MPH Editor Articles


cover page of MPH869






Chairmans piece in MPH869

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
Well at last we are starting to plan some riding with more concern for the weather forecast than the infection rates and lockdown rules. With the increased possibility of meeting others, there is more discussion, visiting friends and taking the opportunity to look at some bikes to buy. I`ve had a busy month and ended it with an extra two bikes and a sidecar.
I have collected a 1937 Series `A` Comet that needs some work, but looks nearly complete. I have been looking since trying Chris Chant`s Series `A` last autumn. I really like these early Vincents, they were the start of an era of British motorcycles where we were dominant until the 1960s and that lasted until the end of the 1970s. The Series `A` Comet is such a complete package and rides in a beautifully predictable way. This bike has gone to the top of my workshop list this summer.
The new Black Shadow gearbox shaft that I have had since November is being fitted at the moment, a couple of weeks before a Section ride out. It`s amazing how plans slip until a deadline approaches. Anyway, it`s going back together again today. I called in to The VOC Spares Company Limited at Desborough to collect a gearbox shim a couple of days ago. The Club`s half of the building has so much potential as a focal point for the Club. It will be great to be fully vaccinated and comfortable back together in groups again. We are planning to have the next Executive Committee Meeting in Desborough, with a Zoom link. I`m sure the majority of the committee will be there. We will get the place tidied up and will be using Desborough for the next General Committee Meeting at the start of September, again with a Zoom link.
I am anticipating finally getting to France in the next month. I may need to quarantine when I get back, but as I have plenty of work to do in the workshop it will be a great extended holiday. If all goes well we will only be back a couple of weeks before setting off for the French Rally in July. We are completely relying on a positive outcome with travel rules to and from France. We have booked and cancelled so many tunnel crossings since last July I just can`t wait to get away. It`s always great to take my Black Shadow to France. We can just park up the van and use the bike everyday. I`ve just picked up a bike to leave in France too. I have just collected the perfect Boulangerie run bike - a Firefly. It`s absolutely perfect for the village, the weather and the traditional feel and pace of life in a wine making village in the south of France. The bike cycle parts need a bit of attention, all the cables need adjusting but the engine starts easily and runs quietly and smoothly. A lovely little bike.
Finally, a long term plan to get a Steib 501 sidecar has materialised. A local purchase from a Coventry Section friend Alan Underhill. Alan has undertaken a fantastic restoration of this sidecar. It really is stunning and a credit to him. I`m really pleased to have had the opportunity to be it`s next custodian. So with lots going on and even more workshop projects, the summer is shaping up to be busy and fun. I hope you are all as fired up as I am to get out and ride and meet up again. Let`s start to get back to normal life and regular riding.







Cover photo for MPH868






Chairmans piece in MPH868

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
I hope you are all keeping well and have started at least a wish list, if not a plan for the summer. On Monday evening this week, the first day that pub gardens were allowed to open again in England, I went to Caffeine and Machine, near Stratford- upon-Avon, to have a first social evening with like minded bike and car folk. This is a destination where you can just drop in for a coffee or pint and a pub meal where the carpark is as important if not more important than the outside seating. There is always an eclectic collection of modern and classic bikes and cars that are just there as a fabulous backdrop for everyone to enjoy. It made me think about how we can share our passion for Vincents and promote the Club. I`m sure for many of you Vincents have been in your life for as long as you can remember. For some of us they were a distant dream many years. In those pre-Vincent years, seeing one on the road or at a show was an event and a real pleasure. To see two or three in the same place was a joy.
I know it`s easy to take what we have for granted, but the wider motorcycling world appreciates the legends that our bikes are. Get out there and let people see and share the fact that these 70-plus year old motorcycles are used, still perform well and are really enjoyed. When you get interested passers-by try to| - remember how special it was for you, before you were a Vincent rider, to have contact with these glorious machines. You never know you may find a potential new Club Member or at least plant a seed in a young rider`s mind that they too could be part of the Vincent world one day.
There will be a lot of group riding this summer. I`m looking forward to catching back all of that lost riding time. I`m also looking forward to the coffee stops and camaraderie. I will also make sure to engage interested passers by too, especially younger motorcyclists. We maintain a steady flow of new Members and our membership remains fairly constant, but we should promote these bikes and the Club for the long term health of the Club and to keep these glorious bikes on the road where they belong. Let`s get out there for the sheer joy of riding again but also to allow others to share the sight, sound and pure presence of these fantastic bikes.







