Wakefield MAG June 2009 Newsletter

Dear Wakefield MAG member,

Welcome to the Wakefield MAG e-newsletter. If you can’t attend our Wednesday meetings regularly, it’s the next best thing to keep you up to date with what we are up to.


1) Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala Bike Show Report
2) MAG National Demo Run Report
3) Lord Stones Cafe Rideout Report
4) Evening Run to York MAG / York Bike Night
5) FYP Update
6) New Bike Test
7) VJMC Show
8) ITV Products
9) Rally Tickets
10) Forthcoming Events (June and Beyond)

1) Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala Bike Show Report

Typical really, warm dry weather for several days before, then come the Bank Holiday Monday and it rains.  Still, it wouldn't be a British Bank Holiday without rain, and wind, and below seasonal temperatures !!!

Wakefield MAG have put on a bike show at the Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala (and Summer Garden Party before that) for a good number of years now.  The bikes add to the many attractions at the Gala including a funfair, laser-quest, donkey rides, climbing wall, sheepdog demonstrations, falconry display, clowns, stilt walker, craft fair, cheerleaders and various others, all raising funds for the Wakefield Hospice, a registered charity.

We had exactly the same spot as last year, which did give us plenty of room for the bikes. The Yorkshire MAG stand was very prominent and with the flag flying, visible from anywhere in the show ground.

The weather did undoubtedly keep a number of entrants away and the show was smaller this year as a result.  Saying that, we still had around 30 bikes and half a dozen trikes in the show over the course of the day.   The rain did stop during the afternoon and we had an influx of late (and quality) entries once the roads had dried off somewhat.

If you have ever judged a bike show, you'll know what impossible decisions you really have to make.  It often comes down to a choice between two absolutely cracking bikes, and you really have to nit pick to make a decision.  At least two potential category winners left the show early so of course, couldn't win.  The owners of the Victory motorcycle and Subaru engined trike, please take note !!!

Those difficult decisions were eventually made and the official prize giving was held at 3:00pm.

The winners were:

We did a steady trade at the MAG stand, we sold a good few products, MAG literature was handed out and we took a joint MAG membership.  The motoring correspondent from the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group was in attendance, so we should get coverage of the show in both the local papers and national bike press.

All in all, a good result considering the weather, as many an owner of a classic bike wont take them out in poor weather, and understandably given the number of hours spent polishing them up to show standard.

We will be holding another bike show next year, here's hoping for better weather !!!

2) MAG National Demo Run Report

Twenty five of us met up at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms on Saturday 9th May for the ride-in to the Multi-Purpose Test Centre (MPTC) National Demo. Great to welcome along a few new faces, including our honorary member from Medway MAG.

Time for a chin wag and the obligatory group photo, then a steady and scenic ride over to Squires, led by Steve, Justine acting as back marker and Toby & Mark acting as our floating marshals, marking junctions and making sure the group didn't get split up.

We took our usual route to Squires, out of Wakefield on the Stanley Road, past Rothwell Sports centre, then through Methley, Castleford, Allerton Bywater, Newton, Fairburn, Ledsham and arriving at Squires at 10:25.

We met a further five Wakefield MAG members at Squires, so a most impressive turnout from the branch. A most impressive turnout at Squires too. The place was absolutely heaving, much to the surprise of a few bikers who had turned up, unaware of the demo, thinking how quiet it would be on a Saturday morning. A good turnout from bike instructors and trainers, who are badly affected by the MPTC debacle, and in a number of cases, whose livelihood's are at risk.

Demo posters were displayed on the bikes then it was time to set off to meet our police escort. The run was marshalled by members of the East Leeds Lions MCC, Team Sober MCC and MAG members, all of whom did a splendid job of keeping the very large group together. We stopped on the A63 near Strikes Garden Centre outside Garforth to collect our police escort. By this stage, nearly 400 bikes were massed, and it was a pretty awesome sight.

We collected our escort of one patrol car and three police bikes after 10 minutes or so, then made our way through Cross Gates, onto York Road and into Leeds. There is nothing quite like riding in a huge group, under police escort with all the junctions closed for us, and being ushered through red lights. We left York Road, past West Yorkshire Playhouse and the bus station, then into the City Centre via the Calls and the Dark Arches, past City Square, then up onto the Headrow. We literally stopped Leeds in it's tracks. The sight and sound of so many bikes was awesome, and provided a massive spectacle for the Saturday shoppers. We will most certainly be on lots of photo's and video's.

