit more interesting, but it’s only a bit of fun, isn’t it?"

Fans meet riders in the Michelin Thunderdrome

Road racing fans have also been able to get up close and personal with TT royalty, with former winners John McGuinness, Michael Rutter, James Hillier and Peter Hickman making up half of the eight-strong grid for the Michelin Thunderdrome action.   

Steve’s comments were added to by 69-year-old, Andy Morrison, who flew down from Scotland to come to the show and visit his daughter.

"This is the first time I’ve been to the show," he explained. "I’ve got a Suzuki V-Strom myself, so I wanted to see the new one and I like it in the flesh."

There is still plenty of time to get along to the show today. Those wishing to do so can still purchase tickets on the door for £23, with seniors costing £20 and those aged 15 and under coming in for free. Additional paddock passes can also be purchased for the Thunderdrome.

Classic TT to honour John Surtees

MV Agusta 500cc raced by John Surtees

The 2020 Classic TT will celebrate the life of motorsport legend, John Surtees who took six wins on the island before famously moving to four wheels.  A selection of John’s famous race bikes will be displayed including the 1949 Vincent Grey Flash he won his first race on.

The announcement was made at the Carole Nash MCN London show, where a 500cc MV Agusta from the Surtees collection has been on display all weekend.

Richard Faulkner, 67, from Camberley agrees that it’s high time Surtees got more attention. "I think it’s wonderful that John is getting more attention," he said. "He was such retiring guy who stayed out of the public eye but he deserves to be celebrated.

"I don’t think there’s a chance of anyone winning in bikes and cars at the top level ever again now the sports are so specialist."

Visitors to the Classic TT will also be able to see Steve Plater and Michael Dunlop talk about all things road racing in a live show as well as plenty of other entertainment.

Hundreds ditch their old lids at the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show

First published 15 February 2020 by Dan Sutherland

The MCN Helmet Amnesty campaign

Hundreds of out of date helmets have now been removed from the roads, thanks to a hugely successful Helmet Amnesty campaign by MCN.

A chance to hand over your old lid in exchange for a free helmet carry bag or cleaning kit worth £19.99, riders had to sign-up online to obtain a redeemable code, which could then be swapped for the free gift at either the London Motorcycle Show, the MCN Scottish Show, or the MCN Festival of Motorcycling.

Kicking off this weekend at the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show, hundreds of old helmets have already been exchanged, with every discarded item now on display in a large MCN-branded skip. 

Many of these will then be passed on to charities and emergency services for training purposes. What’s more, with great deals to be had on new helmets across the weekend, replacing your old one couldn’t be easier.

"I think the scheme is brilliant," Mike Towner, 48, from Ashford, explained. Trading in one of his old helmets for the free cleaning kit, the Sales Manager continued: "I try and change helmets every five years, as I ride for pleasure and don’t use it every day. The skip of helmets is unbelievable, too."

This was added to by Kent rider, Terry Burgess, who swapped in his old HJC for the cleaning kit. He explains: "It was my first helmet, so it’s about 15-years-old – but I haven’t been wearing it recently. 

"I’d much rather give it to charity than throw it in the bin. To get a cleaning kit with it is a bonus. I don’t like throwing things away."

Those wanting to sign-up to the program can still do so, however no more cleaning kits are available.

Get lost in adventure at the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show

First published 15 February 2020 by Ben Clarke

The Adventure & Travel Stage

Alongside the latest two-wheeled machines and amazing bar-to-bar action in the Michelin Thunderdrome, visitors to the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show can also be inspired by the superb riding tales shared in the Adventure and Travel Zone.

Hosted by intrepid explorer and world traveller, Nathan Millward, visitors can enjoy an array of inspirational talks on everything from round the world travel, to touring on a budget - all the while surrounded by the fascinating array of bikes that powered such adventures.

"It was very busy yesterday and we had a good mix of talks," Millward told MCN this morning. "We also had the Women’s World Relay girls and it was packed out for them. They were celebrating a year of the baton passing around the world.

"It’s more about being informative than showing off the trips you’ve been on," he continued. “It’s about giving practical advice and getting some inspiration for your own trip. Also, it shows that the people doing these trips are just normal people."