Cover photo for MPH867






Chairman piece in MPH867

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
It`s April already and the riding season is here in the United Kingdom. I hope that a lot of you will have found a convenient reason to get out on your bike by now. I find it`s the best way to get to a park, "for exercise or to meet one other person". To be fair, my bikes are just getting a run around the block but it`s a start and it feels good. We are seeing the green shoots of Club activity with discussions about the summer months and getting back together for Clubnights. Let`s hope for more soon.
I have a few of my own projects to get off the ground in the next month or so. I hope to get some track time booked and also to get out to see bikes and people. There has been so much lost time. Isn`t it strange that such simple and normal things as riding whenever you want and visiting whoever you want have become the things of hopes and dreams.
I have no significant Club activities to report in detail. We had a very successful General Committee Meeting on the 7th March which was well attended on Zoom. We were able to have long and detailed discussions and agree routes forward. The Club`s meetings are open to Members and are the right forum to discuss and decide how we run the Club. Zoom is going to continue to be a really useful communication and engagement tool for so many Members going forward.
Anyway, try to find a legitimate excuse to ride and at least have a run around the block to ensure there`s no new bike issues to sort before we get into the riding season proper. I really hope to start meeting up with more of you in person again soon.







cover photo for MPH866






Chairmans piece from MPH866

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
As I sit here writing, over 15 million people have been vaccinated in the United Kingdom, our recent snow that has been lingering has cleared, we have blue sky and the sun is shining. We just need to be allowed out on our bikes now!
At least with work, I do have motorbikes in my life every day. By this time of year I have usually got my fix of sunny motorcycling with a couple of winter overseas press launches. I have a couple of launches lined up that are waiting for an opportunity to happen. When this lockdown ends, everything will be expected to happen at once! Luckily for me that just means riding interesting new bikes on fantastic roads and race tracks every day for a week. I also have to talk to Journalists but they are a great bunch of like minded, passionate riders. I will have to be careful not to over commit when we start getting back to normal. I already have a much delayed trip to France that`s waiting for the first chance to travel. I fear it will be bumped by one of the press launches. This is likely to be a pattern this summer. There have been so many events cancelled last year and this years events will start later than usual so clashes will be frequent. I really hope this is the nice to have problem we are faced with this year, too much choice.
Although we can`t meet up in person, we are making great progress by meeting on Zoom with an Executive Committee Meeting at the start of February and at the start of March, a General Committee Meeting. I am really pleased with how well we have adapted to meetings whilst being locked down and how well we are working together. I`m just missing seeing everyone face -to-face and having motorbike discussions. Our system update testing is in progress and I have another new initiative that I want to implement this year. We are a club not a business and we are working with limited, precious funds and volunteer help. We really want to minimise the time we spend on administration and maximise the amount of time we spend riding our bikes. Luckily some things are free and we can make the most of that. I have mentioned to the Executive Committee that I would like to create some basic extra resilience and security in our systems and processes. It sounds boring but it`s all about making all of our data and archives more secure but accessible and our roles and jobs more transparent and easier to pick up if the worst happened and someone wasn`t available to carry on in post. I have a clear objective and my thoughts but I am open to ideas on what we do to make us more resilient. I have asked our Vice Presidents, Jacqueline and Ian and our Hon. Secretary Gill to help me with their extensive knowledge and experience of the Club. I will also be asking one or two of our highly experienced Members for their thoughts. Keep your head down if you don`t want to get volunteered in! I want to save people time in meetings and bring some thought out suggestions to the Executive Committee for deeper discussion. Again, this is just extra help in the background to keep the Club strong and safe going forward, I will share more when this initiative has had some time and thought put into it. Until we are all out riding again, enjoy your MPH.







