THE BMW Club Journal January 2015-Oxford Section Report

BMW Club Oxford Section Report for December 2014

Back on the 9th November, after some excellent food and drinks supplied by the team in the kitchen, the Section AGM took place at Uffington Village Hall. A total of 53 members plus the Club Chairman attended with many taking the opportunity of the fine weather to ride to the event with a nice selection of ‘bikes in the car park.

The date being Remembrance Sunday, our chairman Steve Moxey started the meeting with a minutes silence not only to remember the war dead but also to remember Steve Wicks & Geoff Steele who died this year in accidents whilst out on their motorcycles. The review of the year included hotel weekends, 2 overseas trips, the section running the National AGM, events with the local dealers, attendance at local bike gatherings, talks and ride outs, which made the section very successful. These events enticed many to join the BMW Club and the launch of our Facebook, now with more than 100 ‘friends’, and continued use of the web has improved communication to everyone (

As Steve pointed out, the committee have been working on behalf of all the section but there needs to be some succession planning to ensure a positive future. Our excellent secretary, Tim Read has stated that he will be stepping down next year as the section secretary for example and we will need someone to take on this task.

Tim’s report showed the healthy increase in the section’s membership to 416 from 354 in 2013.

Geoff Clough reported on the proceedings at the last National Council Meeting (NCM) including the failure of the attempted tele-conference meeting in June. Ian Dobie’s “Time for Change” committee reported on their progress. Geoff is standing down from this job and Ian is taking it on in future.

On behalf of the section I thanked all those who organised events or led rides and a draft calendar for 2015 events was presented. As the section communication methods move into the 21st Century, Bob Mack has been drafted onto the social team to look after the social networking and IT. The natter nights continue to be successful apart from the Churchill Arms, West Lavington that has had to be abandoned due to lack of local interest and difficulties for the coordinator, Alan Roberts to be able to continue. The section thanks Alan for his enthusiasm and efforts in running this location. Members in the area can attend the Sun Inn at Coate, Swindon in future.

The section accounts are healthy, thanks to Geoff Clough’s excellent control of the purse strings.

To help with the running of the Section, Clive Stevens has joined the committee and we welcome his enthusiasm in volunteering. The rest of the team is as before. If anyone wishes to prepare to help with the succession management or to join the committee, the AGM in 2015 is planned for the 8th November.

The main part of the day was the judging of the Geoff Steele photographic challenge competition. What amazing entries on show on the day with a superbly produced booklet from Brian Garforth, who unfortunately couldn’t attend on the day, being the worthy winner of the MotoGoLoco weekend for two. Brian & Lillian responded in an email saying “Very many thanks for the good news! I’m chuffed to have won the MotoGoLoco prize and the included accommodation is in lovely parts of the UK. Once again many thanks, I’m smiling and feeling very happy!” Thanks to Jim Bettley for arranging this prize. A different presentation on display boards produced by John & Wendy Ottaway won the £100 voucher and we have to thank North Oxford Garages for this superb prize. Trying to choose the winning single photograph to appear on the first of the A4 Journal editions, subject to the editor’s decision of course, proved even more difficult but John’s shot of Inkpen Combe Gibbet, the 17th Century Gallows with his BMW in the foreground took the judges final decision.

Many visited the Motorcycle Live Show and had a great time on the BMW stand as can be read on the facebook comments with debates on whether the new RS or XR are the best for different jobs. The Club was being advertised as well, an excellent promotion opportunity. The stand had stars such as Charlie Borman on hand to sign autographs but Bob said “Saw quite a few celebrities but they weren’t interested in having my autograph so I didn’t photograph them!”

As I write this the Christmas dinners are in full swing at the natter nights as everyone gets ready for the festive season and the New Year; by the time you read this we will all have met at the Lock, Stock & Barrel, near Newbury Wharf on New Year’s day.

This leads me nicely to the first few events of 2015 starting with the Bring & Buy sale on the 11th January at Uffington village hall with sales starting at 14:00. We will be back at Uffington on the 8th February for a fascinating talk on the history of lubrication by Guy Lachlan with a start time again of 14:00. When I announced this talk at the AGM it caused some giggling at the back and we had to make it clear we are not that sort of Club, this is engine lubrication!

Another excellent social occasion is the annual Sunday Lunch at Sudbury House Hotel, Faringdon on the 22nd February; tickets are available from Bob Mack.

With the year off to a good start we can look forward to the longer days and warmer weather for the ride outs. Try to keep the bike shiny side up!

John L Broad                                                                        

In addition to the Section Report, John sent this interesting Eulogy, of Geoff Steele, by Peter Mapes, for inclusion.

Geoff Steele

Although Geoff loved his BMW’s, (he owned 3 Boxers and 2 K’s). His first love was with Velocettes.

Skills learnt as an aircraft engineer during his career in the Royal Air Force, he brought to the preparation of his motorcycles, meticulous attention to detail brought numerous successes during his road racing exploits in the early 60’s. However on getting married and in deference to the wishes of his wife he gave up Road racing persuading Joan that Sprinting was much safer as the distance covered “was only a quarter of a mile and anyway there weren’t any corners to go round” . Again Velocette mounted he built 2 sprinters. The first was very fast, but fed up with coming second he built another this machine had a Rootes cabin blower which fed a 2 inch SU carburettor from a Jaguar and ran on straight methanol it was painted blue and no doubt influenced by the fact that during his day job he was working on Vulcans, this two wheeled straight line methanol burning missile was called ‘Blue Steel’.

On leaving the RAF Geoff Worked for Ralf Seymour the Velocette agent in Thame Oxfordshire, helping to prepare machines for racing and of course the TT. Following the demise of the British motorcycle industry Geoff worked for a while for a Plant hire firm before securing a job with Vintage Car Restorations in Clanfield where once again his innovative mind and expert hand skills came to the fore often manufacturing accurate one off components aided only with a photograph of the original.

When in the nineties the classic car industry went into decline Geoff was offered a position as a Technical Instructor with the Engineering Training College at CSE Aviation at Oxford Airport Kidlington, teaching ab-initio students hand skills together with the use of micrometer and vernier gauges. Although some of his foreign students may not have appreciated it they could not have had a better tutor. As the engineering school went into decline, other departments within the organisation were quick to recognise Geoff’s skills and he was offered a job in the Engine Overhaul department overhauling Lycoming and other light aircraft engines.

Even in retirement Geoff was very active in the motorcycle world building a special 350 velocette for the Thunder Sprint at Northwich gaining FTD for his class. He was a regular competitor in long distance road rallies such as the BMF/ACU National Rally, The Welsh Rally and the Scottish Rally and was currently competing in the Round Britain Rally. When he wasn’t riding, he was renovating, mainly Velocettes but if it had a wheel at each end and an engine in the middle then Geoff was interested.

If you are lucky enough to own a Geoff Steele restoration then you have a very very good one.

Peter Mapes.





Author: bobmack70