West Leeds Motor Club

K Briggs Guest Speech

Contributor - K Briggs

I imagine that most of you will be aware of the reason why Mick Shorrock, my wife and I, are invited here as guests tonight. It is because of the disbanding of the Craven and DMC. Mick has held various official positions within the club for 30 years up to his retirement two years ago. I have been secretary since 2001. Our closure has benefitted the WL club in respect of our land at Cawder Hall, which we have used by kind permission of Mr Maude.

My research of the WL website reveals that the club was formed in April 1947, a year later than the formation of the Craven club, which started as a motor club. These times immediately post war with restricted 4 wheel production and government decrees that a high percentage of production should be for export meant that 2 and 3 wheel transport was the order of the day.

My family association with West Leeds started around 1925 when my father an Armley lad, used to choose to frequent the Post Hill area on Sunday mornings with his catapult, in preference to attending Sunday school lessons at Christ Church.

My uncle Alan Briggs was a member of the working party who surfaced the upper part of the hill in 1926-27.

I remember as a child the names of Bernard Beckwith and Harry Dancaster, founding members of your club, cropping up in conversations. I believe my father could have been member soon after it's formation, although he was of the road racing fraternity and he never appreciated the sport of ‘mud-plugging'.

Personally I was never a member of WL during my trials days, but always rode the Presidents Trial on Boxing Day, a thoroughly enjoyable event. Ilkley clubs ‘Grand National' was my first event in 1971 and the ‘Presidents' trial of about 2005 being my last.

I am no stranger to Horsforth and DMC, having been a member for 19 years, 10 of those in the office of treasurer. I remember attending trials the length and width of Yorkshire in Graham's flying Ford Anglia, and am still in amazement that our bikes never fell off the trailer. I was dragged along to WYG and Yorkshire Centre meetings for the AGM at the end of the 1971 season, by Graham. There you could sit shoulder to shoulder with great names of Yorkshire's motorcycling history, Eddie Flintoff, Alan Jeffries, Tom Ellis, and the Milner brothers to name a few, when the AGM's used to last from 2pm through to 8/9pm. A far cry from today, when the room is filled mainly by women, and the meetings only last an hour or so.

I was pleased to learn recently from Dennis Pitts that the WL White Rose Trial was saved by mutual co-operation by members of both clubs when Dennis decided to quit as CoC a few years ago. It is that lack of support from within our club which has brought about Craven's demise, and I can only congratulate such spirit which can only vouch for the future of both clubs.

Written by K Briggs February 19, 2010

Editors note: The remainder of Keith's speech was a couple of jokes and a toast to both West Leeds and Horsforth motor clubs future.