The Names You Remember First

I try not to make glaring errors in my columns, and whilst it’s always difficult to know when you’ve made them (because they are errors) unless somebody tells me, I did realise when it was too late last week that whilst I always associated Brian Higgins with the Torridge Club from the days when I lived in the South West, in more recent years it has been the West Devon MC with which he has been associated and that’s the club which organised the British Championship motocross and enduro events to which I referred.
Glad to have put that straight – nobody reminded me, I just realised far too late that I had made a mistake.

Selecting a subject for the current columns frequently occupies many hours of thought as each day passes, but thinking about Higgins and the Torridge/West Devon clubs, got me round to thinking about the vast number of individuals associated with particular clubs.

Inevitably, picking one person out from each club is asking for hassle via a vast number of phone calls, e-mails, letters and angry remarks at trials from folks saying that every club is about a collection of individuals, all contributing in their own way.

Even so, I’ll risk it, for today I went to the Manchester 17 club’s Boxing Day Trial at Roman Lakes, which was probably the only trial in the north this Boxing Day to have taken place. Secretary Ken Roberts is the name regularly associated with Man 17 trials, along with many other regulars.
And ask any trials rider from more than 15 years ago about the British Experts and they’ll surely mention Graham Harrison who was always at the helm of that once prestigious trial – along with the Victory Trial.

Up in Yorkshire, Angela Sunter followed by Rhona Peacock are the “faces “ of Richmond; Margaret Myers has been the secretary of Wetherby for as long as I can remember whilst Margaret Whitlow has performed the same job at Rochdale for many years. Over at Ripon it is Keith and Judith Blythe who one first thinks of whilst at Yeadon and Guiseley Sue Smith handles the entries.

Up in Scotland for the Scottish, Jim McColm was the man to see if you wanted to know anything and whilst he has been succeeded by “Highland Lassie – Marie”, Jim is still around and about most years.

It may well be over 32 years since I left the West Country and moved north, but even now, two old hands still manage Devon Clubs. Colin Somers is the Otter Vale secretary, the club of which I was once treasurer – and he lives in Bournemouth which is a fair hike from the Honiton/Ottery St Mary area where the club operates and at the West of England club, Vic Ashford remains the name everybody recognises first – and Vic has been the club secretary for what seems like hundreds of years.

But these folks are not alone, clubs around the country from north to south, east to west rely on somebody holding the organisation together. You will know your local club members to whom you would first speak should you want to know something about the club with which they are associated. And all those who put in so much work, organising events in whatever shape or form should be appreciated, and here and now is a good place to put that recognition into place.

It was rather forgetful of me last week to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, so as it’s Boxing Day evening as I write, let me confirm it now and also say that I wish you a successful and enjoyable year of trials in 2011, for when my next column appears the year 2010 will have ended and the year 2011 will have begun.

Ed: Not only will next week mark the start of a new year, but it will also be Mike's 200th column since joining Trials Central. Sadly, it will also be his final column as, after almost four year of making a very popular and valuable contribution to this website he has decided to retire and hang up his keyboard. Be sure to check back for what will undoubtedly be interesting parting words from our popular columnist.