Author Topic: Should the Exeter retain its Night Run / Touring Assembly  (Read 5449 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Simon Woodall

  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 85
Should the Exeter retain its Night Run / Touring Assembly
« on: May 20, 2016, 06:16:31 pm »
I'll start the ball rolling by repeating that which I wrote in the weekending 21st May issue of NOTW (News of the Week), then its over to you....

The big debate amongst the Executive this week has been whether or not removing the Night Run from the Exeter would increase the entry.   Is the night run an important integral part of the event or is it a pointless meander that just wastes expensive petrol?   Does it put off potential entrants who know less about the longstanding traditions of the club?    There is no point in sticking with traditions if they are putting off the very people who will be expected to maintain those traditions in the future.   Before the diehards amongst you start dashing of epistles containing the words “over my dead body”, and signed “Disgusted”, bear in mind that the membership numbers and entries are dropping, and we have to ask if this is one of the reasons why.   Someone has come forward and offered their services to be the Exeter Clerk-of-Course but has suggested that one of the changes that they would like to make would be to start the whole event from Haynes as they believe that the night run is what is holding entrants back.   Should they be given the chance to prove their belief, or is the night run sacrosanct?

Offline Paul K

  • Club Members
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 405
  • Paul Khambatta
Re: Should the Exeter retain its Night Run / Touring Assembly
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2016, 02:01:39 pm »
If the night run is abandoned, when will the first bike leave Sparkford? Will the first bike leave Sparkford at the usual time, i.e. around midnight, or at a later time, say at dawn? If we retain the usual times, then the abandoning of the night run will make little or no difference to a lot of competitors. 

As an example, if we retain the usual times and I compete on my bike, my start time at Sparkford is around 01:30 hrs. Since the Exeter trial takes place in the south-west and I live about 150 miles from Sparkford, I will have my own personal night run so no change for me. I imagine the same will be true for those other competitors in the east and north of England. We would have our own night run just getting to the start whether organised by the club, or not.

Those much-further travelled competitors will have travelled further and for longer than those competitors in the south-west so it can be argued they are at a disadvantage, being more tired.

The problem, as I see it with the night run is the monotony, especially when coupled with torrential rain, and freezing weather. Looking to the long term, not at the 2017 event, would it be possible to throw in some special tests on the future night runs?

Is there a large area of tarmac, or field that we could borrow for the purpose? This would break the monotony of the main road parts of the night run and add an extra competitive element. I suspect the extra marshals for these tests might be easier to obtain, though, there is the added logistical problem of obtaining such an area, possibly providing a holding control, supplying the markers, cones, etc.

I enjoy the night run and feel it makes the MCC events that bit special, but there are occasions when the rain is pouring down, I am wet and cold, and the riding has no thrilling bends, then I do wonder what I am doing here. But I'm still in favour of the night run.

Offline Tony Bishop

  • Club Members
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 78
Re: Should the Exeter retain its Night Run / Touring Assembly
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 05:49:17 pm »
Hi Guys,
Can I re-open this potential "can of worms" by firstly asking if there is any feedback from the 2017 Exeter which might spread some light on this issue.
Although this thread has been open for some period of time I feel it is worth re-addressing as the problems surrounding the Exeter are not likely to just fade away and from a personal perspective I would be extremely sorry to see any major problems occur as it is to me by far and away the best of the Classics with a great atmosphere and the main advantage of meeting and drinking with fellow competitors in the bar of the finish hotel as far more people stay over for the "craic" than do after either of the other two trials.
Simon mentioned that in 2016 someone offered to Clerk the Exeter but only if ran from Haynes but I presume this offer was rejected and so it was only by good fortune that Roger Ugalde stepped up to the plate again.
Surely this "volunteer" should have been given the chance to run the 2017 event at least on a trial basis to guage club reaction.
The MCC has always been open to amendment and the world is a very different place now in 2017 than it was in 1907 so how about listening and trying to be a bit more pragmatic

Offline Paul K

  • Club Members
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 405
  • Paul Khambatta
Re: Should the Exeter retain its Night Run / Touring Assembly
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2017, 06:26:49 pm »
the world is a very different place now in 2017 than it was in 1907

It sure is. In 1907, the climate was probably colder (global warming); waterproofs might have been, but at the cost of increased weight (against modern synthetic materials); electrics (acetylene?) were not as reliable (against solid state electronics); and probably no breakdown recovery services  :( . It makes our night runs look like a walk in the park.  In 2017, we get used to our creature comforts, e.g. central heating in the home, heated gloves and jackets for bikers.  Why, I remember when I was a boy .....................  :D

Offline rick howell

  • Club Members
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 120
Re: Should the Exeter retain its Night Run / Touring Assembly
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 08:45:55 am »
Actually some of us do our own "night run" even in class O by riding up to Haynes anyway. This year Jason (from the Palace; 80 miles), myself (from Exeter; 65 miles) and Al (from Axminster; 45 miles) all rode up to Haynes. So even starting at Haynes will involve driving either from the hotel or back to Haynes to regain trailers etc.

