This is my first "Through the Chair" and I`m very pleased to be writing this. For those of you who don`t know me yet, I`m Stuart Wood. I have taken over from Jacqueline Bickerstaff as Hon. Chairman of the Club.
Firstly, I would like to thank Jacqueline on behalf of the Club for her commitment to this role and for overseeing such an enthusiastic and hard working Executive Team.
I was first approached by Glyn Baxter, who asked if I would be prepared to stand for the role, over a year ago. I was originally reluctant, as I am relatively new to the Club and deeply respect the heritage and Club Members` lifetimes of involvement which I have not been part of. I have got to know the Members of the Executive Committee, and was invited to attend one of their meetings. That made my decision to accept a nomination from Arthur Farrow to stand for the role. You really do have a strong and enthusiastic group of individuals on the Executive Committee that work tirelessly for the good of the Club and I look forward to being part of that team.
Over the last few years, I have got to know a number of you and have been warmly welcomed to the Club. I may be new to the Club, but have lived a life of motorcycle work, recreation and passion that stems from the first time I rode a motorcycle at 12 years old. A family friend let me ride his Black Shadow. I was hooked! I have lived in my parallel motorcycle world until three years ago when I joined the Coventry Section of the Club. I have to give my deepest thanks to the Coventry Section, and Chris Chant in particular for helping me find and prepare my first Vincent for the road. I feel that I have closed a circle and am enjoying Vincent motorcycling with the enthusiasm that I originally felt for the bikes all those years ago.
I have always preferred to be a participant rather than a spectator, and I hope to be able to serve the Club well in this role. I welcome any comments or ideas that you have as I know we all want the very best future for this magnificent Club.
I am looking forward to meeting more of you over the coming months, and at Club events next year. Have a great Christmas and I hope to see you out on the road next year.
The Annual General Meeting is just a few days away now, at which I shall be stepping down as your Hon. Chairman - and which will have passed by the time you read this. It has been a privilege to serve you and the Club.
However, I feel that I have done about as much as I can, and that the Club could do with some fresh (and younger) blood. As there was only one nomination received, no postal election was necessary, although this :s not a good thing and indeed the Club is seriously in need of more volunteers (the Hon. Computer Officer position to mastermind our IT remains unfilled). The good news is that the one nomination was for Stuart Wood who is very keen, organised an excellent Bill Hancock Riders Rally at Triumph, and attended both International and Annual Rallies (as well as General Committee Meetings) so that UK and some overseas Members will already be familiar with him. Working at Triumph, Stuart is both technically competent, and more in touch with today`s riders than many of us, but I will leave it to him to say more about his background, and just wish him well.
Probably the biggest development during my term of office is the acquisition by Club and Company of premises, although I am sad that it has also seen the departure of the old Victoria Section notwithstanding that it was inevitable. Fortunately, the Vincent Riders of Victoria are filling that void with great enthusiasm - and enthusiasm is something the Club needs. The classic world and the Club may currently be in good health, but there are also less optimistic signs looming. The age profile continues to rise, restoring and shows continue to overshadow riding, yet alone utility riding, as is inevitable after so many years since our bikes were made. Then there are the environmental issues with the UK and other Governments on a path to eliminating internal combustion engines (and eventually petrol stations). We need to keep evolving to accommodate these changed circumstances, and I would hope that our building would present some fresh opportunities in this direction.
Peter Appleton has started off well with various exhibits extracted from donors to improve our place as `custodians of Vincent history`. General Committee Meetings and Spares Company Open Day visitors will have seen the progress, as well as readers of MPH. What else could our joint premises enable (a race track and camping to the rear is not an option - the bowling club would not be impressed with such use of their green)?
At the beginning of the year I announced that I would only be occupying the Cha for a further year, until the premises purchase was concluded, and the Internationa Rally was behind us.
To do that most conveniently, I should have reminded Hon. Secretary Gill, and asked her to add Hr Chairman to the call for nominations that will have been in the last edition of MPH so that the elections would be coincident with the normal election/re-election cycle. However, the same misfortune that stopped me from making the International interfered - although that is a poor excuse.
Nevertheless, this is still my intention, which means standing down at the forthcoming Annual Genera Meeting. As a result, Gill will be issuing a call for nominations in this edition of MPH - this is entirely - line with the VOC rules for positions becoming vacant out of sequence.
