First of all Happy New Year to all members. At the time of writing we are still in second lockdown but by the time you read this hopefully some of the restrictions will have been eased. Like all other sections (I suspect) our 2021 programme is on hold until we get the go ahead to resume normal section activities. We should have held our AGM this month (January) but have decided to postpone that until such time as we can hold a 'proper' meeting later in the year. In the meantime your Secretary and Chairman are keeping in touch regularly with the membership by phone and face time. We hope that by April we will be in a position to run our first riding event of the year, and in fact the first since September 2019, Gabby's Hinton St Mary Run. We'll keep our fingers crossed that it goes ahead!
I should be reporting on the AGM held in January but instead I'm writing to say that in agreement with the existing committee, we have decided to hold the AGM at our first meeting after the current crisis is over. In the meantime your committee will remain unchanged. Bette is still keeping in regular contact by phone and Facetime with the membership. Most of us haven't met up in person for months now but hopefully as we move ever closer to spring, restrictions will be relaxed and we'll be able to meet (if only initially) outdoors. It remains to be seen how many of the pubs and coffee stops we use on our events are still in business by the time runs commence again. On a brighter note I understand work is progressing well on the Treasurer's vintage Rudge so we look forward to seeing that out on runs.
Hopefully, by the time you read this, all our over 70's section attendee's will have received their first vaccination and we'll have a clearer idea of when the current lockdown restrictions will end. In the meantime Bette has a number of ideas for speakers and activities once we're able to meet again. VMCC members John Rock and Peter Benger have both indicated they're prepared to give talks at short notice. John's family firm, J.S. Rock and Sons who were chain makers in the Black Country, also made the little known Rockson motorcycle in the 20's, mainly two strokes with Villiers engines, made in fairly large quantities . Most were exported but an example still exists and is currently on display in the Black Country museum whilst John himself has the only survivor of the 3 350cc Blackburne engined machines originally owned by John's Father and his 2 Uncles.
As I write these notes Boris has just announced the proposed 'Road Map to Freedom'. On the basis that we will be 'free' to hold meetings of up to 30 outside from the 17th May (assuming no more setbacks before then) Bette has provisionally arranged our first meeting since last March. This will be a breakfast meet to be held on Saturday the 12th of June at Ansty PYO (SP3 5PX) from 9am onwards. Dependant on things returning to normal in June and the availability of the village hall at Silton we will also commence monthly meetings as there is covered open air space where we can socially distance for a light lunch followed by our recently postponed AGM. This meeting will take place on a Monday as usual at a date yet to be confirmed but will be from midday onwards. In the meantime stay safe and well.
Following on from last month’s notes regarding our first Section formal meeting since 2020 I can now confirm that, assuming there is no change in the road map to freedom, the village hall at Silton has now been booked for the 14th June. As previously stated, thanks to Bette, Rachel and Christine we will start at 12.00 noon with a light lunch and follow this with the AGM commencing at 2pm. Nearer to the date it would be helpful for assessing food requirements if members could indicate to Bette their intention to attend for lunch. Once restrictions are completely lifted we will commence our runs again. Details of these runs will appear in these notes as well as on our Section Facebook page (VMCC Wessex Veteran and Vintage Section) and our website (www.wessexveteranandvintage.com). Lets hope we’ll all meet up once again very soon.
As mentioned last month our runs will start once restrictions are further lifted. To this end we have organised our first run of 2021 which will be held on Thursday 24th June starting at 2pm from Ansty PYO on the A30 (SP3 5PX) where there is plenty of parking with refreshments available from the cafe both before and after the event. The run itself will be c30 miles through the Wiltshire countryside restricted, of course, to pre '31 machines. For anyone interested in buying a pre '31 machine and therefore experiencing 'real' vintage motorcycling there is currently a 1928 AJS K12 for sale in the Dorset area. I know the bike and it's in excellent restored condition, running well, ready to go and as a light 250cc SV undoubtedly suitable for a more 'mature' rider. This machine comes with its own purpose built lightweight trailer. If you're interested contact me.
