BMW Club Oxford Section Report for June 2018
20thMarch onwards – Venue Change
Our Pub Social is moving home, please make a note of the new address: Tawny Owl, Taw Hill, North Swindon, Swindon SN25 1WR
July 1stRide Out Hook Norton Brewery – Rosemary Hicks
We left Peartree services at 9.00 with 15 bikes and 19 peoplenice to meet new members Anna O’Neil and Keith Holloway, also on their first ride out were Jez and Fi Marshall, Colin Chapman and Colin Bark
After a bimble round Oxfordshire, passing Soho Farmhouse and Beckingham palace ll (did not see anyone famous) and then on to Hook Norton Brewery for Breakfast losing one member on the way who overshot the turn, he got there eventually, we were met at Hook Norton by James and Fran Luck and John Wheeler.
We all had a good breakfast and the some stayed for the brewery tour, some had to get home and 13 bikes and 14 people then left to go to the Bus Museum at Long Hanborough via a trip into Warwickshire once or twice and on the way finding a ford where someone was paddling as we went through itthe Bus Museum was well worth a visit, the tea was good and ice creams finished the day off.
July 3rd– Ludgershall Bike Night – Dave Shanks
Another bike night over and done with at Ludgershall bit slow to start but became rather busy later
July 7 / 8thACU Rally – Ian Dobie
The Carterton ACU/BMF National Road Rally Control was manned for the 18 hour duration, as usual, by a strong and willing contingent of Oxford Section members. From the 12 o’clock start on the Saturday through to the 6 AM Sunday finish we had a steady stream of riders and pillions passing through.
In all a total a mixed collection of 191 cheerful male and female contestants checked through the control out of the total national entry of 572. All the usual machinery appeared at some point, with some of the regulars and old friends calling in, including one 3 wheeler and one mixed team of step through moped mayhem riders doing the gold award. You just had to admire their commitment.
A worthwhile W/E effort and free entertainment, but my thanks go to all the team that helped man the control and did a magnificent job showing the BMW Club and Oxford Section in particular in the best possible light.
July 7 – 14thIsle of Man Classic TT – Geoff Clough
Fifteen brave souls left the shores of Blighty crossing the Irish Sea by Ship or by Catamaran to meet up in Douglas on the Isle of Man. We arrived at differing times and stayed for a week or thereabouts at the Empress Hotel on the promenade with views over Douglas bay. The food was excellent. The rooms tastefully refurbished and very comfortable.
Our visit coincided with the Southern 100 Races at Castletown. These are known as the friendly races and held over the Billown Course of about 4.25 miles. There were a good number of visitors to the Island on bikes of all shapes and sizes. The good thing about these races is that they don’t use any part of the TT circuit, so this was available for us to ride.
The road into Ramsay was closed, however so we couldn’t ride the exact course. We were certainly not expecting to emulate the new lap record of over 135mph average speed, since the roads were subject to speed limits and two-way traffic.
There is no national speed limit on the Isle of Man so when you pass the derestriction sign you can legally ride as fast as you like. The local constabulary are always on the lookout for dangerous riding or speeding in a racing like manner and they would intervene as necessary so not too many liberties taken!
We usually split into two or more groups depending on our interests. Our first full day on the Island involved a ride on the preserved steam railway to Castletown initially, and then on to Port Erin on the west coast. The weather was hot and sunny and thankfully stayed much the same throughout our visit. Due to its position in the Irish Sea and being further north than Oxford, temperatures were thankfully about 5 degrees cooler than at home.
Port Erin and Friends
Port Erin is a delightful place with a sandy beach and headlands stretching seawards to enclose the bay. Apparently basking sharks can be seen nearby – but none of us could confirm this. The location has been used many times for TV and films and looked very familiar.
After a snack and a cool beverage, we wandered along the bay, had an ice cream and a quick visit to the Railway Museum we then headed home on the train. Some of us were a bit weary by the time we had walked in from Douglas Station, so we took the Horse Drawn Tram back to the hotel
Horse Drawn Tram
The next day promised clear skies and a suitable opportunity for views from the top of Snaefell. Six of us wandered along to the Electric Railway and bought explorer tickets which covered all forms of transport on the Island. We caught the Electric Railway to Laxey, changing there for the Snaefell Mountain Railway. Having just missed a train, we relaxed in the sunshine before embarking on the mountain expedition.
The rolling stock and track systems are Victorian dating from 1893 for the Electric Railway and 1895 for the Mountain Railway. There is a rolling program of refurbishment ensuring the modern-day travelers are provided with safe and well decorated carriages.