cover photo for MPH865






Chairmans piece from MPH865

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
There really is light at the end of the tunnel, but as I write this the situation with infections and hospitalisation is worse than ever. This is a spike, and it has to reduce. If we all do our bit isolating where possible and get vaccinated just as soon as it is offered to us, then we will be OK.
The United Kingdom appear just ahead of the curve, for once, with our vaccination program. Everywhere else will not be too far behind. I am still very optimistic for this summer and very hopeful for late spring. We have already booked to travel to France at Easter and to attend the French Rally in July - thank you Mr Malcor. Travel at Easter will still have restrictions, if allowed at all, and could be especially hard to justify as essential travel if there is a Vincent in the back of the van. By July I really do expect more normality and freedom.
I have a new bike on order, but have left it at the dealers until some of the salt clears from our roads and it feels more morally acceptable to include bike collection as essential travel. Roll on Spring! As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I have been bitten by the H.R.D. and Series `A` bug. I want to get out and see more bikes and talk to the people who respect, restore, maintain and ride these wonderful motorcycles. Reading about them and looking at photographs is fine on a cold winter evening, but bikes are to be seen, heard and ridden. This lockdown is a torment, but we must be patient. I am going to keep this short this month and leave more space for even more from Graham`s store of articles. I hope there will be more 2021 plans to report and hopefully confirm next month.







cover photo for MPH864






Chairmans piece from MPH864

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
Happy New Year! It feels like the New Year is a new start and we need to make the most of it. With vaccination programs now well underway and the most vulnerable being prioritised, we should start to see a steady improvement in the stats moving towards some normality again soon` It`s going to be a great year. There`s so much pent up demand for events and riding. It`s clearly too early to know what we will have by when but I`m starting to enquire and book dates for my late Spring and Summer destinations. Please support Peter Appleton and let him know as soon as you have your provisional dates for your annual Club events. I want my weekends to be really busy riding this year.
Even further in the future but really not that far away is the next International Rally in Southern California in September 2023. It`s 2021 already! This really promises to be a spectacular event. Fantastic roads and scenery and the Vincent world converging on one place with one focus. I had hoped to visit Willow Springs in April last year and catch up with the team, but COVID-19 ensured flight cancellations. COVID-19 hasn`t stopped Mitch Talcove, Preston Blevins and team from making remarkable progress with research, reconnaissance and discussions with potential venues. I`ve joined them for one Zoom meeting so far and they already have the start of a plan for a really big Rally. Watch out for information from them as they start to home in on a plan.
Now the rallies, events and Section evenings are the real fun side of the Club. I’d like to take a minute to reiterate how well the Club has been set up to support these events and the Club spirit we take for granted. We are lucky to have a large number of organised volunteers that work to long standing rules to serve the Club. Most of the General Committee members are Section Organisers who are voted into their roles by you. The Executive Committee members are elected by you and are accountable to the General Committee. The Executive Committee is tasked with running the business of the Club. Now the Club is lucky enough to have reserve funds which is great, but we are committed to running the Club, year to year within our means and this requires us to run to a budget which is capped by what we collect in membership subscriptions. By far our biggest annual cost is publishing and printing MPH and postage around the world. This is a fantastically worthwhile cost and is fundamental to and at the heart of our Club`s communication and history. We also have an online forum and we need to improve our website. We need to explore and evolve our Club communication but maintaining our ability to bring you MPH every month is our highest priority. MPH is all about content, it is all about you and your bikes, the events and achievements and about keeping in touch. Our content is excellent and it is getting even richer.
Please don`t confuse content with systems. Our computer systems are fundamentally there to support publishing content and to help with membership administration. We have a number of computer systems that were identified as needing updating years ago. This is now underway. I expect the Executive Committee to balance the books proactively not reactively with budgets agreed before the start of each financial year. We need to plan our spending and projects to fit with our income. I need written justifications for any projects that require us to spend outside of our business as usual costs. We have a really diligent Executive Committee Team to scrutinise, discuss, consider and vote on what we do. When we save significant spending proposals we take those agreed proposals to the General Committee Meetings for further scrutiny, discussion, consideration and a vote to accept or reject the proposal.
Please bear with me. We all take our roles and responsibilities seriously and work as a Team, nearly always in the background. I have recently heard a few disparaging comments on the forum that I really don`t recognise as anything I have seen since joining the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee and the General Committee are only here to serve the Club. I can assure you that the combination of individual commitment, effort, ability and informed and considered opinions that i have seen will keep the Club solvent and secure.
I want to ride my bikes and enjoy the camaraderie of our Club. I really value my Vincents, our rich history and the wealth of knowledge, experience and selfless help I have had the privilege to enjoy so far. But I also want our Club to be safe and secure both financially and with an enthusiastic, willing and supported group of volunteers working together for the Club. My aim is for us to calmly and diligently deliver results that hopefully can then be taken for granted and allow us all to continue tc just enjoying our bikes and riding.







