Event reports 2016

Section Dinner and Prize Giving, 28 October 2016

A refugee from the Halloween party next door

34 of us settled down to dine in our usual Section meeting venue at Begbrook Community Centre. The food and company were as usual excellent and enjoyed by all. We weren’t quite as boisterous as the adjacent Halloween party but the conversation quickly rose to a pleasing babble with much laughter. The early films of the Section beamed from a projector, with some going back as far as the early sixties, attracted a lot of attention and added to the evening.

Prize giving followed the coffee in the usual order.
The Ray Cordy and Bill Shepherd trophies which came first were awarded on the basis of a concours judging done during the day.

Ray Cordy Memorial Spring Run

Held in late May from the Avon Valley Steam Railway at Bitton it was on a nice day and consequently well attended. The route was set and led by John Beddis and was our first experiment using the drop off system.

1    Ray Cordy Spring Cup for best overall.
Ray Carter, 1961, 350cc Francis Barnet Falcon 58

2    Trophy Best veteran. No entry

3    Seward and Mary Virgo Cup for best vintage.
Paul Button, 1930, 500cc Rudge Special

Martin Palmer receives the Vernon Cottle

4    John Mealing Cup for best post vintage. No entry

5    Vernon Cottle Cup for best post war.
Martin Palmer, 1957, 350cc AJS 16MS





Steve Bush won the Best two stroke

6 John Underhill Cup (orig 1st Vet) for best classic.
Eric Heal,  1967, 500cc Triumph Tiger 100

7 Dennis Harrisson Cup for best two stroke.
Steve Bush, 1979, 175cc BSA Bantam D13



8     Irish Rally Tankard for best three wheeler. No entry

The next were for the Bill Shepherd Memorial Autumn Run

Held on a nice day in late August and with a score of entries the Bill Shepherd was also run successfully on the drop off system as well. With no glitches. The only down side was a prolonged downpour at the Caen Hill Locks café lunch stop. It was a pity because as soon as we rode away from the café we rode out of the rain which was probably very local. Apart from a couple of machines spluttering and banging with wet ignition or water in the petrol for a while there was no after effects and the rest of the day was as fine as the morning. This time the run was planned and led by Rod Western and the tail rider was John Beddis who reversed their roles of the spring.

Best overall for John Beddis



1     The Brazil Straker Cup for best overall.
John Beddis, 1959, 600cc BMW R60

2     Autumn Veteran Trophy  Cup for best veteran. No entry




3    John Craig Cup for best vintage.
Paul Button, 1930, 500cc Rudge Special

4     Roger Bracey Cup for 1st post vintage. No entry

The European for Bill Hayward

5     F Shepherd Tankard for best post war.
Martin Foot 1950 Douglas Mk 4 350cc

6     European Cup for best classic.
Bill Hayward 1974 Norton Commando interstate, 850cc


7   Robb Memorial Trophy Tankard for best three wheeler. No entry

Paul Flowers receives the Bill Shepherd Tankard

8    VMCC. Two Up Trophy for best two up.
Terry Edmonds/Alice Juggin 1961 350cc AJS Model 16

9     Bill Shepherd Tankard for best two stroke.
Paul Flowers, 1980. 185cc Suzuki TS 185ER

10    W Shepherd for Highest combined machine / rider age.
John Hembrough 1959, 500cc Triumph 5TA

11     Robert Saunders Cup for best Douglas. No entry

Then came come the Section trophies chosen by the committee.

Some sections have a wooden spoon trophy. We have the ‘Worn Sprocket’ trophy, awarded for the most amusing or odd event.

