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Track Days

posted 2 Nov 2015, 12:30 by Section Webmaster

News for November 2015 from Robert Bensley

The car track day at Snetterton on 6th December is now well over half full. If you would like to join in, please get the forms back to Robert as soon as possible (if you need them sent to you, please contact
For 2016, Robert has been offered Cadwell Park on Sunday February 28th for a sessioned car day. As with all of our days, we run significantly less cars than the maximum allowed, with 25 cars in a group. The cost would be £95 per place, with no extra charge for additional drivers or passengers. If you are interested please let Robert know by return.
Bike dates for your 2016 diary are; 
Monday May 9th at Snetterton (this day would have to be well supported early in the year to go ahead)
Monday June 20th at Cadwell Park
Monday August 8th Snetterton.

Member Profile - Arthur Reid

posted 3 Mar 2014, 13:14 by Section Webmaster   [ updated 3 Mar 2014, 13:37 ]

Member Profile - Godfrey (Godders) Potter

posted 28 Jul 2013, 15:22 by Section Webmaster

I've a confession to make, i.e. that I'm a hypocrite. Well, because I readily deride people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc. on the basis that these people are just weak-willed, but I am a true addict - to motor bikes !!

It started in 1957 when my dad bought me my first motorbike, actually it was on a sort of 'shared' system because he had to work early on Sunday mornings but there weren't any buses running, so he would ride it to work & I would take a 'hot' lunch to him by bus, then pick up the bike. This Ariel 350 Red Hunter of 1936 vintage did me sterling service for several years (No CBT, capacity restrictions etc. in those days, one just slapped a couple of 'L' plates on any bike you could afford. In my opinion not necessarily a good thing as I think that today's motorcyclists have a safer start.)

The next motorised 2-wheeler was a twin, seemed like heady stuff, two cylinders = twice as fast/ twice the street cred, well in those days! A 350 Triumph 3T 1948, which came from a local dealer on H.P. Mistake, I don't think I've ever been so hard up in my life! & the bike was just about the biggest pile of c*** I've owned!


The exact order & actual bikes have now somewhat been blurred with age-related memory, but the ones that come to mind are various ex WD (Ex army) bikes, another 350 Ariel - would pull out tree stumps in bottom gear! - a Matchless 350, which someone had converted to a trials bike, a side valve 500 Norton model 16H with a tradesman's box sidecar fitted. A return to 'Civilian' bikes followed a Royal Enfield 1140 V-Twin,1936, once again with a box sidecar fitted. An interesting bike, unreliable but good fun, hand gear change, took some getting used to. Then a 500 Norton ES2 model 1952, this time with a child/adult sidecar, this pulled like a steam train but the sidecar had been home made & was also a bit long in the tooth so I got what seemed like a bit better machine, a BSA 600 M21 with a child/adult Watsonian sidecar; it didn't go half as well as the Norton, but it served a purpose.


Right, this is looking like a list of bikes "Wot I have Owned"! Anyway up until the early '60's, there were numerous escapades on bikes involving visits to the northern race tracks, camping in the Lake District, Scotland, & elsewhere, one Scottish adventure where I was an unwitting "Gooseberry" in the company of the present Yorkshire social secretary & husband, but despite this, they've been married since around that time!

Then my mate of the time & myself decided we would like to go sidecar road racing; however, when looking into the cost it was out of the question so we hit upon the idea of going sidecar grass track racing. We built up an outfit with various materials & engine/frames, bits which we had & raced until '64 with a fair degree of failure! but a huge degree of fun & learning. Until I fell out of the chair & was run over by a following outfit suffered a broken femur, broken ribs & some enamel chipped off my teeth (did I say 'FUN'?)

After nearly twelve months when things had mainly healed, other domestic circumstances required my moving to tropical regions - Surrey!- then marriage, & family followed so that motorcycling was put on the 'back-burner' so to speak, but when getting a job in central London the requirement of a suitable method of commuting took preference, I couldn't bear the thought of travelling by tube every day! this being '74, so a 175 Honda was acquired, followed by a 750 Norton Commando! which was stolen, a 650 Honda was bought with the insurance money. An unmemorable bike despite being my very first new vehicle. However it presented me with a 'life changing' experience, sort of.