cover photo for MPH863






Chairmans piece from MPH863

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
Well this is the end of a very strange year. We`ve got though it and there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. By all accounts, we will soon have the first vaccines being rolled out. Interestingly, many Members of the Club may find they get their vaccination in one of the early waves. There are real benefits of seniority in the community. Surely with vaccinations we can get more people together sooner. I`m sure we will be able to start picking up our social interaction soon with regular section meetings and rides and events to follow not too far into the New Year.
As we are in lockdown again, I have only ridden my bike once this month. I was honoured to be asked by Janet to ride my Black Shadow behind the car for George Spence`s funeral. Chris Chant rode there too. I was so pleased that we brought a very appropriate motorcycle presence to recognise what a big part H.R.D. and Vincent bikes played in George`s life. It was a very dignified afternoon. The ride home was appropriately spirited. I was thinking of George and all of his years of riding these wonderful bikes. That spirit lives on.
At the end of a fraught year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers that give their time to the Club. They are often working in the background, but are an essential part of a Club. Even though I won`t single out any group or area, I would just like to extend a big thank you to you all for your continued support. The end of the year has come around quickly. Let`s hope for a better New Year. As I write this, it seems early but it is the last chance to say this so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!







Cover photo for MPH862






Chairmans piece from MPH862

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
I have to start this month on the saddest of notes. In October the Coventry Section lost a stalwart of the Club, George Spence. George remained an incredibly enthusiastic and phenomenally knowledgable Vincent devotee. I miss him. The Coventry Section also lost another close friend and impossibly energetic character, Stuart Howe. A very sad month. We will miss them both
Well, still no good news on the COVID-19 front. It feels that most of Europe is worse now than it was a month ago. Roll on the New Year and the hope of a vaccine. Ride when you can but stay safe. Last month, as I wrote, I was waiting to take delivery of a really complete Grey Flash replica from Ian Alexander. I am so pleased to have collected it now and I really love it. I`ve applied for a registration number as it may need the occasional "test run" on local roads. So far it`s only been ridden around the yard, but I`m collecting the registration number and number plate tomorrow. I hope the neighbours understand. On the way home from collecting the Grey Flash, I called in at Chris Chant`s to ride a couple of Chris` bikes that "needed a run out". I love the spirit of our Club. I can`t believe the open generosity of sharing the chance to experience these fabulous bikes. The local test route was ideal with winding, undulating B roads and country lanes with almost no traffic. I took the H.R.D. Super 90 first. I have ridden Arthur Farrow`s Sunbeam Model 9 before so this wasn`t my first hand gear shift experience. The H.R.D. felt composed, agile and responsive. The engine had enough bite to not feel its age. I really felt comfortable on the bike and would happily ride it anywhere. I looped back and swapped over to a Series `A` Comet. What a revelation! The Series `A` felt almost modern! A full complement of gears at predictable spacings and the convenience of a foot shift. The whole bike felt more composed, balanced and more than the sum of its components. A really nicely integrated motorcycle design which, as always, can only really be judged by riding. Please excuse my enthusiasm for my new Vincent experiences. Bikes have been my life but I`m only just getting the chance to immerse myself in the Vincent experience. I know many of you have enjoyed these bikes for a lifetime but there is a world of potential new Club members out there if we can only expose them to the joys of these bikes. What a perfect motorcycling day! A new bike to take home and two fantastic new motorcycling riding experiences that far surpassed my expectations.
This month I have also been fortunate enough to have visited Andrew Walker, our Series `A` Section Organiser. I was really impressed by Andrew`s tolerance of my questions and my lack of historical knowledge! I had a fantastic evening looking at and talking about early Vincents. I just want to absorb the essence of these fantastic bikes and learn all I can. There is so much passion in our Club. We really are so lucky that there is so much open exchange of information and the opportunity to share one another`s bikes and experiences. I have really been bitten by the Series `A` bug this month. What a revelation! A huge step forward from the H.R.D.s, almost modern in capability but exquisitely period in their layout and style. I`m really looking forward to working closely with Andrew, if he can put up with me, to make sure we continue to celebrate and share these bikes specifically. I really get a lot of pleasure from seeing such beautifully prepared and cared for bikes at shows and on the road, they are a credit to the Club.
By the time you read this we will have had a Zoom call Annual General Meeting. It`s not the same as meeting face to face but we are making the most of a very challenging year. As I said last month, please start to think about and plan next year`s events. We must live in the hope of a vaccine soon and a busy catch up year next year with even more Club events!
We have had so many events cancelled this year. It`s a real pleasure when any event now runs even when not as originally planned. Please keep Peter Appleton informed. This is by nature fast moving and decisions get made on the fly but anything we can share, we should. Hope you are getting out riding more. Be careful, enjoy the riding but don`t relax your guard just yet.