John Hembrough gets the Worn Sprocket
John Hembrough gets the Worn Sprocket

This went to John Hembrough who simply had a puncture at Winford on the way to the South West Coast Run but which turned into a right saga. Alan Burton who was with him when he got the puncture, left John with his defunct machine and rode home, a distance of some 10 miles. He picked up his van, put another of his own machines in the van and drove back to Winford. They loaded John’s bike in to the back and the pair of them went back to John’s where he got another bike out. Alan, meanwhile, realised that he had lost his mobile phone. It turned out that it had been picked up by a passing cyclist at the original site of the puncture. The cyclist rang the last number and got Rod Western and arranged for it to be behind the bar of the pub in Winford where Alan picked it up.
They then rode back up to Failand and got there just in time for the prize giving. Knackered.

2 Finally came the Clubman of the Year Trophy

Rufus receives the Clubman of the Year Rosebowl
Rufus receives the Clubman of the Year Rosebowl

This is perhaps the most prestigious trophy awarded in the year. Selected by the committee, it went to a man who has entertained everybody with his presence at the meetings for many more years than most can remember, is reputed to be the best mechanic in the world, is a Nimbus specialist, who’s workshop is always open if you want to chat about his, or your, latest restoration project, and is also referred to  as the Mayor of Patchway.  Congratulations went  to  Rufus Broomfield.




Rods Run in to Wales

Click on the photos for a bigger image

Eight of us turned up at Aust services and set off at 10.00 over the old Severn Bridge in to Wales. The anticipated distance of 150 miles or so in the day seemed to have put off the riders of smaller machines and all the bikes were modernish with good mile eating power, electric starts and good brakes. The exception was a 1961 BSA Golden Flash which was worked hard but proved more than a match for the route even two up. Terry Edmonds had back trouble so did the run with us in a car with his wife Meg as a passenger.

The Steel Horse
The Steel Horse

Turning left at Chepstow racecourse on to that wonderful smooth piece of swervery the B4293 we made our way via Devauden to Trellech and on towards Monmouth before heading for Raglan. From Raglan it was on to Usk,  then following the river towards Abergavenny we came to the Steel Horse café and stopped for refreshments.

Over the fence across the road
Over the fence across the road
The yellow Hi Viz marks out the VMCC
The yellow Hi Viz marks out the VMCC

This café is a favourite riders stop in a truly pastoral setting but there was a notable absence of cyclists this year. This was more than made up for by the scores of bikes and bikers mostly of the modern and very fast variety. The café owner seemed as vigilant as ever so no one tried eating a packet of their own crisps. (See Rods run in to Wales, event reports 2015)

Leaving Abergavenny for a short distance on the heads of valleys road before turning off through Llanfoist we climbed up towards Blaenavon with spectacular scenery all round before descending and turning right towards Bryn-Mawr. The weather all day was warm and perfect for riding but on the top it was decidedly chilly  due to the altitude.

Crossing the Heads of the valleys road we then traversed Mynydd Llangatwg taking in more superb views before descending to Llangynidr.

Over the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal here via a very narrow and ancient bridge it was a short run to the A40 where we went via Crickhowell to the viewing point just bellow the summit at Sugar loaf.

At the Sugar Loaf
At the Sugar Loaf

The route up to the Sugar loaf needed a cool head and concentration. From the very steep hairpin at the bottom taken in first with a fist full of throttle and a bit of a knee down the lane was narrow and a vertiginous with a

The view from the comfort stop was spectacular
The view from the comfort stop was spectacular

steep tree studded drop on the left. Cars coming down pulled in to let us go by but one only left  3 or 4 feet to pass.  A clipped mirror or wobble left did not bear thinking about.


After a short stop to take in the vastness of the view our steps were retraced back to Bwlch and the turning for Llangorse. A very leisurely and pleasant lunch around a big table in the Red Lion saw most of us a bit over full.


Terry and wife had beaten us to it and were well through the main course when we arrived.




The return leg was back to Abergavenny via Talybont on Usk, then on to Usk and back over the Severn Bridge where we dispersed, tired but very satisfied for home.

A total in the end of 180 miles door to door.

