Beezumph History

beez170807 466The Trident & Rocket Three Owners Club has staged “Beezumph” their annual track-day rally for 25 consecutive years. Club members Chris Judkins and Richard Darby, suggested it would be a good idea to rent a race track for a day for club members to ride their own bikes. Obviously they hit upon a great idea, other clubs and organisations now hold similar events.

The term ‘Beezumph’ was first used by the late, Jim Greening, a well-known motorcycle journalist, to describe the 1970s BSA and Triumph factory race teams.

The initial idea to hold a ‘British Bikes Only’ track-day rally, was expanded to include the newly launched Hinckley Triumphs, other bike clubs were invited to join the fun as were TR3OC Honorary Members. Club member Peter Rolling made a film of the event.

The first Beezumph Rally was a great success, everyone got soaked due to the heavy rain but that didn’t put people off wanting another Beezumph; the die had been cast.

Beezumph 2 followed, with a similar format other than club members cooked (or attempted to) the Bar-B-Q, again it was a wet day.

Despite attendance numbers slowly climbing, Beezumph 3 had to rely on other clubs taking track spaces in order to fill them. With many of the race class entrants being invited rather than paying, but they did show everyone else how to ride a circuit properly.

Financially things were tight and a few of the early Beezumphs lost money, but the momentum started to build, lessons were learned and improvements were made, and slowly but surely Beezumph became established as one of the better known classic bike events. The Beezumph Rally now regularly attracts people from all over Europe and even further afield, with many of our continental friends making regular visits.

Each year a theme is chosen, this has involved a wide variety of different clubs, teams and individuals who have joined us for a particular celebration or just because they wanted to come! The basic formula has stood the test of time, and whilst each year is a little different to the previous one, the basics still hold true, a classic bike club rally where you can ride your bike on track if you want to. Or if that isn’t your thing then enjoy spectating and looking around the paddock and catching up with, and making, friends.

B10-shirtBeezumph 10 was the first two-day Beezumph. Friday was added on and this was opened to European and American bikes. Keeping Saturday as a “Classic British Only” Many of the older Brits still went out on the Friday, but for those preferring to ride with bikes of a similar performance opted just for the Saturday.

It worked well and the MV Club joined in the fun. The special theme for the year was the F750 bikes and riders. To see Rob Norths and MVs out together was fantastic. John Cooper was out on the track with Paul Smart (our Special Guest), watching the 70s stars riding on the track was a sight to behold.

Beezumph 12 was a huge leap for the club, it was the first with a non-race or prototype theme. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Triumph X-75 Hurricane, Beezumph 12 celebrated the Craig Vetter designed X-75.

The number of X-75 Hurricanes, (not far short of 100) that attended Cadwell Park for B12 was amazing, held in the hot summer of 2003, it will no doubt live on in the memory of everyone who was there. With Craig Vetter over from California as Special Guest, the event was a huge success. For those who rode the track with Mr Vetter, it was an experience that will never be forgotten.

Beezumph One-Three (to avoid, calling it 13) had a hard act to follow, but it coincided with the TR3OC’s 25th anniversary, a ready made theme. By now, Beezumphs were attracting entries and visitors from all over the world, and B1-3 was no exception. With people flying in from New Zealand and Canada. To celebrate the Club’s Silver anniversary, then-Membership Secretary Nick Simpson suggested we give away a T160 in a free-to-enter raffle for TR3OC Members, and pull the winning ticket at Beezumph. Ian Stewart produced a series of photo montages depicting ‘scenes’ (some, probably best forgotten) from our previous 25 years, and Roy & H-J Allen commissioned a special cake for the Saturday BBQ from baker Keith Faulkner, a club member, resplendent with Raygun icing and 25th Anniversary. There were also ‘25th Anniversary’ serviettes, all of which vanished to be kept, no doubt as souvenirs.

Ron Westbury had the luck of the draw and went home with the silver T160. Once again it was wet, but that wasn’t allowed to spoil the fun.

B15-logo-e1423912277957Beezumphs 14 and 15 were fabulous. Overheard “You can’t buy this atmosphere anywhere in the world”. The club and particularly the various members of the organising teams have worked hard over the years to build a friendly, all inclusive, event. Guests are encouraged to mingle with spectators, track riders may find themselves alongside (or behind) a TT winner. A Rob North triple can find a Scott 2-stroke or Vincent in the same class. All are welcome and encouraged to sample, and add, to the relaxed feel, and special nature of a Beezumph rally.