Sadly, the sunshine on the way up the mountain gave way to the “Cloak of Manannan”. This cloud sitting atop Snaefell is a common occurrence and prevented the views of the seven Kingdoms. Manannan is a legendary God probably imported by the Vikings who colonized the Island during the dark ages
Snaefell Summit with Manannan’s Cloak
After safely negotiating the return to Laxey, we caught the Electric Railway to Ramsay. The views of the sea on this part of the route were spectacular. We found that most eating establishments were closed in Ramsay as it was a Monday. We did find a great café though, so all was not lost! After a wander around we rode the train back to Douglas, the hotel, a shower and a beer (in roughly that order!).
Having already had two days off the bikes, we felt it was time to ride once more. (We are a bike Club after all!) We rode up to Laxey loosely following the railway lines to visit the Laxey Wheel (or the Lady Isabella as she is known). This remarkable water wheel is one of the major visitor sites on the Island. Operated now by Manx Heritage, it is still a working waterwheel and the largest of its kind in Europe if not the world! Its function last century was to provide the power to pump water out of the local mines.
A small part of a mine is preserved for visitors (preferably under 5ft 6in) to see. Having been on an earlier visit and at 6ft 3in I declined the invitation to reinspect!
When paying for our admission we were delighted to be offered a special TT badge for £10 which gave us free access to all Manx Heritage sites for the week. Bargain!!!
Joey Dunlop Memorial with Friends
We then rode to Ramsay, joined the TT circuit and rode up the mountain course stopping at the Bungalow. Joey Dunlop’s memorial duly patted and photographed, we then travelled down the valley to the Sulby Hotel for a quick snack and to view the beer engine on the bar (based on a 4-cylinder Japanese bike engine).
We just about caught the end of the RAF Centenary display over Buckingham Palace on the hotels TV before it was off on two wheels to find another route up to Hailwood Height and a return to Douglas by way of Creg-ny-Baa. An exhilarating downhill part of the circuit with larger than normal numbers appearing on my speedo.
The Chasing Pack
On Thursday we all went to the races as this was a full day of racing with road closures. Previous evenings had been for practice and some racing, but the England v Croatia football batch on Wednesday evening took precedence for most of us.
The racing was exciting, spectacular, noisy, exhilarating and very entertaining. The guys (and gals) racing inches away from solid stone walls deserve great credit for their bravery. How the Sidecar teams managed to steer their machines through the tight twisty corners at almost 100mph average speed is beyond me. It was also possible to wander more or less at will through the paddock to view the bikes and talk to their riders.
We saw several riders who were prominent in the TT such as Dean Harrison and Ivan Lintin among others. Michael Dunlop was listed in the program but absent due his brother William’s funeral. The racing crowds were very knowledgeable and very friendly despite (or because of) the wide variety of regional and international accents. Sadly, the last race of the day (which many of us missed as we had already left for the hotel) was marred by a tragic accident.
Castle Rushen and the House of Keys
Other places visited during the week included Castletown for the House of Keys and Castle Rushen. The House of Keys is the old Manx Parliament (now meeting in Douglas). The meeting room is opened and a guide (Mr Secretary) runs an adapted agenda spanning a variety of periods covered by the Parliament. Audience participation is encouraged.
The items debated were all chosen from real events and covered such things as the introduction of democracy by enfranchising all citizens (firstly menfolk and subsequently women) to vote. The Manx suffrage movement was successful way before its counterpart in the UK. The closure of roads for racing (based on the need for Gordon Bennett racing to come to Britain); the freedom of the press; the need to keep independent of the UK and such like.
Castle Rushen was the home in the past of the Kings and subsequently the Lords of Man. Her Majesty the Queen is the current Lord of Man. The Castle is in good repair (the builders were still working on it!) and a tour is advised
Seals at The Sound
The Sound. Not a booming speaker but a narrow stretch of fast flowing tidal water at the south west tip of the island between the Isle of Man and the Calf of Man. There is a good visitor centre café, car park and toilets. The main attraction is the wildlife. We saw seals basking in the sunshine or wallowing in the waves. There are a large variety of breeds of bird for the “twitchers” to gaze upon.
Returning via Port Erin and the A36 we enjoyed a real treat on the newly resurfaced road as we swooped over the hills on our way back to Douglas.
Peel via Tynwald Hill is a good destination. The House of Mananan in Peel is a great museum on three floors giving a dramatic representation of the social history of the Island from Ancient to modern times. This was once again operated by Manx Heritage, so free entry with our TT badges.
Other attractions include the Leece Museum (largely motorbikes), Peel Castle (a ruin but quite spectacular) and the smokery where Manx Kippers are produced. These were well received at breakfast by the devotees (but not me!)
The TT Musem at Jurby was well worth a visit. The nearby Guard House Café provided welcome refreshment. After that some of us rode up to the most northerly part of the Island – The Point of Ayre. We could see the coast of Scotland across the Irish Sea albeit a murky strip of land in the hazy distance.
