MPH Editor Articles
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 didnt 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 of 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 of the international Vincent H.R.D. Owners Club ratified. Never have I seen a group get themselves together and organised so quickly and effectively. In Australia it is desirable to have a constitution registered with the State Authority (and in a suitably modified form to align with the Vincent H.R.D. Owners Clubs rules and ethos). It is also helpful to be approved for machine examinations to put bikes on the road, also done. Finances are sorted and a full events calendar, their 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 members 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 con voluted to cover in this column. However, boiling it down, the General Committee Meeting judgement was that the group there no longer operates as a VOC Section (ie. run by VOC Members for its VOC Membership), but as a substantially independent club run in part or even mainly by and for non-VOC Members, even though there are some VOC members amongst their number. It is not the first time that the issue has come up, there or elsewhere, and some years ago the rules were clarified regarding what is expected - in section 18. Our rules can be accessed by visiting https://tinyurl.com/y4grrybr . Our rules do not preclude Sections welcoming non-VOC Members in social activities, but the Club has to assert that its Members are those who pay the membership 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 does not have to be forever. Even now if the operation in Victoria evolved to be compatible, the Club would 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 Club Business on this website.
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 elected 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 from 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 of 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 of 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).
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.
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.
cover photo for MPH829
Chairmans piece from MPH829
Through The Chair
Apologies for there being no ‘Through the Chair’ last month, but I would not have
had much to report anyway. Not that it is very different this month, for I visited my
sister Mary over Christmas, to work on her Rex Acme.
Together with the weather, that has kept my trips to just a few Sunday trips to the local motorcyclists
haunt on the Rapide. However, by the time you read this, it will be getting busier again, with various meetings
and the Bristol Show following in swift succession.
One thing I should do is to welcome young (by VOC standards) Philip Vincent-Day whom I see is listed
amongst the new Members. For the time being, the Vincent family connection is formally represented by Deirdre
Vincent-Day, our Patron, and we hope that will continue yet awhile. However, it would also be my hope
that this connection will continue beyond the time when Deirdre wishes to be the family representative so
it is good news to have Philip amongst us. Please make him especially welcome at any opportunity you have.
I read Brian Hale’s article on riding the Oodnadatta track with a mixture of interest and envy. Many years
ago, at the first Australian International Rally, I travelled up the Stuart Highway on a bus, when it was also
still a heavily corrugated dirt road as far as Alice Springs. I dreamed of riding it, but before long it was paved
and the next time I was that way the road was full of pop-top campers etc. Not the same at all, so my eyes
turned to the Ooodnatta instead, but the years have passed me by. So congratulations on grasping the nettle
Brian. Another interesting article appeared in The Classic Motorcycle, telling the story of the recovery of two
Vincent Black Lightnings from Poland — February 2018 if you want to find a copy.
Cover photo for MPH828
cover photo for MPH827
Chairmans piece for MPH827Through The Chair
The major Club event of last month was the Annual General Meeting and Dinner,unless you live in New Zealand in which case it was probably the New Zealand RidersRally - but I will leave the Southern Hemisphere to our Overseas RepresentativeMarcus to report on when he gets home.
The Annual General Meeting went pretty smoothly, once a quorum had been dragged in, with nothingbeing too contentious. Some time did have to be devoted to discussing a proposal for Honorary Membershipfor Somer Hooker, which had been passed on by the General Committee. However, that passed fairlyeasily, which may not be much of a surprise as many of the attendees were the same committed Membersthat run the Sections and represent them at General Committee Meetings. So, welcome Somer to the HonoraryMember listing inside the front cover of MPH. Whilst on the subject of awards, the Annual GeneralMeeting also wished to endorse the ‘Thanks’ award recently given to Bob Satterly.Most of the Club awards and trophies were read out, so that they should be recorded in the minutes, butpresented later at the Dinner. However, as Eddie Grew was not staying, the Bernard Cribb trophy for thebest result on a Vincent H.R.D. in the ACU National Rally was presented to him at the meeting. For the restof the Annual General Meeting business, you will find the minutes published on the following page.The following dinner event was also very enjoyable, except, perhaps, for the room change involved. In particularthe after dinner talk on Big Ben and all of the other ‘classic’ Westminster clocks, and their maintenanceby Paul Roberson was fascinating. Being a parsimonious type, I left for home rather than bookinga room - but did not actually get away until after 0100hrs, so engrossed was I in discussion!