It has not been by any means the hardest job on the Executive Committee, but as recent events have proved, it is one that I am currently not really up to any longer, although I have mostly enjoyed my time in the `hot seat`, and I regard committee meetings as sort of mini-rallies. However, the club could do with someone younger, with fresh enthusiasm and ideas.
Moving on from that announcement, the big news has, of course, been that International Rally. So far I have heard very little feedback, but it seems to have been good. I presume feedback will start to come through with this edition of MPH, and I am really looking forward to reading your reports.
With rather too many commitments needing attention, including a local Motorcycle Festival that I help organise but this year took place at exactly the same time as our International Rally, I was looking forward to, and in need of, a holiday. I was also iooking forward to meeting VOC friends, most especially those from our furthest away Sections.
-However riding, and starting, PUB is not as easy as it once was. So to make my life easier I prepared to go on the modern and, up to now, reliable electric start bike. As ever, I set off nervQusly but confident until it let me down half way to Dover. As it did still run slowly, I managed to limp home, but no longer a
-appy bunny. An ill prepared effort to swap to the Rapide mostly just confirmed my prior thoughts, not east when exhausting stop-start-stationary traffic on the M1 wrecked any ferry/accommodation timings. It was time to think again, and I do have a rarely driven car - though never on the continent - so perhaps the ignominy of arriving late by car remained possible? That would be a plan, so vehicle papers, bulb kits, GB plate etc. were looked out, and the car tyres and fluids checked over ready for another start next morning. However, that was not what the next day had in mind, and instead I spent much of the rally time at my sister`s with an unpleasant stress related illness.
Hopefully you will all have enjoyed the event and barely noticed the absence, but be assured that I was looking forward to meeting everyone, our Antipodean Members most of all, and greatly regret not making it (as an Hon. Chairman should). So my apologies to all rallyists.
Another month gone by, and Graham is chasing me for my report.
It is just a couple of days before The VOC Spares Company Limited`s Annual General Meeting and Open
Day, at which the Executive Committee will also get together for one of our regular meeting. Ideally I would be gifted with a crystal ball, and able to tell you how it went - but I am not! The forecast is OK (possibly a shower or two), so I am guessing that it will go well enough.
That leaves the Severn Rally to comment upon - which was its usual excellent event (the weather played ball again). Turnout was reasonable, although more would always be good, split between camper vans, campers, and those local enough to go home to their own beds (which means sober). The Rugby Club did a fine job of serving at the bar, and producing an excellent Saturday night meal, as well as Sunday meals for those staying on. Saturday`s entertainment was also well received, so a big `Thankyou` to the Mid. Glos. Section, who will be expecting to see more of you at the Annual Rally which they are hosting again this year.
Other than that, I am now entering panic mode, with the above mentioned Executive Committee meeting coming up, and work preparing a local event that I shall miss because I will be away at the Belgian stage of the International Rally - but only if I get round to preparing for that!
MPH844 Cover photo for MPH844
Chairmans piece from MPH844Through The Chair
I do not have much to report, as the General Committee Meeting was covered last
month and The VOC Spares Company Annual General Meeting and Open Day has
I have not even made my International Rally arrangements yet — which is leaving it late. Continuing
Brexit uncertainty, due to our incompetent MPs, makes it that bit more complicated than it needs to be.
The Sunbeam Club`s Pioneer Run has been held, where I saw various VOC Members either riding obscure
veterans or just spectating. Since the VOC Meet moved from Dick and Sheila Sherwin`s place in Plummers
Plain to a pub up the road, I have been reluctant to stop, because I prefer to stay ahead of as much traffic as possible. This year it was particularly important because the Sunbeam Club changed the route by joining
the coast road at Shoreham, to avoid merging with high speed A23 traffic outside Brighton. One of their
own publications suggested that this involved 30 sets of traffic lights. My Triumph is a stripped single
speed clutchless model, which requires a stall, dismount, then run and jump on at every traffic stop. I reckoned
my chances of finishing to be very low (the same hip problems that make starting PUB problematic
now). However, luck was with me most of the way, and by walking the last mile or so (lights every hundred
yards) the course was completed and another medal obtained.
There are obviously no Vincents on the Pioneer Run, because all bikes have to be 1914 or earlier, and the
first H.R.D. was not made until ten years later. The bike I ride does appear on the Club website, top right under
the heading `The Social Scene`, although I may have to find something easier in future. Far be it for me to
complain about being featured, but that is a Triumph and shouldn`t there be a Vincent H.R.D. shot used?