Ian Mutch (MAG El Presidente) and Sheila MacFarlane (Yorkshire RR) stopped to give a TV interview to BBC Look North. The rest of us were escorted back onto York Road, where we lost our police escort (who had a Bikesafe event to attend) and retraced our steps back to Squires.

Once back at Squires, Mr Mutch gave a rousing speech (managing to avoid nautical stories and his Harley to Mali anecdotes), followed by Thank You's from Sheila to all those who helped organise, run, marshalled and attended the demo.

We finished with a buffet, then made our separate way's home.

A truly brilliant demo run, extremely well attended, the weather was kind to us and we did literally stop Leeds in it's tracks. I don't know how successful the demo was in raising the plight for learner riders with the current lack of MPTC's ................. but it was a cracking rideout.

A huge thanks to all the Wakefield MAG members who attended, 75 well earned branch points duly awarded.

3) Lord Stones Cafe Rideout Report

The weather forecast was truly dreadful for Sunday 17th May, the day of our planned rideout to Lord Stones Cafe, at Carlton in Cleveland.  High probability of heavy rain.  And it was with heavy hearts that we assembled at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, in full wet weather gear, fully expecting to get well and truly soaked.  The promised heavy rain did put a good number of our rideout regulars off, and only eight of us (Steve, Justine, Toby, Mark, Mick, Lisa, Daz & Barnsley Bob) turned up for the rideout.

Barnsley Bob was on his brand new Triumph Bonneville America, with a mere 100 miles on the clock.  Brave man bringing such a new bike out for an almost guaranteed soaking, but quite philosophically, he said it has to get wet at some time.

Time for some fried breakfast products, sat in the sun one minute with blue skies, then a minute later the sky was grey and dark and it started drizzling. Time obviously to saddle up and set off, just in time for it to stop raining.

We took the A636 (Denby Dale Rd), across the Ings Road roundabout, past the Ridings Centre car park, then right onto Kirkgate, then the exit onto Peterson Rd at the Wilkinson Roundabout, then onwards onto the A642 Stanley Rd and out of Wakefield.  We stayed on the A642 through Stanley, Oulton, Swillington and Garforth to the M1 Roundabout, then straight across on to the B1217 to Towton.

Here the route becomes much more scenic, and we passed the historic site of the Battle of Towton, which on 29th March 1461, the bloodiest battle ever fought on British Soil occurred.   More than 28,000 men (roughly 1% of the entire English population at the time) lost their lives in fierce hand to hand combat between Yorkshire and Lancastrian forces in the Wars of the Roses.  It was a decisive Yorkist victory, yet despite the slaughter, nothing was settled.  Over the next decade a further seven major battles were fought until the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 brought about a lull in the struggle.  Here endeth the history lesson.  Today, it is pleasant rolling farmland, with a cracking biking road running right through the middle of it.  Dark clouds in the sky all along the route but the imminent rain was holding off and the roads were still dry.

Hitting Towton village, we took a left onto the A162, then the eastbound ramp onto the A64 towards York.    We continued along the A64 at a nice steady pace and took our first Comfort / Fag break at the Highwayman cafe.  Whilst there, a Lime Green Lamborghini arrived, causing much interest.  Daz, probably quite correctly noted, that the bottle blonde bimbo wife / girlfriend / mistress, was probably higher maintenance and cost more to run than the car !!!!!! LOL !!!

We continued on the A64 until Whitwell-On-The-Hill, after which we took the slip road onto the B1248 to Malton, bypassing Malton town centre and heading Northwest on the B1257 towards Helmsley.  The B1257 between Malton and Helmsley is a lovely road, and we know it well as it is our regular route every year to the Farmyard Party.  Just near the old FYP site, we took a right onto the A170 and into Helmsley.  We stopped for another Comfort / Fag break in Helmsley's Market Place.  A good few bikes were coming and going in Helmsley, as it is a popular rideout destination / stop off point in picturesque North Yorkshire.  Amazingly, we were still to be rained on.

From Market Place, we took a right to rejoin the B1257, and 12 miles of quite stunning scenery to the wonderfully named Chop Gate village. We took a sharp left onto Raisdale Rd which was little wider than a single carriageway road. We continued on this road, up and down dale and in True Wakefield MAG fashion, sailed right past the right turn into Lord Stone Cafe car park. To be fair it wasn't signposted at all and it was only once past that you realised you had missed it. A quick U turn and we were safely in the car park. Still not raining.

Lord Stone Cafe is built in the side of a hill, and it would be interesting to know what it had been in a past life (or maybe it has always been a Troglodyte cafe). The cafe serves up some nice food at very reasonable prices, considering it is in the middle of nowhere. Time for some lunch then a wander about to admire the scenery. The cafe is in an amazingly picturesque location, and you can see for miles and miles from the hill top.