Cover page for MPH861






Chairmans piece from MPH861

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
Well it`s more of the same here in the United Kingdom. Just as things appeared to be starting to ease, more restrictions again. I guess we`ll be in and out of restrictions until we have a vaccine. At least getting out riding now is easy and we have had a very reasonable summer in the UK, it`s just a shame we can`t get larger groups together. I think now is the time to just enjoy whatever riding you can for the rest of this year then start planning next year`s events. I know we could still be struggling with large gatherings next year but we might be OK. Let`s live in hope, put the effort in and get a strong diary of events for next
Time does pass quickly and regular events come around soon enough. I was going to be in California in April this year having our first talks about the next International Rally in 2023.1 know this seems like a long way off, but by the time I get the chance to visit California it will be just two years until the Rally and we will need to be setting dates, sorting booking processes, itineraries and routes. I hope we have that vaccine soon. I can`t wait to get out to see Mitch Talcove and the team, the next International Rally promises to be really special.
We thought last month that the easing of rules may have allowed us to have a combined Desborough and Zoom General Committee Meeting at the start of September. Well there is a small but sustained rise in the UK infection rate and we are now having regular Zoom meetings with very positive outcomes. We have decided to make the September General Committee Meeting exclusively a Zoom meeting to minimise risk. By the time you read this we will have had a couple of practice meetings to understand how we can include a large number of people effectively in a Zoom meeting. As I said last month there is the extra benefit of the possibility of more engagement from overseas Section Organisers in this General Committee Meeting and for other General Committee and Annual General Meetings going forward.

The one way we are getting larger groups together is Zoom. It`s been working well for the Executive Committee meetings for a while and appears to have been really good for September`s General Committee Meeting. It was a completely interactive meeting with everyone able to give their opinions and discuss issues. I would really like to see a good turn out, on Zoom again, for the Annual General Meeting on 24th October. This really is a great opportunity for many more people to join the meeting without travelling, have your say and to vote.

As I write, I am waiting impatiently for a new bike to arrive. I`ve just bought an absolutely lovely Grey Flash replica, built by Don Alexander and raced by Ian. I want to use it on the road and to get it on to the track. I`ve just started looking at the options for next summer. Sprints or hill climbs? An outside chance of circuit racing? Anyway the anticipation and hope of a great summer next year will keep me going through the winter months. Roll on better times!







cover photo for MPH860






Chairmans piece from MPH860

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
We are another month into this COVID-19 affected year and things were starting to look up in the UK. Lockdown rules have been easing steadily and rve been out more in small groups with other riders.
We called in to "the little non-rally" in Bourbon I`Archambault on the way back up through France at the end of last month. What a great event! Well done to Dominique Malcor and the team for putting that together under such strange circumstances. We had a memorable couple of days of great riding, great food and fantastic company. We had an unfortunate incident with a toppling parked bike falling on Annie Wright which understandably cut her weekend short. I hope you are fully recovered now Annie. We left early on the Sunday morning for a late afternoon channel tunnel crossing, back to Coventry early evening and back into work on Monday morning. Everything has been getting easier by the day. We booked another trip to France for the end of August then the UK government announced the reintroduction of quarantine on returning from France. I can cope with that and can work from home in the United Kingdom for 14 days but we are now waiting for France`s response and possible reciprocal rules on entering France. Quarantine in France would be possible but much less fun.
We thought last month that the easing of rules may have allowed us to have a combined Desborough and Zoom General Committee Meeting at the start of September. Well there is a small but sustained rise in the UK infection rate and we are now having regular Zoom meetings with very positive outcomes. We have decided to make the September General Committee Meeting exclusively a Zoom meeting to minimise risk. By the time you read this we will have had a couple of practice meetings to understand how we can include a large number of people effectively in a Zoom meeting. As I said last month there is the extra benefit of the possibility of more engagement from overseas Section Organisers in this General Committee Meeting and for other General Committee and Annual General Meetings going forward.
We still have the possibility of a good late summer of riding but I`m not expecting any more large group gatherings until next year. The summer has not been a complete write off and we have had some great riding weather here. Let`s hope for a better riding season next year and let`s plan for that.