MPH843 Cover photo for MPH843
Chairmans piece in MPH843Through The Chair
Apologies to start with, firstly for the lack of a column last month, due to my overlooking the date (Graham even sent a reminder, but I didn`t see it in time).
Secondly, to the hard working team putting on a VOC stand at the Bristol Classic Bike Show. The Executive Committee scheduled our long February meeting to be held nearby, so that we could attend both events. When the show was cancelled due to impossible conditions on set-up day, we still carried on with our meeting, which was no problem as the weather had cleared sufficiently by then. Flowever, I just did not feel like repeating the trip on the new date, so missed your work.
The March General Committee Meeting was held in our own building for the first time (although delegates had the opportunity to see it at the last 2018 General Committee Meeting held in the nearby hotel).The working party (headed by Peter Appleton and Paul Adams) have done a fine job of cleaning up and equipping the place. They have also made a start on finding stuff that ought to live there, so if you have interesting things to donate or loan then talk to them - although the Club may not be ready to make decisions yet (because security, insurance, etc. need to be considered). The general feedback seemed to be approval, not only of the building, but as a venue for General Committee Meetings in general.
Next I am very pleased to be able to welcome the new Vincent Riders Victoria Section, which the General Committee Meeting ratified. Never have I seen a group get themselves together and organised so quick and effectively. In Australia it is desirable to have a constitution registered with the State Authority - do (and in a suitably modified form to align with the Vincent H.R.D. Owners Club`s rules and ethos). It is ai helpful to be approved for machine examinations to put bikes on the road, also done. Finances are sound and a full calendar, Section membership is already high. We usually offer `Section in Waiting` to see the proposal actually gels, and expect it to take a while, but VRV had the General Committee Meeting convinced sooner than usual.
It is, however, with great regret that I report a second (completely separate) decision that the existing section in Victoria could no longer be endorsed. The long and winding road to this conclusion is too convoluted to cover in this column. However, boiling it down, the General Committee Meeting judgement was that the group there no longer operate as a VOC Section (ie. run by VOC Members for its Membership), t as a substantially independent club run in part or even mainly by and for non-VOC Members, even though there are some amongst their number. It is not the first time that the issue has come up, there or somewhere, and some years ago the rules were clarified regarding what is expected - in section 18: rules can be accessed by visiting https://tinyurl.com/y4g2bu7sv It does not preclude Sections welcoming non-V Members in social activities, but the Club has to assert that its Members are those who pay the men ship secretary their subscriptions, or there is no Club.
I myself have friends in Australia, so this is a sad occasion, and something of a failure for me, but it cannot have to be forever. Even now if the operation in Victoria evolved to be compatible, the Club woi welcome an application for recognition again. Meanwhile, I can only wish them well, but without using our name.
If you wish to see minutes of this, and earlier meetings, simply visit https://tinyurl.com/y42bu7sv
Lastly, looking forward, by the time you read this the International Rally will be very close - too close indeed for entering, so I hope you have already done so. On this occasion I will not be attending both stages but only the first, so l apologise if you are only doing the second and I miss you. However, I am looking forward to meeting old friends and new from all over the world, so I hope that most of you have elec for both stages.
MPH842 Cover photo for MPH842
MPH841 Cover photo for MPH841
Chairmans piece in MPH841
Through The Chair
As I write, Christmas and New Year are behind, which are times when not too muchhappens for me to report on. The Executive Committee are, of course, still doingtheir stuff, but I will leave it to them to write about that in their columns.
Notwithstanding the Rapide becoming difficult for me, today’s weather was not too cold (for mid-winteras it is in the UK) so I risked using it to pop down to one of the local bike haunts. First cold start was a bitof effort, but it performed admirably otherwise.
I note Dave Rosenfield’s letter in the January MPH, and can confirm that I have not ridden PUB across
the States, or indeed in the USA at all, although the sidevalve H.R.D. has been there (back in Shadow Lake 1977 times), and PUB has been to Canada (2003). My first big ride from Texas was intended to be by Gold Star, but its preparation was not ready — a kindly Steve Tufts loaned a Norton Interstate instead for a tour via my sister’s, then to the Californian International (1991). Somewhat later, however, I had reason to attend a technical conference in California and made another visit to Texas first. Whether it is true or not, the story was that on hearing of the plan, Jay Leno, famous for his late night show and his garage, had declared that a Goldie couldn’t be ridden from Texas to Los Angeles. This was just a spur to Dave and I to prove otherwise, so the second trip was indeed by Goldie, detouring via Tombstone (yes, it is a real place) and Joshua Tree National Park.
