The View From The Top

Sometimes it is hard to remain positive with all we have had to put up with over the last 18 months and as for “a view from the top”, I currently feel more like the submarine commander trying to establish a periscope depth to get any reasonable view of what’s ahead. Nationally we had to cancel the planned September AGM this year when the Hotel suddenly cancelled our booking for quote, “A Government Booking”. As it turned out, however, that wasn’t a bad thing as the hotel was subsequently reported to be infested with bed bugs. I hope the Government clients were happier to “share” than we would have been.

As we tentatively and hopefully emerge from an extraordinary year, where we all had to adapt to the challenges of the day, following the latest bulletin from No10, it is time to take a deep breath and contemplate what the future holds. The pandemic restricted so much of what a club like ours has been able to do, but dogged determination and hard-working members have always managed to pull something out of the bag. These guys and girls consistently amaze me with the time, enthusiasm and effort they put into everything they do. As things are starting to open up and relax a bit more there may finally be that optimistic light at the end of a very long dark tunnel. We may actually get back to a club life closer to what we were used to, but I doubt it will exactly mirror business as it was. Uncertainty exists, but there are some things we know. The club was built and exists on friendship and a common shared interest in the marque, coupled with the diversity of travel, Classic and Vintage, (the bit on the side) Sidecar, GS and Sporting register enthusiasts and long may that continue.

The problem we have to face is the increasing difficulty recruiting willing volunteers to take on specific roles within the club organisational and administrative roles. I’m long enough in the teeth (and yes, I do still have all mine) to remember when the world was waking up to Computers and we were told of the paperless future and how much better/easier things would be. However, the truth is that there is often more paper now and with so much technology, information, legislation and applications available the workload has actually intensified. We have the ability to adapt and the club is fast reaching a critical tipping point. The IT version of the 1951 club model is overwhelming us with the duties of administration so we desperately need a critical rethink to come up with a strategic plan for the future. There must be ways that we can progress our activities in the virtual world more effectively and with less demand on our personal time, but I acknowledge the value of interpersonal connection and face to face can / should never be replaced completely.

The effects of Brexit continue to filter through and one that came to my attention was that from the 25th September 2021 we would have to change our current Euro number plates with new ones bearing the Union Flag and the “UK” if we intend to take our vehicles to Europe. This is to replace the current EU and circle of stars or “GB” on a blue background. Obviously a sticker to go over the existing EU motif will suffice, but so far I haven’t been able to buy any, despite Halfords website advertising them. More positive is news that the EU Commission has finally withdrawn the requirement for us to carry a Green Card for insurance in the EU.

You may recall that our section has manned a control point for the annual ACU/BMF national road rally for some years. As last year we were asked to provide an unmanned control again because of the covid restrictions. Unmanned it may be, but it still has to be set up and we agreed to go ahead with the Carterton control. Very late in the day we had to change the location slightly owing to a large football competition taking place at the usual location over the same weekend resulting in a flurry of emails.

Come the day, stalwart, Andy Lawson got up early on the Saturday morning to erect a pennant and the crucial control number at the new location, to take it down at the specified time and to re-erect it early on the Sunday morning and then to take it all down again at the official closing time. The official visits to our control have just come in and there were 122 riders visiting over the 2 days which put us in the top 20% of the 100 controls available. Another job well done, and one that the section did for the benefit of motorcyclists from all over the country.

Ian Dobie


Author: Biggles