As I sit and write these notes at the end of May the weather at last seems to be on the change after what appears to have been 40 days and 40 nights of torrential rain here in the South. Time to ready those Veteran and Vintage bikes for what is left of the riding season assuming of course they weren't brought up to concours condition during the recent lockdowns! Our first breakfast meeting, AGM will both be over by the time you read this and we'll be looking forward to the BBQ at Paul and Denise Lydford's home in Laneside, Shaftesbury where Christine Hunt will be donning her chef's whites for the evening and cooking the sausages and burgers, ably assisted I'm sure by other section stalwarts. This will be our only evening meeting of the year and will start at 6-6.30 pm. Hopefully I'll see you there?
Our first meeting this summer (10th June) saw 13 members at Ansty PYO for breakfast. A scorching hot morning found us sitting outside being waited on hand and foot by the staff. Two days later we had our lunch and AGM at Silton where 18 sat enjoying the fare provided by Rachel, Christine, Betty, Pat and Janet. The AGM was its usual short affair, the committee largely unchanged except that Peter Hallowes stood down and Roger Gillard and Martin Goodman joined. Welcome to you both. Thanks to Peter for his contributions over the past years. The picnic run had 6 entrants including Fred Salter (BMW R42) and Tony Dymott (Ner-a-Car) who rode their machines from the Isle of Wight covering some 120 miles. Well done to you, hope to see you at another of our events. In August Peter Benger is giving a talk on the Matador Bradshaw.
As things returned to the 'new normal' during July we were able to hold our summer barbecue outside, having missed the event due to lockdown in 2020. Thanks to Denise and Paul Lydford for the use of their garden and for cooking excellent fare for the 20 plus people who attended. The sweets were provided by the ladies in the section and our thanks go to them for that. The 'Giants Run' organised by the Dorset Section later in the month saw most of our members riding or attending this well run event. Due to a change of circumstances our September speaker has had to postpone his presentation but we will programme him in again in the future. In its place we have an illustrated talk entitled ' A tale of several elephants'. Our final run of the season will be on the 19th September, 11.00am start from the Virginia Ash.
Our breakfast meet at Ansty PYO saw us enjoying bacon and egg baps in glorious sunshine outside under the newly installed canopy. As well as our regulars Tony Winlow rode up from Devon to be with us and discuss with our treasurer the trials and tribulations of restoring a vintage Rudge. The very interesting illustrated talk on the oil cooled Bradshaw engine given by Peter Benger at our August club meeting was enjoyed by members from no less than six different sections. We welcomed John Hall, Brooklands Section, who came early with his 250cc Levis then rode around the Silton area for a while before the meeting. Also welcome to Martin and Jill Friendship from Somerset Section and Peter Fielding from West Wilts, we hope we'll see you all at our future events. In October we have a talk by John Bradshaw on his life in general. See you there?
Our September meeting was well attended and saw the sections recently acquired digital projector in use once again for an illustrated talk on the trials and tribulations of a decade of trips to the Elephantentreffen (Elephant Rally). A talk on winter rallying prior to our own riding season coming to an end.....Rogers Runaround saw 9 riders on pre '31 machines riding a route through Somerset and Dorset. It was good to see Peter Fielding (West Wilts) out for the first time on his AJS and also to welcome Ian Myers who'd made the trip up from Devon to be with us. Thanks also to Colin, Dave and Richard from Somerset Section and of course Roger for organising the event. This month (on the 8th November) we are starting at 12.30pm with bacon and egg baps and tea or coffee followed by a DVD of a well known vintage event.
Our well attended October meeting listened enthralled to the life story of Rhodesian John Bradshaw. His time growing up on a tobacco farm followed by National Service disarming landmines until the fateful day one exploded whilst he was defusing it. His subsequent rehabilitation, numerous coincidences with eye surgeons, his eventual loss of sight and later career held the audience and resulted in a lively question and answer session both before and after our obligatory tea, cake and biscuit break. Later his guide dog 'did the rounds' and visited everyone in the room.
We hope to get John back for more tales of his life. This month we have our Christmas lunch at the Virginia Ash, Henstridge, an event that is already fully subscribed. All that remains is to wish every member a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year and to say we hope to see you in 2022