These are the kind of things that can happen to you in the Vincent H.R.D. Owners Club.
MPH840 Cover photo for MPH840
Chairmans piece in MPH840
Through The Chair
Im sure that Christmas and the New Year celebrations will be over by the time this edition of MPH arrives, which means that if I have not sent a card to those whom I usually do, then I just ran out of time, and please accept my apologies.
It was a shock to read of the passing of Patrick Godet, about whom I am sure other correspondents will have a lot to say, so I will keep this short. I have known Patrick since at least the first French rally that he organised, and he has remained a dedicated enthusiast over all of that time. Although life was not always kind to him, nevertheless he built up his business until the Godet-Egli has become a world renowned machine, on road and track. He will be missed.
What other news? Not a lot at this time of year, although the various officers are still working hard towards next years activities. Peter Appleton and Arthur Farrow are trying to finally tie up the legality loose ends of our building and its holding company as if they did not already have enough to do. Your Executive Committee also had a meeting during November, which we actually managed to finish early. I could say that that was down to the absence of a couple of the more outspoken Members [I think Jacquelines referring to me! - Ed.], but, of course, it was really that in their absence we had to defer matters which fell into their areas of responsibility. My thanks go especially to Gill, who is recovering from her serious injuries, but has continued to attend, and help run, meetings and carry out all of her onerous secretarial duties.
My calendar for 2019 has barely started, and already it shows some serious clashes that will mean I cannot get to everything that I would like to. So apologies in advance to organisers should they be disappointed at a non-appearance.
December 2018 Cover photo for MPH839
Chairmans piece from MPH839
Through The Chair
May I start by wishing you a Merry Christmas, or a Happy New Year, depending on exactly when you receive this edition of MPH.
The passing of Bruce Main-Smith came as a surprise to me, when reading it in the last edition of MPH (I do not frequent our online forum that often). Bruce did sterling service for the Club, before my time (although I knew him later), and then went on to be a much respected journalist at MotorCyding. He subsequently published his own books, which contributed to the development of vintage and classic motorcycling - his collection of photocopy manuals of all sorts is still available from the National Motorcycle Museum. A sad loss.
The Annual General Meeting and Dinner were both successful and enjoyable - which is as it should be. The Annual General Meeting aid contain some items that promoted discussion (although not necessarily the items that I expected would). However, it is the Members opportunity to question the Executive Com- mittee, in person and free discussion always makes it hard to finish the meeting early (sorry). Full minutes appear on page seven.
Of the motions, the reduction of Annual General Meeting quorum was rejected, and probably rightly so - the upside was that the topic had prompted the biggest turnout for some years and had this been regular the issue would not have been raised. I hope there will be a similar turnout next year. The removal of five-yearly membership was approved in principle, but only when actual wording has been ratified. This has only arisen because our previous method of doing it fell foul of some financial rules - we keep looking for ways to make it easier for you to join, especially from overseas. There was also a proposal, forcefully put by Andrew Red Baron Everett, to allow our hard-working Club Assistants a vote at General Committee Meetings, which many of them currently attend in a non-voting capacity. This too was passed in principle, subject to some suitable terms and rule changes being approved, so it will take a while.
I am pleased to say that the move to add the late Bill Forbes (Australia) to the Riders Role of Honour was overwhelmingly approved.
The view of the Club regarding the current issues in Victoria were aired, and the Executive Committee is following through the Annual General Meeting decision - watch the Section Reveiws and Hon. Secretarys columns for news of progress in the next few months.
Somehow, although it should have been my last Annual General Meeting, I am still here (how did that happen?). However, the various developments through 2018, and the upcoming 2019 International Rally made it seem to me a poor time to shake up the Executive Committee. However, this will be for a short time only, probably just the one year, and not a full three-year term. I am beginning to struggle to ride the Vincent these days, let alone run the VOC.
The Annual Dinner was, as far as I could judge, also very successful, with good service and surround- ings - at least once I found the hotel. This is, of course, down to Peter Appleton, our Hon. Social Secretary, who is also overseeing the upcoming 2019 International Rally development. In addition to that, he has done a major amount of the work on the Club side towards the most exciting development of the year, the acquisition of the Club and Spares Company premises. For that reason, I announced Peter as recipient of the ‘Chairmans Award for the year, and consider it well deserved.
November 2018 Cover photo for MPH838
Chairmans piece from MPH838
Through The Chair
Last month’s column was written just ahead of the Series ‘A’ Rally at the Shuttleworth collection café. The turnout was a bit higher than last year, although the organiser had unfortunate problems that made him late!
