History of Stroud Valley Motor Club
On the 1st of June 1910 a meeting took place at, The Royal George Hotel in Stroud, to consider the formation of a motorcycle club. Those present at the meeting were, Messer’s Browning, Burton, Derrett, Eustance, Gardner, Ratcliffe, G. Pavey, Smith, F. Smith, Dr H. Roberston and Mr Weaving. When the meeting was closed The Stroud and District Motor Club was in existence.
The clubs first event was on the 20th of August of that year, a reliability trial to Worcester. One mark was lost for every minute early or late at a checkpoint and ten marks if you stopped.Over the next few years the club organised many different events including, reliability trials, hill climbs, petrol consumption trials, night trials and motorcycle football.
All was going well, however in 1929 things were to change. A divide developed within the club. One part of the club had an interest in trials and social runs, the other side was interested in motorcycle football. Problems arose with the increasing costs involved with the motorcycle football events and committee meetings became heated. Early in 1930, it was suggested by G.W Fisher and H.P Baughan, that the two sides of the club should split. Shortly after this split a notice was sent out to all previous members of the Stroud and District Motor club asking them to attend a meeting at The Bear of Rodburough Hotel, Stroud.
The Stroud Valley Motorcycle Club was formed. A.H Grant Heelas was elected to the Chair with G.W Fisher as secretary.
Seven days after the clubs initial inauguration, the clubs first committee meeting was held. A sporting trial was arranged and The Michinhampton Cup trial for Novice riders was introduced, an event which is still going strong today.
By 1933 the club was making a name for itself it had 42 members and was asked to assist the ACU with running of large events such as, the British Experts and the Inter Centre Team Trial and the Cotswold Scramble.
During the 1950’s the Stroud club went from strength to strength running 2 National trials and one National scramble (now called moto-cross) every year as well as couple of centre trials and scrambles.
In those days the annual Cotswold Scramble, held at the end of June, at Nympsfield always attracted ‘works support’ the equivalent of one of todays top events in the country. The course for the Cotswold Scramble was based very close to Nympsfield village and the circuit was about 2.5 miles long with many climbs and descents and lots of jumps. One of the main features of the course was a stream crossing which the top men took as a flat out jump thereby gaining 100’s of yards on others who slowed down to ride the conventional route through the stream. In the early part of the decade the event was named as the British round of the European Championship, the forerunner of today’s world championship, and attracted many international riders. To give an idea of the status of this event in the area, the local bus company used to run a shuttle service from Stroud and other local towns on race day when crowds of 10,000 were not unusual.
Of the 2 National Trials the Cotswold cups was the best known and like the scramble usually attracted works support so all the top riders competed with all the manufacturers of such things as chains, tyres, spark plugs, oil, petrol etc. At the start of the events the representatives of these companies would check what brand of equipment each machine was using so they could use award winners names in advertising and if you were lucky gave away some freebies. This practice died out in the next decade. The other National Trial was the Stroud Team Trial for teams of riders from clubs up & down the country, but as the decade moved on, as more & more clubs started to run national trials interest in the team trial diminished and it was dropped from the calendar. The club continued to run two other trials The Stroud Solo Trial and the Minchinhampton Cup Trial. The Club also ran two open to centre scrambles, which because of the centres proximity to the midlands, where most of the factories were situated and a majority of the top riders lived, always attracted large crowds of spectators.
The club went into the doldrums in the 60’s partly because Harry Baughan & Chris Stagg, the two guiding hands in the post war years, gave up their posts as advancing age took its toll. Whilst the Cotswold Scramble continued to hold its place in the upper echelons of British MX and the Valley Scramble continued to run its fair to say the clubs interest in trials dwindled with the running of the Cotswold Cups being taken over by the Western Centre and being farmed out initially to the Dursley LC&MCC and then on to the Gloucester & Cotswold MC. The club continued to run its other two trials and right at the end of the decade added the Bill Peters Trial to its Calendar. During this Decade the Cotswold Scramble move down the valley to a new venue with a more compact and modern course. With all the experience gained over the previous years the club was able to organise many successful events, which resulted in the event being nominated for a round of the British Champioships most years.
After the quiet times of the 60’s the club had a busy decade in the 70’s not only did the Cotswold Scramble continue to be one of the countries leading events but the club was also asked to host the Inter-Centre Team Scramble, an event which still attracted the best riders in the country including several world champions. The course at Nympsfield had been modified over the years to include several spectacular hills, both up & down, and a number of breath taking jumps. Because of its hillside setting it was one of the best circuits for viewing around and still attracted good crowds.
In 1972 the club was asked to run The Cotswold Trial once again. The event was based on Aston Down and was so successful that the Stewards awarded the club enough points to mean that it was made a round of the British Championship for the next year, an honour it was to maintain for a further 12 years. During this decade the club also ran the Inter-Centre Team Trial and was due to run the Southern Experts Trial but it was snowed off. Also during this time the club was asked to rescue the British Experts Trial, which had suffered terrible organisational problems. This Trial set some new firsts, the first major Trial held on one enclosed circuit (Lypiatt Park), The first trial where sections were roped to give spectators a clear view and the first trial to charge for car parking. (50p a car and some people objected).
It was during this period that the club’s successful closed to clubs series was started and the club also became one of the first in the country to use the punch card observing system.
During the 70’s there was also a series of car treasure hunts, which usually led to some heated but good-natured arguments between the organisers and the competitors. It was during this time that it was decided to take the prize giving of awards away from the very successful Annual Dinner and hold a separate prize giving which was also very well attended and enjoyed by all.