The Cotswold Section
of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club
Issue 70 - May 2010
Pictures of Cotswold Committee members 2 – Brian Keeling,
on a Felix Burke Road Trial – taken by Bill Craswell
The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the officers of the VMCC
Cotswold Section Editor: Reg Eyre KOBI – 01242-870375 (before 9.00pm)
http://www.vmcc-cotswold.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
July deadline is 16th June 2010
From the B190
The Pioneer Run was warm and sunny all day with several Cotswold
members taking part. Practising ‘run and bump’ starts on the TT
Roadster Triumph proved worthwhile because I had to repeat this over
20 times this year! Also from a riders’ view, the Cotswold Road Trial
was a good ride with a wide range of questions, tasks and green lanes.
Reg Eyre KOBI FP
Answers to Audrey Moffat’s picture quiz are, back row from left to
right, Jack Branse, Cheltenham Mayor, Don Bell, Bill Cotton, Ivan
Pritchard (Mayor of Gloucester), Peter Moffat and Arthur Mortimer.
Front row, Audrey Moffat, Cheltenham Lady Mayoress, Eva Branse,
Peggy Bussey and the Mayoress of Gloucester.
Thanks go to the committee for organising the three excellent quizzes so
far this year. Even the bar leaners seem to be taking part, or showing
I recently had need of the services of a welder and contacted Steve
Stephen Perry of Weldone UK, (07708 967870), who did an excellent
job. His van is his workshop and he comes to you to do the job.
This event will take place in Plock Court Playing Fields, Gloucester on
Sunday 29th August as promised and interested parties should check the
VMCC Journal for time and place.
Lorraine Carter - 0118 973 0712, or at email@example.com
Sunday 2 May Saturday 5th June Saturday / Sunday 3rd / 4th July
Founders Relay Rally Flat Tank Section Veteran & The National Road Rally
Vintage Weekend Road Trial
Aviator Inn, Staverton Airport Manor Service Station,
North Gloucestershire / South Andoversford
Audrey Lewis – 01452 713575
Contact:- Dave Pritchard 01452 618248
Caroline Kear – 01242 239432
Haw Bridge Inn MWR – A Classic Shot – (Image by Ian Aspey)
What is a Classic Trial?
Firstly, the point has to be made that Classic Trials are not just for
Classic Cars although many do take part. Classic Trials are for all sorts
of cars and motorbikes. What is "Classic" about Classic Trials is the
format of the events. In the early days of motoring the adjective that
appeared in front of the word trial was reliability and manufacturers
were keen to prove the reliability of their products by undertaking long
runs with observers in the cars to establish that the vehicle could
complete the course within the time schedule and without the vehicle
coming to an involuntary halt. As time moved on, cars and bikes
became mechanically more reliable and the organisers of these trials
took to sighting their controls at the bottom of notoriously steep hills to
challenge the underpowered machines of the day to ascend the hill from
a standing start. It was then a short step to making the competitors
attempt unsurfaced hills where the mud and rocks might defeat the
driver's attempts to maintain forward motion. From this concept the trial
as it is known today has evolved.
There are three Motor Cycling Club (MCC) Classics. The basic format
is similar but each Section is either "cleaned" or "failed"; the road
mileage may be anything up to 450 miles with several sections to be
tackled at night. The events being run over Friday nights and Saturdays
with a typical starting time being midnight and an expected finish of
5.00pm the following day. Whereas most 'One Day' trials have a history
of less than fifty years, the MCC Classics date back to before the First
World War and are still run over substantially the same routes. Awards
are based on a simple system of a 'Gold' for climbing all the hills, a
'Silver' for failing just one, and a 'Bronze' for failing two. Those gaining
a 'Gold' in all three events in a season receive a 'Triple' - the triallists
Dennis Beale KOBI
“On the Pegs”
Winter Sporting Trial – February 2010
Well those off-road boys have done it again! I don't know how they
keep coming up with these fantastic events, yet another brilliant Pre-
1970 British Bike only trial up at Denfurlong, Chedworth, 37 riders
competed over 5 laps made up of 10 interesting sections, relatively
easy to suit the age of the bikes and, of course, the riders, there were
riders from Ipswich, South Wales, Leicester, Worcester and beyond.