On my own arrival, by Wolverhampton H.R.D., there were already bikes there (but not a lot of Series ‘A’s) with Brian Werrett keeping some sort of order. Despite the laid back approach, everyone seemed busy chatting, many not even pausing to check out the museum (my excuse being that I have seen it previously). By the way, thank you to Hon. Editor Graham for putting a note about my missing camera into MPH — I did get it back!
What else is going on? Those who read MPH avidly will have noticed that our Victoria, Australia Section are having problems. Read the Section Reviews if you want to know more (or not if dissent in the Club upsets you). We advise, whilst trying to let the guys over there take the lead in finding their own solutions, but it centres around the old story of having to subscribe to a club to be a member (is everyone attending your Section paid up?). No doubt there will be some discussion at the Annual General Meeting this coming weekend.
I am informed that The VOC Spares Company Limited are now in residence at their new abode in Desborough, and apparently, with only a couple of days interruption to spares order turnaround. Tony has already given an update on the Company’s current situation in his report, but my congratulations to all the staff.
And lastly, the Annual General Meeting and Dinner will be over by the time you read my report — I hope you didn’t give me a hard time!
October 2018 Cover photo for MPH837
Chairmans piece from MPH837
Through The Chair
Another month has slipped by, and Autumn is now with us in the UK, bringing cooler weather, and some heavy rainstorms.
Fortunately, it was OK when I went down to see The Great Dorset Steam Fair, which was celebrating its 50th year and contrived to have 500 Steam Engines (Traction engines and Rollers, not Railway Engines) this year - not only have I never seen so many Showmens Engines in one place, I did not even realise there were that many. I spoke to a Canadian who had brought one of the foreign engines over - and we think that transporting a motorcycle is difficult! Thanks to Will and Allison Collard who hosted me to make it possible, as the round trip is getting beyond me even on a modern motorcycle (and anyway I enjoyed their company).
The major VOC item was the General Committee Meeting in Desborough, where the Section Organisers and other committee members had the chance to look around our new building, with some refreshments kindly laid on by The VOC Spares Company Limited whose staff even came in on their Sunday off - thanks guys and girls. The meeting itself seemed very positive about the development, and approved the recommended extra investment (see the General Committee Meeting agenda on the opposite page) which more or less puts to bed the financial side - a thank you from the Executive Committee for that, including to the Overseas Sections who had representatives present. Although that raised a sigh of relief from me, it was short lived. The item about potential rule changes (again see the General Committee Meeting agenda in August MPH] proved to be much more controversial. Both items (five year membership, which our current payment methods no longer support, and the Annual General Meeting quorum) were nevertheless placed on the Annual General Meeting agenda. It is disappointing that we should even consider that attendance might not reach the quorum of 40, but for the last few years it has been a close run thing and forced late starts. So if Members have opinions on these matters, then be there - for anyone attending the dinner it only means coming a little earlier.
September 2018 Cover photo for MPH836
Chairmans piece from MPH836
Through The Chair
The major event of the last month has been the Annual Rally, held in Westbury on Severn. The Mid. Gloucester Section did us proud on the rally itself, with a good site, and a fine meal on the Saturday (which is all that I stayed for).
The VOC Spares Company Limited team attended, which is good to see (they could easily be fed up with Vincents and Vincent bits by the end of the week). The only fly in the ointment was the road closures, road works, and traffic jams around Gloucester, with the A40 closed completely on Saturday when I arrived. The possible diversions were also jammed up, making it a somewhat frustrating ride - although my Rapide PUB coped perfectly well. I hope that the team will follow convention and give us another rally in the same place next year - but possibly without the road closures.
The Coventry Section put on a display at the VMCC Taverners section ’Founders Day at Stanford Hall - thanks guys. As the theme was overhead cams I took along an OHC machine rather than a Vincent, there having been only the one NSU-Vincent Max that would be eligible, and that is no longer in existence [I thought George Spence once wrote in his Rarity Section Review that its existence was never proven? - Ed.].
The next thing on my agenda is the General Committee Meeting, which may be over by the time you read this. There has been less comment than I expected about property, but I look forward to the meeting with a little trepidation.