Lighthouse at Point of Ayre
On the day we were there it appeared that the TT Mountain Course had been closed for the benefit of an AUDI event, so we returned to Douglas via the coast road and Laxey.
A great week. The weather certainly contributed significantly to our enjoyment.
Words by Geoff Clough; Photos courtesy of Tim Read.
8thJuly Ride Out to Super Sausage Café – Dave Tomlinson
7 intrepid adventurers (OK they just wanted a coffee) met at Costa in Thame and soon got lost in conversation.
The appointed hour duly arrived, and we set of on a Dave Tomlinson curvy route (he’s obviously lost then!)
We exited Thame and into Long Crendon, following a sublime ridge route through to Waddesdon, then into more demanding countryside around the Claydon’s along tight roads and great straights with very little traffic to slow down proceedings.
Arriving at the Super Sausage café just in time for some to try the signature dish……. Lovely weather, great roads and company, cannot wait until next time.
15thJuly – Bahnstormer Sat Nav Event
Lots of interest in the Satnav Event on Saturday at Bahnstormer, Maidenhead supported by the Oxford Section. We brought along a pile of the new booklets, Getting the best from your BMW Navigator V & VI, prepared by the Oxford Section Satnav Project in conjunction with Bahnstormer. Handing them out in exchange for a donation to the Air Ambulance was a bonus for the Section charity as well.
Thanks to Carl Flint, Ian Richardson and Andy Byatt for the demos; to Steve Moxey for organising the event with Bahnstormer; and to Bahnstormer for providing the venue and printing the booklets.
20thJuly SNR to King William IV Pub – Steve Moxey
We had a very good SNR + Lunch today with 18 members able to come. The King William IV was a good in a very nice setting, many thanks to Andrew Lawson for the suggestion. If you missed this SNRL look out for future events.
29thJuly Ride Out to Nuffield Place – Steve Moxey
Many thanks to those who braved the wet weather for the run to Nuffield Place, we had 14 members in total. The day started with a nice lunch at the Butchers Arms and Tim Bolderston led a good ride, to Nuffield Place on back roads.
The National Trust staff made us very welcome and my R75/7 was parked in pride of place in front of Nuffield Place (it was the only classic over 40 years old to complete the run). The house is very interesting and is largely as Lord and Lady Nuffield left it. Lord Nuffield’s workshop in his bedroom was a highlight of the visit.
Oxford Section Sat Nav Project and Survey
The aim of the project is to improve our collective knowledge of how to use our Sat Nav’s and to help members get the best from them.
We have produced an electronic newsletter and have completed a booklet supported by a local dealer of top 100 tips. The first of a number of workshops has been undertaken in July with Barnstormers in Maidenhead and a further one is planned in September at North Oxford Garage addressing some of the issues identified by our members.
Drop me a line if you would like an insight into the results
Future Events: September / November 2018
July 2 Ludgershall Bike Night: Section stand. Dave & Rosemary Hicks firstname.lastname@example.org
July 7 – 8 ACU Rally: Carterton Checkpoint. Andy Lawson email@example.com
July 7 – 14 Isle of Man: Staying at the Empress Hotel, Douglas. Rosemary Hicks firstname.lastname@example.org
July 8 Ride out: Super Sausage Cafe. Leave Costa Thame 10.30 Dave Tomlinsondave.email@example.com
July 22 Ride out: John Hillier firstname.lastname@example.org
July 28 Calne Bike Event: Section stand. John Russ email@example.com
July 29 Ride out: Nuffield Place, Henley on Thames RG9 5RX. Steve Moxeysteve.firstname.lastname@example.org
August 12Brackley Festival of Motorcycling: Section stand. Dave Shanks email@example.com
August 16–19 Red Kite Rally: Camping White Mark Farm,82 Hill Road, Watlington OX49 5AF. John Ottaway firstname.lastname@example.org
August 19 Section BBQ: White Mark Farm, 82 Hill Road, Watlington OX49 5AF contact Dave & Rosemary Hicksrosemaryhicks@hotmail.com
August 19 Ride out: Section BBQ Meet 11.00 Tim Bolderstontim.email@example.com
September 9th: Ride Out Henk Gouws firstname.lastname@example.org
October 5 – 8 Autumn Weekend Hotel Breakstaying at the Northfield Hotel, Minehead contact: Dave Shanks email@example.com
October 7RIDE OUT:Meet Newbury Wharf Ian Cummins firstname.lastname@example.org
October 28 Skittles challenge: Western Section v Oxford. The Old Royal Ship, Luckington, Wiltshire, SN14 6PA. contact: Dave Tomlinson email@example.com Denis Bradbeer firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to make a note of the dates from the trifold calendar that you wish to attend into your diaries, we will also be updating the website regularly and posting on Facebook.
Here’s to safe riding and some good weather.