MPH Editor Articles

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 (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
 
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
 
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
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.

 

 

 

 

 

January 2018

   Cover photo for MPH828

 

 

 

 

 

December 2017

cover photo for MPH827

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece for MPH827

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
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 Riders
Rally - but I will leave the Southern Hemisphere to our Overseas Representative
Marcus to report on when he gets home.
 
The Annual General Meeting went pretty smoothly, once a quorum had been dragged in, with nothing
being too contentious. Some time did have to be devoted to discussing a proposal for Honorary Membership
for Somer Hooker, which had been passed on by the General Committee. However, that passed fairly
easily, which may not be much of a surprise as many of the attendees were the same committed Members
that run the Sections and represent them at General Committee Meetings. So, welcome Somer to the Honorary
Member listing inside the front cover of MPH. Whilst on the subject of awards, the Annual General
Meeting 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, but
presented later at the Dinner. However, as Eddie Grew was not staying, the Bernard Cribb trophy for the
best result on a Vincent H.R.D. in the ACU National Rally was presented to him at the meeting. For the rest
of 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 particular
the after dinner talk on Big Ben and all of the other ‘classic’ Westminster clocks, and their maintenance
by Paul Roberson was fascinating. Being a parsimonious type, I left for home rather than booking
a 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 1926
H.R.D. There may have been one or two other Vincents, but if so then I did not stumble upon them. I
had wanted to take a look at one of the museum’s Vincents, and the day offered an opportunity to do it
for 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 for
it next year.
 
If I estimate correctly, this will be the festive season MPH, so I wish you a Merry Christmas and a
Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

November 2017

Cover photo for MPH826

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH826

Through the Chair
 
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
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.

 

 

 

 

 

October 2017

 cover photo of MPH825

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH825

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
I have just returned from Maughan and Sons, having delivered a pre-war crankshaft
for expert attention. I last visited when the late Tony Maughan was still in charge
at 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 will
almost 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 MPH824

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
I’m sorry for not having a report in the last edition of MPH, but I was too late
submitting 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 with
Alan Jennings, topping up with petrol at the local garage. But as we set off for the motorway junction,
PUB started to misfire, and it became too bad to risk the M6. Alan zoomed off, and I limped back to the
campsite, stopping off at the garage to check whether I had possibly topped up with diesel (they located
the transaction, and confirmed not). After providing the midday Sunday entertainment for those still on the campsite, it proved to be no more than the rear choke being on – oops! The handlebar lever was correctly set, but the cable outer had become detached. After I had put that back, PUB rumbled its way homeward with no further trouble, and I arrived home tired, but happy.

 

 

 

 

 

August 2017

   cover photo of MPH823

 

 

 

 

 

July 2017

  cover photo of MPH822

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH822

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
I note from the June edition of MPH that it was the 25th anniversary of Alan
Jackson, the Club’s founder, passing away. It hardly seems that long, for I did know
him in his late years when he had returned to this country.
 
It was something of a coincidence that the same issue has a new citation for the Riders Roll of Honour
(Ray Elger), because the Roll was an initiative of Alan’s into which he put in a lot of work. Many of the
names on the list were personally known to Alan, but would have been forgotten to us without it, and
his work.
 
I missed the 2017 Bill Hancock Riders Rally, due to a prior commitment, although as the ride to Brand’s
Hatch from home is a long round trip off the motorways, and very uninspiring on them, I didn’t try very
hard to resolve the clash - but apologies all the same. I also missed ‘Race Rock and Ride’ which was much closer to home and for which I have no excuse except a bad memory — that one was probably my loss.
 
Club business issues are running at a low level for me at least, although our Hon. Social Secretary and Hon.Information Officer are probably pedalling hard as it is rally and event season.
 
Since last month, my Rapide has been out and about, leading to it finally passing a major milestone, with250,000 miles under its wheels since I started riding it. Of course, it was already secondhand, with enough miles to have required a major overhaul, and then get old and worn out again, but that prior mileage can only be guessed, as the original speedometer did not survive. So the bike’s mileage is probably nearer to 350,000. Either way I am proud of PUB notwithstanding its tatty condition, and hope to get a few more miles aboard before it gets too heavy for me (Einstein was too young when he produced his Theory of Relativity, or it would have included the way things get heavier, hills get steeper, and time goes faster as we get older).

 

 

 

 

 

June MPH

  cover photo for MPH821

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH821

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
Another month has flown by, but at least warmer weather is here for more
comfortable riding (in the UK at least -  whereas winter is coming in Oz). One of
the early major events is, of course, the Classic Bike Show at Stafford.
 