Lastly, a comment on the new UK MoT regulations and exemptions. Geoff Ragg will keep you up to date with FBHVC advice, but I can add that even FBHVC do not know exactly how it works, except that it is not as they were told it would. For motorcycles it is all fairly simple as most of the substantially changed criteria only apply to cars. Nevertheless, you are likely to have to answer the MoT exempt question, either in a tick box, or by showing a V112 form at a Post Office. I have just re-taxed two such vehicles. On the one I might have expected to be prompted to make a declaration, I was not, due, I think, to its registration date being misaligned with its declared age. On the other hand, for my Firefly which is newly in the exempt category (registered 1972, but not declared older although it is) I was prompted for one. This occurred in spite of it having a current MoT. So just answer the exempt question if you are asked, and if your bike is reasonably representative of a Vincent you can just say yes. If it is so modified that you are not sure just continue to get it tested (which you can also still do even if you have declared it exempt).
August 2018 Cover photo for MPH835
Chairmans piece from MPH835
Through the Chair
I went to the Crich Classic Motorcycle Meeting, organised at the Tramway Village in
conjunction with the East Midlands Section. It was my first time, but what a super event - congratulations guys.
The weather was hot and sunny, too hot really, and there were bikes everywhere.
The Vincent compound was full with the most bikes I have seen at one meeting for a long while (even without some prominent southerners for whom it would have been a long round trip) and outside the pub was a similarly impressive line of Gold Stars. Be cause of the heat, the ice cream shop was overwhelmed and thoughts might be necessary for managing such a popular event in future. I hope, however, that it will be possible to keep the VOC contribution and name associated with it, because it has the potential to be a major event in the Classic calendar, and a really good advertisement for the club. Congratulations again.
Last month we were just able to stop press announce the acquisition of the Club/VOC Spares Company Limited premises,and you will find a longer outline of the project this month, but I would like to add a couple of things. No doubt it took most of you by surprise, because the normal VOC practice is to do things completely transparently, with progress in MPH, General Committee Meetings and Annual General Meetings. We could never have achieved the project that way (as indeed past experience proves), not least because the Company could not thus jeopardise their existing home without any certainty of a new one.
To those who feel slighted by this need for working confidentially I apologise, but it was the right thing to do - even though it has weighed heavily on my shoulders (which do not get broader or stronger as I age). Be assured, however, that your executive Committee also recognised their limited authority to commit Club funds alone, and kept strictly to the spirit as well as letter of Club rules that you, the Members, have laid down.
That is why you will have read that the VOC Spares Company Limited are currently the major shareholder in the property company (Snarling Beast Limited), with the Club having a smaller holding. It represents less than our ambitions, but as much as the Executive Committee could commit. The opportunity for the Club to increase this share is still open, and the topic will be found on the next General Committee Agenda which you will see on page nine.
A reason for outlining all of this in my column is that we have not forgotten the overseas membership. We believe that what is good for the Club is good for the VOC Spares Company Limited, and vice versa, but also is good for our overseas Sections, who need a vibrant marque, and availability of spares parts. The Executive Committee also notd that the last time there was any survey on attitudes to an HQ, and somewhat counter-intuitively (because few would ever visit) the verseas. was as strong as that in the United Kingdom. So I am reminding each Section around the world that you are entitled to appoint a voting representative to atend the General Committee Meeting on your behalf if you have a view to express - and most Sections have some friends in the UK (and if not, then Gill has, in the past, offered try and find someone for you).
July 2018 Cover photo for MPH834
Chairmans piece from MPH834
Through The Chair
I made my way up to the Bill Hancock Riders Rally in Halifax, doing the round trip in a single day (on PUB).This did get me the Furthest Travelled (same day) award, but also proved to me that over 250 miles is now really tough for me (a distance that used to be easy on the 1926 H.R.D.!) - what has happened?
The Calderdale Industrial Museum made us welcome, and it was worth looking around, but sadly the turnout was not very good. It just goes to show that it is hard to entice big numbers up north, unfair though that is to our membership there.
In the UK new MoT regulations are now in effect, and Geoff Ragg has something to say about them on page nine. At a recent FBHVC Legislation meeting it did become apparent that it does not work exactly as we were told - revised FBHVC advice will be issued via their newsletter and website. For motorcycles, however, once used to how it does work (basically a box ticking exercise), there should be very little effect unless you have just stretched your frame to fit a jet engine, or changed the number of wheels (and even that doesnt seem to have been a problem for our Glyn).