28-year-old Abbey visited the Adventure stage for inspiration. "I came to get ideas on travel and learn how to tour on a bike without messing it up," she explained.

"I want to travel around the world eventually but I also want to ride in Norway so I’ve been speaking to people and getting advice about what I need to do that. The adventure stage is really interesting, but it gives you itchy feet seeing everyone’s adventures."

Meet Neil Hodgson at the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show

First published 15 February 2020 by Ben Clarke

Neil Hodgson at the London Motorcycle Show

We caught up with former World Superbike Champion and current face of MotoGP, Neil Hodgson for a chat at the MCN London Show.

"First of all, I need to put in a formal complaint," he said. "I was shocked and disappointed when I read in MCN that I wasn’t going to be racing in the Thunderdrome this year."

Although he isn’t involved in the racing this time, he is attending all weekend to promote his motorbike insurance company.

"I’m not going to say it’s rock and roll, it’s bike insurance, but it’s great to meet policy holders who have saved some money with us. I spoke to a guy earlier who saved £800 last year."

Hodgson has been keeping one eye on the racing action over in the Thunderdrome and has a hot tip for who he thinks will win.

"I’m quite good mates with Taylor Mackenzie and I know that he’s got a track in his back garden so I’d back him.

"You can never discount McGuinness but mostly because he’s a cheat. He’s got a motocross tyre on his bike and it seems to give him more grip, weirdly. I’ve heard he’s got different bars on his bike, too. I think we need a steward’s enquiry!"

Catch up with Neil on the Mackenzie Hodgson stand at the Carole Nash MCN London show all weekend.

Racers' report on the Thunderdrome action so far...

First published 14 February 2020 by Dan Sutherland

Dominic Herbertson in action

With the first day of the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show drawing to a close, fans have been treated to three amazing instalments of closely contended racing action in the Michelin Thunderdrome.

The star-studded line-up includes; John McGuinness, James Hillier, Peter Hickman and Michael Rutter. Also joining in the action are TT hopefuls Dominic Herbertson, Craig Neve and Phil Crowe, alongside honourary road racer for the weekend Taylor Mackenzie.

Speaking to MCN after the second show of the day, front runner Dominic Herbertson said: "It’s mint. I’ve already bagged a win.

"Put it this way, road racing feels safer than that and you feel at home with walls and bricks," he joked.

Legend John McGuinness

"You’re having that much fun though that you’re not thinking about the danger. I just ran over one of my heroes John McGuinness, but then we’re getting up and having a craic about it. How good’s that?!

"It’s nice to have a level playing field. Everybody’s riding the same thing and it’s class man."

Also showing early form is Michael Rutter, who has remained competitive despite having little to no previous experience in flat track.

"It’s exciting," he told MCN. "The first time I went on an enduro bike was 2015 and the last time I rode one was about four-years-ago. I didn’t grow up with it.

"It’s a bit of a shock to the system, but I just follow these lads and try to learn. When these guys want to go though, they just go. Me and John are just too old and too fat, but it was nice to beat him in that last one."

Alongside road racers, British Superbike rider, Taylor Mackenzie has also looked competitive, taking victory in the first of the day’s battles.

"It’s definitely hard work – considering there’s only two corners, but it’s good fun to race against different people for once," he said.

When questioned about whether spending the weekend with TT riders would kick-start a road racing future, the Tas Racing rider added: "My mum says I’m not allowed to race on the road and she’s the boss! This is as close as it gets to it for me; there’s some barriers and some road racers."

Rowing royalty James Cracknell drops into the Carole Nash MCN London Show

First published 14 February 2020 by Ben Clarke

James Cracknell OBE

Two-time Olympic gold medalist, James Cracknell, dropped into the show to see all the latest motorbikes in the metal.

"I passed my bike test back in ’93 I think and I mostly did it because my parents didn’t want me to," he said. "Back then you rode a 125 for a bit and then you could ride what you liked. I had a Yamaha RD350 as my first bike.

"This is my first time at the show in the ExCel, I went when it was at the NEC and there were a lot more girls in bikinis around then so things have clearly moved on."

