Photos from the VMCC Banbury Run 2019

It was the VMCC Banbury Run yesterday and as I wasn’t taking part this year,  Ken Druce and I decided to drive up and have a more relaxing time chatting with friends, looking at the bikes and wandering around the autojumble.

When we set off at 7am, the weather was terrible, even worse than last year, with torrential rain on the A34 up to the M40.  It was still raining when we got to Gaydon and although it looked like most riders and their bikes were present, many of the autojumblers didn’t turn up and the number of visitors was down.  Which was a shame, as by 11am, the sun was out and we only had occasional light showers for the rest of the day.

Didn’t see many people from our Section there.  Bumped into Peter Miller several times as we wandered around the site. And Roger Gillard was drinking tea with Bettie Barber while Ian Clarke was manning the stall.  But that was about it.

BTW: the car parking for visitors to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon always used to be bad.  In previous years, I’ve had to lug heavy gearboxes, engines etc back to my car which was 1/2 mile away.  That’s all changed this year as there is now a massive new car park just behind the museum and close to the autojumble. Much better.

In The Autojumble:
In The Bike Park:
At the Start Line:


Report on the GIANTS Run 2019

Cerne Abbas Giant
Cerne Abbas Giant
  • thank you and all the organisers for a wonderful event. Same time next year then?
  • thoroughly enjoying myself
  • already in our calendar for next year

Just a few of the comments passed to me yesterday during and after our inaugural GIANTS Run, an event for girder fork bikes.  I’m sure Paul Miles has received many more.


Saturday Late Afternoon and Evening Meal:

It kicked off with a late Saturday afternoon gathering at Henstridge Golf and Leisure to meet riders who were camping overnight.  At 5:15pm, led by Gabby Hunt, we all headed off on our bikes to Sherborne Golf Course for an early evening supper.  Two course meal for £10; what’s not to like!  We had 22 at this gathering, which was more than expected, so many thanks to all those who came to welcome our visitors.  It was a great way to meet new girder fork enthusiasts, so the scene was set for the following day…

Sunday Morning Line-Up:

And what a day it was!  Fantastic turnout!  80 pre-registered for the event, with 10 signing up on the day.  Nine were pillion riders, so 71 machines, plus at least 4 of the usual hangers on, too mean to register 🙁 .  At least 11 no-shows on the day, without notice, plus a couple of cancellations prior, usually due to ill health or mechanical issues, so we think about 60 rode on the day.  Rod and Sandy at Henstridge Golf and Leisure did an excellent job of providing breakfast and the “pie and pint” lunch — it’s worth mentioning that we decided that cancellations and no-shows would not be eligible for refunds, and this helped ensure that- Rod and Sandy’s catering plans would not be upset at short notice.

Professional Photos with kind permission from Andrew Butler Photography:

Andrew, a friend of Paul Miles, shows how photographs should be taken.  Some brilliant photos here — many thanks Andrew.

Other Photos taken on route:

Signing-on was administered by Cressy Miles, Philippa Wirdnam and Marie McGladdery.  Plus, we had a number of fluorescent jacket marshals helping with parking,  and Andy Grew & Pete Dungey offering a breakdown service for the long and short routes respectively.  Many thanks to all of you; it all worked very smoothly.

The only thing we lost control of was the weather. Beautiful start to the day but by 1:30pm, the heavens had opened and several of us were caught in torrential rain.  Simon Dillon’s Sarolea magneto was overwhelmed by water as was the magneto on your Secretary’s (me!) Ariel Sloper.  Both of us were about 62 miles into our 67 long route — so close yet so far.  I did eventually get back to Henstridge by car but by then it was 3:45pm and there were only a few people left…although Sandy still managed to produce a pie!

Final Thoughts From Paul Miles:

There was a will in the section to try and offer an event purely for girder fork bikes and to include the 1930s machines- so often the bridesmaids in that they are too new for established events such as Banbury yet find themselves slightly overwhelmed in general runs as the majority of riders choose 70/80s bikes for them now.

A turnout such as this vindicates the decision and really shows a desire to keep these fine old bikes on the road where they belong. The carefully curated routes by Paul Wirdnam played to the strengths of these machines, avoiding faster roads, or the goat tracks we’re sometimes subjected to; especially difficult on bikes with no suspension!

Dozens of these machines going off together and mostly riding at similar speeds made for a tremendous feeling of camaraderie and it seemed to be so much more than ‘just another ride’ to me, at least. Girder fork enthusiasts are the beating heart of vintage motorcycling and long may it continue. I loaned out three of my bikes, all to ‘vintage virgins’. Everyone survived and loved the day. One even asked me how much a ‘GIANTS eligible’ bike might cost as he intends to come again next year with his own machine. Another tried to buy the Duggie off me there and then! I’d really love to see us getting more enthusiasts out on our bikes.