A week or two later I attended the National Motorcycle Museum’s ‘Open Day’, riding in on my 1926H.R.D. There may have been one or two other Vincents, but if so then I did not stumble upon them. Ihad wanted to take a look at one of the museum’s Vincents, and the day offered an opportunity to do itfor nothing. As the day attracts bikes and riders, and features talks by ‘the great and the good’ in motorcycling,together with a modest autojumble it is very good value, especially costing nothing - look out forit next year.
If I estimate correctly, this will be the festive season MPH, so I wish you a Merry Christmas and aHappy New Year.
November 2017 Cover photo for MPH826
Chairmans piece from MPH826
Through the Chair
I had a very welcome visit from Jeff and Joanne Wenden (New South Wales Section) who called in bringing the ageing Chairman her meals on wheels. Only a short stop, as they doubted she would make the North Kent Sections Pie and Pint meeting that they had scheduled.
It is a grim trip from Daventry (M1 and M25, both of which regularly come to a halt). Nevertheless, I did make it, discovering that a fine buffet is included. As I was riding, and dont drink beer, that put the pint out of court, then I noticed the buffet did not include any pies - all that way and no Pie or Pint!
Congratulations to Andrew Walker for running a new Series A rally in Westmill (near Stevenage, and the village appearing in catalogues). The weather forecast was not brilliant, which may have kept some away, but Glyn Baxter ca me from opp north, and Brian Werrett from Gloucester way amongst others to make it a select gathering. I went on my Rapide rather than the sidevalve H.R.D. (feeble excuse, the H.R.D. is not a Series A, nor a Vincent, but that is splitting hairs), mostly out of laziness. The Club ought to be able to support a Series A/pre-war event such as this, and Andrew declared that he will indeed run it again next year. Please give him some support, even if it means attending on post-war machine as I did.
The NACC (National Autocycle and Cyclemotor Club) held their Stevenage
Run in October, which takes in the Old Vincent Works. Word was that they had never had a Firefly on the
run, so having returned mine to the road some time ago, I came under pressure to take part. It is a
relatively short run of only 15 miles, and those on the cycleways because Stevenage is rare, if not unique, in having
a byelaw to permit 50cc mopeds on them. On the day there was a surfeit of riches, with no less than
three Fireflies turning up! Two
of them, including mine, were Vincent-BSAs, but I did not see the third close
up to know whether it was another add-on engine, or a Vincent supplied complete Power Cycle. Mine
completed the course easily enough, although pedal starting seems harder than it was 20 or more years ago.
cover photo of MPH825
Chairmans piece from MPH825Through The Chair
I have just returned from Maughan and Sons, having delivered a pre-war crankshaftfor expert attention. I last visited when the late Tony Maughan was still in chargeat Ancaster.The current premises are at Great Hale Fen, and require a GPS or good map to find, especially when
the road out of Great Hale is closed as it was for me. Nevertheless, the operation is impressive, and I was surprised to find that a Series ‘A’ crank is routine for Graham, with shafts usually ‘off the shelf’.
Other Series ‘A’ parts are sometimes produced on demand, and a few might be placed into stock — which included a sprocket that I am short of, so I snapped it up. I then visited an old college friend living in the next village, who was astounded to know that there was a local works devoted to Vincents. We are lucky to have such businesses supporting our ancient vehicles.