We decided to take a bit more of a direct route back so followed the B1257 through yet more impressive scenery and 1 in 3 descents to the A172, where we took a left to pick up the A19 East of Northallerton. A steady trek down the A19 before we stopped to fill up with petrol as by this point, we had done around 120 miles. The sky was looking pretty ominous now and a fair old wind had built up. Here we go, time to get soaked. We continued south on the A19 then picked up the A1. This time we did hit rain but were through it after a couple of minutes. The roads were soaking though suggesting we had ridden through the tail end of the rain clouds. A steady tootle home and we reached Wakefield for around 16:00.

Five minutes after putting the bikes in the garage and the heavens opened. By some unbelievable fluke, we had successfully skirted the rain clouds pretty much all day and didn't really get wet at all.

A most pleasant rideout, great roads, great destination and who would have thought we would have stayed dry by heading into the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Result.

4) Evening Run to York MAG / York Bike Night

Our first evening rideout of the year will be to visit our very good friends at York MAG / York Bike night, who meet at the Bumper Castle, Wiggington Road, York, YO32 2RJ. We are meeting at 06:30pm (leaving at 07:00pm) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield. The York MAG meeting starts at 08:00pm. Ample time to get over there, and we have been there before (for York MAG's Easter Egg Run), but in true Wakefield MAG style, we do reserve the right to get lost !!!

5) FYP Update

This year's Farmyard Party promises to be a cracker. There are a few changes to the event this year, all designed to make it better and run smoother:

So, lots happening, ticket sales are up as of the same time last year, and the 2009 FYP promises to be a cracker. Wakefield MAG are again marshalling in the Blues tent, so if you are going to this years FYP, do pop in and say hello (we'll be the one's in the yellow hi-viz vests !!!)

6) New Bike Test

The debacle following the introduction of the new test regime in April continues. There were a reported 15 incidents in the first 3 weeks of the new test being introduced, including broken bones. The main problem is the new swerve test, which has to be completed at 31 MPH, and has necessitated the building of multi-million pound Multi-Purpose Test Centres (of which there are currently precious few). There is no adjustment for weather conditions and the enforced swerve manouvre in wet conditions is proving highly dangerous. A number of instructors are calling the new swerve manouvre dangerous and ill-thought out and the government is coming under pressure to rethink the new test regime. Such is the issue, it made the 6 O' Clock BBC news, and the item can be viewed on the BBC News Web Site. MAG's very own Nick Brown has a slot in the news report.

The whole issue is very well summed up by Bike Instructor Loz Williams, in a recent Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists newsletter report, which is reproduced below:

The DSA (Double Standards Agency) have arbitrarily decided to make the new motorcycle test as tough as possible for riders.

Firstly the legislation from the 2nd European directive which insisted on 4 mandatory exercises has on the DSA's interpretation turned into 11. That is how many are included on the off road part 1 test.

Secondly the part 2 road ride has effectively been extended by remaining the same duration. The road ride will now include around 6-7 minutes of extra observed riding which will equate to covering a couple of extra miles . On a normal 30 minute ride that is a 20% increase. Extended tests are usually for bad boys who have had a ban or their licence revoked, not anymore it seems.

Finally the DSA have reduced the amount of minor driving faults that can be committed by a massive 30% from 15 to 10. There has been no consultation over this dramatic reduction. It is not anything to do with the EU directive that has imposed this ridiculous new test on us it is purely the DSA's decision. They have not given any valid reason for it except to say it should not influence pass results too much (so don't be nervous) and that anyone committing 10 minor faults should not be given a licence any way. If so why is it not the case NOW!

This is not a vocational test like LGV or PCV. The nearest comparison is the car test. So a motorcycle rider has to take 87 minutes worth of testing (car 57 minutes), do an extra 20% observed road ride (car remains the same) and have their margin for minor errors reduced by 30% to 10 (car allowed 15). It would be much simpler just to ban motorcycles all together, which seems to be what some of the people behind these unfair decisions want!

Feeling pretty hard done by ? Well, you are not the only one !! MAG is still fighting your corner on this one and trying to get the very best deal for learner motorcyclists. However, you as an individual can also do an awful lot.

