BMW Club Oxford Section Report for July 2016
This is the time of the year when everything is on at once, leaving people indecisive as to which event to go to, but it is nice to have such a problem. Hoping for good weather each weekend has been a bit of a gamble as well this year, the Section Camping weekend at Lechlade from the 3rd to the 5th June being a good example. The date clashed with a Western Section event and so only seven hardy souls joined Dave Hawkins on the campsite. They were however joined by a large group of canoeists who were travelling along the Thames and many slept in open fronted Baker Tents. Four camping bikers went on the run from the site on the Saturday with more joining in at Highworth to continue to Burford for Cake and Coffee. The day trippers left and Dave led the campers back through his favourite Cotswold roads to the campsite. If you fancy a local camping weekend Dave has booked the site again for the 2nd and 3rd of June 2017; you never know who you will meet and it is all fun.
The regular monthly ride out took place on the 12th June when Stuart Giles led his first ride down to the Fort Nelson Armament Museum on Portsdown Hill. As he said, “what could possibly go wrong?” As with many well thought out rides it is often outside influences that create the problems and so it was with Stuart although he dealt with them all magnificently. Road closures for bridge repairs, the horror of the road chipping season where the Councils resurface roads as cheaply as possible with no thought for motorcyclists and then one of those downpours made Stuart head down the A34 to Newbury for the second pick up rather than the back road route he had planned. With 15 bikes in total a scenic ride to Popham Airfield to see the expected fly-in and have home made cakes and tea didn’t quite work out as the weather curtailed aviation but did leave more room in the café; and more cakes.
Stuart described the rest of the ride south “The serpentine B3046 took us through some beautiful Hampshire landscape and chocolate box villages. Unfortunately one rider and his pillion did suffer a topple-over at a not too well marked Junction. We suffered one last road closure before reaching our destination. Fort Nelson proved to be very much liked by the members of the ride, everyone stayed for some time there and after lunch we had an interesting look at the varied and fascinating exhibits, both inside and outside. The actual fort and its superb views across Portsmouth and the Solent are worth the trip alone”. All I can add is well done Stuart in managing all those unforeseen issues whilst still producing a ride everyone enjoyed; an excellent leader.
One of the main trips of the year took place around the dates of the 18th to the 25th June with the well organised trip to Austria where only the hotel was booked. Geoff Clough has written the trip from his point of view and this can be read on the Oxford Section site at https://bmwcluboxford.com/?p=5824 which makes great reading. As Geoff noted, “Over 40 intrepid members of the BMW Club assembled at the Hotel Weisseespitz in the Austrian Tyrol. Some had to come by car for various reasons, but the rest rode all the way from Blighty and back. Sadly, Martin Skennerton suffered an accident in Germany on the way down so couldn’t join us. He is now home and on the mend and we all wish him well”. Apparently there was a football match on the day they tried to cross the Channel that prompted half of England to try to get to France. More on the football and the consequences for bikers later. Geoff always points out that he is not the tour leader as those that followed him usually find out but they did make it to the Freiburg hotel en-route and to the hotel in Austria OK. Days of riding through many tunnels and up serious mountain passes, including the Stelvio, plus taking funicular railways, cable cars and ski lifts provided everyone with some great experiences. Even the weather behaved after the first day although with temperatures in the 30’s C it was a bit warm. At the tops of the passes they bathed in glorious sunshine and never noticed the temperature had dropped to around 6 C. Having Club members from the London and North East Sections added to the fun the Club enjoys.
Back in the UK the section had a stand at the regular last Monday in June bike night at Cassington Village on the 27th June. With many members of the section still returning from the Austria trip the numbers of people from the Section who would have helped with marshalling was seriously down. The numbers of bikes attending this year was also down as well, apparently due to England playing another of those football matches where bikers so interested wanted to watch England get defeated. Much more fun on the Village Green where there were some very nice old machines on display.
Speaking of nice old machines, the Section members who helped Andy Lawson people the ACU Rally checkpoint at Carterton over the weekend of the 2nd & 3rd July saw some fine machinery as the riders checked in. Andy said “We were open from the start of the Rally on midday Saturday right through to 5am Sunday. This year, there were some 570 motorbike riders who registered for the Rally, of which 187 had planned their route to pass through our Control Point. An excellent weekend, with plenty of BMW riders passing through, but also some other lovely bikes including vintage Triumphs, BSA, Velocette, AJS, Ariel plus a couple of lovely 1980’s Laverdas. The weather was a little inclement (a bit of an understatement) with a few showers, some of which were heavy and gusty at times requiring people to hold onto the gazebo to stop it taking off!” These events would not be possible without the help of the volunteers and Andy put it very well saying “Our thanks and gratitude to all the volunteers who donated their time to come along and help and especially those who did the overnight “graveyard” night shift”. Well done people.
Independence Day; no, not the UK one on the 23rd June but the US one on the 4th July where the Ludgershall bike night had an area set aside for US motorcycles. The Section stand had a nice collection of old and new BMW’s and these events are always good to meet old and new friends. The range of machines parked up is amazing from the bicycle with a bolted on ‘Mosquito’ engine to V8 powered cars and everything in between. Oh, and the cakes were just fantastic!
The section BBQ is rapidly approaching down at the Savernake Forest on the 7th August. The coordinators of this event are Bob and Ann Mack (01235 767221) and they would appreciate any assistance with people willing to bring salads, coleslaw, and all those other nice things to go with the BBQ’d meat. Anyone willing to bring another superb fruit salad or especially another of those wonderful pavlovas will be welcomed with open arms.
The 14th August is the huge Brackley Festival of Motorcycling and the section will have a stand there so drop by and say hello.
With a couple of incidents happening to members it is important to be prepared and those who attended the ‘Biker Down Workshop’ last year were very appreciative of all the information they learnt. I know many of you couldn’t make that event and so Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue have offered us another special evening for BMW Club members on the 10th November at the Slade Fire Station, Headington. If you are interested in attending please let me have your names ASAP as there are only 12 places available.
Will the Council road closures, top dressing and the weather behave to allow the next events to go as planned? I’ll let you know in next month’s edition.
John L Broad