37th IWKR

International West Kent Run   

What is it?

A biking festival over four days for riders and passengers of  2 or 3 wheeled historic vehicles.

When is it held?

The first weekend in August every year. 


Held at The Friary in the beautiful village of Aylesford, Kent which stands on the River Medway.


A large camping field for tents, caravans or motorhomes. They also offer some rooms in The Priory.


Campers often make their own fun, but on site there is a large licensed marquee with live music and food.

As well as an organised led run on both Thursday and Monday, Saturday sees the main International West Ken Run where all bikes are entered into a run (251 this year) which is self led with finger posts directing you around a 100 mile long course or a shorter 70 mile route. There is organised refreshment breaks and a lovely lunch stop.


This is display or public day, which gives visitors the chance to see the magnificent machines.

Additional attractions include a gymkhana, a concours event, an avenue of clubs and an autojumble.

All proceeds from the Sunday event are donated to charity. 

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Our experience of the 37th International West Kent Run

Charles Deakin sorted out the logistics of how to get 3 x bikes a BBQ set, tents, fold up beds etc etc securely strapped into the back of a hire van and deliver safely to The Friars.

We arrived early afternoon to find quite a busy camping field. Charles soon spotted old friends Pete, his son Andy with his wife Marta, who were to ride their 1970 BMW R100. We squeezed ourselves in an area so that we could pitch up adjacent to them.

Bikes packed in the van was Charles' sister in law Lyn's 1952 BSA Bantam, Charles CB400/4 and my VFR750F-K. Lyn was to join us later in the afternoon with her tent already erected. She arrived on a beautiful 2019 Royal Enfield 500cc Classic. You could be fooled at a short glance to believe it was forty years old. But it was the Bantam that was to be her ride on the Saturday run.

Saturday dawned and there was a distinct change to the weather, The BBC had warned of a deep low depression area and storm Antoni. Whilst the south west may have felt the brunt, it lashed it down for most of the day before, during and long after our ride in the Kent countryside. 

But nothing was going to knock the smile off of my face. Not even the sight of Lyn at the side of the road,  whilst an unmarked police car provided a safety bubble from passing juggernauts. The very friendly police officer requested the bike be pushed to a place of refuge approximately 800 metres away. The bike had earlier lost power and stalled on this very busy road, just two miles from the start.  Apologies to the line of traffic that were delayed that morning. Once safely away from passing traffic Charles quickly pinpointed the problem. The choke was still engaged!  He quickly worked to remove the plug, give it a wipe over, put it back, then with just a  tickle of  the carbs  he kicked it over and away it went. The bike ran beautifully for the rest of the day.

The rain was incessant and water quickly seeped through everywhere, visibility was awful as my glasses were continuously fogging up.  There was even rain water on the inside of my visor to contend with, as if the exterior of the visor wasn't enough to deal with.

But somehow the sight of hundreds of bikes, many from the 1920's & 30's  lifted the spirits...that and the excellent refreshment stops. 

Finally the run was complete and the job of drying out my gear started. I can look back at the run and consider it a great experience. it will live long in many people's memories.

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Sunday...... Display Day

Fortunately the weather was in stark contrast to Saturday. The sun shone, things were beginning to dry out and there was a carnival atmosphere in camp.

It really is a great day out, We were joined by HOWLers Jon Stone, Jude Brown, Jeff Dober and Graham Buckton. It is a great chance for the public to get to see the fantastic bikes which are displayed in a concours area. There is also an autojumble and an avenue of stalls where clubs can promote themselves and display their bikes. But for me the most enjoyable aspect has to be....gymkhana.

I am delighted to say that the HOC was well represented. Keith Roberts with his passenger Jon Stone did a magnificent job and would have a clear round but for some help by the judge at the limbo riding. Their effort with the chicken was a masterclass.

One guy rode his 1923 AJS. He was hoping to compete in his period bowler hat. 21st century health and safety meant he was required to wear a full face helmet....did look a bit odd.

Carousel of 11 pics from The Gymkhana

Photo Gallery

Gerard on his 1952 Horex

Keith concentrating hard whilst Jon grabs the chicken

July on her matching Horex

1923 AJS

1914 Triumph owned by Nick and Rob

hundreds of bikes to enjoy

Gerard doing fantastic at bike limbo

Maria on her Bantam made easy work of the gymkhana

Superb example of a 400/4 in public area

1923 AJS rider with borrowed full face helmet

Concours area for the more modern bikes

Can you believe these bikes are 40 years old?

The chicken has landed

Chicken here though "fowls" to the ground

Jon trying out Lyn's Bantam

Norman on his 1960 BSA C15

There were scores of interesting bikes that arrived on the public day. This shed built motorcycle named "Radial Nerve" due to its 7 cylinder rotary engine was ingenious, yet completely bonkers. Well done to its creator.

What a fantastic work of art

Perhaps a nod to the engine's aircraft engine.


I have many more photos and may add more later.   

Requests for high res photos to  John Flynn howlbikers@gmail.com