cover photo for MPH859






Chairmans piece from MPH859

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
At last, a month riding with fellow Vincenteers, European travel and a rally, of sorts. I took a week off at the end of June to dutifully use up some accrued holiday entitlement. It was fantastic weather and between house and garden maintenance, I managed to get out on my Black Shadow. I met up with Arthur and Tom Farrow for a very pleasant morning run around South Warwickshire. There are plenty of small roads between the villages cutting back and fore across the main routes. A respectable 80 plus miles with a wood fired pizza stop at the Stoneleigh Agricultural Centre for lunch. Thanks Arthur. I had noticed a hint of clutch slip on my previous ride and decided to stress test the clutch on a hill just before home. Conclusive, slipping clutch but got home no problem.
We have had a couple more Zoom meetings that have proved a great success. The IT steering group was convened by Phil Mahood who is making great progress with identifying a possible replacement system to handle all of our IT needs in one externally written package. I`ll let Phil update you as we reach each of the project milestones. We have had another Executive Committee Meeting which was tight and concise and concluded in two and a half hours with no one having to commit any travel time! But there are cons with the pros. It is good to get together in person and there is always a lot more chat, relevant and otherwise, when we are all in the same room. We should be able to start to have a mix of face to face and Zoom meetings soon. The next General Committee Meeting at the start of September could be a good place to start if we are allowed to meet in groups larger than six by then. For those members of the Executive Committee and the General Committee who are happy to travel and to be in a socially distanced room, we could spread out quite well in Desborough and others could dial in to a Zoom call. Even if larger gatherings are allowed by then we will have to limit the number there and also on Zoom. This could be a great opportunity for overseas Section Organisers to be more involved at HQ which is a happy by-product of an otherwise miserable situation. We will keep you informed closer to the date as things are moving fast and changes to rules and guidelines could happen at any time.
We have managed to have a Coventry Section Committee meeting. A ride in and a very pleasant afternoon for five of us in Rob Staley`s garden. Thanks Rob. We concluded Section business quite quickly and talked bikes. We are starting to get back to normal.
We had planned to visit the French Rally, organised this year by Dominique Malcor, in Bourbon I`Archambault. Unfortunately, as with most events, this had to be cancelled. Anyway, we wanted to get to France as soon as we could and anticipating Boris cancelling the requirement to quarantine on return to the UK, we booked the time off and a channel tunnel crossing. My Black Shadow needed a bit of urgent clutch attention and on inspection oil was found. The C20 gearbox main shaft nut was loose but the spring tang in the nut castellation was still engaged. The C3 clutch shoe carrier spline fit to the shaft was sloppy, not helped by having a loose nut! The clamped Dowty seal would have seen a lot of cyclic load as the primary drive clutch sprocket loaded the C3 carrier and as the clutch itself cycled between drive and overrun. Either through tipping or by scuffing wear, the end load was lost and oil found its way into the clutch. Midnight oil was burned, and all reassembled tight but for now with the poor fitting shaft spline. It will be replaced when I get back from France. A very early morning test ride proved positive and the bike was loaded into the van. We are now in the South of France and have been out on a few runs on the Shadow through beautiful, scenic and hilly countryside. The clutch is holding up. I contacted Dominique to ask if we could call in to see him on the way back up through France. It turns out the a number of the French Rally contingent still had local bookings and we are joining them for an unofficial, "the little non rally" ride on Saturday afternoon and a dinner on Saturday evening with 36 others! That`s a serious "non rally”. We are really looking forward to catching up with everyone there.
We have had so many events cancelled this year. It`s a real pleasure when any event now runs even when not as originally planned. Please keep Peter Appleton informed. This is by nature fast moving and decisions get made on the fly but anything we can share, we should. Hope you are getting out riding more. Be careful, enjoy the riding but don`t relax your guard just yet.







