The grand opening ceremony of Motorcycle Live 2011 roared into action today with the awesome sound of Cal Crutchlow’s MotoGP machine filling the halls of the Birmingham NEC. The Yamaha rider – who is the only Brit to compete in MotoGP –, was joined on stage, in a celebration of the best of British racing talent, by a whole host of stars to mark the opening of the UK’s biggest motorcycle show.
The Brits were out in force with 125GP contenders Danny Webb, Danny Kent, Taylor MacKenzie and Harry Stafford, Moto2 stars Bradley Smith and Scott Redding, World Superbike challengers Leon Haslam, Leon Camier, James Toseland and Tom Sykes, current World Supersport Champion Chaz Davies and current British Superbike Champion Tommy Hill all taking their turn on stage.
The highlight was the grand finale in which Crutchlow appeared, fully clad in his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 leathers, to start up his M1 machine live on stage – much to the joy of the waiting crowd. The resulting roar kicked off nine days of the very best that motorcycling has to offer.
Adults and kids alike can enjoy a whole host of interactive activities – including two-wheel taster sessions in the Get On Arena, off-road experiences, on-road test rides, trials riding and of course, the experts doing their thing in the Ramp’d Up Freestyle Motocross Arena. All this accompanied by non-stop entertainment and appearances from racing stars and biking celebrities.
For newcomers to biking, the industry-backed Get On campaign is offering free 20-minute taster sessions for anyone over the age of 16. Over the past three days, hundreds of people have taken advantage of the feature, learning the basics of riding in a one-on-one briefing with fully qualified instructors.
For those already fully fledged on two wheels, a range of the latest models from leading manufacturers are available to try out in the Test Ride Zone, supported by Shoei, Sidi and Spada. Wannabe off-road riders can sample life on the dirt in the Yamaha Off-Road Experience, while kids are catered for with My First Honda Licence and the Suzuki Off-Road Experience.
After all that exertion, visitors took the chance to rest their feet and enjoy entertainment on the Blackhorse Stage, which included a bumper edition of Fast Bikes Question of Bikes with double World Superbike champion Troy Corser, British Superbike champion Tommy Hill, BSB contender Josh Brookes, BBC commentator Matt Roberts, SBK star Sylvain Guintoli, World Supersport riders Sam Lowes and Gino Rea and eight-times world champion Phil Read.