James May and Richard Hammond may be sitting idle these days, but the two former hosts of Top Gear found themselves on the busy end of auction activities at the Bonhams event this weekend. May and Hammond were both in attendance to auction off a handful of their classic motorcycles and as expected, all 12 bikes from their combined lot found new owners by the time the event had finished.

May, in particular, had eight bikes up for auction, including a 1974 Yamaha FS1-E that fetched £7,475, or about $11,400 based on current exchange rates. He also had a 1979 Suzuki TS250 that sold for £2,185 ($3,330), a 1973 Honda CD175 that sold for £1,725 ($2,630), and a 2010 Yamaha SR400 ‘Grievous Angel’ that sold for £10,350 ($15,780).

Meanwhile, Hammond’s four-bike lot also garnered significant attention, none more than his 2010 Norton Commando 961SE, which reached a high bid of £15,180, or well over $23,000 based on current exchange rates.

The two hosts combined to make a total of £77,625 ($118,400) from the auction. The amount may not be as big as some of the checks they cashed when they were still hosting Top Gear, but it’s still enough to at least afford them a few month’s worth of groceries and house repairs.

For its part, Bonhams came away as the biggest winner from auction after selling 86 percent of the lots it had consigned for the sale, totalling a cool £2.2 million ($3.3 million), including £275,900 ($418,000) for the top lot of the event, a 1939 Vincent HRD Series-A Rapide.

Continue reading to read more about May and Hammond’s Bonhams auction experience.

Why it matters

It’s nice to see Hammond and May keeping themselves busy as they try to decide what the next course of action would be for their careers after exiting Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson. Obviously, being part of Bonham’s Stafford Sale was a far better use of their time than spending hours upon hours uploading non-sensical, albeit hilarious videos on YouTube.

I’m not quite sure what their rationale is for selling off a chunk of their motorcycle collections, but I don’t think money’s the biggest reason behind it. The two made significant chunks of cha-ching during their decade-run as Top Gear hosts and I don’t quite fancy Hammond and May as the free-spending types ala Floyd Mayweather.

If anything, the two may have finally found the time to reorganize their collections and determined that the bikes they put up for auction as expendable ones that deserved to find new owners.

I’m not speaking as a person who knows any insider information. This is just an outsider’s observation. Nobody except Captain Slow and the Hamster really knows why they had some of their collections auctioned off. But I do know that these bikes will find new owners who will take care of them as much as - maybe even more - Hammond and May did when they were still under their ownerships.

Everybody came out a winner here, proving that despite the events that led to their exit from Top Gear, James May and Richard Hammond can still make the news for entirely positive reasons.

Source: Bonhams

Why it matters

Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale was a record success, achieving £2,262,109, with 86% sold.

British machines proved immensely popular, with 90% of the top 10 lots legendary British marques Vincent, Brough and Coventry.

The 1939 Vincent HRD Series-A Rapide motorcycle took the sale top spot. Once rescued from scrap and originally purchased in exchange for a mere £10 and an Amal TT carburetor, the fully restored Vincent sold for £275,900 to a bidder in the room.

Further British motorcycle highlights include the 1930 Brough Superior OHV 680 Black Alpine (£138,140); the 1955 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-D (£72,060); the 1926 Coventry Eagle 980cc Flying Eight (£106,780), and the 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Project sold at £52,900, more than four times top estimate.

Former Top Gear duo James May and Richard Hammond added some celebrity excitement to the event, cheerily bidding and joking with auctioneer Malcolm Barber. With 12 motorcycles consigned to the sale, the duo witnessed 100% of their collections sold, with Hammond’s 2010 Norton Commando 961SE the top lot of the series (£15,180).

"Our annual Spring Stafford Sale far surpassed all previous years, totalling £2.2 million - we’re delighted with the results," said Ben Walker, International Director of Bonhams Motorcycle department. "We’ve seen some fantastic prices, with new precedent being set. The level of enthusiasm at Stafford is always brilliant – with people travelling from across the globe to attend – with those that couldn’t bidding from the comfort of their homes via the telephone or our online bidding platform."

Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Co-Chairman and auctioneer of the sale, said: "Today’s sale attracted international bidding, celebrity consignments, and saw the motorcycle market buoyant at this annual season opener, the Stafford show. We saw many new collectors entering the market with strong bidding from English collectors and continentals alike. We witnessed investment bidding, but the market as usual is supported by enthusiasts."

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