It's really a question of individual logistics.

So....why don't we all start and finish at the Palace from 8pm or so, ride up to Haynes via a section or two for a coffee break at midnight, then on to Crealy breakfast at 7am via more sections, then to Ilsington 10am, and back to the Palace for sign off 2pm. 250 miles or so, incorporate all the favorites plus a couple of others could be easily added in. Everyone's at the Palace to start, and everyone's at the Palace for the finish; even for the evening too. It is possible that the different classes could use different routes....ie clockwise/anticlockwise.... :o

The Ed has it's own "mixing with the traffic" issues but they could be alleviated by altering the ride-in route or start location (but then Tamworth Services has rooms available on site). Or doing the same as suggested above.

I mean it worked on the welsh, I believe?

Offline Jason Potts

  • Club Members
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 340
Re: Should the Exeter retain its Night Run / Touring Assembly
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2017, 12:33:22 pm »
I guess this is me giving you some feed back then as a Newbie. I hope all the other newbies add stuff to this too as it seems the organisers arnt getting the feedback they need.  All clubs need to fully understand firstly why newbies leave and secondly how to attract more newbies and/or friends of newbies.

I'm going to start by saying 'I've never done anything like this before, I'm not an off-roader and I've only recently joined the club'.

Question: So if you are not into off-roading Jason why would you be interested in this??

Answer: I was looking for a new challenge. hahahahah sorry I couldn't resist.  ::)
I read an article in the Bantam OC mag that Rick Howell wrote and it instantly appealed to me. There was no dressing it up, he wrote about bad weather, bad luck and breakdowns and it still appealed. But I'm a bit different than your average motorcyclist shall we say and so are you lot.  ;)

I started riding back in the 1980's on JAWA's and CZ's as that was all I could afford. They were my only form of transport and I quickly got used to roadside maintenance, carrying spares, fixing punctures, riding in the dark and through some very bad weather. So this event sounded like a trip down memory lane for me with some like minded people. The furthest I'd been before on a bike in a single day was 365 miles but I'd never ridden for 16+ hours straight which is what the Exeter called for. I wanted to see if I could do that, in bad weather, on a CZ and still have the mental capacity to fix it should it break.     

Question: Why cant I get my mates interested?

Answer: I have some riding mates that just want to do 3 figures on sport bikes everywhere they go. Others just like visiting the same cafes and going to club meets etc. Some if not most are newborn bikers. this means they are middle aged but only past their tests 5 or so years ago. they have never ridden anything other than modern Jananeese bikes and one thing they would never do is ride through the night or through the rain. I'd like to call them PANSIES but 'Bikers' now are very different people than back in the day. And yes, I went out for a ride with one group when one of them insisted on being recovered after a tyre went flat.

I'm not saying that all new bikers are like this because I'm pretty sure they are not, just the ones I know are. So I don't think you could change this event in any way that would suit any of my riding chums. If it involves getting wet, missing a pub night, getting the bike dirty, riding in the dark or 'starting at midnight are you joking'.... 'forget it mate'.... 'My wife go's bingo on Saturdays who'd watch the kids' etc.   

rant over.  ;)
 
I wouldn't go changing this event lightly on the off chance you might snag a couple more members. It is what it is, unique, and it will always attract the same demographic. The club needs to find more of those types.

I don't know any myself, but I have written an article for the Jawa/CZ OC mag about my Exeter adventure in the hopes I can snag one just as Rick did with me through the Bantam mag.

So finally, my perspective of this years Exeter is this:
I thoroughly enjoyed riding through the lanes following the roadbook reader and even enjoyed the 80 odd miles from the Hotel to the start as Rick mentions. It was the off-roady bits that I was dreading. Started to get the hang of them after breakfast though and was enjoying them more when I'd cleaned a couple. I will definitely be doing it again next year.

I understand that some members who enjoy the off-road elements more might not like the 100 miles drone to the start. Its a bit different on a bike as I never get tired of riding. But I bet it can be murder in a rattly low geared kit-car especially for passengers so fully sympathise with those people. I do like Rick suggestion of starting and finishing at the Hotel. As a newbie that makes a lot of sense to me. The best advice I got was to book 2 nights at the hotel and ride to the start. this way if the bike grenade's itself I can get recovered back to the Hotel go back to bed then have a full English and use the spa and bar and then watch the finishers arriving. This sounds ace as a contingency plan but it does mean that there's an 80+ mile ride to the start. This does seem very daunting to a newbie as most of my mates would regard an 80 mile trip to be pretty noteworthy especially on a 125 CZ. and that's just to the start. Didn't bother me but then as I said previously, I'm a bit different.

hope this helps.  ::)

Jason