Presidential perambulations
(Click any photo to see a larger picture - then just follow the slide show.)

11th April 2010.
The first date of interest and the club AGM and my inauguration as the VMCC President for 2010/11. The section organised a bus to take members to the meeting and I did find it nice to have such support from the members, although the fact that the meeting was held at the National Motorcycle Museum must have been an attraction. Photos and report on the Runs/Reports page in the Lounge.

Sat/Sun 17th/18th April. Jean and I headed for Cheddar with our 1959 Triumph outfit and the Somerset Sections Cheddar weekend. Two days of riding with us getting hopelessly lost at one point - but the weather was glorious and that didn't really matter as we found our way back to the finish. All in all a super weekend with a buffet night being held on the Saturday and me leaving my camera at home.

Saturday 25th April - saw me leave home very early for the Classic Motorcycle show at Stafford. I was there by 8.30 and spent most of the day on the club stand meeting and talking to many people. A very enjoyable day, I must say.

Sunday 2nd May - The Relay Rally. Jean and I took our '59 Triumph outfit again and visited several section checkpoints on a rather cold and windy day.

Sunday 9th May - We were due to ride the 1925 Indian in the Burton Parade, but the week before I had arranged to collect the 1923 P&M sidecar outfit from Burton so we set off early with an empty trailer. The story of the P&M can be seen in another article. One of my tasks at the parade was to flag the entrants off and there were over 100 of them. It did make me a touch jealous as the weather was fine and sunny, however, it was nice to unwind in the grounds of the Marston Brewery sports club. In no time the bikes were returning and we were soon sitting down to a sumptuous buffet lunch with some of the event sponsors and Ivan Rhodes. I presented many of the prizes and must say that both Jean and I had a very pleasant day, with Jeannie being presented with a bouquet of flowers. After the event we collected the P&M and I saw the new club van for the first time, with our picture on it.

15th/22nd May - Weymouth Week - We had entered our '59 Triumph outfit for this week long event and as it required an MOT, I took it on the day before we were to set off to Weymouth. For some reason or other the motor developed a cough on the way back from the MOT station and despite changing plugs, leads and Magneto, plus draining any water out of the carb, I couldn't find the problem - so we took the Morini instead. Jean and I couldn't stay for the whole week due to our own section weekend on the 21st/23rd, which is reported in the Runs/reports page of the Lounge, but we had a super time and would certainly go again.

21st/23rd May - South Wales Presidential dinner, Presidents run and Seaside run weekend. What can I say, it was great and the weather was extra specially kind to us all. See the report on the Runs/reports page in the Lounge.

Saturday/Sunday 29th/30th May - Jean and I had been invited to the Lakeland Sections Back Green Rally that was held at Hesket Newmarket, just to the north of the Lake District. We had a horrendous drive up the M5/M6 on the Friday afternoon - well it was a bank holiday and we had to contend with six traffic jams. I had entered the 1925 Indian and that had gone bang at the start of the Seaside Run so the Nimbus was dug out from the back of the garage and quickly MOT'd and Taxed. It was last used by Bruce and Di on the Dragon tour 2008 - but at least it was reliable. The Saturday run saw us head into the lakes area and, as was expected it rained. My super dooper new guaranteed waterproof suit let loads of water in and the whole run was a bit on the miserable side - if it was a glorious day we'd have been able to enjoy the scenery. Luckily the Sunday run was dry and great fun. I must say that the roads in the north of the Lake District are some of the most lovely that I have ever ridden. The high spot was presenting the awards at the end of the day - the low spot, the unfriendly welcome from all of the three pubs that we tried to patronise.

Saturday/Sunday 5th/6th June - The weather looked good for the Flat Tank weekend and Terry and Dilys were already 'on site' by the time we arrived. There were 51 entries and the Saturday run saw us take the 1908 Triumph outfit out for it's first run this year and the bike performed impeccably - as all Triumphs should, of course. Jean didn't have to get out once during the morning run and I was feeling quite chuffed at the lunch stop as the bike had climbed all the hills so far. The afternoon was to turn out a little different though as there was an 'observed section' which I had no chance of getting up - so it was a case of get out and push, luckily there were a couple of helpers to hand. One other hill stopped us as well - it was a right turn off the main road and it just went straight up so I couldn't take a run at it. By the time we made the next time check I'd recovered a bit but was rather sweaty, I must say. The run back to the finish from there was an easy one thank goodness. Terry was already back on site when we arrived but then he was on a faster time schedule than us. For Sundays social run we used the Nimbus and rode with Terry and his Side Valve Beardmore all day - first stop was at Joyce Cobbings to view what was left of her collection of unrestored machines, all a bit of a sad sight really. The lunch stop was at a super pub near Much Marcle with the afternoon stop at the home of Tim Cameron to view his collection of Morgan three-wheelers etc. Whilst there we experienced a heavy downpour, but by the time it came to leave the rain had stopped, so the final run back to the finish was completed without any problems. All in all a great weekend. Photos by Terry H.

