MPH Editor Articles
October 2017cover photo of MPH825
Chairmans piece from MPH825Through The Chair
for expert attention. I last visited when the late Tony Maughan was still in charge
The current premises are at Great Hale Fen, and require a GPS or good map to find, especially when
September 2017Cover photo of MPH824
Chairmans piece from MPH824Through The Chair
submitting it — which may have been fortunate for Graham who had to find space
but I have had more than one report that it was enjoyable and very well received. Being a one day meet, open to all classic bikes, it has undoubtedly done the Club’s image some good, so congratulations to the East Midlands Section for their initiative. In fact it sounds like quite a good recipe to attract more bikes than Vincent only meets can do, and without any worry about overnight security. As it happens, I went to the BSA club’s Open Day at Market Harborough, which they hold in conjunction with their weekend rally, and that too attracted a lot of non-BSA visitors. No doubt our overseas Sections are quite used to running either joint events, or issuing invitations in order to make their events more vibrant, and perhaps UK might learn from the experience?
Alan Jennings, topping up with petrol at the local garage. But as we set off for the motorway junction,
PUB started to misfire, and it became too bad to risk the M6. Alan zoomed off, and I limped back to the
campsite, stopping off at the garage to check whether I had possibly topped up with diesel (they located
the transaction, and confirmed not). After providing the midday Sunday entertainment for those still on the campsite, it proved to be no more than the rear choke being on – oops! The handlebar lever was correctly set, but the cable outer had become detached. After I had put that back, PUB rumbled its way homeward with no further trouble, and I arrived home tired, but happy.
August 2017cover photo of MPH823
July 2017cover photo of MPH822
Chairmans piece from MPH822Through The Chair
Jackson, the Club’s founder, passing away. It hardly seems that long, for I did know
(Ray Elger), because the Roll was an initiative of Alan’s into which he put in a lot of work. Many of the
names on the list were personally known to Alan, but would have been forgotten to us without it, and
Hatch from home is a long round trip off the motorways, and very uninspiring on them, I didn’t try very
June MPHcover photo for MPH821
Chairmans piece from MPH821Through The Chair
comfortable riding (in the UK at least - whereas winter is coming in Oz). One of
window’ to the world since the event attracts an international audience (and vendors). Glyn Baxter’s
recently completed Series ‘A’ Twin was not only shiny enough to require the use of sunglasses, but also
netted him, the stand, and the club the award for the ‘most technical interest’ due to its place at the start
with meals, breakfasts, and a continuous supply of tea and coffee for the non-drinkers (the bar catering for
the rest). Having just arrived (on PUB) I did not go on the run to Chepstow Castle, and possibly Will Collard
wishes he hadn’t, because his newly finished Egli developed a wobbly wheel (but no harm done to anyone,
and soonest found soonest mended). Jack Barker was in attendance at over 90, and still riding although on
something with an electric start rather than a Vincent.
Only a week later was The VOC Spares Company Limited Annual General meeting and Open Day, shared
with the AJS/Matchless club. The Vincent turnout was particularly good (possibly more than at the Severn?)
and it made a pleasant day out. If you have never been, then do consider it next year - the formality bit
generally doesn’t take long and the rest of the time is basically a rally, with nibbles. The spares counter
is also open, and just as an idle possibility (and before trying at the AJS counter) I asked about a pre-war
BAPH gearbox part (possibly the same as post-war?) that I have failed to get from eBay. Amazingly Ian had
a second-hand item available, which I snapped up quickly - it just goes to prove it is always worth asking.
Actually for the Executive Committee, ‘the rest of the time’ was not free for rallying, as we take the
opportunity to get another meeting in whilst virtually everyone is there. It was not contentious, so for once
I nearly closed the meeting on time, but sorry if I missed talking to you!
Lastly, at the show I was advised to look on YouTube, where there is a Pathé News film of the 1926 TT
which includes coverage of the H.R.D. team working in their garage: http://tinyurl.com/l3m5fp4
May MPHCover photo for MPH820
Chairmans piece from MPH820Through The Chair - May 2017
in the very early days when R.A.B. Cook injected his particular humour and style,
before going on to become ‘Carbon’ of the magazine MotorCycling (The Green ‘Un).
Since 2001 Graham and Robert Watson before him have done a fine job. Probably
most Members can only remember John Webber prior to that, who did the job for
passed away, aged (I believe) over 80. Perhaps MPH helped him along in his publishing career with a series
of books, which many of us have on our bookshelves, recording the history of the Vincent. He knew PCV,
Freda, and Deirdre well, and at a time when PCV was still well enough to talk and open up his archives —
sadly further strokes robbed him of that ability later. As a result, Roy captured material in his books that
would be very hard to gather later, and reminiscences that would otherwise have gone forever, so doing us
and when looking for something else I just happened to come across the following Motor Cycle
News cutting from 1975.‘Good luck to the Vincent Owners Club and theirenterprise first reported in Motor Cycle News last week in setting up a public company to provide spare parts to keep the name of Vincent alive. It
really is most unfortunately ironic that at the time of rapid deflation of such famous names as Norton,
desperately fighting for survival along with Triumph, that the Old Vincent goes thundering healthily on
in this manner. There of course can be no parallel drawn between the two situations, but it is nice
to know of the confidence in the future that the Vincent enthusiasts have. Would it was a Norton/
Triumph Owners Club floating a viable company!’
