On Sunday I had an extremely pleasant day out at Brackley Festival of Motorcycling (BFoMC). I only found out about the event the week before we went, when our good friends Andy & Jane asked if we were going, but it is in its fifth year. The event is entirely run by volunteers and makes a lot of money for various charities, but it turns out that not everyone who benefits from the event is so charitable.
Brackley is a small village near Banbury, just a stone’s throw from Cropredy where we spent the previous weekend at the Fairport Convention. It is a lovely ride out through the Cotswolds countryside and the weather could hardly have been better.
The whole village is given over to the event: for one day only the road through the village is closed off and becomes the ‘High Street Arena’ where, at various stages through the day, you have parades by racing legends, stunt men, cafe racers and custom bikes – although in many cases these parades happen at high speed and even higher decibels. At one point I thought my ears were actually going to bleed!
Meanwhile, the Magdalen College School fields get converted for the day into the main arena, where you can find more stuntmen, scramblers and mini motos alongside trade and food stands and a Wall of Death.
If you put on an event of this sort aimed at motorcyclists, they will come. At the peak there were probably 15,000 people there.
This all takes a lot of organising. We got talking to one of the organisers who said they’d been on site until very late on Saturday night and were back on site at 0400 on Sunday morning. They and other volunteers had spent the previous 11 months organising and, once the event was over, with only a short break, they would begin organising again for next year. They do all of this for free because it’s for charity.
All of the trade stands will, I imagine, have paid for their spot at the festival, and no doubt this provides them a good return on their investment. All of the attendees paid an entrance fee and throughout the event there were people shaking collection buckets, which we willingly contributed to. All of this money goes to a variety of charities.
Meanwhile, there are a number of pubs, coffee shops and eateries in the village which were also doing very good business. Feeling caffeine deprived from the ride we indulged in a coffee from Costa on our arrival, for example, and it was packed. These businesses must rake in a shed-load of cash from the event.
Guess how much they contribute to the charities?
Zip. Zilch. Nothing. A big fat zero.
So, if you have any interest in motorcycling at all, I strongly recommend this event to you: we will be going next year; it is in the calendar already.
I also recommend that you get your food and drink only from the arenas: it’s all for charidee mate…