Can the bike industry sustain three bike shows within 12 months while the car industry has scrapped its one annual show?
I put that question to the promoters of the coming bike shows and they say the difference is that riders are more passionate than car drivers.
“You have to drive a car, but you choose to ride a motorcycle,” says Mark Petersen promoter of Troy Bayliss Events.
“Enthusiasts are more likely to turn up to a motorcycle exhibition. You can use a bike as part of your job, but the majority of owners don’t and they are bike enthusiasts. It’s a life choice.”
Sydney Motorcycle & Scooter Show exhibition manager Mal Jarrett agrees, saying that bike ownership, unlike car ownership, is something that people choose as their pastime as they are passionate about it.
“They do it by choice, not just because they have to get from A to B. Sure there are some that use bikes to commute due the economic and environmental reasons, but the majority of us do it because we love it,” he says.
The Sydney show, owned by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is being held in the Convention Centre from November 15-17.
It will by followed by the first Troy Bayliss Expo from March 21-23 in the Brisbane RNA Showgrounds then Melbourne in November, 2014, in the showgrounds.
“That’s in line with what the manufacturers requested a number of years ago when they dropped from three shows a year in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne,” says Mark.
A similar situation occurred in the car industry several years ago where the three annual shows were rationalised to one annual show alternating between Sydney and Melbourne.
While the car industry has shelved this year’s and next year’s shows as too expensive, Mal points out that bike shows are a lot cheaper for exhibitors.
“(Car shows) tend to end up being a case of ‘he with the biggest stand wins’, whereas with the bike shows the bikes are the heroes, not the stands,” he says. “Although having said that, there are some great looking stands at our shows, but at the end of the day it‘s all about the bikes.”
He says the Sydney show has sold out four months before it opens.
“If the industry continues to support the tried and trusted and not hedge their bets by diluting their already decreasing marketing budgets, the future for bike shows is bright and should not go the same way as the motor shows.”
Mark says their Moto Expos will be “different” to past bike shows.
“There hasn’t been much change in shows in 50 years with stalls inside and a couple of displays outside,” he says.
“Ours is more like a lifestyle expo with a focus on motorcycles. More than just static exhibitions, this is what you need to run successful exhibitions these days.”
An official launch with more details will be held in late July or early August when Troy gets back from Europe.
Meanwhile, the Sydney show is also stepping up its entertainment with the Showtime FMX team and Triumphs stunt rider Lukey Luke at the outdoor action arena and Jack Field’s ‘Hell Team’ Trials display inside.
There will also be DIY info sessions and guest speakers on the QBE Stage and some young racers from the Motorcycle Road Race Development Association talking about how to get started in the Australian Junior Road Racing Championship.
“In my opinion, the future of motorcycle shows in this country is bright, so long as commonsense prevails and the industry continues to support the shows that have in return supported the industry for so many years,” says Mal.
“One show wonders will just cannibalise and erode the already fragile manufacturers’ marketing budgets. We recognise that there’s only so much to go around and work with our exhibitors to ensure that we achieve the best outcome for them.”