The Bike Shed Times Capel River Classic Show & Shine 2023 has been described as a “cross-generation celebration of motorcycling”.
The event, held in Western Australia’s south-west forest country on October 14, attracted a big crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts — young and old from near and far — with one contestant riding a 1200km round trip to put his bike on show.
With air temperature nudging 30 degrees, live blues music throughout the day, beer and local wines on tap, and more than 40 vintage bikes taking to a sometimes-testing off-road rally through the forest, the Capel River Classic looked set to be a hit even before you factored in the main event — a show and shine featuring more than 70 glorious old bikes ranging in age from a 19-year-old Honda CB1300 to a 110-year-old Indian.
The two most popular categories were the new-for-2023 ‘survivor’ class for unrestored bikes and the dirt bike class, each attracting 19 entries.
The Bike Shed Times Editor Peter Terlick said he was delighted with the whole event, and particularly the success of the survivor and dirt bike classes.
“With such a huge diversity of machinery, it really was a celebration of bikes that reached across the generations,” he said.
“We thought and hoped the survivor class would encourage people to bring out bikes that would not normally be put on show, and that’s what happened. Better still, it attracted a great mix. Some survivors were literally a century old — and looked it — while others were half that age and looked almost like new bikes. Both styles are genuine survivors in my book, and it was fitting that an ancient Indian Scout won the class, with a stunning unrestored Z900 Kawasaki as runner-up.
“And what a marvellous collection of dirt bikes! It wasn’t long ago that old dirt bikes were just considered ‘chook chasers’ and not worth spending time and money on. But not any more. They’re genuine collectibles, and the standard of restorations on show was absolutely top notch.”
BEST IN SHOW: 1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport replica (Lex McKinley) Also best European pre-1975.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: 1971 BSA Rocket III Mk2 (Ross Oliver) Also best English pre-1975.
BEST SURVIVOR: 1926 Indian Scout (Glen Oliver)
RUNNER-UP SURVIVOR: 1976 Kawasaki Z900 (David Edmunds).
BEST DIRT BIKE: 1981 Honda CR450R (Brett Sawyer). Also runner-up in Japanese 1975-on.
RUNNER-UP DIRT BIKE: 1985 Husqvarna CR250 (Shane Munyard).
BEST JAPANESE 1975-ON: 1978 Honda CB750K (Chas Morgan)
BEST JAPANESE PRE-1975: 1971 Kawasaki H1 500 (Nev Hurring)
RUNNER-UP JAPANESE PRE-1975: 1973 Suzuki TM125 (Nev Hurring)
BEST EUROPEAN 1975-ON: 1978 Moto Guzzi 850 (Lex McKinley)
RUNNER-UP EUROPEAN 1975-ON: 1984 Ducati 900S2 (Dean McAllister)
RUNNER-UP EUROPEAN PRE-1975: 1974 BMW R90S (Ian Blackley)
BEST ENGLISH 1975-ON: 1976 Triumph Bonneville (Barry Davis)
RUNNER-UP ENGLISH PRE-1975: 1965 BSA C15 Trials Pastoral (Paul Levi)
BEST AMERICAN 1975-ON: 1980 Harley Davidson Sportster (Barry Davis)
BEST AMERICAN PRE-1975: 1941 Indian Scout (Quentin Miller)
RUNNER-UP AMERICAN PRE-1975: 1937 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead (Scott Charsley)
Japanese bikes don’t come much more collectible than low-mileage sandcast 1969 Honda CB750 Fours. This one’s a stunner.
There were quite a few late arrivals that didn’t take part in the competitive part of the show & shine, including this glorious 1978 CCM 500. And yes, that’s a Yamaha HL500 behind it, and an Italian Beta motocrosser further along.
Colin Dickinson brought his wonderful one-man collection of big-bore Japanese motocrossers — a 1981 Suzuki RM465, 1980 Yamaha YZ465, 1984 Kawasaki KX500 and this superb 1987 Honda CR500.
The oldest bike on site, and one of the most impressive restorations. Indian’s 1000cc Twin was designed by George Hendee, one of the two founders of the Indian Motocycle Company. It featured the “F-head” (no laughing, thanks), which was inlet-over-exhaust. Magnificent.
Dan Talbot planned to finish his 1939 Ariel project in time for Capel River Classic. He didn’t, but he brung it anyway. (Watch out for an article on this project soon on The Bike Shed Times).
Andrew Dempster rode his 1980 Yamaha XS1100 Midnight Special 630-something kilometres from Geraldton to Capel River, put his bike on show, then rode home again. Great stuff. (It’s for sale too, if you’re interested.)
As is always the way at bike shows, there was as much eye candy in the car park as there was on show.
The Capel River Classic wasn’t just a show & shine! A ‘Rustic Rally’ for vintage bikes saw more than 40 machines head into the south-west forest, including this wonderful old Indian. Did someone say ride ’em don’t hide ’em?