cover photo for MPH858






Chairmans piece from MPH858

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
I hope you are all keeping well. I`m sure we are now at, or have gone past, the lowest point of this crisis from a lockdown point of view. Everyone is getting used to the idea of keeping safe and being careful.
I`m sure we have a long way ahead of us before we can interact again as we did before, but we will be out riding regularly together soon. We can now ride together in small groups in England. The BMF have issued an interpretation of the Government`s rules and they make recommendations for how to conduct yourselves planning and riding as a group. The article is on their website and is worth a read. I have been going out riding now for a while, but on my own. It`s great to be riding, but I have realised just how much the Club camaraderie means - all of the rides, the destinations, the people - I love it and can`t wait to get back to those days. I`m just waiting for the UK Government to lift quarantine and get a reciprocal agreement with France and I will be off! I`m very sad that there won`t be rallies, but I hope to at least have a smaller scale summer event and meet up with friends en-route.
I mentioned last month that Phil Mahood had volunteered for and has been appointed as Computer Officer. I`m really pleased that Phil is already well underway identifying our IT requirements. It`s going to be a lot of hard work for him and for any other volunteers that he may persuade to help him. I`m really appreciative of the commitment that Phil has made to do this, and I`m looking forward to the project delivering a robust and relevant system for the Club.







Cover photo for MPH857






Chairmans piece from MPH857

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
Well another month has passed and this is the new normal. It is mid-May as I write, and I`m planning my first recreational ride, since the lockdown, for later today. I am now allowed to `drive`, any distance, to a destination in England for exercise or recreation. Social distancing will be observed. We all absolutely need to observe the rules and guidelines to minimise the risk of harm to others. From a Club point of view, any motorcycling is still a solo activity in England, but this is the first of the green shoots.
The Club is still very much open for business. We had our first Executive Committee Meeting using Zoom last weekend and it was very successful. It`s not a perfect way to meet, but there are extra benefits including a significant saving in travel time for all of the participants. In addition to our scheduled Executive Committee Meetings, we have all agreed on more frequent, shorter, meetings focussed on individual issues and initiatives. We have a current focus on the Club`s IT systems. As a very welcome coincidence, we have a Zoom meeting with a very well qualified volunteer for the vacant Hon. Computer Officer post tomorrow and our next `IT requirements` meeting is the next day. This is early enough in this latest initiative`s timing to allow a new Computer Officer to shape our next generation of IT system to give a cost effective, secure and robust solution. Please see my announcement regarding the post of Computer Officer on page three.
With most of our events this year now cancelled or postponed until next year, and any that are not confirmed still under considerable threat of postponement, I would like to ask everyone to keep in touch with and stay as close as they can to Club Members in their Section and close by. Some may need help and we all need that Club camaraderie. In some ways I think that people are making more of an effort to socialise now, just unfortunately without face to face contact or their bikes. As I have said, this is the new normal, but it will get better and we will all be riding again soon.







Cover photo from MPH856






Chairmans piece from MPH856

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
How are you all? I sincerely hope that you and your families are managing to avoid personal contact with COVID-19. This is still such a fast moving situation that I feel that any thoughts or advice given is potentially out of date before it`s read. As a Club and as individuals, we are still in the situation of following Medical and our Governments` and watching how the situation unfolds. I know that everyone`s plans and hopes for this summer have changed. I am still hoping that some of the planned and arranged motorcycle events can still run, somehow, this year.
It`s amazing how much we all take for granted. I have severe withdrawal symptoms from not being able to ride my bikes. I am also missing the company of my fellow riders and enthusiasts. Try to keep in touch I know there is a lot of extra workshop time at the moment. Share your trials, tribulations and success a little wider than usual. We all need our motorcycling fix and we should take that anyway we can. As this year progresses, there will be an evolution of these new rules and eventually we will be allowed out to ride just for pleasure again. I`m sure we will still be observing social distancing and we may get used to that. Some events will suit the new rules better than others. I know that Members of Sections are keeping in touch. This is where the riding green shoots will start. We will work out in our own groups, following best advice, how we can start riding together and interacting again.
Let`s all stay positive and hopeful. I am still hoping for a great summer of riding even if my previous plans have all changed. Eventually this situation will end and we will get back to normal but I think this period of motorcycling abstinence will make us all a little more appreciative of the sheer pleasure of riding such glorious machines. Keep in touch, support your friends and please keep safe.