Otherwise, I do not have a lot to say this month as the only significant Vincent event I have attended
was the General Committee Meeting. As ever, I would like to thank the Section Organisers and representatives who attended to keep the Executive Committee pointed in roughly the right direction.
Gill may have more to say in her Hon. Secretary’s column, but one issue that I am pleased to report is that the meeting voted to present a ‘Thanks Award’ to Bob Satterly. Bob has been a Member since the early days of the Club, built his own competition machines, and helped many others. During his years working in foreign parts, he was instrumental in producing the ‘Chinamo’, and the Victoria Section’s recommendation made it clear that since retirement and return to Australia, Bob has been hugely supportive — perhaps they will write a longer tribute in their Section notes. By the time you receive this edition of MPH, I hope the award will have been received (unless Graham is too efficient and beats it!).
Also, by the time you receive this edition of MPH, the Annual General Meeting and Annual Dinner willalmost be upon us — there may still be time to get a ticket for a very pleasant evening. If you are coming, please consider arriving early enough for the Annual General Meeting, which is not usually very long, and consists of the same friends you would travel to a rally to meet. Attending the Annual General Meeting only, without the dinner or overnight stay is, of course, also an option.
September 2017 Cover photo of MPH824
Chairmans piece from MPH824Through The Chair
I’m sorry for not having a report in the last edition of MPH, but I was too latesubmitting it — which may have been fortunate for Graham who had to find space
for the accounts and September’s General Committee Meeting agenda.
I did not have much to say last month anyway, but there are now a number of events to comment upon.
I see that the Johnsons and Kennedys reported last month that there will be no more ‘Sidecar and Solo’rallies. This is a great shame, although clashes with the VMCC Banbury Run had affected Series ‘A’ attendances when it was still aimed at them — and I was one who had to tender my apologies. Thank you however, for the rallies that were organised and enjoyed.
I have been to a couple of BMF meetings, but as Tim Kirker will be reporting on BMF issues, I will leave
that to him — save to say it is still doing its ‘stuff’.
I did not manage to go to the Crich Tramway Museum meeting, instigated by the East Midlands Section,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?
The Annual Rally was not blessed with the best of weather (British understatement for the rain bucketing down), but there was also dry and sunny weather, with a good turnout of Vincents attending the local Clapham village fête/classic car meet. Back at the Kirkby Lonsdale Rugby Club the selection of rare machinery assembled for this 90th event was quite the best I can remember, and I believe special thanks are due to Glyn Baxter, Andrew Walker, and Bob Dunn (Picador parts) for the display. That is in addition to thanks to the whole Lancs. and Cheshire team for the excellent event itself. No doubt others will write about it, so I’ll leave the generalities to them.
For my part, I decided to leave on Sunday, as the forecast remained poor, and set off for the M6 withAlan 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 thecampsite, stopping off at the garage to check whether I had possibly topped up with diesel (they locatedthe 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.
cover photo of MPH823
cover photo of MPH822
Chairmans piece from MPH822Through The Chair
I note from the June edition of MPH that it was the 25th anniversary of AlanJackson, 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 thenames on the list were personally known to Alan, but would have been forgotten to us without it, and
I missed the 2017 Bill Hancock Riders Rally, due to a prior commitment, although as the ride to Brand’sHatch 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).
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Chairmans piece from MPH821Through The Chair
Another month has flown by, but at least warmer weather is here for morecomfortable 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 ‘shopwindow’ to the world since the event attracts an international audience (and vendors). Glyn Baxter’srecently completed Series ‘A’ Twin was not only shiny enough to require the use of sunglasses, but alsonetted 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 MPH820Through The Chair - May 2017
MPH has either been lucky with its Editors, or a very good training ground, startingin 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. Probablymost 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 recentlypassed away, aged (I believe) over 80. Perhaps MPH helped him along in his publishing career with a seriesof 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 thatwould 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.
Cover 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 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!