After 25 years Ron deserves a rest, and is delighted
that the show will carry on.
After almost 25 years and having raised an incredible £70,000 for Wistanstow School, the show’s founder and guiding light Ron Maund has decided to take a rest from front line duties and take a back seat. It seemed like a good opportunity to ask Ron how it all started.
“I’d been a TT regular for many years and during that time I’d met such a lot of nice people- racers, fans, motorcycle enthusiasts etc. I decided it might be a good idea to invite them all to my local village hall and have a bike show. I decided we’d have it early in the year before all the other shows and the race season got under way. It was 1990 and my grandson was at the school and I thought we could charge a quid admission and see how it went”
Speaking to Ron it becomes clear he is an extremely knowledgeable enthusiast with an interest in all sort of bikes, road bikes, race bikes, vintage machines, dirt bikes , in fact just about anything on two wheels.
“I started riding in 1952, aboard a 125cc BSA Bantam, I then started trials riding at the weekends and became one of the founding members of the South Shropshire Club. One of my best memories from this time was seeing Geoff Duke in the Victory Trial. Of course being a TT fan Geoff Duke was a hero of mine and when he turned up for the trial – I think it would be about 1956 and the Victory was being held at Knighton – Geoff had forgotten his cap and all trials riders wore flat caps in those days. Anyway, I let him borrow mine and he gave it me back after the trial and the cap became one of my treasured possessions”.
Meanwhile Ron’s own interest in motorcycle sport was also developing …
“I started grass tracking on a Bantam and about this time I was also writing about motorcycling each week in the Shropshire Journal. Then, I was invited to a Vintage Motor Cycle Club meeting – they were just in the process of establishing the Shropshire branch back then – and it triggered my interest in classic bikes. About 26 years ago I bought a 350cc Royal Enfield from Bill Little and it started off my interest in restoring Royal Enfields”
Ron is too modest to admit his ‘interest’ in Royal Enfields has led to a trophy cabinet bulging with cups and trophies awarded for his meticulous restorations, testimony to his skill and attention to detail for which he became well known for in the classic bike world.
Looking back at the origins of the show, one of the most intriguing things is how on earth did Ron manage to persuade some of the biggest names in motorcycling to appear at a tiny provincial show in a village hall in Shropshire.
“I never dreamt I would have guests such as Phil Read, Tommy Robb, Frank Perris and all the other famous riders appearing at my local village hall it was marvellous to see them there”
So what was the secret of getting these motorcycling icons to appear?
“Well I suppose it all started when I saw Stuart Graham at a bike meeting in Oswestry and I asked him if he would consider appearing at the show. He said he would think about it and could I contact him nearer the time. In fact the first star who did appear was Frank Perris who was our guest in 2003”
Of course the real reason these big names have agreed to appear is simply because Ron is such a popular and knowledgeable enthusiast it would be difficult to refuse his invitation. Wistanstow isn’t a big corporate event, it’s a real grass roots bike show run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.
“The autojumble is one aspect of the show which has grown a lot over the years, we introduced the autojumble in the third year of the show and just three autojumblers turned out. We now get twenty eight stands which is about full capacity, we can’t fit any more in.”
For the 23rd Annual Show, March 23rd 2014, the star is Dick Greasley, the first sidecar man to lap the TT at 100mph. Ron was keen to point out that Dick has asked for his appearance fee to be donated to the Manx Grand Prix Helicopter Fund. It’s a generous gesture and entirely in keeping with a show that has always been a non profit making venture put on for the benefit of the local community. Ron is justifiably proud of his achievements and Wistanstow School would like to pass on their sincere gratitude for all his hard work and commitment which have made the show what it is today.
Ron was interviewed at his home in Wistanstow by Rob Dixon – January 2014.
Rob is a freelance Motorcycle Journalist, a regular contributor to Classic Bike and Classic Bike Guide.