Write to your MP and ask them to support a re-evaluation of the test regime for motorcyclists. The EU directive, which is now law, stipulated 4 new tests, NOT 11. The whole purpose of EU harmonisation is that the same rules apply across the whole of the European Community. Why then has the DSA insisted on 7 additional tests, necessitating purpose built and highly expensive off-road testing facilities, when no other European country is doing so. Why has the motorcycle test been made deliberately harder to pass than the car test. The DSA claim that they liaised with all motorcycling representatives prior to introducing the new test, but then chose to deliberately ignore MAG's & the BMF's very real concerns. The DSA also claim that the new testing regime will be worth it, if it saves just one life. However, the new testing regime is putting learners at quite unacceptable risk with a potentially dangerous manouvre, with no leeway for weather conditions (which of course, flies in the face of all the best advice coming from the learners instructors !!).

Now is a very good time to write to your MP and ask for their support !!!. Their contact details are on the Local MAG Page. Let me know what response you get.

7) VJMC Show

Wakefield MAG have again been invited to host the Yorkshire MAG stand at this years Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club Lotherton Hall Japanese Bike Show, on Sunday 26th July. In addition to hosting the stand, we will also be helping our good friends at the VJMC marshal this most excellent event. The VJMC have requested 6 marshals so if you would like to help out, let me know. The show is open to all Japanese motorcycles and despite the name, they don't have to be vintage or classics, you can enter anything (but it must have been made in Japan). Hope to see you there.

8) ITV Products

There are still a small number of Into The Valley products left, which are being sold off cheap to clear the stock, on a first come, first served basis. The following are available:

If anyone is interested in buying at the 'sale' price, contact Neil Stevenson at: mag.events@tiscali.co.uk

9) Rally Tickets

Farmyard Party: Our branch allocation of Farmyard Party tickets need to be returned on 12th June, therefore your last chance to buy them at the meetings will be Wednesday 10th June. FYP is on Friday 19th - Sunday 21st June at Duncombe Park Estate, Helmsley. Tickets are £25.00 if you buy them in advance or £35.00 on the gate.

Ganton Gathering (MAG Foundation fundraiser): GG is on Friday 17th - Sunday 19th July at Wold Farm, Ganton, North Yorkshire. Tickets are £15.00 pre-book only.

Yorkshire Pudding Rally: Over a 1000 tickets have been sold at MAG Central (where the ticket hotline is processed from). The event is capped at 1200, therefore all tickets for sale at the MAG branches will be recalled in the next couple of weeks. Therefore, if you haven't yet bought your YPR tickets, you will need to buy them quick as once all 1200 tickets are sold, no more will be available and they wont be available on the gate as YPR is a pre-book only rally. YPR is on Friday 7th – Sunday 9th August at Hesley Wood Scout Camp, Chapeltown, Nr Sheffield. Tickets are £15 pre-book only.

All of the above rallies offer concessions for MAG members. Get your tickets at the branch meetings before we sell out !!! If you can't make the meetings but still want tickets in advance, drop us an email or give me a ring (0772 078 4734) with your requirements and we will get back to you.

10) Forthcoming Events (June and Beyond)

Tuesday 2nd June - Wakefield MAG Evening Run to York MAG

Meet 06:30pm (leaving at 07:00pm) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Friday 5th - Sunday 7th June - Edinburgh MAG Rally

Our mass attendance to one of MAG's best kept secrets, the Ag Ol Anns An Achadh Rally at West Torphin Farm, Harburn, West Calder, West Lothian, Edinburgh

Sunday 14th June - Wakefield MAG Branch Run to Tan Hill Inn, Swaledale, North Yorkshire

Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Friday 19th - Sunday 21st June - Farmyard Party

The one and only FYP, the biggest biker only rally in the UK.

Monday 29th June - Evening Run to Barnsley MAG

Meet 07:30pm (leaving at 08:00pm) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Sunday 12th July - Wakefield MAG Treasure Hunt (Branch run with a difference !!)

Meet 9:30am (to get clues/instructions) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield. (Treasure Hunt will leave at 10:00am prompt) £1 per entrant (to cover cost of prizes).

Friday 17th - Sunday 19th July - Ganton Gathering

MAG Foundation Charity Fundraiser Rally at Wold Farm, Ganton, North Yorkshire. Tickets £15 Pre Book only (available at the Wakefield MAG Branch meetings)

Tuesday 21st July - Wakefield MAG Evening Run to Leeds MAG

Meet 07:00pm (leaving at 07:30pm) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Sunday 26th July - Wakefield MAG at the West Yorkshire VJMC Show

See above

That's all for this month and I hope to see you all soon.

Ride Safe
Steve Travis
Wakefield MAG
0772 078 4734

Wakefield MAG meet at the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield at 8:30pm every Wednesday. New (and Old) faces are always welcome.