Our North Staffs. Section did their usual excellent job putting on a stand which is something of a ‘shop
window’ to the world since the event attracts an international audience (and vendors). Glyn Baxter’s
recently completed Series ‘A’ Twin was not only shiny enough to require the use of sunglasses, but also
netted him, the stand, and the club the award for the ‘most technical interest’ due to its place at the start
of the Vincent Twin story. Congratulations all.
 
 The Severn Rally appeared to go well again at Thornbury Rugby Club, where the ladies did a good job
with meals, breakfasts, and a continuous supply of tea and coffee for the non-drinkers (the bar catering for
the rest). Having just arrived (on PUB) I did not go on the run to Chepstow Castle, and possibly Will Collard
wishes he hadn’t, because his newly finished Egli developed a wobbly wheel (but no harm done to anyone,
and soonest found soonest mended). Jack Barker was in attendance at over 90, and still riding although on
something with an electric start rather than a Vincent.

Only a week later was The VOC Spares Company Limited Annual General meeting and Open Day, shared
with the AJS/Matchless club. The Vincent turnout was particularly good (possibly more than at the Severn?)
and it made a pleasant day out. If you have never been, then do consider it next year -  the formality bit
generally doesn’t take long and the rest of the time is basically a rally, with nibbles. The spares counter
is also open, and just as an idle possibility (and before trying at the AJS counter) I asked about a pre-war
BAPH gearbox part (possibly the same as post-war?) that I have failed to get from eBay. Amazingly Ian had
a second-hand item available, which I snapped up quickly - it just goes to prove it is always worth asking.

Actually for the Executive Committee, ‘the rest of the time’ was not free for rallying, as we take the
opportunity to get another meeting in whilst virtually everyone is there. It was not contentious, so for once
I nearly closed the meeting on time, but sorry if I missed talking to you!

Lastly, at the show I was advised to look on YouTube, where there is a Pathé News film of the 1926 TT
which includes coverage of the H.R.D. team working in their garage: http://tinyurl.com/l3m5fp4
 

 

 

 

 

 

May MPH

Cover photo for MPH820

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH820

Through The Chair - May 2017
Jacqueline Bickerstaff
 
MPH has either been lucky with its Editors, or a very good training ground, starting
in the very early days when R.A.B. Cook injected his particular humour and style,
before going on to become ‘Carbon’ of the magazine MotorCycling (The Green ‘Un).
Since 2001 Graham and Robert Watson before him have done a fine job. Probably
most Members can only remember John Webber prior to that, who did the job for
over 25 years (February 1973 to December 2000).
 
The Editor immediately before John was Roy Harper, (June 1969 to January 1973, who has recently
passed away, aged (I believe) over 80. Perhaps MPH helped him along in his publishing career with a series
of books, which many of us have on our bookshelves, recording the history of the Vincent. He knew PCV,
Freda, and Deirdre well, and at a time when PCV was still well enough to talk and open up his archives —
sadly further strokes robbed him of that ability later. As a result, Roy captured material in his books that
would be very hard to gather later, and reminiscences that would otherwise have gone forever, so doing us
all a service. They will be a continuing memorial to Roy.
 
His brother Derek should be submitting a fuller obituary at some point. I was able to get to the funeral
and so represent the Club, nevertheless we offer our condolences to Katherine and the family members.
 
On a happier note, it will shortly be the Annual General Meeting of The VOC Spares Company Limited,
and when looking for something else I just happened to come across the following Motor Cycle
News cutting from 1975.‘Good luck to the Vincent Owners Club and theirenterprise first reported in Motor Cycle News last week in setting up a public company to provide spare parts to keep the name of Vincent alive. It
really is most unfortunately ironic that at the time of rapid deflation of such famous names as Norton,
desperately fighting for survival along with Triumph, that the Old Vincent goes thundering healthily on
in this manner. There of course can be no parallel drawn between the two situations, but it is nice
to know of the confidence in the future that the Vincent enthusiasts have. Would it was a Norton/
Triumph Owners Club floating a viable company!’
Well, of course, both Norton and Triumph now have equally vibrant clubs, and both names are properly
back in production too, which is good. But over 40 years on the VOC, and our Spares Company are still
going strong, against much prevailing wisdom. Keep the enthusiasm and volunteers coming, and we can
continue to have confidence in the future.
 

