As the curtain came down on The Carole Nash International Motorcycle & Scooter Show 2009 at the Birmingham NEC on Sunday, many of the world's leading manufacturers and Show exhibitors reflected on the innumerable highlights of the action-packed event.
In spite of the stagnant economic climate that continues to cloud over the global motoring industry, the UK's premier two-wheeled Show boasted healthy visitor numbers, with over 110,000 visitors making the trip to the NEC over the past 10 days where 17 manufacturers and 231 exhibiting companies were showcasing the latest products on the market.
As the Show coincided with the NEC's Good Food Show, many household names from the culinary world including Gordon Ramsay, James Martin and The Hairy Bikers rubbed shoulders with countless celebrity riders from past and present, to marvel at what proved to be the crowd-pulling bikes. Riders and commentators from the worlds of MotoGP, World and British Superbikes and The Isle of Man TT used the NEC Bike Show as the place to meet their fans one-to-one. The well known faces of James Toseland, Troy Corser, Bradley Smith, John McGuinness, Charley Boorman, Carl Fogarty, Leon Haslam, Steve Plater and Leon Camier appeared throughout the Show, much to the delight of the crowds.
The media have been spoilt for choice in terms of feature highlights with coverage generated throughout the Show directed heavily towards German manufacturer BMW, who showcased its supreme S1000 RR superbike.
Ducati's Multistrada 1200, fresh from a world launch in Milan, and the Norton Commando 961, the bike which marked an historic return for the British brand, got visitors excited and proved to command a plentiful number of column inches.
KTM, who bought along 30 models from its portfolio of bikes, most notably its entire 2010 off road range, was hard to miss with the company's striking orange livery.
The quintessential English manufacturer, Triumph, caught the eye of specialist magazine MCN, who voted them Best Manufacturer of the Year, whilst Kawasaki got a well deserved commendation from TV presenter-come-journalist, Richard Hammond.
In response to 26,000 visitor requests at last year's event, Show organisers brought the world of dirt bikes to the NEC in 2009 in the form of the Off Road Zone. Key off road manufacturers, retailers and publications, including renowned titles and DBR, put their weight behind the new dirt bike venture, which came complete with the first two rounds of The Future West ACU British Supercross Championships. With Europe's largest purpose-built indoor supercross arena in place – a feat only achieved with the help of 160 lorry loads of dirt - over 250 riders, including US and Canadian off road superstars, Zach Osborne, Mike Brown and Colton Facciotti, competed across each weekend of action.
“To stage a Show this year at all has been a tremendous feat and is put into perspective when looking at other shows, from various industries, who have had to close their doors to the public,” said Finlay McAllan, managing director MCI Exhibitions. “Dented visitor numbers are an obvious consequence of the current state of the economy and yet, feedback from both manufacturers and exhibitors who have supported the Show this year suggests interest and propensity to purchase bikes and accessories remains strong.”
Commenting on the future of the Show, McAllan added: “With the investment in the new Off Road Zone, this year's Show was the first where so many facets of the bike industry were represented. Couple that with other continually evolving Show features and our intent to maintain the event's pedigree as the UK's leading two-wheeled event, becomes clear. We will take the enormous number of positives from this year's Show to ensure that this success is continued.”