Posted by ColinSteer On February - 1 - 2009

The Lakeland Section Celebrates 40 Years

In April 1969 a group of Vintage motorcycle enthusiasts met at Threlkeld near Keswick hoping to set up a local section of the Vintage Motorcycle Club.  The Lakeland Section was subsequently born with several of the current members present at that initial meeting.  In particular, Ron Pears our current president and David Wilson who has held the position of Treasurer for the full forty years!

The fortieth anniversary of the Lakeland Section was marked this year when members met for a celebratory dinner at the Skiddaw Hotel in Keswick.  Founder members who could be contacted were invited to join us for the occasion.  Some were unable to attend for a number of reasons, but Tom Richardson, best known for the highly popular Hesket Weekend was due to be with us.  Sadly, a week before the dinner, Tom passed away quietly and peacefully.  He was remembered by those present who stood in silent respect for Tom and others recently lost to the club.

Over the years, the Lakeland Section has established a number of memorable events that have attracted V.M.C.C. members from all over Britain and Ireland.  Ron Pears summarised the first forty years in his address:-

“Welcome to everyone, so nice to see so many familiar faces and a few from a few years ago.  Forty years, where have all the years gone?

Let us think back a few years to before the Lakeland Section was even thought about.  We had the Westmorland, the Cumberland, Wigton, Penrith and West Cumberland Motorcycle Clubs running scrambles, trials and occasional road trials.  In the summer almost weekend had a scramble and in winter many trials.  Competition bikes were not as specialised in those days and many trials bikes had sprockets and rear tyres changed and ridden to work on Monday morning.

The Penrith and District Motor Club was resurrected after the war and was where I met Mr. Richard Wilson (Dick) to us youngsters.

He was a fellside farmer with a great love of motorbikes.  Gathering sheep on the fellsides on a motorbike was good practice for trials riding.  He was a great two stroke man, owning a Scott, Levis and a three cylinder Saab car, plus a 1911 Premier single speed, belt drive, no clutch motorcycle.  Riding this bike to catch the Isle of Man ferry to take part in the Vintage Runs was a dodgy business, trying to time his arrival at traffic lights to catch them at green so as not to stop and restart in busy Liverpool.

Mr. Wilson had joined the V.M.C.C. in the 50’s and attended a few rallies which he enjoyed, and eventually persuaded me that this was the thing to do.  So after restoring a 1922 two speed belt drive Raleigh, Dick and I attended Vintage events in Scotland, I.O.M. and Yorkshire.

As these events were a fair distance away, Dick decided it would be a good thing if a local section was formed in Cumbria. Not only would it be handy, but we could return the hospitality and friendliness that we had found at other events.

He also thought I was the person to do it and as I was a bit slow on the uptake, his way home to Gamblesby from Penrith market day was via Plumpton, calling at Brockley Moor to see Kathleen and impress upon her what a grand idea this was.  As you can see, I had no chance.

After contacting people we knew who were interested in old bikes, a meeting was held at Plumpton in early 1969 attended by Malcolm Tyson (Threlkeld), Tom Richardson, Dick Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Tucker, David Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Pears and Michael.

After discussion it was decided to apply to the V.M.C.C. Headquarters for permission to form a section.  This was granted and at a meeting at the Salutation Inn, Threlkeld attended by Mr. Bill Hume, a member of the management committee of the V.M.C.C., the Lakeland Section  was officially formed.

The officers were Chairman, Mr. R. Wilson, Secretary Ron Pears, Treasurer Mr. David Wilson and the Committee Mr. M. Tyson, Mr. Tom Richardson, Mr. and Mrs. Tucker, Mrs. Pears and Mr. M. Pears.

Soon we were joined by a good number of local enthusiasts and ran few local events.  Then in 1973 Tom Richardson organised his Hesket Newmarket event helped by his family and local people.  This grew into a two day event and over the years attracted entries of over 100 machines from all over England, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.  The event still goes on after Tom’s retirement in 2006 and last week we were all shocked at Tom’s passing.  We will all miss a Cumbrian character.

The South Lakes Mountain Run a very popular event taking in the passes of Wrynose and Hardknott has built up a  huge entry and has to have a limit put on entries.  Steve Jenkins ran this event for many years and it is now being run very ably by our Chairman Colin Steer.

The Lakeland Rally, a two day event, has had various venues to operate from, but always attracts a good entry and for the last few years our friends from the Isle of Man seem to have made it an annual extended weekend.   I am sure Bill Bewley has quite a lot to do with this, as he and Stan Harper take them on extended tours of our countryside on their spare days.

Who could forget the Round Cumbria runs with an overnight stop at Arnside Youth Hostel organised by Brian Empsall.  One year we went in a clockwise direction and the next year anticlockwise – great fun.

Our Coast to Coast Run with the overnight stop and social evening at Richmond was organised by Eddie Stephenson.  We left St. Bees at 9 a.m. and after what seemed to be 200 miles we finally left Cumbria about 3 p.m. (wonderful).  Thanks Eddie – when are you returning to the fold?

It is good to see our friends from Dumfries, Mr. and Mrs. Ron Scott and family who ran the Border Run for a number of years.  Wonderful scenery and routes with great scenic lunch stops, and the refreshments at their home was certainly worth travelling to Dumfries for.  Thank you.

The Lakeland Section has provided two National Presidents, both very able and a great credit to the Section; Steve Jenkins did two years and I am sure Geoff Brazendale did almost two years.  But Geoff steals the show with his display of gas lamps which at times gets slightly out of hand and needs various methods of gaining control, either by wrapping them in newspaper before the smoke alarms are activated, or alerting the Fire Service.  Geoff is also a member of the Headquarters Management Committee, probably teaching them about carbide lights.

Over the years we have had many Chairmen, Secretaries and Committee members all doing their bit.  But I must congratulate our Treasurer Mr, David Wilson on forty years dedicated service.

Our Section members are always keen, none more so than the Barrow boys and the West Cumbrians, putting on runs and arranging runs to lunchtime venues.  We value your enthusiasm and humour.

On behalf of Kathleen and myself, the V.M.C.C. and especially the Lakeland Section has brought us many wonderful friends and fond memories of a big happy family.  Here’s to the next ten years!  Thanks to you all.”

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