 In 1980 a work colleague convinced me to go with him on a trip to the Monaco F1 GP, he said that he'd organise it all, when asked about accommodation, his reply was that as we were going to be wearing m/bike gear, we could sleep 'rough'! in field corners etc. well this being my first trip abroad on a bike I thought everybody did this sort of thing. Well to cut a long story short, it did work & we had a whale of a time, to say the least. The trip gave me more of an insight as to what one can achieve on a m/bike. When people say that life begins at 40, they are a bit out, mine took on a new lease at 39!!

A Moto Guzzi Le Mans ll, new, was next which I fell in love with. During the period of ownership of this 'ItalianStallion', a member of that club had started Sprint Hill Climbing so I thought "H'mm, I wouldn't mind having a go at that" So a 'Basket Case' Honda 250 super dream was bought which I lightened, tuned & off I went, this being '85. There wasn't anything remotely resembling success with this bike, except a heck of a lot fun with a steep learning curve. In the Road Legal class, my bike was a Yamaha 350 LC which got me the National Championship for 4 years, 3 of which were 'on the trot' '90-'95 when my career in this field was terminated by having a mishap & breaking a femur & yes, you've guessed it, the right one again!! The Le Mans proved to be unsuitable as a pillion carrier so the obvious choice was a BMW, despite my preconceived ideas about them at that time, but I knew that the club had an enviable reputation on the social aspect of motorcycling. So in '89 a R100RS of 1980 vintage was purchased. A beautiful looking bike & compared to the previous one, very comfortable. In fact on a trip into France shortly after getting it, my wife, Chris, on the pillion fell asleep whilst we were going fairly 'briskly' !!

 The BMW club was joined in the London section, new friends made, interesting trips gone on both British & 'sur le Continent' Other BMW's were bought because, well I know it sounds silly, but the R100RS was just too pretty for me to keep up to! A good deal was on offer on a new K100RS at Alan Jeffries, so a deal was done, delivered to my door by no less a person than David Jeffries!

Around this time I started going to the Southern section natter nights, then the London section moved their club night's location to places that were not easy for me to get to, so the solution was for me to transfer to the Southern section. A decision which I/we have not regretted one iota! Great company, good laughs, a wonderful source of information, not just about m/bikes, but life in general, especially one particular time when I was in need of consoling during a personal loss.

My present bike is my second R1200RT, which I must admit to becoming rather fond of, only having done some 8,000 miles, & hopefully going to enjoy a lot more.

If you've read this epistle so far, then I haven't quite perfected the cure for insomnia!!!

 "Happy Biking"





Member Profile - Steve Smith

posted 20 Apr 2012, 16:44 by Section Webmaster

I like to think I found BMW motorcycles early in life as I first bought a GS 1150 in stunning blue and white back in 2001. I was 34 at the time and had a good few mates still riding racer reps which were mainly Jap bikes.

The bike I sold to buy the BMW was a Suzuki 1200 Bandit and although I thought that was a good bike nothing set me up for sitting up high and comfortable on the GS with heated grips and panniers for touring. The gearbox on the 2001 model I bought was clunky as hell but the bike rode really well especially during spirited riding. I found the handling to be superb if a little unusual in so much as the bike would go from huge lean angle to the opposite lean which seemed as if I would never stay on. The first track day I did on this bike was amazing in that I worked out you could do pretty much anything on it.

I have a chequered history of riding all types of bikes from age 16 including, Simpson 50, Suzuki 125 GS, Suzuki SP 400, Suzuki RF 600, Kawasaki ZZR 600, Suzuki 1200 Bandit, Honda VFR 800, Harley Davidson V Rod Night Rod Special, Kawasaki ZZR 1400 twice, Kawaski 1500, Kawasaki 200 trail bike etc.

When my wife asks me what I get out of riding my motorbike I often answer, clear the head and chill out but this couldn’t be farther from the truth really. I try very hard to be a safe rider and find that as I ride only at weekends and some evenings I concentrate so hard I get tired. This does clear my head of the day to day stuff so I guess one part is right anyway. I think bikers have a very different and more open approach to meeting others regardless of what style of bike they ride and have spoken with many strangers that I would not normally meet in my day to day life. I find this part of biking a real incentive to get out there and ride.

