NEC Bike Show 10-11-2001


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Ian's Annual pilgrimage to the NEC bike shoe Birmingham

The NEC is an annual pilgrimage to pay homage to all things beautiful with two wheels and sometimes legs. It seems that of late I have been attending the show with a new baby each time, this time my 3-month-old boy.

The mother and two kids were picked up from Nottingham and we headed over to the NEC for an ETA of about 1:00pm. The usual thing was to walk up each isle, one at a time, and hence cover all nooks and cranies instead of heading to the big stands straight of.

The show is starting to get a bit uninteresting of late, as I have been to all shows over the last decade. Bikes are always exciting but a show needs to be a show with spectacular activities lights, themes and more raser matas. Something to get the blood fired up with excitement; then again my taste is not mainstream so my views are but my own.

That's true.... as I am a bike salesman and marketing man's worst nightmare...if it was for me there wouldn't be a bike industry full of exotic new models. Just take a look at my trusty stead of 8 years and more.... something for the Honda stand next year me think.

Anyway the show was the show but what transpired next was the stuff you read about in newspapers, on video e.t.c. in your worst NIGHTMARE. Before I go into that, a number of other Go Star friends including some girl friends also turned up later and the real bargain shopping began... keep up the spending chaps.... we need to avoid a recession. I for one left empty handed but delighted.

Anyway back to the story...Which so co-incidentally I happened to have an impromptu run in with a famous motorcycle racer, which I seem to keep bumping into on occasions over the years. My little girl of two years and 3 months now is real fearless, to the point where I am worried for her mortal safety at times. She does not seem to have that sense of parental security that usually keeps kids at that age close to their parents. Without going further into her personality she basically deliberately gave us the slip during a 3 second conversation I was having with her mother. 

The thing is, you think she is just around the corner and you will get hold of her any second now. The seconds turned into minutes of frantic searching while her mother was looking after the little 3-month boy. Someone said they saw a little girl go that way but we could not find her. I was sweating running up and down shouting Della.

I decided to go high and headed for the first tall structure I could see. At this time I was well capable of severely injuring anyone who stood in my way or would try to prevent me in any way what so ever. I leaned behind the counter of this stand and opened the this time I was mad, worried and more frightened than I had ever been in my life. God knows I have come close to death at a few times in my life other than biking incidents but was never in such a state. 15 minutes had gone by this time and my thoughts of what could be and the type of people out there in the world were unreal. 

I climbed the stairs up to the balcony and issued an order to someone to call the organisers from a phone that was on a table. There were two men around and a woman that I could directly see and my orders were directed at Chris Walker and some other chap before I climbed on a chair and started to look over the arena. Someone called the organisers and I remember taking the phone and shouting at the person at the other end to stop the back ground music now and issue an alert asking if anyone has seen a kid etc, The person on the other end refused and I became abusive and threatened him, if anything happened to my girl. He said he would issue an alert to the security guards.

I was explaining in a rough manner very quickly to Walker and Co what is happening and everyone on the balcony at this time was looking out for my girl over the balcony. I would have sacrificed myself to get her back or anyone else for that matter at that time. I remember someone saying the organisers are on their way over but I was off to try and find her. It was like I was in a state of suspended animation and time slowed down. I was rushing around with a panicked deranged look and someone grabbed me and asked me if I had lost a little girl. The grab from the person was forceful as I was on the move and the grab itself almost ignited a backlash of violence within me, which I controlled in order to listen.

I must have stood out that much with my run / hide & seek dashing around hands in the air madness at 30mph while everyone else was walking. He told me that there was this little girl playing with the scooters on his Peugeot stand and it looked a bit strange, as there was no parent type with her. The Peugeot staff gave her some milk and stopped her playing with the bikes and then brought her to a crèche within the show. Mr. Peugeot escorted me there but to my horror this particular crèche was closed. I started to doubt him and he asked another organiser who pointed us to another crèche nearby. 

I looked in side through a window but did not see Della but there were some other girls of Mediterranean background playing. I was going to loose it with Mr. Peugeot if it turned out to be a different girl or more over not a black girl (God knows my state of mind was not clear) and the words I had in mind for him will be untold. 

At this stage my mobile calls to the mother was rough, she was in tears and her despair only fuelled my aggression and state of mind. A woman in the créche asked me what is the name of my girl and a few other questions and then suddenly Della came from behind a door. This must have been the most relieved day of my life to see that little face. 

Guest what though... she ignored me to go play with her new pals in the sand pit. 

I was on the blower to the mother " I REPEAT IT'S OK, WE HAVE FOUND HER, I CAN SEE HER " I saw Chris Walker again and some of the others on the Kawasaki stand and thanked them for their help and explained that it's ok now and that we have left the kid in the crèche for the rest of the day. It's funny that but ever since Walker helped me take the carbs of the ZXR400 and set the jets at a Mallory park test day some years back, I keep running into him at either the NEC, Ally Paly and more recently other, Go Star members seems to be running into him on boats to Amsterdam and all sorts as well. It must be a good omen and sorry to anyone if I was well rude but the girl comes first before life as I know it.

Moral and lessons learned...know your kid. If they are shy, retiring and cry they may be ok and there maybe less to worry. If they are like Della...strap them up on a child leash. I must say, I see people with these leashes attached to their kids and to the child less person or someone who has never experienced what we have this weekend it's easy to think " that's cruel or not nice" but who wants to loose a child for even a minute let alone 30 minutes of uncertainty. 

Usually, bad shit that can be prevented second time around only, happens to me once and this is my once on this score.!!!! See you all at the 2002 NEC bike show and say hello if you know Della!!!!

wow scary!! - ed



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