The L.E. Stand at the Stafford International Classic Motorcycle Show - 25th ~ 26th April 2015
This year our Stand moved from our usual balcony position into a prominent position in the Main Hall; putting us on a par with the big Velo, Vincent and Arial Clubs – Which, I guess, is promotion at last! Ten machines were exhibited:
* Malc’ Skinner’s lovely red Viceroy
* Brian Day’s superb Valiant special, sitting on the revolving turntable which we built last year.
* Jim Wright’s very shiny and original black and chrome Valiant.
* Keith Glover’s Vogue with its cleverly adapted fuel tank
* Fred Bannister’s LE Mk 3 in original grey livery
* Peter Tolley’s unusual and very smart green MK2
* A 1951 Mk2 untaxed and unused since 1952 - possibly for sale via Buller’s End
* John Rose’s three, sectioned machines ; including the hovercraft / viceroy engine, the Valiant / LE engine that share a common crankcase and, in pride of place, an entire LE, almost literally cut in half down its length, with the complete workings driven at a stately 6 RPM - and with a spark plug, adapted to take an LED,” firing” at the correct point.
As anyone who has ever had a part in organising one of these events knows one of the hardest things is getting all the kit on to site.....especially if its heavy and has to be tramped across fields to get to the show hall; so one of my ambitions is it to reduce the weight and bulk of the supporting material. Anyway We are very fortunate that Andrew Biddle always helps with his big van – and this year we had Pete Tolleys van as well – a real god send!
Setting up, and indeed breaking down afterwards, usually falls to our exhibitors, aided by Trevor, Bill, Adrian, Robin and Ben - it’s quite a task; especially as the set up required that we did a “proper” PAT test on all the gear - Ben had driven all the way from Guilford to do this for us. On Sunday Ted Snook came to take the “official Club photos” and stayed to help dismantle the stand.....All in all a lot of work done by the West Midlands team “ The Boys from Bullers” and not forgetting Carol Day. We certainly needed everyone because the stand attracted huge attention right from the onset. Colin had arrived at around eight thirty on the Saturday and already we had people gathering and asking questions so that by the end of the day I had lost my voice.....No bad thing I hear you say!
Colin Seeley (the ex sidecar racer and original maker of Seeley frames and a version of the G50 engine) visited the stand promoting The Joan Seeley Trust a charity that collects money for pain relief; he left us a colleting tub, which unbeknown to him, we jointly committed to filling by the end of the show....And we did! His face when he collected it was pure emotion.... Most stands had simply put the tub on their stand and not actively promoted the charity, we really tried - the result spoke for itself.
Then came the Show’s award ceremony – We won the British Club stand and a prize of £100 for the Club Coffers!
Now for next year.......All ideas welcome.
Observations at Stafford ’15.
Charles has written the report, but for those that don’t know him, his modesty does not fully convey the effort and the hundreds of hours put in by him, John Rose and the rest of his team, to make the stand the success it was.
Calling me the ‘official photographer’ is a bit OTT for someone who only takes snaps - and I had a misfire when Charles was being presented with the Trophy, but I think others got the shot (hopefully).
It is no surprise; at least to me, that we won the best Club Stand at the show, and with it a Cup plus £100 for the Club. We had twice the number of bikes on the Stand exhibited in previous years, and whereas in our spot on the Balcony, we had a fairly constant stream of individuals taking interest and asking questions, this year we were at times inundated with visitors, and there were at times four or five conversations about little twins going on at once.
Charles has already described the bikes on our Stand, but there were several other touches, including a very professional board describing the Club services that we provide, so that visitors were left in no doubt that if they come into our fold, there are re-conditioning services, spares and advice available to take a ‘basket case’ to a show model – and everything in between. People do need to know that you don’t have to be an expert to get a result, with one of our little twins.
If anyone didn’t go, either through distance or previous commitment, you missed something really good – perhaps next year?
Report on the L.E. Velo Club AGM, held at Middleton Hall, 18th May 2014
Get-togethers can be memorable for a variety of reasons. This year’s AGM will be remembered for the magnificent turnout, the terrific weather and of course the Venue.
The full report will be available in the Clubs Magazine, ‘On the Level’, but here are a few pictures, along with the bikes that won the Silverware, to be going on with.
Winner of the Dennis Taylor Trophy for the longest distance travelled to the event was won by Mike Rolph, who came 185 miles of so, from Sizewell, Suffolk. Mostly on a Valliant, he came on a very purposeful ‘militarised’ Mk3.
The Wenham Trophy for the oldest little twin attending went to Steve Burgess, who also won the Concours Shield. Steve proved that when restoring an LE, the oldest can also be the best turned out, if the work is done by a skilled and dedicated restorer.