I have done many European trips over the years when finances and family life has allowed and visited Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. I have also had a trip riding a Harley Davidson for a week in Florida to Bikeweek at Daytona. My last trip abroad was last summer with a mate on a Kawasaki 650. We caught the ferry to Santander and then headed off into the Pyrenees and found some amazing roads with stunning scenery. We stayed at whichever town we were closest to and had good fun in Pamplona to name just one. The riding is the focus of the trips for me and I love mountainous hairpins with tight turns and twists either up or downhill.

The best bike in the world for my money is my Black GS1150 Adventure which I bought from CW’s back in 2003.

I only took my nearly new gs 1150 in for a service but the little buggers there gave me a test Adventure to try out and by the time I returned (5 hours later), I was smitten. This bike has given me great memories and such stable, exciting and reliable riding over the last eight years  I find it hard to contemplate selling her. I think we have many trips in us for many years to come but my head could get turned by a new model with the character that this bike has.

I have just returned from a holiday in Florida where I hired a Harley for a day which picked up a flat tyre whilst in the middle of nowhere.

The sign next to the area I stopped at  proclaimed it was the green swamp wilderness preserve and whilst waiting for a replacement to be delivered to me and the flat one collected I spent three hours thinking about what a great day it is when you ride any bike anywhere. The replacement bike arrived before I was attacked by the Gators and I continued on a really good day out. This photo shows one of my daughters on the replacement which came with a stereo and cd player !

 Of course she made me ride her around the town with One Direction (a boy band ), on loud which did wonders for my street cred! I am really looking forward to the calendar of events with the BMW club for 2012 to make new memories of fun with friends sometimes at speed and sometimes in the bar.

Steve Smith based in Poole, Dorset.


Member Profiles

posted 2 Jan 2012, 15:19 by Section Webmaster

Our Chairman, Richard Tavener, has come up with a great idea for an addition to our website.
We are going to have a Southern Section Member Profile of the month. We would be most grateful if you would all participate and send us in your biking profile to be chosen by our Webmaster as the SS Member Profile of the month.

It was suggested that Bruce Preston should be our first Member Profile:



Like seemingly every budding motorcyclist of my generation my life on a powered two wheeler began when I bought a BSA Bantam in 1951.  I was just 16. My BMW connection, at least my psychological one, began at the same time; whenever I had a problem with the Bantam I pushed it round to the dealer in the next street in Hammersmith, where I grew up. This happened to be MLG, the only dedicated BMW dealer in the country.  It was then that I began my lifelong friendship with Charles Lock, the L in MLG, and we remain friends to this day.


It was in 1957 that I joined the BMW Club.  My membership number was 150 and there were just 80 members!  Following the birth of my daughter Jill I bought a R67/2 with Steib TR500 on the side, unsurprisingly from MLG! The motivation?  I was fed up with dirty, greasy chains that always needed adjusting.  I immediately fell in love with the 600cc BMW engine and have owned a BMW almost ever since (when my son Mark was born in 1960 the outfit had to make way for a car so I invested £25 in a MAC Velocette,  which served me well for a year  until I could afford another BMW). An R51/3 came next and, in 1964, the R60/2 replaced it.  I still have the R60 (always my favourite bike) and it is used regularly.  Other BMWs came and went, the R80G/S was wonderful but the pillion seat was painful so a R100SRS replaced it.  This model was intended for the Australian police but it never happened and BMW marketed it as the SRS, a white bike with blue and red pin striping.  That gave way to an R80RT – I wanted a fairing.  Finally, ten years ago, an R1100RT took its places. The two BMWs sit happily side by side in the garage with a 350cc Velocette Viper, bought in a box in the 1960s but now rebuilt, to keep them honest. Bertie Goodman owned Velocette and we became good friends as he was president of the BMF.  Even though I don’t ride the Velo often (Brenda refuses to go on the pillion!) I love looking at it in the garage.