Well, of course, both Norton and Triumph now have equally vibrant clubs, and both names are properly
back in production too, which is good. But over 40 years on the VOC, and our Spares Company are still
going strong, against much prevailing wisdom. Keep the enthusiasm and volunteers coming, and we can
continue to have confidence in the future.
April MPHCover photo for MPH819
Chairmans piece from MPH819
Through the Chair - April 2016
Probably the biggest news this month occurred outside the Club, with the death of
John Surtees, which has achieved nationwide coverage.
For anyone who does not know (which would be difficult), John started his career on Vincents although
it was not long before his talent showed through and he was signed up by Norton, won world championships
there and for MV Agusta, then moved on to cars and won another on four wheels.
His father, Jack Surtees, was not only a dealer, but also a sidecar racer, so young John was a racing passenger even before he was a rider. Dad got him an apprenticeship at the Vincent Works, where he built his own Grey Flash with which he made his initial mark (he also rode a Works Grey Flash). He did start building a Twin, but did not finish that until after he retired! However, although the Club rarely saw him, he was always proud of his Vincent connection, and often took that Twin to events. Hopefully somebody better qualified than I will write a proper obituary for MPH.
As a Club we have also regrettably lost our German Honorary Member Kurt Schupp since I wrote my last column, although others did manage to report it last month. I attended to a number of the German Rallies and can vouch for the welcome received, and the quality of Kurts museum.
As for Club news, last weekend (as I write) was the spring General Committee Meeting, for which there was a good turnout - my thanks to all the Section Organisers and representatives who came along (two representing overseas Sections I am glad to say, although more would be welcome). There was nothing very controversial to discuss, which is frankly how I like it! However, that doesnt mean nothing is happening, and the diary is full of places to go and things to do. There should soon be some information in MPH about the next International rally - which is only around two years away, so start thinking, saving, or booking your holiday from work!
March 2017March 2017 cover
Chairmans piece from MPH818
Through The Chair
The Club Executive Committee holds a longer than usual meeting in February, to
permit in-depth discussions on the year ahead. Those who are prepared to fund a
hotel stay meet the preceding night for dinner (the Club only funds the following
day’s meeting facilities and refreshments) — this also provides a bit of ‘team building’.
Our Hon. Social Secretary found a venue near to Shepton Mallet and the Bristol Classic Bike Show so
that we could attend and see how the new organisers of the VOC stand got on. As I find a one day round
trip to the show is somewhat arduous now, this arrangement suited me (although my apologies to the
couple who also offered me local accommodation).
It was good to see a VOC presence at the show, and congratulations to the Dorset Section for taking
it on and doing such a good job. Even with the loss of two Series ‘A’ Twins (there should have been FOUR,
but those irrepressible Bowden brothers have managed to mislay their pair somewhere!) the stand was still
impressive, with ‘Mighty Mouse’ taking pride of place. Vincents are easily represented as a row of post-war
Twins, but the Dorset team managed to produce more variety and history. I hope the Section will consider
doing it again for us next year.
There was nothing very exciting to report from the meeting, although discussions were not always
uncontroversial or short, making closure late (again). The Hon. Treasurer is very busy at this time, trying to
finalise the Club accounts, which are still complicated by the 2015 International (eg. no reply from e-mail
addresses regarding refunds!). With Sterling and Euro accounts, current and investment, an investment
portfolio, and endless other things to look after the committee is lucky to have someone as competent as
Antony to keep the Club on the straight and level, and take us through it.
Although Gill, our Hon. Secretary, does an immense amount of ‘nuts and bolts’ work, there was nothing
too exciting to report from her, and (some of) the Hon. Editor’s work you see in print every month – but
that didn’t stop him having a say on most things.
Bill Parr, our Hon. Technical Officer, showed some of the 3D printer prototyping results whilst reporting
on the Tech. Committee progress — which Comet owners will be glad to hear is putting more effort their
way now much of the Twin work is done. Bill is also involved in the Club’s IT, although it shouldn’t be his
job and we really need another volunteer to manage that (see Gill’s report directly following mine for the
vacant ‘Computer Officer’ position).
The bits Members are most involved with are the events, masterminded or scheduled by our Hon. Social.
Secretary Peter Appleton and Hon. Information Officer Paul Adams. The diary shows a good selection of
rallies and shows throughout the year, mostly actually run by various Sections (thanks guys). Rallies are
mainly for Members, but shows are also a ‘shop window’ for the Club. There is always new stuff in the
pipeline, for example the next 2019 International Rally is firming up as a two-stage rally (participation in
both is optional) and particulars should start appearing in MPH soon.
Message — the Club remains busy, but we are always in need of volunteers and assistants!