Steve didn’t quite manage a clean sweep of the awards though. Brian Day won the Ron Grover Trophy for the machine, voted by the members as the most desirable to own.
Not the first Valiant that Brian has built up as a Super Sports machine; this one started as a basket job. It showed Brian’s skills off well as it gleamed in the Sunshine.
The Nansen Trophy was awarded to Pete Greaves, who is retiring from the post of Spares purchasing Officer for the Club, for long and meritorious service. His professional approach to the job has resulted in a Spares Service second to none in the Classic Club world.
The Endeavour Shield went to Don Thompson, who travelled further than anyone else this year, to the AGM.
Ted Snook, Publicity Officer for the Club.
The L.E. Stand at the Stafford International Classic Motorcycle Show - April 2014
This years Stafford Show was the best yet from a little twin perspective, in my humble opinion. The Stand was an absolute credit to Charles Phillips and all the Team who made it possible. Although in previous years we looked good, the addition of a complete sectioned Mk2 LE on a rotating stand proved a real winner. The Turn-table was made from small electric motor and other bits and bobs by Keith Carnwell and Charles, and the sectioned Mk2 emerged as a miscellany of used parts from Buller’s End, before being skilfully reworked by John Rose. You can view the turntable in action by clicking HERE, this will open in a new viewing window. Thanks to Trevor Aston for uploading the video and the link.
Crowds were looking and commenting the sectioned machine as it slowly revolved to show all the features that made it so different to everything else on the market, when it was a current offering in Dealer’s Showrooms. Our Stand continued to be very busy all the time that I was there, which was most of Sunday Afternoon.
The other machines displayed also received much attention; all of them immaculate and a credit to their Owners and restorers. They included another nice Mk1, owned by David Ball and a Vogue with the fuel Tank in a Top Box, by Keith Glover showing a neat and cost effective solution to the dreaded Ethanol problem. Jim Wright provided a very smart Valiant, while Brian Day’s Valiant Sports Special had many reaching for their cameras, while Malcolm Skinner flew the flag for Scooterists by showing his super Viceroy.
Charles Phillips, John Rose and all the rest of the Lads, are worthy of our accolade for making our Stand one of the most popular that I saw - and to the Lads that gave them something that moved around rather than just sat, that was pure genius.
Ted Snook, Publicity Officer for the Club.
The L.E. Club 36th National Rally 2013
To start with the weather, it was a wet and windy day, cold and
overcast, with rain at times. This put all but the hardiest
off, although some did come by car. Quite a few made the trip,
looked at the sparse turnout and went home again, after the
briefest of stays - shame really.
As was to be expected, attendance was lower than usual. We were thankful for the use of the members room that came along with our booking (we didn't need it last year) and the spares people were able to set up their wares inside - at Stanford Hall they would have been under a tree. I did notice that those who complained about the wind at the Gliding Centre last year, on an otherwise fine day, were more than happy to be inside, even though the room was cold due to the doors being open. I went there on my Honda - the Vogue has been troublesome and I didn't want to take a chance with it in bad weather - and just could not get warm either there or when I arrived back home. It might have made a difference if I had put the zip fastened inner lining back in my jacket.
Overall in attendance, there were about 10 L.E.'s, a few Valiants and a very nice trio of Viceroys; Ted Snook was on hand to provide the photographs.
The Udall Trophy was won by Mike Rolph's Valiant, which has won
many awards over the years.
The Goodman Trophy was won by Graham Bayley on his red L.E.
A Trip Down Memory Lane.
I recently received an email from Derek Trayler, who some of the older Club members may remember from the early days, with some of his memories and photographs of his machines. He writes…..
We were members of the LE Velo club and went on many trips until
our first child came along. We took our first by air to travel
round Europe staying with friends as we had little money. The
earlier machine photo was taken in Holland when we went on tour
of Europe in 1954. We flew by Silver City Airways from Lydd in
Kent to Le Torque in France which was rather unusual at the time
and impossible now.
The L.E. was second hand and we bought a new one when we joined the club. It was two tone grey and green with a dual seat which wasn’t strictly legal at the time. It had the improved oil system with exterior filter and the three plate cutch which didn’t slip as much. Some of the club members with the earlier model had a hole drilled in the side so they could inject Carbon Tech in to degrease the clutch plates when they got oily.
The foot change was a big improvement but the metal clutch was a
pain as it wouldn’t slip when you left it out over night or
didn’t ride it every day. Once my second child was born I
realised my motorcycling days were over and bought a car.
