MPH Editor Articles

July 2017

  cover photo of MPH822

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH822

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
I note from the June edition of MPH that it was the 25th anniversary of Alan
Jackson, the Club’s founder, passing away. It hardly seems that long, for I did know
him in his late years when he had returned to this country.
 
It was something of a coincidence that the same issue has a new citation for the Riders Roll of Honour
(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
his work.
 
I missed the 2017 Bill Hancock Riders Rally, due to a prior commitment, although as the ride to Brand’s
Hatch from home is a long round trip off the motorways, and very uninspiring on them, I didn’t try very
hard to resolve the clash - but apologies all the same. I also missed ‘Race Rock and Ride’ which was much closer to home and for which I have no excuse except a bad memory — that one was probably my loss.
 
Club business issues are running at a low level for me at least, although our Hon. Social Secretary and Hon.Information Officer are probably pedalling hard as it is rally and event season.
 
Since last month, my Rapide has been out and about, leading to it finally passing a major milestone, with250,000 miles under its wheels since I started riding it. Of course, it was already secondhand, with enough miles to have required a major overhaul, and then get old and worn out again, but that prior mileage can only be guessed, as the original speedometer did not survive. So the bike’s mileage is probably nearer to 350,000. Either way I am proud of PUB notwithstanding its tatty condition, and hope to get a few more miles aboard before it gets too heavy for me (Einstein was too young when he produced his Theory of Relativity, or it would have included the way things get heavier, hills get steeper, and time goes faster as we get older).

 

 

 

 

 

June MPH

  cover photo for MPH821

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH821

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
Another month has flown by, but at least warmer weather is here for more
comfortable riding (in the UK at least -  whereas winter is coming in Oz). One of
the early major events is, of course, the Classic Bike Show at Stafford.
 
Our North Staffs. Section did their usual excellent job putting on a stand which is something of a ‘shop
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
of the Vincent Twin story. Congratulations all.
 
 The Severn Rally appeared to go well again at Thornbury Rugby Club, where the ladies did a good job
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 MPH

Cover photo for MPH820

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH820

Through The Chair - May 2017
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
MPH has either been lucky with its Editors, or a very good training ground, starting
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
over 25 years (February 1973 to December 2000).
 
The Editor immediately before John was Roy Harper, (June 1969 to January 1973, who has recently
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
all a service. They will be a continuing memorial to Roy.
 
His brother Derek should be submitting a fuller obituary at some point. I was able to get to the funeral
and so represent the Club, nevertheless we offer our condolences to Katherine and the family members.
 
On a happier note, it will shortly be the Annual General Meeting of The VOC Spares Company Limited,
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 MPH

Cover photo for MPH819

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH819

Through the Chair - April 2016

Jacqueline Bickerstaff

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 2017

March 2017 cover

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH818

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff

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!