Fishtail 449 – December 2017

At our club night on Tuesday 14 th November we had a presentation by Allen Millyard on the Flying Millyard motorcycle. Many of us have seen this 5 litre motorcycle at shows and other events around the country. Allen showed how he made the parts for the engine utilising two aeroplane engine cylinders he had acquired. Having made the engine and modified a car gearbox he then went on to make the frame. After talking about the Flying Millyard he showed us some of his other projects including his RC374 six cylinder engine. What an amazing piece of work. He is a very talented engineer.

Our last run of the year, the Reading Toy Run, on 10 th December was unfortunately cancelled due to bad weather. The forecast wind and rain turned to heavy snow. Alternative arrangements were made for the Christmas gifts to be delivered to Dr. Barnado’s in Reading.

I hope the roads are clear for our Christmas Dinner at the Cherry Tree on 12 th December. Our next club night on Tuesday 9 th January 2018 will also be our AGM. I look forward to seeing many of our Centre members there when we will elect a new committee and agree our runs and events for the coming year. I hope everybody had a great Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

Fishtail 448 – October 2017

There have been three events since the last report, the first being Kop Hill Climb over the weekend of Sept. 16/17 th. A rather showery two days at Kop Hill this year failed to put off both Riders and members of the Public. Fifteen Velocettes ‘rode’ the Hill over the 2 days which included 8 VOC members on their machines ranging from a 1927 KSS to a 1963 Viper. On both days we had between four and six Velocettes on the display stand which attracted a substantial number of questions and interest from the Public and other Entrants. A very busy two days with a great deal to see.

A special thanks to Bill Grimes (London) for his support on Sunday and it was also really good and much appreciated to see Roy Springate on both days following his accident. Both helping on the Display stand along with other Thames Valley Members.

The next event was our run to the Crofton Beam Engines Steam Gala on September 24 th . Nine members enjoyed the coffee and cakes on arrival (just as good as ever) at Crofton after a pleasant ride across country from Padworth. There was plenty to see at the Steam Gala with both beam engines in steam, several traction engines, vintage cars and tractors and a market on the canal boats moored at the lock. We have enjoyed going to the steam gala for several years and it has become a fixture in our events calendar.

The final mid-week run of the year was on Wednesday October 11 th . This was a run along some of my favourite roads across the Berkshire Downs starting at Streatley and visiting Wantage, Lambourne and Uffington White Horse before stopping for lunch at the Grocer Chef in Ardington. Just after the stop at the Airborne Forces Memorial at the end of Harwell runway Richard Hayler suffered a rear wheel puncture. It was an interesting hour getting it fixed and Richard made it home without further problems.

The next major events for our Centre are the Christmas Dinner on Tuesday 12 th December and the AGM in the New Year.

Fishtail 447 – September 2017

It’s been a fairly busy period for the Thames Valley centre with four runs as well as the regular club nights which continue to be well attended. The first run was to the Popham Mega Meet on August 13 th where we had our usual stand by the marque. We were joined by members from Dorking and South Hants centres with 22 Velocettes on show. For this run we had a second starting point in Hungerford to encourage members from the west of the area to join the run and we were pleased to welcome Bill Janson on his very smart Viper. Wednesday 23 rd August saw 9 members visit the Army Air Museum at Middle Wallop. Very interesting display of aircraft used by the army and plenty of history too. Lunch was taken in the café before the return journey. Bill Janson led us on a very pleasant back roads route to avoid road closures on the planned route.

Our annual Seymour Charity run was held on 3 rd September with 7 hardly souls starting from Benson, stopping at Thame and then continuing on for 65 miles riding return back to the Waterfront Café at Benson for lunch. Rain was forecast for most of the run and this probably deterred some from participating. The old fire station part of the Hawthorn Works has been incorporated into the new housing development.

Our mid-week run on September 13 th was to Brookwood Military Cemetery near Woking. David Peterson led seven of us to the Cemetery where we visited the grave of his uncle, a Hurricane pilot serving with the Royal Canadian Airforce, who died in September 1940. A very moving experience and reminder of the many brave people who died serving their country. The run continued to Newlands Corner where we stopped for lunch.

We are approaching the end of the runs for this year and club nights will continue at the Cherry Tree where we hope to have some guest speakers for added interest, details to follow.

Fishtail 446 – August 2017

TV Centre had a stand at the Woodcote Steam Rally on the weekend of 8/9 the with ten bikes on display on Saturday. The stand attracted a lot of interest and Mick Kowalczuk’s Thruxton won the White Horse Cup for best bike at the rally. Well done Mick.