Another new regulation that has come into effect in May is GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), which affects the whole of Europe, with repercussions beyond. Gill, our Data Protection Officer (as part of her numerous secretarial duties) did manage to report on this in the last edition of MPH. However, let me add my apologies to those of you confused by e-mails you received. The Club does have to respond to these regulations, but we did not get it quite right first time. There will be other repercussions, such as the Club having to be a bit more circumspect about handing out personal information (which includes contact details), and the Club means Section Officials too, so take note of what Gill writes and says.
By the time this edition of MPH arrives, it will be close to Annual Rally time, and having attended many Mid-Glos Severn Rallies, I am looking forward to their version of the Annual, and I hope to see you there - it is a modest ride for Southerners/Midlanders, and I do not doubt that our hardened Northerners will not be put off by their longer distances.
June 2018 Cover photo for MPH833
Chairmans piece from MPH833
Through The Chair
Another month has gone by, and with Spring sprung in the UK, events and activities
are building up. The Classic Bike Show at Stafford was busy as usual.
The VOC stand, with its ‘colours’ theme provided a fresh and different presentation — and Richard Kettle’s very exotic ‘Mellow Yellow’ Comet special won the Best Classic Special’ award. So congratulations to the stand team.
I did get into the Bonhams auction, where some very high prices were bid, the Brough Superior costing £264,700 (inclusive of commission). The Ducati 750SS is a particular favourite of mine, which I lust after somuch that I registered to bid for a ‘project’ estimated at £30-40,000, which I reckoned would leave plenty of headroom for restoration as they are now worth more than Black Shadows. The dream did not last long, for the rusty kit sold for £106,780! That must be nearing the price of a restored bike, so like our Vincents, the market seems to like ‘barn finds’ almost as highly as restored versions!
Actually, most of the Vincent bidding was rather lacklustre, with a couple of Black Shadows selling for
in the low and high £50ks respectively. A very special Vincent on offer was one of the ‘Uniflow’ two-stroke lifeboat engines (strange things with two crankshafts, three cylinders, four single-acting power pistons, and two double acting pumping pistons). It got a good write up in the catalogue, with lots of excellent pictures, and in spite of having no known current application the bidding took it to £15,000 (which is not the highest price paid for one, as a previous Las Vegas auction scored over £20,000).
Then last weekend it was The VOC Spares Company Limited’s Annual General Meeting and Open Day,
which was also its usual busy and enjoyable day. Something must be going right as nobody had any complaints to raise in the open discussion after the formal Company business, quite a change on years ago (so congratulations to Ian and his team at The VOC Spares Company Limited). Unfortunately, your Executive Committee take advantage of mostly being in one place to hold a meeting, so we only get a limited social time with the rest of you — but all seemed to go well as far as I could see. The VOC Spares Company Limited even offered a discount on prior orders collected on the day (a useful thing to remember), but I just was not organised enough to put one in even though there are a few bits I need (fortunately not urgently — they may even wait until next year).
May 2018 Cover photo for MPH832
Chairmans piece from MPH832
Through The Chair
Another month with not much to report to you, as the snowy General Committee
Meting was reported in last month’s column. Sadly, that was not the last of the bad
weather and snow, which prevented me from riding the Sunbeam Club’s Pioneer Run
where I might have seen a few of you — but a clutchless ‘run and jump’ machine is
hard enough to ride at the best of times, and on ice or snow is just too much for me.
The Rapide, PUB, has been out and about locally, but this weekend needed a new front tyre — 19inch
as it is a Touring Rapide. I was using Roadrunners, AM20 and 21 (the metricated sizes, only the 4.10 x 19 AM9 is still available of the originals). However, last time I changed my rear (AM21) I was unable to get a replacement, so fitted a ‘Roadrider’ AM26 (56V) — these are available in a wide range of sizes (but not 20 inch) to suit older and modern bikes. Oddly, I could have replaced the front AM20, which has been very satisfactory, with a new one that is still available. However, to match the rear a new Roadrider AM26 (52V) has gone on so we will see how I like it. I still change tubed tyres myself, as it is also a good time to check the state of the brake linings, and bearing/grease.
However, tubeless have me beaten, so the more modern machine, which needs a new rear (Roadrider
again) will be done by the shop!
By the time you read this, the new ‘Vehicles of Historic Interest’ MoT regulations will be coming into
force. Geoff Ragg has written already about this, but just to reinforce his message, the intention is that
most vehicles will be able to tick the box enabling them to be MoT exempt at 40 years old, and especially motorcycles for which most of the engine/axle/etc. part does not apply. Do remember, however, that although theoretically a post 1960 may theoretically be exempt after it comes into force in May, this will not show up in records until you next tax it and tick the box. Unless you would relish setting legal precedents in court, then a wise move would be to keep its MoT current until then.