The entry provided some really good support for our hard working
As the comments said "We know that you are consistent with what
you provide," some of the riders said it was too hard for them, but
stayed and watched and had some soup, provided by our ladies.
We had a video man from Chipping Norton filming the whole day as
he did at our last Trial at Fostons Ash. If anybody wants 35 minutes
of Classic Trials entertainment for £3.50, give one of us a ring and
we can sort this out for you and you might even see yourselves on
the television, observing.
It was quite encouraging to see so many members of our section
observing and also watching. It makes a pleasant change, and the
riders asked us to say a big “thank you” to one and all. The
weather was brilliant sunshine all day, not like last year when we
were snowed off until March and we could not even get up there
to set out the sections!
Pre-Unit 1st Rob Halliday Royal Enfield 0 marks lost
2nd Mike Newman Velocette 52
3rd Julian Bishop Royal Enfield 56
Unit 1st Jon Bliss BSA 5 marks lost
2nd Phil Goodwin Cub 8
3rd M Armson Cub 11
Rigid 1 Nigel Townsend BSA 82 marks lost
Pre 1965 2 strokes
1st A Hicks James 25 marks lost
2nd Jon Capon Greeves 69
3rd Pete Savage Francis Barnett 101
1965 to 1970 2 strokes
1st Pat Barrett Cotton 13 marks lost
2 Bry Hyatt Bantam 18
3rd Roy Jones Cotton 19
The results show that we had a variety of bikes and scores. It
was good to see the number of ex-factory riders including Pat
Barrett on his Cotton, Jon Bliss of Saracen fame, sidecar
champion Julian Bishop and race tuner Pete Savage.
Many thanks to all section members that supported us,
Ken Tilley and Ron Brislin
Mid-Week Social Run – 7th April – ‘The BMW Breakers’
Same Social Run – “Is it a Bantam engine?”
(Photos from Tony Wright KOBI, KOBI)
Bobby Robinson – Felix Burke Trial – Duntisbourne Abbots Ford
Just look at the enthusiasm and enjoyment! (image from Ian Aspey)
Prescott Hill Climb Open Classic Car Event
Organised by Rotary Club of Cheltenham, Cleeve Vale
Saturday 8th May and Sunday 9th May
This is a major charity fund-raiser, open to bikes as well as cars. There
is a 60 mile social run on the Saturday, starting and finishing at Prescott.
On Sunday there will be a static display of veteran, vintage and classic
vehicles, with the opportunity to ride (un-timed) up the hill itself.
Beneficiaries of event include Severn Freewheelers (the Blood Bikes),
Air Ambulance and Sue Ryder, amongst other local and international
charities. The social run costs £15, and entry for Sunday is £12 – fees
are per vehicle not per person. All the proceeds are for charity.
More details can be found on www.cleevevale.org.uk
A Brief History of the Cotswold Road Trial
It might not have occurred to many of the riders of the 2010/56th
Cotswold Road Trial (perhaps better known these days as the Felix
Burke Memorial Rally) that this was anything other than a re-enactment
of the event: that it was always exactly so.
The following notes, although far from comprehensive, will certainly
dispel this belief: the format of the event may have remained unchanged
since 1998, apart from some minor tweaking of the points system, but
before that time, the regulations changed quite a lot.
The first Cotswold Road Trial, in 1955, was a Time Trial! I have an
original “Souvenir Programme” (or is it a replica? I can’t tell which...it
appeared, I think, as part of the Cotswold Section’s Golden Jubilee
junkettings in 2004), which lists 28 riders, who rode a 29 mile course
starting and finishing in Rodney Road, Cheltenham, and which took
them round the Air Balloon, Birdlip, Brimpsfield, and beyond. One of
the youngest riders, at 29, was a Fred T. Smith. Felix Burke himself
rode as no. 26.
This format was retained for some years, but then changed to that of a
simple Road Safety event, perhaps to avoid the worst complications of
the then-new Rallies Act. But not for long...in about 1967, Arthur
Mortimer was instrumental, I believe, in the introduction of an embryo
Scatter Rally, which was recognisably the prototype of our present-day
event. This format, lifted from the regulations for an RAC motorcar
rally, neatly circumvented all the terms of reference of the Rallies Act,
and provided plenty of scope for an interesting Trial!