Our Show Off Your Bike Day on 15 th July started with a wet morning and this deterred some people from attending. We had thirty two bikes turn up and register for the show which was good considering the weather. The usual mixture of Velocettes and other interesting bikes were on display including Steve Boakes V twin MAC which attracted a lot interest. The winners of the awards were:

  • Best Rigid Velocette Norman Bailie 1939 KSS
  • Best Spring Frame Velocette Mick Kowalczuk 1965 Thruxton
  • Best Pre 1945 Non-Velocette Jon Dunsdon 1937 Royal Enfield S2 250
  • Best Post 1945 Non-Velocette Adrian Deasy 1954 Triumph 6T
  • Best Post 1972 Classic Chris Winsby 1975 Norton Commando
  • Arthur Lavington Trophy (Best Velo) Dave Sawford 1960 Venom Clubman
  • Ben Mallinson Cup (Best Cammy Velo) Norman Bailie 1939 KSS
  • Ben Harris Trophy (Technical Excellence) Steve Boakes Vee Twin MAC
  • Cherry Tree Shield (Most desirable bike) Steve Boakes Vee Twin MAC

Despite the wet morning we had a good day and many thanks to everybody involved in organising the event and the marshals, judges and staff of the Cherry Tree who provided refreshments throughout the day.

Sunday 30 th July saw nine TV Centre members joined up with the South Hants Centre for the Up the Downs Run. This is a great run across the Downs with a stop at the Calley Arms at Hodson where we had a good Sunday lunch. The “drop off” system worked very well and we all arrived at the Calley Arms together. Many thanks to South Hants for organising a great day out.

Sunday 6 th August saw six of us set out for the Sammy Miller Museum autojumble. Norman’s route avoiding Romsey and Lyndhurst worked very well. The weather was just about perfect for a long run and several of us found some useful bits at the autojumble. Another good day.

Check out the website for our next runs – we still have quite a few more before winter arrives.

Fishtail 445 – June 2017

There has been a lot of activity at TV Centre since the last report. The first event was the Velocette Stand at the Southern Classic Bike Show at Kempton Park on Saturday May 20 th. As usual we had a good display of machines, a MOV, a rigid MAC, a MkII KSS, a chrome tank Viper and a Thruxton. The display attracted a lot of attention with plenty of visitors – especially during the heavy rain showers! Unfortunately we didn’t win any prizes this year so we will review the display for next year. Many thanks to everyone who loaned a bike for the stand and helped on the day.

Next up was our annual Cheddar Gorge run on Wednesday 24 th May. Twelve Velos started from TV Centre and arrived at the Gorge around midday after a tea and bacon butty stop at Hilperton. We were joined at Cheddar by members from Bristol, Wye Valley, Devon & Cornwall and Dorset Centres. We counted 35 Velos assembled at the bottom of the Gorge along with a Sunbeam, Triumph and Morini; about 40 bikes in total. The weather was great as well with a good gathering at Priddy for lunch. This is becoming a popular event with many interesting machines taking part.

The following Wednesday, June 7 th , we had a run to Alresford lead by Chris Webber. We stopped at the Flower Pots at Cheriton for lunch. Good food and their homebrewed beer was appreciated by all. There is an informal classic bike meet at the Flower Pots on Wednesdays and many interesting machines turned up over lunch. Many thanks to Chris for organising the run.

The next run was to the Haynes Museum at Sparkford and six centre members enjoyed the run down to Sparkford, the museum and lunch in the café. Our final run for this period was to Crofton Beam Engines on June 25 th. Six members started off from Padworth and we were joined at Crofton by several other members, we were allowed to park up in the grounds and had a display of Velocettes which attracted a lot of interest from visitors to the engines. Coffee and cakes were as good as ever. The engines were in steam and it is fascinating to watch the action of the beam linkages to achieve parallel motion.

Club nights continue to be well attended and we have several more runs coming up. Details can be found on the new TV Centre website as well as Fishtail.

Fishtail 444 – May 2017

With the slightly warmer weather and lighter evenings runs and other activities are starting to ramp up at the Thames Valley Centre. Our first run of the year was to Tangmere in conjunction with the South Hants Centre. We had a good run down to Loomies Café where we met up with South Hants and then proceeded to Tangmere and had an interesting tour of the museum. The next run was to Prescott Bike Festival and three centre members had an enjoyable day watching the hill climb. To continue the aeronautical theme the next run was to the FAST museum at Farnborough. The weather turned very cold and eight members braved the chilly start and had a good tour of the museum including getting inside helicopters and planes.

May Bank Holiday Monday saw 6 centre members participate in the Fleet Lions run. No prize winners this year but they managed to miss most of the rain showers.

Our Centre website is now up and running at Many thanks to Norman and Ed for all the hard work in creating a very professional looking site. Have a look and you will find the dates for our runs and shows under the Events sections By the time this is published we will have had our usual stand at the Southern Classic Show at Kempton Park and it will be interesting to see any changes made by the new organisers. We are also starting to make preparations for our Show Off Your Bike Day on 15 th July at the Cherry Tree and we hope to attract the usual collection of interesting Velocettes and other makes to the show.