After a year in the BMW Club I ‘volunteered’ to become social secretary.  There was no competition for the job and a year later Herbert Kennard, another good friend, retired as Editor so, as no one else wanted the job I stepped in, figuring that the club needed an Editor more than it needed a Social Secretary.  Another youngster joined the club at the same time as me.  His name was Keith Sanders.  We were about the same age, which was about quarter of   a century younger than the remainder of the membership; we made a good team when Keith became Sports Secretary. Within a few years the membership increased to over 500, we started printing the club magazine on Keith’s mother’s kitchen table and we subjected our BMWs to the torture of the Lands End and Exeter trials.  Sadly Keith had a stroke and died at the age of 50.  I lost a very good friend.


I retired as BMW club magazine Editor in 1967 but my years pounding the typewriter keys had given me the writing bug and I became editor of the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) magazine, and then called Unity.  Soon I changed the name to Motorcycle Rider.  After about ten years in the editorial chair I became Chairman of the BMF.  At the same time I was touring editor of Motorcycle Sport and wrote also for Motorcycle Mechanics, What Bike, Motorcycle News, Motorcycle Weekly and the Lancashire Evening Post.  Oh yes, I also had a day job at the Daily Mail as a camera operator. Where did I find the time? 

The Daily Mail made me redundant in 1989 so I settled down to devote myself to writing.  I had just finished writing BMW Motorcycles, The Complete Story when  my friend Greg Harrison of  the American Motorcyclist Association asked if I would help to lead a motorcycle tour in the UK.  Not ‘arf.  That just grew and grew and soon, more than ably assisted by my wife Brenda, we were leading tours in New Zealand, South Africa, the Alps, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Spain and Portugal and Ireland plus of course, the original UK tour. A great job for it gave me unlimited copy for Motorcycle Sport and the chance to see much of the world.  I’d visited New Zealand a dozen times before the AMA pulled the plug on running motorcycle tours and it is very distressing to see Christchurch, one of our favourite cities, suffering so much.


Now I m back to square one, just an ordinary club member enjoying being in the Southern Section.  I still love foreign travel and every January Brenda and I fly to South Africa where we wallow in the luxury of our son Mark’s holiday home on the Garden Route, also riding the Suzuki Vstrom 1000 he keeps there.

One of my best rides?  Riding from London to Vienna, a thousand miles in a day on a K100LT with my youngest son Simon on the pillion, we also rode to an FIM Rally in Sweden in two days – on a 125 Honda!  The toughest?  Taking R100 Paris Dakar with Brenda on the back to the top of the unmade Sani Pass, which connects South Africa to Lesotho, two hours of very challenging riding.  I was feeling very pleased with myself until a Mercedes truck laden with stock and with men sitting on the top appeared around the corner.  So that explained why we saw so many trucks lying on their roofs in gullies! We have taken many memorable rides and we both feel that motorcycling has been very good to us.  Plus we have made some wonderful friends around the world.  The BMW Club has been a huge part of our lives, the best being the friendships that have endured. 


Dave & Myf's Tips on What to Pack

posted 1 Sept 2011, 06:59 by Section Webmaster   [ updated 1 Sept 2011, 07:03 ]

I attach a comprehensive list of what to take with you on holiday, kindly provided by Dave & Myf. How they manage to get all of this on their bike I have no idea!

Trish On the Go

posted 30 May 2011, 15:47 by Section Webmaster

Glad to hear that Richard has finally managed to put Trish's bike back together again. Not a BMW, but we all have to start somewhere!

Gail's Walk

posted 30 May 2011, 15:36 by Section Webmaster

We all joined Gail for a walk from Uplands Hotel and a well deserved pub lunch at half-time. The weather wasn't too bad, but we could have done without the hailstones on the way back!

Skittles 2011

posted 30 May 2011, 10:24 by Section Webmaster

Everyone had a great time playing skittles at the Milbury pub in Beauworth near Cheriton.

BMW Off Road Skills Course

posted 4 Mar 2011, 14:34 by Bob Mack   [ updated 20 Nov 2014, 13:34 by Section Webmaster ]

Steve and I have signed up for the BMW off road skills course to be held on the 22/23 July 2011.
It's something that I've always fancied doing but never had the time to do it.
Ken Smale went on it a while ago and enjoyed it so much he wrote an article on the experience.
We plan to travel down on the Thurs evening and stay that night and Friday night at a nearby pub. There's plenty of spaces left on the course on those dates.
Have a look on and book up to come with us.

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