My first CRT was in 1973. As far as I can ascertain, the riders were
invited to visit as many of the 14 checkpoints as they could manage, in
not more than 60 (official) miles. 5 points were awarded per check
visited, and up to 3 bonus points could be won, ‘at some of them’!
There was a 5 point penalty for each mile over 60.
We jump to 1980, by which time the number of checkpoints had
increased to 20, and a rider got one point per (official) mile ridden, up to
60: otherwise, the rules were unchanged.
In 1984, there were only 15 checks, with the Frogmill Inn as the Finish.
By starting there, it was possible to do 16 checks within the 60 miles!
1997 was a sort of odd-year-out. Riders were invited to visit a
maximum of 15 of the 20 checkpoints, at 5 points per check, but with no
mileage limitations at all. For that matter, the checks were spread over
three O.S. sheets! A capital investment was necessary, apart from the
Of course there have been all sorts of other detail-differences down the
years. Up to about 1979, rallies used to finish at the Plough Inn/Hurrell
Hall. Since then, finishes have been at the Puesdown Inn, the Frogmill
Inn, and the Reddings Community Centre, before the Churchdown
rugby club became standard. Checkpoint locations were not given six-
figure O.S. references until about 1978. The number of Green Lane
options has varied, randomly, between 0 (in 1984), and 13 (in 2001).
Similarly, the number of checkpoints has varied between 14 (in 1973)
and 21 (in 1994).
So there you have it, a surprisingly wide range of rules & regulations
down the years. The one thing that seems never to have changed,
however, is the continuing popularity of the event: long may it so
The funeral took place of Audrey Moffat just after the final date
for submissions. This took place at the Gloucester Crematorium
where several section members attended to say farewell.
This is another break with our past.
Thank you Audrey, (Peter and Titch), for all the work you put in
to build a club which is designed to keep our old bikes on the
Jacqui Stevens would like to passenger in any sidecar outfit
entered in the Banbury Run or other Section event. Jacqui
says that she is a strong blonde who is prepared to help
pushing the outfit up hills.
Jacqui – 01452 863540
Machine park at the end of the Felix Burke Trial featuring the 1913 Rex
Deluxe 900cc ridden by David Jolley
The Dating Game
The fixing of a Vintage cut-off date as 31st December 1930 might have
been convenient at the time of the formation of the Vintage Club, but the
35 or so enthusiasts at that first meeting would obviously not have
foreseen the longer-term effects of this arbitrary selection. As the
movement expanded and early machines were sought, there were plenty
of bikes around at very low cost and thankfully hundreds were saved.
But because of the cut-off date imposed, many examples of good
machines manufactured in the 1930s or later were largely ignored. I
recall trying, (50 years ago, and on behalf of an elderly owner), to
dispose of an immaculate 1931 Sunbeam Model 9. The response from a
well known dealer was an offer of a pittance - "Who wants it?" he said,
"It's not e1igible”.
The gift of hindsight is ever with us, but perhaps it's a pity that
more thought wasn't given to considering the features of machines
before deciding on a date. Viz: major changes in, say, 1927
included the almost universal 'overnight' adoption of wired-edge
tyres; the introduction of a practical foot change mechanism
and possibly the most obvious feature, saddle tanks (after
1927, only a couple of well-known manufacturers retained the old
flat tank design). A browse through contemporary publications
will amply illustrate this.
Why should it matter except to the purists? Oversubscription is the
answer to this, particularly in the case of the VMCC's most important
event, the Banbury Run. It's no secret that it has already been found
necessary to impose a 'lottery' system which means a number of riders
are bound to be disappointed and even the recent increase of entries may
prove to be only a temporary solution. The overcrowding problem is
not going to go away.
Revising the 'vintage date' to 1927 could be the answer. Do the sums for
yourself. In effect the flat tank would be the qualifying feature,
(allowing of course for saddle tanks extant at that date). And in order
not to disappoint the very many owners of later machines, perhaps it
would be possible to run a saddle tank extension to the Banbury? Could
a two day event even have other benefits?