Cracknell explained that the performance of motorbikes is a real draw and he currently rides a streetfightered Suzuki Hayabusa, although he doesn’t claim to use all of its potential.

"You can spend a few thousand pounds on a motorbike and get the performance of a £70,000 car. I love that but I use maybe 10% of what the bike is capable of. Guys all like to think they can shag, drive and drink, but in reality you learn pretty quickly that you can’t ride a bike properly."

Great British Bike Off! Paul Hollywood arrives at the Carole Nash MCN London Show

First published 14 February 2020 by Dan Sutherland

Paul Hollywood

Biking-mad baking superstar, Paul Hollywood, has arrived at the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show, ready to get up close and personal with the latest and greatest two-wheeled machinery. 

The Great British Bake-Off judge caught up with MCN ahead of the first racing action of the day, saying: "I’ve been to the NEC show before, but this is my first time here in London. There’s nothing in particular that I’m here to see, but I hope to see the new Aston Martin and Brough bike (which can be found on the MCN stand, M42).

"I’m having a general look around and watching the racing," he continued. "It’s a great event and it’s quite compact and you can see a lot in a small space. Normally I’m at a food show doing a demonstration, but not today!"

Doors open at the Carole Nash MCN London Show

First published 14 February 2020 by Dan Sutherland

Visitors check out the KTM stand

After yesterday's intensive set-up work, the doors have now opened at the 2020 Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show - ready for three jam-packed days of two-wheeled fun and activity.

Shoals of motorcycle enthusiasts could be seen lining the corridors of London's ExCeL, ready for the doors to open, with many more expected to arrive as the day progresses.

Ahead of the doors opening, MCN caught up with host of the Michelin Thunderdrome, Barry Nutley, who always looks forward to the annual event. He explains.

"I've lost count of the amount of these shows I've done, but since we left Alexandra Palace I've been involved with every show at the ExCeL. I love this show because it starts my season off, too. It's the first event of the year for me."

Alongside commentating on the indoor flat track action, Barry will also be hosting TT chat shows, the launch of the 2020 Classic TT, which takes place across the weekend, and much more.

"There's always something different here," he continued. "The chicane is another dimension to the Thunderdrome track and it's always exciting. We've got some special effects this year, too. I react to a live audience and I love doing live shows."

Thunderdrome practice underway at the Carole Nash MCN London Show

First published 13 February 2020 by Dan Sutherland

The Michelin Thunderdrome ready for action

With the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show opening its doors to thousands of eager bikers tomorrow morning at 10am, our star-studded cast of Michelin Thunderdrome racers have spent the day getting to grips with the challenging course.

Racing a fleet of dinky Honda CRF100s, modified for flat track duties, the roster of stars competing include; 23-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness, road racing and short circuit ace Michael Rutter, the fastest-ever road racer Peter Hickman and many more.

"It’s another opportunity for the biking community to get together," McGuinness told MCN. "The weather’s crap outside and this is the perfect event to fill your weekend."

Also taking part in talks with fellow TT riders and pouring pints in his ever-popular McGuinness bar, this is the Morecambe Missile’s first competitive outing in the Thunderdrome since 2017, after an accident at that year’s North West 200 left him out of action for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Michelin Thunderdrome 2020

"I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been to this show. I’ve got some of my bikes here and I’ve got my bar and we’re whipping round on bikes – I’m happy as a pig in sh*t. It takes a lap or two to get used to it, but it’s not as hard as going down Bray Hill at 185mph."

Visitors attending the show can enjoy three races across Friday and then four races on both Saturday and Sunday.

Another rider taking part is Classic TT race winner and fan favourite, Dominic Herbertson, who’s ready for a weekend of close competition. He explains.

Michelin Thunderdrome course 2020

"It’s never just about fun, is it? Everyone just goes out and goes flat stick. Pete Boast invited us down to his flat track school before and it was a total eye-opener! This is such a different discipline.

"The respect I’ve got for people doing this has gone through the roof," the road racer added. "You’re just trying to grab ever little inch of time. I’ve never used the rear brake on a bike like this. I’m having a learning day today."

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade