Top Men For The Top Jobs
- Mike Rapley
Back in August I wrote about the Torridge Club who had just organised a successful British Championship round and also referred to Brian Higgins of the Torridge Club who was likely to be voted in as Chairman of the ACU from next month.
Well, I can now confirm that Brian Higgins has been voted into that position, and he will be the ACU Chairman for the next three years. And it is John Collins who has been voted as Deputy Chairman of the ACU.
Now as far as I am concerned, it would be hard to find two individuals better suited to these posts and I think it would be very difficult to find two persons who are as dedicated to the ACU and the sport as a whole than Brian and John.
As I wrote back in August, Brian has been a long time friend – when I lived in Devon I travelled to a number of trials with him in his Mini pick up; I recall us going to a Welsh national, maybe it was the Mitchell or the St Davids, and I definitely remember going to the Allan Jefferies with him and Geoff Parken in a Transit van.
Even in those far off days, Brian was a class act when it came to organising trials; his South West Experts ran for a number of years with a reputation as being one of the best South Western trials.
From those days he progressed to leading teams of Torridge Club workers organising British Championship enduros and championship motocross events and currently he is at the helm of the premier motocross championship series in the UK.
As a rider, as well as being South West Centre Trials Champion many times, he has also ridden a dozen Scottish Six Days Trials, been a member of the British ISDE team and has been a decent motocross rider in his day.
So at least the ACU has as its Chairman a person who can confidently
say he has been there and done that. Yet when I spoke to him this week to congratulate him on his appointment, he was quick to point out that he has a lot to learn still when it comes to grass track racing and road racing, for whilst these events are held by promoters, they still come under the auspices of the ACU. “I’ll be at the Scottish this year to see both trials and of course I’ll be at the Isle of Man for the TT to understand all aspects of the sport the ACU governs”.
John Collins will be familiar to many trials men who log on to this website, as John, currently Chairman of the ACU Trials Committe and a member of the FIM enduro commission, regularly responds to postings on this website, with thoughtful, sensible replies to whatever the subject that currently occupies readers’ interests.
At one time John was a schoolteacher but he now runs a small Welsh bike business, but as I understand it, his dedication lies with Welsh bike sport and the ACU. On a personal level I have ridden with John in British Championship enduros and have also shared many hours with him at past ISDEs, and I can confidently say that like Brian, he is an ideal man for the job.
One of the inherent failings of the ACU ever since I have been involved with the sport is that the hierarchy has always seemed to be distant from the sport on the ground. That may not be a fair comment, but even so, that’s how I’ve seen it. I know that Jim Webb, the most recent Chairman has done a huge amount to counteract that impression, and whilst it may be difficult to see it from the stand point of being an occasional trials rider, I know it to be true.
However, for the next three years at least, the ACU’s top two men are definitely “one of the lads”. Never let it be said that they don’t know what they are talking about, because they HAVE been quality competitors, excellent organisers and good communicators, so in my view, we are in good hands.
I congratulate them both for their dedication and enthusiasm in seeing our sport prosper and thrive during a difficult financial and environmental time. They will undoubtedly have to make difficult decisions, but I have every confidence in them both as they head up the organisation that runs our sport as we head into the second decade of the 21st century.