Cover photo from MPH855






Chairmans piece from MPH855

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
Well, this COVID-19 pandemic is dominating the news and events at the moment. Any comment I make now will be well out of date by the time you read this. However, I hope you are well.
Events are moving far too quickly to keep you up-to-date through MPH, so Graham has added details of known cancelled Club events and meetings to the Club`s online forum website at Peter Appleton and Graham are also arranging an e-mail communication to keep everyone informed with the status of organised Club events. My personal plans for a full Spring and Summer of riding events is awaiting inevitable modification. The main priority is to keep safe and take the advice we are given to keep others safe.
If it is unsafe to meet as groups, there is still the possibility of riding solo. I can`t think of a better way to self isolate than to be enjoying the Spring weather on the open roads on my bike. Let`s hope this immediate risk passes quickly.







Cover photo from MPH854






Chairmans piece from MPH854

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
It was great to see the Club stand at the Bristol Classic Bike Show so well presented and so well manned again this year. The Bristol Show always feels like the start of the bike year.
The show did feel a little smaller this year with fewer trade stands. Maybe a consequence of the snow and disruption last year? I attended the show on the Saturday and we had our first Executive Committee meeting on the Sunday. We will have had our first General Committee Meeting by the time you read this and I`m looking forward to meeting more of you at our formal events as well as social events this year.
I`ve not taken my Black Shadow out yet this year. A combination of extremely poor weather in the UK and being away with work has severely limited my time since Christmas. I have just finished my last of three press launches this winter and it feels great to have some time at home now. I hope the weather picks up in the UK soon. I have been spoilt with plenty of winter sun riding on fantastic roads in warmer, drier, countries so the time away is not all bad. As we say in work, "You have to take the smooth with the rough” It hard enough work the rest of the time!







Cover photo from MPH853






Chairmans piece from MPH853

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
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.







  Cover photo for MPH852






Chairmans piece from MPH852

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
Happy New Year! I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year. Looking at December`s edition of MPH, the 2020 Club Diary is already looking busy. We have started planning our year, and I`m already looking at routes to and from rallies and stops en route. With work commitments, I haven`t started my winter bike prep list yet. Maybe by the time you read this I will have managed a couple of Christmas holiday days of workshop `therapy`.
I am really looking forward to being at the Bristol Classic Bike Show on 1st February. It`s a great show to kick off the year and the Club always has an excellent stand. Let`s hope the snow stays away this year! The following day we have our first Executive Committee Meeting of the year.
The second item in the Club Diary is the General Committee Meeting in Desborough on 1st March. The voting at the General Committee Meeting is in the hands of your Section Organisers and the Executive Committee, but you are welcome to attend to be part of the discussions. Having attended each General Committee meetings since joining the Club, I have seen the effort behind the scenes on behalf of us all. We would really li







  Cover photo for MPH851






Chairmans piece from MPH851

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
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.







  Cover photo for MPH850






Chairmans piece from MPH850

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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)?







  Cover photo for MPH848







  Cover photo for MPH847






Chairmans piece from MPH847

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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.







  Cover photo for MPH846






Chairmans piece from MPH846

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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.






Chairmans piece from MPH845

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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!







  Cover photo for MPH844






Chairmans piece from MPH844

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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 not happened. 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?







  Cover photo for MPH843






Chairmans piece in MPH843

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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 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
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.







  Cover photo for MPH842







  Cover photo for MPH841






Chairmans piece in MPH841

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
As I write, Christmas and New Year are behind, which are times when not too much
happens for me to report on. The Executive Committee are, of course, still doing
their 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-winter
as 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.







  Cover photo for MPH840






Chairmans piece in MPH840

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff 
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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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 ( 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
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
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 MPH829

Through The Chair
Stuart Wood
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