Monday, October 3, 2011

TUESDAY 27th SEPTEMBER 2011 (An ACE day)

Without meaning to, Nick, Paul & I inadvertently walked around every square inch of Silverstone. It's a lovely little village and, despite the racetrack being nearby, quite a peaceful place.

We walked up to the entrance of Silverstone Racetrack where many 'motor' shops now call home.
Only yesterday Ducati UK had it's official opening of it's new headquarters here.

We visited well-known Italian bike shop, FORZA ITALIA. It was a shop with many great bikes on the floor - Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Benelli, MV Agusta and Aprilia - and a lot of work in progress.
Owners Martin & Tracey WESTBROOK are very friendly people. They are recommended as a good shop to deal with.

It was back through the fields and kissing gates, skirting the streets of Silverstone.

Of course we collected a few 'konkers' along the way as souvenirs of our visit.

Back past the 'White Horse' (I think every road in the village passes this much frequented dwelling) and back to Nick's to gather our things and head south.

It's been a great few days staying with Nick and our timing was perfect having coincided our visit with the Superbike racing.

We made our way to North Circular Road in London to visit the iconic ACE CAFE.

"The cafe was built in 1938 as a roadside cafe to cater for traffic using the new North Circular Road. With it's proximity to Britain's then new and fast arterial road network and being open 24 hours, the Ace Cafe soon attracted motorcyclists."

The building was bombed in November 1940 (result of an air raid targeting the railway yards nearby)
and rebuilt in 1949.

The postwar increase in traffic and the advent of the teenage phenomena saw the ACE booming, and with it, the arrival of the 'Ton-Up-Boys'. The British motorcycle industry was at its peak, and along came Rock-n-Roll. The music was not played on radio stations and so could be heard at transport cafe's.

From this powerful fusion of motorcycles and rock-n-roll came the legends of record-racing, 'drop the coin right into the slot', and race to a given point and back before the record finished. The cafe was portrayed by the tabloids 'as a place where decent people didn't go!.

Changes in the social order, the growth of the car market at the expense of the motorcycle industry and the expansion of the motorway network saw the Ace Cafe serve it's last egg and chips in 1969.

The legend of the Ace Cafe lives on in the minds of those who went there, those who wish they went there and those too young to have been there.

One of the great British films of the 60's, The Leather Boys, was made at the Ace.

The ACE Cafe was once again opened in September 2001 and last year celebrated it's 10th Anniversary with a book, 'Ace Times' being produced.

I'm enjoying the best chocolate milkshake in the world and looking at the weeks agenda. Every night there is something on for one group or another. Paul wanted to stay for at least three events this week. Unfortunately, that wont happen, but at least we've visited the famous cafe and we are happy with that.

We had a great meal at the Ace then the time came to part ways. We waved Nick off and I'm sure he must be pleased to be rid of us.

Thanks for EVERYTHING Nick, much appreciated.

We headed south back to the SMART household and before we knew it Paul had a beer in his hand, Maggie cooked up a delicious Thai Green Curry, Scott came around, we watched the bike races (how unusual) then much chatter and laughter followed.

Thanks HEAPS Smarty & Maggie for your time and hospitality. We had a fantastic time and enjoyed your company immensely.

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