Many thanks go to Rod Western for all the miles and hard work he put in to plan this route for us. This will be the last Rods Run in to Wales for a while at least. After doing it annually for several years he is having a well earned break and as he say’s ‘there are only so many roads, even in Wales’


Lakes Cyclemotor and Girder Fork Run

Signing on
Signing on

15 riders turned up for another Lakes Run on a warm sunny say at the usual venue of New Manor Tea Rooms at North Widcombe including some very nice girder fork machines.

A lovely outfit
A lovely outfit

Two of the girder forks riders came from a fair distance just for the run out  and a chat.

The route, round the beautiful Chew Valley lakes area as usual, covered some obscure and at times slightly challenging roads.

One steep uphill section was so rough it was close to  being off road but the Lakes Run regulars were ready for it in low gear with the throttle open.

All made it round and safely back without out incident for refreshment and to exchange notes.

Thanks go to Alan Spencer for his excellent organisation once more.



 Bill Shepherd Memorial Run 28th August.

A BMW casting a critical eye over the other arrivals
A BMW casting a critical eye over the other arrivals

Holidays and summer colds depleted the turnout a little but 20 riders, including 3 with pillion passengers, and one who arrived with a loud exhaust and a silencer neatly tucked in to the luggage rack, started off from Horton Social Club.

Run on the drop off system, and led by Rod Western who organised the day and planned the route, and tailed by John Beddis, we were away by 10.30.

The first stop at Merkins cafe
Away after the fhe first stop at Merkins cafe

The first leg went through Marshfield, Ditteridge, Box, and Bradford Leigh and in to Merkins campsite café.

After refreshments among the brunchers, and cyclists stocking up on calories, the second leg went on through Staverton, Hilperton, Trowbridge, the beautiful village of Poulshot and in to Caen Hill locks café.

Better put the kettle on. This could take a while.

The cascade of 29 locks which rise 237 feet over 2 miles are a spectacular piece of early 19C canal engineering. It takes a very long days hard work to negotiate a barge from top to bottom and back in the days when the canal system was the major form of industrial transport a delivery could take several weeks from supplier to customer. In todays times when a click of a mouse on ebay or amazon results in a delivery next day or even the same day it’s hard to imagine a life so slow.

Send it down,Moses
Send it down, Moses

Up until then the weather had been fine and warm and perfect riding conditions but at the café it soon started to drizzle. The drizzle turned to a sustained downpour and soon even sheltering under the trees became impossible as the dripping got under way so we all stood crowded in the café. At this point some of us wondered if the few who made the effort to walk to  the pub for a proper cooked lunch had not had the best idea.

Finally the decision to move off was made but a few riders decided the rain was in for the duration and made a dash for home and the dry.

The rest of us continued. The rain had its effect and one rider’s 1927 Rudge failed to start  and needed an ignition wipe down and carb drain but was soon off again. Likewise a 1959 Triumph Trophy  stuttered and banged and blew great clouds of black smoke and flames out of the exhaust until the breeze and warm engine dried everything out and it was off going well again. Such things are taken in the stride by riders of older machines. Just as well!

Merkins cafe
Merkins cafe

We soon rode out of the rain and on to dry roads through Sandy         Lane, Bowden Hill, with its magnificent views, past Laycock Abbey, on through Whitley and in to Merkins café again. The brunchers had gone and the cyclists were probably a hundred miles away by then so we had the place much to ourselves.

A few more left us at this point as the rest of the run took them farther from home. The rest of us did a simple ‘follow my leader’ ride as there were few enough to keep everyone in sight,  retracing our steps of the morning back to Marshfield.

As we were down to about half we decided that as going on to Horton was going further from home for most of us and as we had had a cracking ride we would say goodbye and call it a day. Our guests from other sections were pointed in the right direction for home and we all went our separate ways.

Thanks go to Rod Western and John Beddis for a  fine 70 miles  riding amongst good company.



