On Tuesday, Triumph Owners from all over the North East converged on The Border Mistrel near Newcastle Upon Tyne with an aim to form a new Branch in the area. There are a lot of Triumph Owners in the North East and there hasn't been a branch in the area since the demise of the 'Border' branch back in 2011.
There was a wealth of experience and enthusiasm at the meeting from a trainer of advanced motorcyclists to original members of earlier branches (which used to meet at Shiremoore and Hexham). There has been a lot of myth and legend about the former 'Border' branch and what happened to the funds that the branch held, but it was established that when the branch folded the funds went to the National Club as per the Club rules.
There was a general discussion about what individuals want from a branch and the consensus was that it should provice Social nights and Ride outs, but also allowing knowledge, tools, and any special facilities to be shared.
With there already being enough members interested to have the branch form officially, the sensitive subject of who would like to be on the committee was raised. Nominations for Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary are currently being accepted by Mark, though he is quite keen to be the Chairman after all the work he has put in.
Also discussed was the organisation of ride-outs given the rather varied range of riders and machines and it was decided that if numbers are large and we want to keep as one group then a leader and tail must ensure coordination. Also if two groups emerge, which is likely if there are 'spirited' and 'steady' riders, then each group will have a leader and tail.
Tuesdays at 6:30pm was confirmed as the best day for branch meetings, over the summer months it makes sense to maximise lighter evenings so it was proposed that the 1st Tuesday in the month would be for a medium/long ride out and the third Tuesday would be for Branch meetings and shorter ride outs. All agreed that the Border Minstrel was a good base but ride outs should be flexible as it's a branch with a rather large geographical coverage.
The branch has already had an invitation from Triumph Newcastle in Plummer Street for a warm welcome, coffees etc for the branch... maybe they could arrange a Triumph Factory Tour.
Although the name of the branch has been stated as 'North East', alternative ideas are being considered and any such ideas would be welcome via email or Facebook before the next meeting. Discussions about the inclusion of 'Border' led to a suggestion of 'North East and Border' but as this will not release the mythical 'Border' branch fund there seemed little point. The name 'Northumbria' was also proposed as this was once the biggest region in the country extending from the borders to York, and west to Cumbria, which is precisely the area we are covering; this would fit in with the Northumberland flag colours and not polarise anyone.
The ride out after the meeting was also attended by new National Vice Chairman Steve Battye who arrived from Glasgow just as they were about to set off, and came along for the little run (30 mile round trip). There were 9 bikes and the route went via Westerhope, Stamfordham to Matfen Black Bull. It was a cool evening but no rain and the group kept together until 1.5 miles before destination when Phil Henderson’s 1957 machine, beautifully restored over 18 years, gave up sparking and breathing and would not respond to defibrillating or cursing. He was eventually towed in and everyone chipped in to getting him sorted out which was a great team effort and a good laugh too.
The branch, although not officially formal yet, has its own Facebook page and the next meeting will be on the 7th June at the Border Minstrel. Hope to see you there.