 

 

 

 

 

April MPH

Cover photo for MPH819

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH819

Through the Chair - April 2016

Jacqueline Bickerstaff

Probably the biggest news this month occurred outside the Club, with the death of John Surtees, which has achieved nationwide coverage. For anyone who does not know (which would be difficult), John started his career on Vincents although it was not long before his talent showed through and he was signed up by Norton, won world championships there and for MV Agusta, then moved on to cars and won another on four wheels.
His father, Jack Surtees, was not only a dealer, but also a sidecar racer, so young John was a racing passenger even before he was a rider. Dad got him an apprenticeship at the Vincent Works, where he built his own Grey Flash with which he made his initial mark (he also rode a Works Grey Flash). He did start building a Twin, but did not finish that until after he retired! However, although the Club rarely saw him, he was always proud of his Vincent connection, and often took that Twin to events. Hopefully somebody better qualified than I will write a proper obituary for MPH.

As a Club we have also regrettably lost our German Honorary Member Kurt Schupp since I wrote my last column, although others did manage to report it last month. I attended to a number of the German Rallies and can vouch for the welcome received, and the quality of Kurts museum.

As for Club news, last weekend (as I write) was the spring General Committee Meeting, for which there was a good turnout - my thanks to all the Section Organisers and representatives who came along (two representing overseas Sections I am glad to say, although more would be welcome). There was nothing very controversial to discuss, which is frankly how I like it! However, that doesnt mean nothing is happening, and the diary is full of places to go and things to do. There should soon be some information in MPH about the next International rally - which is only around two years away, so start thinking, saving, or booking your holiday from work!

 

 

 

 

 

March 2017

March 2017 cover

 

 

 

 

 

Chairmans piece from MPH818

Through The Chair
Jacqueline Bickerstaff

The Club Executive Committee holds a longer than usual meeting in February, to
permit in-depth discussions on the year ahead. Those who are prepared to fund a
hotel stay meet the preceding night for dinner (the Club only funds the following
day’s meeting facilities and refreshments) — this also provides a bit of ‘team building’.

Our Hon. Social Secretary found a venue near to Shepton Mallet and the Bristol Classic Bike Show so
that we could attend and see how the new organisers of the VOC stand got on. As I find a one day round
trip to the show is somewhat arduous now, this arrangement suited me (although my apologies to the
couple who also offered me local accommodation).

It was good to see a VOC presence at the show, and congratulations to the Dorset Section for taking
it on and doing such a good job. Even with the loss of two Series ‘A’ Twins (there should have been FOUR,
but those irrepressible Bowden brothers have managed to mislay their pair somewhere!) the stand was still
impressive, with ‘Mighty Mouse’ taking pride of place. Vincents are easily represented as a row of post-war
Twins, but the Dorset team managed to produce more variety and history. I hope the Section will consider
doing it again for us next year.

There was nothing very exciting to report from the meeting, although discussions were not always
uncontroversial or short, making closure late (again). The Hon. Treasurer is very busy at this time, trying to
finalise the Club accounts, which are still complicated by the 2015 International (eg. no reply from e-mail
addresses regarding refunds!). With Sterling and Euro accounts, current and investment, an investment
portfolio, and endless other things to look after the committee is lucky to have someone as competent as
Antony to keep the Club on the straight and level, and take us through it.
Although Gill, our Hon. Secretary, does an immense amount of ‘nuts and bolts’ work, there was nothing
too exciting to report from her, and (some of) the Hon. Editor’s work you see in print every month – but
that didn’t stop him having a say on most things.

Bill Parr, our Hon. Technical Officer, showed some of the 3D printer prototyping results whilst reporting
on the Tech. Committee progress — which Comet owners will be glad to hear is putting more effort their
way now much of the Twin work is done. Bill is also involved in the Club’s IT, although it shouldn’t be his
job and we really need another volunteer to manage that (see Gill’s report directly following mine for the
vacant ‘Computer Officer’ position).


The bits Members are most involved with are the events, masterminded or scheduled by our Hon. Social.
Secretary Peter Appleton and Hon. Information Officer Paul Adams. The diary shows a good selection of
rallies and shows throughout the year, mostly actually run by various Sections (thanks guys). Rallies are
mainly for Members, but shows are also a ‘shop window’ for the Club. There is always new stuff in the
pipeline, for example the next 2019 International Rally is firming up as a two-stage rally (participation in
both is optional) and particulars should start appearing in MPH soon.

Message — the Club remains busy, but we are always in need of volunteers and assistants!