Evening run to ‘The Pub’ at Purton

About twenty riders went on the evening run from the Golden Hart at Winterbourne to ‘ThePub’ at Purton organised by Mike Fay and Mike Drake. This is the second time they  have used this pub as a destination and the stunning  Riverside  location and peaceful views across the wide expanse of the Severn to Wales, coupled with a lovely route up and warm evening proved a big draw.

A peaceful destination for riders and machines
A peaceful destination for riders and machines

All the usual evening run riders were there as well as some new ones including two on 175 racing Parrillas. The riding position was extreme on both and  the riders were a little relieved to get off especially as one of them actually had a walking stick strapped to his machine  because he was recovering from lower back operations.
Talk about devotion to duty!

We covered about 60 miles in all and there were a couple of showers close to home on the way back but we all got away without much of a wetting.




Ride the oldest bike you can

Terry sets off home on the Norton flat tanker

This annual event is proving to be popular and probably aided by the warmth of the evening 17 riders rode to Begbrook . There were the usual array of smart 50s and 60s machines but also a few older ones. The earliest was Alan Frekes 1922 Calthorpe, with John Beddis’s 1926 Levis, John Dodimead’s  1927 Royal Enfield and Terry Gill’s Norton not much younger.

Levis and Calthorpe cooling off
Levis and Calthorpe cooling off










A visit to see a Model T Ford

P1020114 C andRrTorrential rain all evening turned the ride out to see John Ms Model T Ford in to a drive out but a dozen of us arrived to see the car at the Whitchurch Inn. Fitted with wooden artillery wheels and an enclosed saloon body it never the less sported electric lights, a very modern feature in 1920 when nearly all vehicles were horse drawn and most roads were still hard packed gravel.





The 3 litre 4 cylinder engine started easily and was tractable and smooth.





Cockpit checks
Cockpit checks

The driving arrangements were highly unorthodox however and it must have taken a lot of practice and a high degree of concentration to operate. The throttle and advance retard were lever operated, rotating about the steering column behind the steering wheel. Three large floor pedals were arranged in a triangle. The  left one for selecting high or low gear, a right one a brake, and a centre one slightly below the others to select forward and reverse. There was considerable potential for getting it wrong and driving in modern traffic must be a bit daunting

Despite the continuous rain we all had a good look round the car before retiring for a drink and a chat in the pub.


At the end of the evening the car and pilot made a stately exit before the rest of us made our way home.


Glancing back they saw a small cloud of dust, with a dark centre of energy, advancing on them at incredible speed, while from out of the dust a faint ‘Poop-poop!’ wailed like an uneasy animal in pain. In a moment it was on them. The ‘Poop-poop’ rang with a brazen shout in their ears, they had a moments glimpse of an interior of glittering plate glass and rich morocco, and the magnificent motor-car, immense, breath-snatching, passionate, with its pilot tense and hugging his wheel, possessed all earth and air for a fraction of a second and then dwindled to a speck in the far distance, changed back in to a droning bee once more.

Toad sat down in the middle of the dusty road, his legs stretched out before him, and stared fixedly in the direction of the disappearing motor car. He breathed short, his face wore a placid satisfied expression, and at intervals he faintly murmured ‘Poop-poop’

‘Glorious stirring site!’ murmured Toad, never offering to move. The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! Here today – in next week tomorrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped – always somebody else’s horizon! O bliss! O my! O my! Poop-poop’

From The Wind and the Willows   Kenneth Graham



The Ray Cordy Memorial Spring Run

Ready for the rush
Ready for the rush






Looks like being a good day
Looks like being a good day

25 riders entered the Ray Cordy Memorial Spring Run on Sunday 29th May from the Avon Valley Steam Railway at Bitton.




My dad had one of those
My dad had one of those



It was a  glorious summer day and the assembled machines in front of the station attracted the usual attention from the public who had come to see the steam trains fired up for the bank holiday.