April 2018 Cover photo for MPH831
Chairmans piece from MPH831
Through The Chair
The last General Committee Meeting was held at the end of the week when Britain
suffered ‘the Beast from the East’, a Siberian wind that took temperatures well
below zero, and snowed the country to a halt in places.
A watch on the weather news suggested that the thaw would set in on Saturday, and a survey of motorway cameras (www.motorwaycameras.co.uk) indicated that the network remained open, in spite of the national news, so no cancellation was issued. However, the thaw was a little delayed, and indeed, the day previously, I was digging out my driveway in order to have a chance of getting there myself. So I felt certain that the meeting would be ‘inquorate’ and theoretically not able ‘to conduct business’ although much of a General Committee Meeting is information exchange and that could possibly go ahead.
However, I was both amazed, and somewhat humbled by the turnout. My journey was short, and I could await the thaw that finally set in on Sunday, but many with further to travel must have set out much earlier and with less confidence. Not only was the meeting fully quorate according to the rules, but the turnout was actually hardly different to normal. We all owe thanks to the hard-working Section Organisers and other Officials who keep our Club running, and the 4th March meeting was a reminder of how dedicated they all are to our Club.
That did not prevent them (and George Spence in particular) from giving the top table a kicking, because the top table had not administered its own kicking to The VOC Spares Company Limited in order to have their Annual General Meeting agenda ready in time for the General Committee Meeting to discuss how the Club shareholding should be voted. Quite correct, and we will all try to do better next year — meanwhile details should appear in MPH prior to the The VOC Spares Company Limited Annual General Meeting and Open Day in May which is always to be recommended to those close enough to attend.
Lastly, I note that the latest new Member listing includes more from Italy, which is a growing Section,
and also new Members in Finland and Brazil where VOC representation is minimal — so welcome.
March 2019 Cover photo for MPH830
Chairmans piece from MPH830
Through The Chair
Congratulations to the team who put on the Club stand at the recent Bristol Classic
Bike Show at Shepton Mallet, including those who loaned machines. These shows are a major ‘shop window’ for the Club where it can be seen to be active and vital. The Bristol Show may attract mostly UK people, but the coming Stafford Show also shows us off to many a continental visitor.
Executive Committee Members had to visit on Saturday, in order to fit in with the February ‘weekend’
committee meeting. In order to permit a full day of discussion most stay overnight for a social gathering and meal (at their own expense, not the Club’s) so as to make an early start. Somehow these meetings still do not finish early! However, they do allow some depth of discussion and planning, some of which we hope will bear fruit in the near future.
Tony Milbourn was able to give us some early impressions from his recent survey. As he would, no doubt, prefer to tell you about it himself I will only echo a generalisation. Firstly, thanks to you, the Members, who responded in greater numbers than we might have expected from commonplace response rates. Thankfully Tony tells us that the membership are relatively satisfied, but he still has to do the more manually intensive analysis of comments, where we may find we have more work to do — although actually we always have more work to do!
Outside the sun is shining, and the temperature has risen above 5ºC (40ºF for Members in the imperial world), which is decidedly better than last weekend, when I was up in Snowdonia (quite right, I should have more sense), so hopefully Spring and Summer are on their way.
February 2018 Cover photo for MPH829
Chairmans piece from MPH829Through The Chair
Spring is really close now, and I`m feeling good about Club events this summer. My bike has new tyres and fresh oil and is raring to get out on the open roads.
I`m really looking forward to a mix of UK, European and hopefully a California trip in late Spring. We have already signed up for the French Rally and the Italian Liguria Rally and are planning to be at this year`s Bill Hancock Rider`s Rally,
the Annual Rally and the Hever. The Coventry Section, as always, has a full calendar this summer as well so we`ll be really busy.
It`s the BMF`s 60th Birthday this year, and there is a celebration "Birthday in the Borders" weekend rally in mid-May. A number of your Executive Committee will
be in Poland that weekend for the Polish Rally. Sadly, with work, I can`t commit to the Polish journey and rally. I will be going up to the BMF
event in Innerleithen to represent the VOC and to enjoy the riding in the Borders. Is anyone interested in getting a few more Vincents there to
represent our Club?
Please don`t forget my request for you to get involved with our
General Committee Meeting on 1st March at our Headquarters building in Desborough.
The more Members actively involved in shaping our Club, the better.
January 2018 Cover photo for MPH828