Sunday 13th June - We set off early for Swindon to ride with the Moonrakers Section on one of their organised events. Not knowing what sort of roads, hills etc would be encountered, we decided to take the '74 Morini. The plan was to head for my brothers house in Swindon and unload the bike there as the start was in Wootton Bassett and the finish, for Sunday lunch, the other side of Swindon at Stratton. We left home at 7.45am and made good time to brother John's house. The weather looked good with just a touch of breeze and a few light clouds. So, having unloaded the bike and togged up we set off for Wootton Basset and were there to sign on by 10am. One of the first there was Andy Phelps with his Tiger100. First time that I'd met him and he's not a relative, by the way. At 10.30 some 13 bikes set off to north Wiltshire and Gloucestershire through some very pleasant lanes. Up around Cirencester we passed through Daglingworth, the very village where the photo of Jean and I and the 1908 Triumph, as seen in the June journal, was taken. I recognised the place immediately. Soon there followed a stop for coffee at the Cotswolds Water Park, before we headed off to the Rat Trap pub and our sunday lunches. I thoroughly enjoyed the run - all the bikes ran in convoy and not one had the need to pass any other and hare off into the distance as though they were in a race. A proper club run, in my book. Back at my brothers we loaded up, had a cuppa and were soon on the way home after a smashing day with no problems.

Sunday 20th June
- The Banbury run.

Friday 25th June to Friday 2nd July - Scarborough week. Jean and I were not sure as to what to expect with this event as we set off on the 300 mile trip to Scarborough. We were to stay in a small hotel in the town while Bruce and Terry were located on the campsite, with Terry being charged with looking after our Morini for the week. Each day the runs started at 10.30 and basically took the same routes as Terry had reported in his article for the 2009 event. There was a change for one day and we visited the Yorkshire Air Museum instead of Eden camp. Each day the runs were well over 100 miles and towards the end of the week it was beginning to tell on most of us. Just a sign of getting older, I suppose. For me the highlights were Tuesday and Thursday nights when Dave Stewart provided a good selection of music. The photos should say it all - as to the weather? It was excellent apart from a drop of rain in the afternoon on day 4.

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th July - Mallory Park, the Festival of a 1000 bikes. I've always considered this not to be my sort of event and given the choice would have preferred to ride in the Kings Lynn Veteran weekend. Anyway, The weather forecast was excellent. I was on my own for this event and staying with Harry and Fran Wiles for the weekend. Jean remained at home as there was a lot of preparation to do for the Monday nights BBQ.

I set off on the Friday for Mallory as I was to make myself acquainted with the clubs 1904 Dreadnought. I was due to ride it on Saturday in the Veteran and Cyclemotor session. As it happened the bike did not turn up until quite late, so I didn't get a chance to give it a try. I'd already signed on and got my riding number which I attached to the bike after I'd wheeled it into the marquee that housed the bikes of the pastmasters. On taking a good look at it I found that there was damage to the rear end making the bike pretty unuseable with the back wheel rubbing the frame where it had been twisted. At Harry's, that evening, we sorted out some tools and a few nuts and bolts with the plan to have a look at the bike the following morning.

Up at 6am and off to the circuit. David Davies, Harry and myself studied the bike and after pushing, pulling, leavering etc, we managed to get the bike into a usable condition whereby the wheel would rotate, but still rubbed the mudguard slightly. David undertook to sort the bike during the winter as I am down to ride it in the Pioneer run in March 2011. I spent the morning all over the place walking and talking to a lot of people, while out on the track, the sessions were running well.

