Motorcycles played a pivotal role in the 6th edition of the country’s leading classic bike extravaganza and the results threw up surprises galore with welcoming approval from enthusiasts
The Cartier ‘Travel with Style’ Concours d’ Elegance might have closed a decade in this country but it was only the fourth time in the last six editions of the event that motorcycles had their own distinctive and deserving spot among the automotive gems of the country. Held in the tranquil pace of life in Rajasthan’s Pink City, Jaipur, many were of the opinion that the Rambagh Palace, previously the residence of the royal family of Jaipur was probably the finest and well spaced out setting for an event of this class, character and stature.
It was very heartening to see the ever enthusiastic Sandeep Kapoor of Delhi have his efforts prove fruitful for the first time in this event when his absolutely original 1940 Indian Junior Scout went on to be judged the Best of Show! For this fact to be recognised, marks a seminal point in the heritage vehicle movement in our country. Sandeep’s Indian also went on to bag the Best in Class for pre-war motorcycles, both deservingly so.
There were three classes in all for this edition of the Cartier Concours d’Elegance and the exquisitely restored 1924 Douglas OB of noted Delhi collector R K Jain took top honours in the class for the Veteran Vintage Motorcycles edging out the fabulously turned out 1918 BSA Model K combo entered by Sandeep Kapoor. It was a tough choice according to me as both bikes were truly outstanding specimens of their era and brilliantly restored to their original finery.
There were eight bikes in the Pre-War Motorcycle class won by Sandeep Kapoor’s Indian Junior Scout and in this very class he also went on to take third spot with his 1930 AJS R12.
However the most contested class with over 14 motorcycles was the class for Post-War Classic bikes and here British machinery dominated with a plethora of BSAs, Triumphs, Nortons and Royal Enfields packing the category with a singleton Sunbeam S7 along with solitary examples of BMW, Indian and Harley-Davidson adding to the diversity. The class honours went, deservingly to the absolutely superb Sunbeam S7 of Hafeez Contractor which triumphed over Sundeep Singh Sokhi’s 1947 Indian Chief with Siddhesh Mitkar’s terrific 1954 BSA Golden Flash being adjudged the second runner-up.
Overall as we have seen with the cars, the level of restoration has truly risen to new heights armed with newer and welcome levels of documentation of individual bike history making for the men on two-wheels hold their heads high. Now though as we go along, it is time for the curators including Manvendra Singh Barwani as well as his motorcycling major domo David McKirdy to think about broad basing the classifications like among the car set and to also include an Indian heritage class for two-wheels.