The windscreen I fitted was not ideal as it tended to slip back in high wind so I bought the Olicana windscreen, with adjustable top section, not much seen nowadays, for my next bike which was a two tone cream and green. We took it to Jersey in 1956 and it had to be loaded by crane and stored in the hold which meant we had to be on the dockside 4 hours before sailing. It was quite nerve wracking watching your new bike being hoisted over the water by a dockside crane. The second picture was taken with my new bike and wife Vivienne in 1958 at Windsor by the Thames. I still rode the bike afterwards for work but with a baby, the future family trips were all by car.
We had many trips with the L.E. Velo club. On one occasion we stayed in a hotel in Devon. The owners were very “Country” and were happy to accept a group booking from a club that had a Group Captain as president without realising it was a motorcycle club!!! The truth be told, most of the members were car owners as well. The LE being rather expensive to buy when compared to other lightweight bikes.
When we went up some of the high peaks in Cornwall, the pillion rider had to slide off as the Elle couldn’t manage with two on board due to the high gearing and lack of power.
On a trip to Wales we had a lot of trouble with bikes misfiring and it turned out to be the suppressors fitted to the sparking plugs so that they didn’t interfere with the new TV sets that rich people were buying at that time.
Sadly all I have left is my wife, some happy memories and the club badge, from about 1956, which has faded badly like me. I am over 80 now, with a poor sense of balance, I look at bikes and my wife says, Don’t you dare!
INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC BIKE SHOW STAFFORD 2013
LE Velo Stand - A good turnout of shiny machinery!
From Preston in Lancashire there was David Ball with a really lovely and very early1948 Mk I- It’s the best one I’ve ever seen and is an absolute credit to him, it was a huge and much photographed attraction on the stand - it should have been given an award for best in show..... But then I’ll admit to being biased!
All the way from Perth in Scotland came Royce Limb with his rally award winning green Mk3
From Hayes in Middlesex came Jerry Cox with his much modified MK3 This bike has footrests suspended off tubular extensions to the radiator frame and electric fans to assist cooling. Jerry was using his visit to promote the London Motorcycle Museum; spending two whole days talking to people and giving out leaflets ...After so much effort the least we can now do is to go and visit
More locally Fred Bannister showed a very original and well turned out Mk 2. This bike is always immaculate and was ridden to the show ...even though Fred had to endure a hail shower along the way. Ouch!
From Halifax in Yorkshire came Malc Skinner with his lovely and very shiny Viceroy. Malcolm is a terrific supporter of the Club; without him and his specialist knowledge there would be very few Viceroys left! There surely cannot be a single Viceroy owner who has not benefited from knowing Malcolm.
Ian Glover rode his Vogue From Stoke on Trent...Good Vogues are getting hard to come by and this is one of the best and in the original coffee and cream livery
Tom Shucker showed a fairly original Mk2 from 1952 (wrongly labelled by me as 1958 (my apologies to Tom)
In an elevated position, in the centre position was the “Manx Valiant special” of Mick Sygrove; this bike with its twin leading shoe Venom brake and other mods’ always creates a lot of interest.
Also capturing attention was the John Rose sectioned engines and transmissions: These are hugely useful in explaining the workings to owners, would be owners and Joe Public..... Although the number of people who remain confused when they see the crankcase with the LE barrel on one side and the Valiant barrel on the other continues to amaze me! They usually ask if Velo actually made such an engine. And of course there was also the hovercraft engine with its White Nile legend.
As an aside; the Big Velo Club had hijacked Jim Wright’s black and chrome Valiant for the hundredth anniversary of Velocette, and very nice it looked too. Jim compensated by giving us help on our stand on all three days...their loss, our gain!
Our background display comprised Velo’s original advertising material, four roller banners and new to the stand, a montage of lovely pictures provided by Alan Crotty; Alan is more normally known for his railway pictures - See his fabulous web site. These photographs were of an Mk3 LE and ‘Policeman’ (Richard Downs) Thanks to both Alan and Richard.....I was hugely impressed by the sheer quality of the photography and will get them made up into proper roller banners for next year.
Did we do what we were supposed to - Or In modern parlance did we fulfil our mission statement?
· To recruit new Club members.
· To improve the image of the flat twins.
· To Share knowledge.
I think so!
And I would particularly like to thank Andrew Biddle, John Rose, Robin Grey and his son Ben for doing so much to make the stand a success ....They are always there and do so much to set up the stand, transport display material and especially pack it all away at the end of the show. I’m incredibly grateful, especially as Ben has to take a day’s holiday from work just to help!
I’m now focusing on next year; undoubtedly we will use some of this year’s machines again, but we will always need “new blood” in order to keep the interest; so if you have a really attractive bike contact me either through the Forum site or my home address (listed in the register of members)
The L.E. Velo Club National Rally ~ 9th September 2012
The Club had a fine and warm day, although it did get breezy in the afternoon, at The Gliding Centre, Husbands Bosworth Airfield, Lutterworth, Leicestershire. This was a new venue for the L.E. Velo Club from that of our previous rallies. The Gliding Club were most helpful and delineated our area prior to the day with tape, so it remained for Dennis and his helpers to mark our area out within the set limits at the start of the day. Most members who expressed a view about the venue spoke highly of it and we have asked if we can go back there next year. The photos below are a couple of general views of the bikes.