Roll on GIANTS 2!

Photos from the Bluebell Run 2019

Andrew, Ray, Linda and Dave

Sunny start today at the Okeford Fitzpaine Recreation Ground where we had 30 people signing-on for our annual Bluebell Run to Lulworth Cove.  Coffee, tea and pastries kindly provided and served by Marjorie and Philippa — many thanks ladies!

By departure time at 11:ooam, the sun had gone and it was unusually chilly.  But it didn’t rain and we did see bluebells…( remember 2018? 🙂 )

At least 20% of us didn’t get as far as Lulworth, but instead ended up at Moreton Tea Rooms drinking more tea / coffee, eating more cake and generally talking rubbish.  I couldn’t possibly say who was the leader of this breakaway rebel group, but they’ll not be allowed to take part next year 🙂 .


Tiddlers Run

Sundays tiddler run was judging by the positive comments a success.The day was cold but clear and dry.

24 brave souls signed on bringing a wide range of different bikes.

Maurice had planned an excellent 49 mile route with a total mix of road surfaces. There was only one nonstarter when the bantam/ariel hybrid decided it didn’t want to have an operational gearbox.

The run stopped off at the east Somerset railway for a warming cuppa and a bite to eat, then the run back to the clubhouse.

Tidler Run

Thanks to Maurice & Chris for organising this run, we had 24 sign on yesterday and some very interesting bikes a very nice James 197cc trials bike, a Bantam with a Ariel Arrow engine fitted, an MV Augusta, a 250cc Velocette and a very interesting 250cc JAP special.

It was nice to see members from Devon, Somerset and Dorset turn up on what started as a cold morning.

I am told the run route was also very good, with only one breakdown at the start.

Lets organise this one next year and l am sure we will better 24 bikes








Photos from the Blandford Run 2019

Who remembers the Blandford Run last year?  It was miserable: rained all day, mud everywhere and took me a week to clean my bike….

Not so yesterday.  A bit overcast to start with but turned into a nice day.  Many thanks to Peter Miller for putting together a very interesting 50 mile route to our lunch stop at The Fox in Ansty. I heard several members saying that they knew Dorset roads quite well but had never come across part of the route;  certainly for me, the Bloxworth area was unknown.

How’s our new stick-on Star system working out?  Did anyone spot any riders without the compulsory Star stuck on their headlight? If you did, it means they haven’t paid the £3 entry fee…or the Star fell off 🙂

At the start, Corn Exchange, Blandford:
At The Fox, Ansty:

Photos from the Spring Run 2019

Yesterday, spring had definitely sprung!  And it looks like sunny and dry weather for the next 10 days at least, so if you haven’t done it already, brush those winter cobwebs off your bike and get it ready for the Blandford Run on the 7th April.

But yesterday was all about the Spring Run.  Great turnout and a chance for Paul Miles and your Secretary to try out our recently acquired 1930 Douglas S6 twins.  Let’s just say that one went a lot better than the other and maybe I should have stuck with Ariels… 🙁 .

With approx 40 miles from Henstridge Golf and Leisure to the lunch stop at the Windwhistle Inn between Chard and Crewkerne and another 50 miles to get to the start and back home, it was a long run for me.  Even more so for our friends North of the Wall (A303) who covered about 130 miles.

Full marks go to Mike Ward for stopping to help a broken down biker and giving him a pillion lift to the pub while waiting for breakdown recovery.  And thanks to Bernard Jones for putting a great route together.

Midway Duggie Adjustments (didn’t help 🙁 )

39th Carole Nash Bristol Classic MotorCycle Show 2019

What a difference three weeks makes!  The show was cancelled at the beginning of February due to snow and re-scheduled to the past weekend  (23rd/24th February) which was warm and sunny — I’d rather have been out riding my bike than stuck in the Mendip hall for three days but hey ho…..

Special thanks to Andrew Rae for stepping in at short notice to take over from Ray and Linda who were on holiday.  And more thanks to all those who helped out on the stand over the three days.

Some photos….in no particular order.


Photos from the New Year’s Day Run 2019

Happy New Year everyone!

Dry roads, sunny skies and an unusually warm day saw a huge turnout for the Harts of Stur sponsored Vintage & Classic Vehicle Run, and, as is usual, members from our Section turned up in force with a fantastic variety of two wheeled machines.

The bikes set off first but due to a severe shortage of route maps, somehow I ended up leading them for part of the route…hope you all managed to keep up 🙂  .  About 35 miles later, we ended up at Henstridge Golf & Leisure where many of us indulged in an excellent carvery.

A great start to 2019!