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22nd August 2006


Summer Fun 2

The summer months are just packed with things to do with classic - and vintage -- motorcycles. This time, RC reporters have been out and about with proper old bikes dating back to the 1920s and before...

Sunbeam MCC Garden of England Run

This was the 20th running of this event and we had our normal beautiful weather conditions with most competitors having a good run in fine conditions. The 58 mile (46 mile short course) circular route from Headcorn Airfield was used again and seems to be universally popular.

Dappled sunshine. Lovely.

57 bikes and three-wheelers entered, all of them built before 1931. 19 were non-members and we only had five non-starters. Popularity with three-wheelers continues as we had eight entries in that sector plus two solos with pillion passengers. Two competitors didn't complete the course but only one had to be brought home by our back-markers Alan and Mary Paul. As usual, clear markers were placed at each junction and very few riders went astray.

Dappled sunshine *and* a wicker basket. Does it get any better?

Once again our lunchtime stop was at the Lord Raglan near Staplehurst providing a pleasant opportunity to socialise and swap stories about the route so far. Being next door to the farm where the cash from the robbery a few months ago had been buried added a bit of spice to proceedings.

Contributions of over 60 were made for the tea and cakes dispensed by Chris and Roger Lingham and their parents. Chris' Mum made some lovely cakes but I'm afraid the message still isn't getting through on the number of competitors; there were only 57competitors not the 157 she obviously cooked for.

Random Vintage Stuff on eBay.co.uk

Once more we are indebted to the Lingham family for setting up the professional-looking paddock village and we shouldn't forget how late they have to stay to dismantle the site afterwards. We are grateful to Peter Culham for checking the route and putting up and taking down the route signs. On the subject of the route, it's rewarding to notice how many people who live on the route come out to give us a cheer. Together with visitors from activities at Headcorn airfield we attracted quite a few spectators again.

Light pedal assistance may be required.

The Most Admired Awards were decided by votes from the competitors and marshals (no questionable selections by independent judges!). The Stephen Healing Trophy is strictly for the youngest rider but as there was no-one under 40 the award was given to the entrant with a birth date nearest to that of the event secretary. Charlie Jenner is always a shoo-in for oldest rider but we only award it to him every three or four years to encourage the others. However Charlie worked a flanker this year and 'forgot' to return the trophy, so we had to give it to him for two years in succession.

The Garden of England. Or 'Desert'.

The Garden of England Rosebowl is at the secretary's discretion and was awarded to Bob Stafford for the best effort by a competitor who has entered all 20 runnings of the event. Malcolm Meinertzhagen, Dave Blackwell and John Marchant are the other three 20-year men.

Next year's event is our 21st and is set for 15th July 2007. We hope to see everyone back again plus some new faces. See www.sunbeam-mcc.demon.co.uk

RC Reporter: Tony Lloyd

******

VMCC Flat Tank Section Veteran and Vintage Road Trial

The Vintage Motor Cycle Club is nowadays just another 'old bike' club and the name 'vintage' is badly used to describe what it does. To compensate, some members formed the Flat Tank Section to cater for the pre-1931 vintage and veteran machines. It would hardly do to have a 'Vintage' Section now, would it?

Most events are based in the West Country and make use of roads and lanes with hardly any steep ascents or descents so that riders can be assured of a good ride with a competitive, time-trial edge.

Some relaxing Ariels, yesterday.

The 2006 event in July was based near Tirley in Gloucestershire. Many riders came from different parts of the country and camped over the weekend as well as riding in a social run on the Saturday. The competitive time-trial took place on the Sunday. It took riders on a 70-plus mile route into Worcestershire and Herefordshire with clear views of the Malverns, using several underused roads which had grass growing up the centre. The lunch stop was at The Walwyn Arms near Hereford.

A pub, yesterday.

The day started hot and kept hot for the event and many riders added water to their tool-kits to prevent dehydration. The first machine off was a 1904 Rex of 420cc, using direct belt drive and rider effort if the ascents were more than gentle. There were several early Triumphs with a selection of clutch/no-clutch devices, pedals or no pedals and gears or no gears. The vintage entry included Zeniths, New Imperial, Panther, BSAs and a selection of Val Page designed Ariels from the late 1920s.

The aim of keeping to a 20mph or 24mph schedule lies with the rider but is not very easy because these machines do not have speedometers fitted and the locations of the check-points is also unknown.

A man outside a pub, yesterday.

The success of this event is down to the Clerk of the Course, Dave Pritchard, who had to avoid main roads, fords and steep hills (unlike the Pioneer Run to Brighton organised by the Sunbeam Club and the VMCC's Banbury Run). These latter riders might like to enter next year but there is a limit of 80 competitors!

See www.vmcc.net

RC Reporter: Reg Eyre


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