The event was run on the drop off system  on an excellent route set and led by John Beddis.

John Beddis addresses the assembled troops
John Beddis addresses the assembled troops


John gave a briefing to the assembled riders before the off at 10.30.



10.30 off
10.30 off

Rod Western was tail rider with John Dodimead a second tail rider in case of brake downs.





The route went through Keynsham,  Marksbury,  Chelwood, and Bishop Sutton to the New Manor Tea Rooms for a coffee stop for half an hour.
From there it passed through West Harptree, Compton Martin, Blagdon, Churchill, Congresbury, Yatton, and across Kenn Moor.
Then back up Brockley Combe to Pensford, and then on through Chew Magna, Felton Hunstrete, Marksbry, Newton St Loe, Bath, Swinford to home.

There were no breakdowns and except for a small glitch close to the end the drop off system worked well with riders following the correct procedures at each route change, and all riders got safely back to the station.

By the time they got back to the station it was heaving with visitors and a wedding reception and it was difficult to find a parking space but ever one tucked in in the end.




Baton Rally Friday 20th May to Boars Head at Aust

The weather was set fair for the day so 7 riders turned up at Begbrook for the first leg of the VMCC 70th anniversary  Baton Rally where we were due pick up the Baton from the South Wales Section at the Boars Head at Aust near the old Severn Bridge.

P1020056Waived off by Simon Bending and Alan Freke who could not join us but turned up to give their moral support, Rod Western, BMW R80,
John Dodimead 1961 BSA Golden Flash with Glenda Dodimead as pillion, Alan Spencer 1949 BSA CL, John Beddis 1938 Levis 250
B 38, John Mocket 1981 Kawasaki  KH125, Peter Winch Yamaha
RS100, made their way through the lanes to the Boars Head. The 15 or so miles in the sunshine through Winterbourne, Hortham, and then down through Alveston and Tockington made for a very pleasant ride.

South Wales handover to Bristol
South Wales handover to Bristol

Shortly after arriving, Steve Bush D13 Bantam, and Terry Edmonds 1961 350  AJS, along with Frank and Val Cropp, Keith and Christine Knight and Roger and Iris Mallet joined us and then right on cue at 12.00 the South Wales riders turned up.

Handover completed
Handover completed

Hand shakes and pleasantries were exchanged all round and Howard Jayne the South Wales Section Secretary handed the Baton to John Dodimead the Bristol Section Chairman. Photographs were duly taken after which the whole party retired to the Boars head for refreshments.

After lunch, goodbyes were exchanged and both parties made there way home. About 30 miles in all

Baton Rally Saturday 21st May to the Barge at Seend.

On the Saturday the weather was drisling  so only 4 riders left Begbrook to go to the Barge at Seend, near Devizes to hand over the Baton to the West Wilts Section.

Rod Western BMW R80, John and Glenda Dodimead 1961 BSA Golden Flash, Steve Bush MZ 250 and Mike Emery BMW made the journey.

You touched it last
You touched it last


On our arrival the West Wilts riders were already there in some numbers and then Frank and Val Cropp arrived to swell our contingent.

Damp but ready for lunch
Damp but ready for lunch

The Baton was duly handed to Mike Davis the West Wilts Section Chairman and after photographs were taken the party retired to the pub for lunch. During lunch the weather brightened up and we made our farewells and had a pleasant ride home. About 70 miles all told.





South West Coast Run, Sunday 8th May

A profusion of quality
A profusion of quality

For the first time in many years we had fine weather. A ‘Spanish Plume’ raised the temperature to a startling 24 degrees and with hot sun. By mid day all the riders were overheating in their kit and shedding layers to cool off.

At 90 John Willmott with his 250 Velo is the oldest regular entrant. He rides in from Cold Ashton every year
At 90 John Willmott with his 250 Velo is the oldest regular entrant. He rides in from Cold Ashton every year



The result was a bumper entry on the day of more than 40 to add to the 80 odd already entered. The two hours before the off were overwhelming.
The volunteers booking in the entrants were rushed off their feet as were the ladies serving teas and cakes and the marshals in the car park.