I must say that I was impressed with a Vincent twin and Steib that held it's own with the racing outfits - well, it was all only a parade after all, but when you're on the track the red mist does change things a bit. In order to ride the Dreadnought I had to wear full motorcycle clobber and found it all a bit uncomfortable as it was a gloriously warm day. I set all the controls on the bike and had a push off. In no time the engine was running and I was out onto the tarmac. My claim to fame is that I passed three bikes, a Mobylette, a Cucciolo and a Power Pak - at least no one lapped me. I must have completed 7 or 8 laps and it was all over, all too soon. The only heart stopping moment came at the hairpin as I had found that the engine had very little retardation, unlike my veterans. I tried various ways of taking the corner and on one lap I fiddled with the ignition and as I rode the bike around the corner and headed for the straight - the engine stopped!!. A quick look and I found that I'd switched the ignition off. Flicking the switch back on, the engine fired and, very slowly, plonked off down the track. Phew, that was lucky, as there was a big crowd of spectators at that corner.

The rest of the day was spent doing more PR work and at 6pm Harry and I headed for home feeling a bit shattered. Sunday, and it was the turn of the race bikes - they were impressive, especially the Honda 250cc 4 cylinder machines - I counted 18 out on track at one point.

Midday and things stopped for a few minutes as the Sprint boys set up for their demonstration - two at a time they went up the track. There was a bantam and even a Norton 16H having a go. I managed to get myself onto the starting line to watch and was lucky to get some good photos - too many to post here, unfortunately. The crowd watching was quite large, as you can see in some of the pictures - but as a demo, it was just the job and terrific to watch. The day soon came to an end and as I contemplated the weekend on my way home, I decided that it was all well worth it as it sure was spectacular. Did the weekend live up to it's name - you bet, 1065 bikes took to the track and I was told that it was Mallory Park's largest motorcycle event - out doing even the super bikes weekend. The only down point was that the official photographer did not turn up on the Saturday, so I did not get a picture of me riding the Dreadnought.

Sunday 18th July - East Lancashire sections Bowland Run. Jean and I set off for Garstang and the B&B that I'd booked for the Saturday. This time we went up through mid Wales as there are times when the M5/M6 around Birmingham can be frustrating, to say the least, so this was very much an experiment to see how the route faired. The mileage was even a bit less to Garstang, but the time about one and a half hours more. However, it was well worth it for the trouble free drive. Sunday dawned and the weather had definitely turned for the worse. We arrived at the starting point of John Proctors farm on the edge of the Bowland Fells and unloaded the bike. It was certainly wet weather gear, however, some 12/13 bikes turned up for the event that normally would have attracted over 40. There was even a couple of bikes from the East Lancs section who had come over from Blackpool to join the run. The route was 65 miles but it was decided to curtail it a bit and run on the follow the leader basis - just as well really, as visibility was dire. All the lovely views that we had hoped for just melted into the distance and it wasn't until we were nearly back at the finish that I spotted Blackpool tower in the distance. We took the Nimbus on this event and it ran well apart from me making a few mistakes with the gearchange - the box is just not meant to be hurried in any way and there are plenty of false neutrals in it, if not used properly. Back at the finish there was some hot meat and potato pie and rhubarb or apple tart. Jeannie was given a lovely bouquet of flowers and I received a bottle of wine. We headed home, back down through Mid Wales, and both of us felt that the event was well worth attending - not for the run, the weather spoilt that; not for the views over the fells, as they just weren't there; but for meeting such an enthusiastic group of members who had made us feel so welcomed. Exactly what out wonderful club is all about.

Fri/Sat/Sun 23rd/24th/25th July - Norwich & District sections camping weekend near Attleborough in Norfolk. Friday saw us head off with our 1908 Triumph outfit in tow for East Anglia. Our GPS took us along the M4 and around the M25 and up the M11 - a big mistake. The M25 was stop start, nose to tail, and we added over an hour and a half to the journey time - but it was a Friday afternoon and I should have guessed. We arrived at our B&B just before 6pm and soon settled in. The campsite was in a field immediately across the road from where we were staying and a fish & chip van arrived just before we walked over to the field. The queue didn't take too long to diminish and Jean and I were soon tucking in. A small bar had been set up on site to dispense drinks etc. Afterwards Cliff Arthur entertained us by playing his ukulele, guitar and homemade banjo - a lovely evening, I must say. Saturday dawned nice and bright and we set off on the 80 mile run through some lovely countryside with fields of ripe wheat everywhere. We visited Blakeney on the North Norfolk coast and soon moved on to the Muckleburgh collection of militaria, which is a privately owned collection, complete with 16 fully working tanks. The coastal area also has a few hills and three caught us out - one Jean walked up while I had another run at it and managed to get to the top. The second one the Triumph made it to within 50 yards of the summit, whilst the third one was just a bridge too far - we had a tow up that one from the back-up vehicle, and I thought that Norfolk was flat!! We soon finished the 40 odd miles back to the event site and after a clean-up headed back to the camping field for the BBQ and another evening of reminiscing in the marquee. The Sunday morning run was a mere 40 odd miles to visit the workshops of one of the local members and as we started off the weather began to look threatening, so it was on with the water-proofs. There was no real need as it did rain a bit whilst we were drinking our coffee but by the time we got back on the road the clouds began to lift and the sun came out. Another BBQ for lunch, followed by the gymkhana. I ducked out of that one as the Triumph outfit was most unsuitable for riding a slalom course or trying to limbo under a pole etc - it was good fun watching though, and a pleasure to present the prize to Roy Arthur who was riding his brothers little 'built like a bridge' Barnett. All too soon it was over. The trip home along the M25 produced another hour and a half traffic jam as the result of an accident.

