Visitors to the Motorcycle Live exhibition in Birmingham got to see more than they perhaps bargained for at the event, as a rather familiar face was spotted wandering around the array of incredible two-wheeled machines.
Enthusiasts at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham were left astounded when none other than Prince William Duke of Cambridge was seen checking out the models on each stand.
The Prince was given an up close and personal look at some of the latest models that are set for release in 2014. Known to have an existing passion for motorbikes, the royal was able to take a seat on some of the examples on display.
Deputy to the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands Paul Thandi greeted the Prince on his arrival before leading him around the exhibition – the UK’s largest annual motorcycle event.
He then met with Steve Kenward, chief executive of the Motorcycle Industry Association, Beth Robinson, communications manager of Motorcycle Live, and Dean Linehan, exhibitions director of MCI Exhibitions – the company that organises the show.
The Duke was seen sitting on models from Norton, Metisse, Triumph, CCM, KTM and Ducati, while experts and exhibition leaders told him all the specifications and benefits of the exciting models.
Tim Maccabee, managing director of Ducati UK Ltd, said: “It was a real pleasure and an honour to host HRH Prince William on our stand.”
He was pleased to take a look around and certainly seemed to enjoy sitting on the different models. He commented on how light the Diavel was, but I think he favoured the 1199 Superleggera.”
This particular model is a limited edition example, of which only 500 have been completed. It is the most “exclusive and desirable” Ducati in the current range, the manufacturer has claimed. It is also said to feature the highest power-to-weight ratio of production motorcycle in history.
As he has recently become a father to the future King of England, the Prince was presented with a wooden balance bike to give him when he has grown a little more! The tiny model is adorned with special graphics and will surely delight the mini-monarch in waiting.
Mr Linehan said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge to Motorcycle Live.
“We know he likes motorcycles and that he rides when he can, but he showed a great knowledge of and appreciation for the UK’s motorcycle industry, which employs more than 80,000 people and will generate around £7.5 billion for the British economy this year.”
The exhibitions director said Motorcycle Live was “a fantastic week” for both the excited visitors to the show and the exhibitors who were given the opportunity to show off the latest creations.
He went on to say the royal visit will provide a huge boost to the industry and helps to create further excitement about the variety of vehicles which will be launched in the new year.