Cheek by jowl
Cheek by jowl



When everyone had stopped arriving the car park at Failand was jammed. All breathed a sigh of relief when the vehicles finally departed.

The Chairman and Secretary with the Portishead Chairman of the Council
The Chairman and Secretary with the Portishead Chairman of the Council






The run itself was a pleasure to go on with people turning out in their gateways all along the route to wave us by. We were honoured at Portishead by being met by the lady Chairman of the Council.



Clevedon at play
Clevedon at play

After a coffee or ice cream we all set of to Salthouse Fields at Clevedon. When we got there the car park we always used was full to overflowing with holiday makers and everyone had to fit in as best they could.

A couple of worthies surveying the scene
A couple of worthies surveying the scene








All went back to the hall at Failand for prize giving at 4.00 o clock

All in all the best South West Coast Run for years.




Founders Day Relay Rally,  Sunday 1st May

27 members signed on to start their day at Begbrook and we were visited be a further 7 from other sections on their way round.

Although it was cold the dry weather encouraged a lot more activity around the sections than in other recent years.

The stand, ably managed by Simon Bending and visited by several members who came for a chat and to give moral support was especially busy in the morning when at one time there were 14 machines in the car park.

We wrapped it up at 4.00 pm just before the rain came in.




Buffet and Skittles

11 March, Winterbourne Community Centre

IMG_0511 res35 or so members attended the skittles and buffet evening at Winterbourne Community centre on the 11 March.

This was in spite of a glitch in the booking when our cheque appeared not to have been received and no one had told the bar lady we were coming.  The Cheque magically appeared on the Thursday and the bar lady responded to a phone call on the evening and all was well.

All the usual faces were there as well as some new ones.IMG_0509 res

The buffet was up to it’s usual high standard and enjoyed by all as was the skittling. The top scores were made by Edna Mocket and Robin England for a bottle of wine each.

Thanks must go to Simon Bending for organising the event and to Ed and Chris our ultra reliable stickers up who turned out once again to help make the evening a success

IMG_0510 res









Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show

Shepton Mallet, February 6th and 7th

This year’s show lived up to it’s usual expectations.P1010580 resized

P1010569 resized
Setting up is a smooth routine



Friday afternoon was the usual ritual of getting the bikes inside and setting the stand up ready for the show


P1010573 cropped and resized
Was this to be a ‘Rebuild a bike in a weekend’ challenge?


No, it's Dave using his imagination again.
No, it’s Dave using his imagination again.








On Saturday, despite the howling winds and torrential rain, the crowds kept coming. In the morning it was taking an hour to get from Shepton Mallet to the showground.


We're ready for them
We’re ready for them

The inside was relatively warm and dry and the halls were packed, but pity the outside stallholders who were out in the elements. Most had packed up and fled by mid day.


All ship shape and Bristol fashion
All ship shape and Bristol fashion




Our stand had the usual eclectic mix of machines. A Nimbus, three Sunbeams of varying ages, ditto two BSAs, ditto two Triumphs, a BMW and a Francis Barnett.


The Nimbus attracts some attention
The Nimbus attracts some attention

Sunday was dry and a nicer day all round.  We had a chance to go round the show ourselves to look at  the other exhibits and to stock up on all those necessary bits and pieces.


At the end of the show  we only took half an hour to pack up and were away by half past four,  just in front of the rain.




New Years Day run to Avon Valley Railway



The Avon Valley Railway is proving to be a popular venue.
About 40 riders turned up at the station on New Years Day at lunchtime. Most were Bristol Section members but some came from as far afield as the West Wilts Section and Wells, and we were pleased to see members of other clubs, including the Norton Club. The facilities are excellent and coffee and cakes seemed to be the order of the day.