Sat/Sun 31st July/1st August - I was due to attend the Racing sections meeting at Lydden on the Saturday but received no response to my request for passes/info etc so decided to give it a miss. Sunday was a different thing as I was to ride the 1923 P&M in a Cotswolds section event and you can read all about that on the P&M page.

Friday 6th Aug to Monday 16th Aug - This was the week for the three Scottish events, I originally reported them here but since that, we have had an upgrade on our webhosting package so I have extracted the information and added a lot more information and photographs - have a look at the Scottish report

Thursday 19th Aug to Monday 23rd Aug - Jean and I, along with Terry and Dilys headed for Belgium and the Oude Klepper Parade. Find the report in the Features.

Wednesday 25th Aug to Monday 6th Sept - We were down to attend the Manx Rally - read all about it here.

Saturday 18th Sept to Wednesday 22nd Sept - This weekend it was the Isle of Wight Scurry, sadly clashing with the Saundersfoot weekend that we usually ride in. However, with so many events it's not possible to attend them all and, certainly for this year, I've operated on a first come first served basis when invited to attend a section event. Report on the 2010 Scurry is here.

Sunday 10th October - the Cyclemotor Section 100 Miler - Reported as a separate article. An excellent event, I must say and one that I enjoyed very much.

Saturday 16th October and the Classic Mechanics show at Stafford - An early start for this one. I picked Stewart up at 6am and we were soon in the exhibitors car park at 8.30. We had some small problems with a 'jobsworth' who insisted that we couldn't park there, despite having the necessary exhibitors passes, as we didn't have an exhibitors car pass. I won't mention just how we got around that one but we were soon in the exhibition ground. It was a long day for both of us - I did my bit as President on the club stand - loads of talking and shaking hands, all very enjoyable, I must say. Stewart managed to find two parts that he'd been looking for , so all in all a successful day.

Sunday 17th October - The Cotswolds Section social run - I'd pencilled this event in as a possible for an outing with the P&M outfit and had managed to persuade Stewart to act as the sidecar passenger as Jean had decided to stay home this weekend. There are some notes in the P&M article and suffice to say we both had a super day - here's some photos: -

Friday 22nd October - Visit Bristol Section for their Faggots 'n' peas night - A very pleasant evening talking to members of the Bristol Section and in particular, Wally Flew. The Faggots were great, by the way.

Saturday 23rd October - West South Wales Section prize giving dinner - Super evening at the Halfway Inn on the A40. There must have been the best part of 100 in attendance and it was a real pleasure to hand out the sections trophies.

Sunday 7th November - Guy Fawkes run - A local event with the Vale of Glamorgan NACC. Rode the New Hudson autocycle in glorious sunshine, a very successful day on a bike, I must say.

Monday 8th November - Surrey and Sussex section talk
- Arrived on time after spending the weekend putting a slide show together entitled 'My 50 years on two wheels'. After setting up and the introductions made I started talking at 8pm and after a 15 minute break around 9, didn't stop until 10.15 - and I didn't say all that I wanted to. The evening seemed a lot more successful than I had expected and everyone said that they had enjoyed it very much.

Sunday 21st November - Cyclemotor Section Peacehaven Farm run and AGM. - An excellent day, nice and dry. I rode my 1955 New Hudson on this event and it ran like clockwork. The AGM, held after the food was dispensed, passed without any problems. Yvonne Brown stood down as Secretary of the section - all the rest of the committee were re-elected. After the meeting we were all allowed to have a good look around the workshops of the farm. They specialize in repairing Bugattis and there must have been 20 or so in the workshops in various stages of rebuild. Fabulous cars and all valued at a lot more than you'd pay for a Honda PC50.

