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Motorcycling is what I enjoy, says Stroud Valley Motor Club chairman Phil Marsh

Gloucestershire South > Sport > Motorsport

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Monday, 26th November 2018, 09:00

Phil Marsh has been riding bikes for well over 50 years Phil Marsh has been riding bikes for well over 50 years

Phil Marsh was due to take ownership of a new motorbike just days after he had spoken to The Local Answer.

No surprise there as Marsh is chairman of Stroud Valley Motor Club and is obviously big into his bikes.

The bike in question was a 200cc Beta Alp trail bike and would take to four the number of bikes he owns.

“I’ve got two old pre-classic trials bikes,” said Marsh, who lives in Cam. “A 350cc AJS and a 500cc Matchless. I’ve also got a road bike which I ride for pleasure – a 1000cc 1978 BMW R100/7 which is an emerging classic bike.

“Motorcycling is what I enjoy, cars are for transport.”

Marsh, who has been chairman of Stroud Valley Motor Club for “four or five years”, became interested in bikes from an early age.

The soon-to-be 66-year-old has lived in the Wotton-under-Edge and Dursley area since 1975 having been born and raised in neighbouring county Wiltshire and he said of his schooldays: “We used to buy old bikes and ride them round the fields.”

And of course he can remember his very first bike.

“It was a 125cc BSA Bantam,” he said. “I got it when I was 12 or 13. Bikes were readily available in those days, they were almost being given away.

“It was the time when people were converting to cars, you could get them for 10 shillings. There was no demand for classic bikes.”

His first motor club was the Wilts Border MC and LCC before work – he was a veterinary surgeon – and family necessitated his interest in all things two wheels had to take a back seat for a number of years.

He joined Stroud Valley Motor Club, which has around 30 members, some 15 years ago and says he became an “active member” five years ago. “I wanted to put something back into the sport,” he explained.

And it’s fair to say that Stroud Valley Motor Club, who meet once a month – usually at The Ship in Brimscombe or The Hunters Hall at Kingscote – are an active club.

They put on five meetings a year – two at Breakheart Quarry near Dursley, one at Brimpsfield, one at Cam and one at Nympsfield – and they are pretty popular, too, attracting some 100 competitors.

“We run observed motorcycle trials,” explained Marsh. “They are non-speed events and are a test of riding motorbikes over obstacles without stopping and without putting your feet down.

“They are for all abilities and ages – the age range can be from 10 to 70 – and all types of machines from old classic bikes to modern state of the art bikes. Even I can do it!”

While Marsh says he’s “average for an old man”, he is nevertheless very impressed by some of the top riders. “They are like BMX riders, they can do amazing tricks,” he said.

The majority of the competitors are aged 40-plus and Marsh admits that is getting tougher to attract young people to the sport.

“It’s not like the 1960s,” he said. “In those days a lot of people’s first form of transport was a motorbike. That’s not so much the case now, it’s not the transport of choice for youngsters.”

It’s not the transport of choice for Marsh’s wife Maureen either.

“She has no interest in it at all,” he laughed.

Fortunately for motorbike enthusiasts in the Stroud and Stroud Valley area, Marsh wants to carry on putting something back into the sport that has been such a big part of his life for so long.

Other Images

Phil Marsh became chairman of Stroud Valley Motor Club “four or five years ago”
Phil Marsh joined Stroud Valley Motor Club some 15 years ago

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