I think the attendance was greater than at Stanford Hall in most recent years although it was difficult to judge given the size of the site. I twice set off down the line of bikes with the intention of counting them up but was waylaid both times, so gave up! There were certainly far more Valiants there than in most years - possibly 8-10, I guess.
The photo below is Dennis Frost and Robert Cross discussing the plan of action regarding the Udall Trophy. The Spares marquee, staffed by the Manchester group, is visible in the background. The gliders were too far away to photograph readily, although if I had thought I might have been able to get a view with a glider being towed into the air. Maybe one for next year.
(Click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.)
STANFORD HALL 2008 (Sunday 28th. September)
(Click on picture to view larger image)
Although the meeting was approx. 14 days later in the year than normal, we were once again very lucky with the weather, clear blue skies and strong sunshine. Our normal spot under the trees and by the river was allocated this year to the Scott Owner Club and we had the adjacent field which we shared with the Austin 7 Club. However we had a good turnout of bikes with, this year, a predominance of red and white machines!
A new trophy was donated by Robert Cross of Silent Stainless Steel in memory of Charles Udall. This is to be given to the best turned out bike at the Rally. This year it was won by Malcolm Skinner for his well turned out Viceroy. (see photos)
The picture of the model of a single cylinder Velocette was made from scrap wood/metal by a member who gave me his name and address that I have promptly lost! So if he can contact me I will send him a full set of photographs that I took with my compliments.
One intrepid member rode his Velocette all the way from Scotland! The spares tent was manned by Don Thompson (over from Spain), John Davies, John Dodd and his wife Allison etc., and sales were brisk. Lunch was taken at the quaint hall's cafe and a walk round the hall helped the digestion!
As the day drew on the wind picked up a little and the temperature dropped but the sun still shone. The journey back to Manchester was uneventful with the car occupants fully enjoying the day!
You must try to come next year.
ASTLEY PIT 2008 North West Branch 14th Annual Rally (Sunday 6th July)
(Click on any picture to view larger image)
This is the first time I have reported on this rally, it is my local one and is held within the grounds of a famous ex-coal mining pit now run as a museum. It has the last remaining pit head winding structure in the area, once dominated with coal mines.
However we don't seem to be blessed with the good weather as we do at Stanford Hall. This year in started with rain, strong sunshine in the afternoon followed be rain again in the evening. Having said this we has a good turnout and at one point we had about 150 bikes on site. The rally is open to any make of bike or rider, two, three or four wheels driven by petrol, diesel, electric or steam!! These can be seen in the accompanying photos. Every visitor receives a medallion to mark the occasion. There are ample supplies of bacon or sausage barmcakes and tea etc. laid on by the caterers. This must help to bring the bikes in! Spares for the L.E.'s were on sale and hidden away round the corner a 5.5" gauge model diesel electric train was running to entertain the children (and adults).
In all a satisfying day and we shall look forward to the 2009's event.
STANFORD HALL 2006 (Sunday 17th. September)
(Click on any picture to view larger image)
The day was as perfect, weather wise, as you could wish for. Beautiful blue skies with temperatures to match. There was an excellent turn out with all types of L.E.'s represented save a Vee Line Valiant. A new Leval, made a debut giving a total of two, both causing a lot of interest. For my money the best bike at the show was a Mk3, the one used for the photographs of our new president, it is owned by Ivor Barrow of Norfolk. In conversation he told me that the exceptional finish was obtained from spray cans and he did not use a finishing lacquer. It was like mirrored glass! Our new President is Pauline Arculus and is shown in the photograph with her husband Dick.
The club spares stand was again presented by Don Thompson / John Davis and colleagues, and did brisk trade. Their work is greatly appreciated as the day starts with loading the van at Bullersend on Saturday and finishing late on Sunday after unloading again. Well done to all! The event is also a good day for private traders to sell all manner of bits and pieces. The Viceroy shown in the photographs would make an interesting challenge. Dennis Frost our club historian was present and answered volumes of questions prompted by members.
An excellent Lunch at the Hall's cafe was had by myself and colleagues from Manchester. and later the trek home up the M6 with speed restrictions applied making the journey hell, three lanes of metal stop starting for about 15 miles, for no reason but to control but hey that's another topic!
A very enjoyable and relaxing day. There is something about Stanford Hall that makes it so! Try and make it next year, you will not be disappointed.