Friday/Saturday 26th/27th November - Management meeting - I wouldn't normally diary this meeting, but this time I took my 1904 Givaudan to loan it to the M&C collection as I was going to collect the VMCC's number one treasure, the 1904 Dreadnought, on the Saturday. The M&C collection look after the Dreadnought for the VMCC and is based in Bakewell. The drive there from Burton-on-trent was none too easy on the Saturday due to snow. Suffice to say that the Givaudan was delivered ok and the Dreadnought is now in my garage and ready for some fettling to make sure that it's ready for my riding it in the Pioneer run next March.

Tuesday 7th December - South Cotswolds Section evening. - An evening slide show and talk on the Belgian Oude Klepper event in Frocester, Gloucestershire to the South Cotswolds section. A very pleasurable evening

Friday 10th December - Cheshire and North Wales Section - Slide show and talk on the Belgian Oude Klepper event. Again a warm welcome and a pleasurable evening.

Sunday 19th December - Dorset Section ride - This event was to be a short ride finishing at Pulham Village Hall for a Christmas dinner. I'm always up for a good feed, however, the weather stopped this event stone dead. We had quite a lot of snow in South Wales and it was just as bad in Dorset, so I ducked out and never even set off for the venue. I'm unsure if the event even took place, probably not.

Saturday/Sunday 25th/26th December - Xmas, of course.

Wednesday 12th January to Sunday 16th - Jean and I headed for Morpeth on the 12th, which is north of Newcastle, some 350 miles away. We had a meal, early evening, with some of the section members, and good it was. After that I gave a slide show and talk on my 50 odd years on two wheels. This time I cut the talk down a bit, but it still lasted over an hour and a half - hopefully it was well received as I do feel a bit awkward talking about myself.
We then returned to the Walworth Castle Hotel, about 30 miles south of Newcastle, for four nights, as I had a dinner/dance/prize giving on the Saturday for the South Durham section. It seemed silly to drive home 350 miles on Thursday and then drive 300 odd miles back up on Saturday. We managed to fit in a visit to Shildon to view the exhibits that are the overflow from the National Railway Museum in York, plus we visited Beamish, the living museum of the North. Beamish is a place that I had always wished to see and it was good. Saturday arrived, with the South Durham Section's event and was a super evening.

Thursday 20th January - Visit to the Flat Tank Section at Leyhill prison to give a talk on the Oude Klepper in Belgium. All well received.

Saturday 22nd January - We headed for Newquay in Cornwall for the Cornwall sections annual Dinner and Prize Giving at the Sandy Lodge Hotel. There was a really good attendance of 85 members and wives and the dinner was excellent. After the prize giving I was presented with an embroidered baseball cap - a nice touch, I must say. Then there followed an evening of pig racing which was great fun and if you really want to know what it was all about - ask me.

Sunday 23rd January - On the way home we diverted to Shaftesbury to attend the inaugural meeting of the Wessex Flat Tank group. There were some 43 members in attendance and all went well with the group being set up properly. That pleased me as it will give me another section to ride with and who will produce sympathetic routes for my Veteran machines.

Saturday 29th January - It was with great pleasure that Jean and I attended the Cotswold Sections Annual Dinner and Prize Giving. I've always regarded the Cotswold section as the grand-daddy of the Western Region sections. Apart from the great food - again - I was able to award the Team Shield for the Felix Burke rally that was formerly the Cotswolds Road Trial. I picked up the Shield and noticed that the first recipients were 'South Wales Section' in 1961. It's 50 years since we first won the trophy and three of us stood in the courtyard of the Andoversford Hotel and formed our section in order to receive the trophy. My, how the time has flown.

Sunday 6th February - Jean and I attended the Flat Tank dinner at the Tudor Arms, Slimbridge and I presented the trophies.

Thursday 24th February - A trip to the fledgling Dartmoor section meeting at the Welcome Stranger pub, where I gave atalk on my 50 years on two wheels.

Tuesday 1st March - A visit to the North Cotswolds Section at the Lygon Arms, ChippingCampden. Gave a talk on the Oude Klepper Parade.

Saturday 5th March - Attended the Somerset Section Autojumble at Shepton Mallet with Paul St.Mard who had come over from Belgium with anotehr good friend, Pierre Gyselinck.

Sunday 20th March - The Pioneer run. Many thanks to Rob J and Barry C for the help, reported on it's own page.

Monday 28th March - Visited the North West Section at the Barons Club, Ormskirk and spoke on the Oude Klepper parade.

Sunday 10th April - The VMCC AGM where I handed the Presidency over to Colin Bell.