B16 now followed the set pattern of a two day Beezumph, with a very impressive list of Special Guests, fine weather, pretty near full classes, a triples-autojumble, merchandise tent, and the usual marquee for the BBQ and band. After the track closes on the Saturday, the now traditional “bike line-up” was held outside the marquee, where classes for all types of triples, twins, singles and specials are held. The lucky winners receive their trophies, as do a number of individuals worthy of recognition for extra effort or input.

B17-logoThe following year was a little different; B17 was themed around an ambitious idea to bring the team members of the 1971 Trans-Atlantic Match Races together, the fore-runner of the Trans-Atlantic race series. In its inaugural year, all the riders had ridden Rob North triples. Many previous Beezumphs had the honour of special guests, such as Ray Pickrell, Percy Tait, John Cooper – the list is long and a virtual who’s who of 60’s and 70’s racing, but the line-up of stars for 2008 was by far the biggest in Beezumph history. The USA team comprised Don Emde, Gene Romero, Dick Mann, Don Castro and David Aldana with Craig Vetter and Rob North, for the Brits, – Percy Tait, Paul Smart, John Cooper and Tony Jefferies for the British team. In addition Mick Grant, Ron Chandler, Stan Woods, Peter Williams, Frank Perris and Tommy Robb were there. Also attending were ex-factory personnel in with the “stars”, Arthur Jakeman, Steve Brown, Fred Swift, John and Don Woodward, Bill Fannon and Ron Barrett. Two days of endless photograph sessions, signings, a memorable Friday night talk by members of both teams, and another by Craig Vetter on Saturday afternoon, was finished off by the usual bike line-up, band, and food. A huge effort by the club, made worthwhile by the number people attending from the UK and it’s probably fair to say worldwide, having a great time. The classic motorcycle media lapped up the spectacle which helped to give the club some very handy publicity.

B18-logoBeezumph 18 had a hard act to follow, but once again the sun shone and the rally was very well attended, probably as a result of the number of people who had come the previous year and wanted to sample the unique atmosphere once again. Cadwell Park was once again treated to a visit by the Vetters (Carol and Craig). This time Craig brought the Vetter 3 with him from the USA, thus enabling him to demonstrate the differences between prototype and production X-75 Hurricanes. The track sessions were virtually full, which along with very healthy sales of rally tickets, merchandise etc., made for one of the most profitable rallies the club had held. For a number of years the London Motorcycle Museum had been attending Beezumph and putting on a sometimes bewildering display of rare and sometimes unique motorcycle. This year they were joined again by George Pooley, who had many visitors both amazed and puzzled by his specials. One increasing downside, was the added burden on the organising team of having to deal with the considerable increase of paperwork and “requests” from the circuit.

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The club marquee the morning after the hurricane

The year 2010 was yet another one to stick in the memories of all those attending, indeed, it became a badge of honour if you were there. For 18 years the club’s annual rally had been held at Cadwell Park, a venue that had suited Beezumph well, however the organising team took a momentous decision to move to the newly refurbished Anglesey “Trac Mon” circuit. Situated on the Isle of Anglesey overlooking Snowdonia National Park, and right on the coast, a beautiful back-drop, with views across the Irish Sea. With 18 years at the same circuit much of the rally followed on from the previous years, at Anglesey everything had to be worked out, planned and then checked again, the organising team worked very hard to cover all eventualities, but unfortunately they didn’t have luck on their side. On the Thursday night, the day before B19 kicked off, all hell broke loose, when 107 mph winds tore across the circuit and destroyed pretty much everything in sight.
A scene of absolute devastation greeted those who were still arriving, and it wasn’t hard to spot those who had been in the midst of the “Hurricane”, they were trying to find what was left of their belongings, and check the damage to bikes etc. It was at this point that the true spirit of TR3OC members and Beezumph attendees rose to meet the challenge, a very swift action plan was put in place, and along with some massive efforts by the circuit staff and management, the carnage was cleared away, and B19 was up and running with the track opening for business by 11 am. A number of the displays and talks were held in circuit buildings as the marquee was destroyed, the Grand Marshal for B19 was Gary Nixon, on his first and sadly last visit to Beezumph, he must have wondered what he had let himself in for, but like everyone else he just got on with it, Don Emde and Gary gave an excellent talk on flat track racing in the 60’s and 70’s.
After 2 days of high emotion and more excitement than most could handle, the final outcome was sadly measured in fiscal terms. With the added expense of moving to a new venue, and hit by the bad weather, B19 made a huge loss, one that could have threatened the future of the club. Once again, the remarkable enthusiasm, energy and sheer force of will of the TR3OC members and supporters pulled it round due in part to the “Hurricane Fund” which raised around £6000 for club funds.

B20-logoAfter the previous year’s problems whether there would be a Beezumph 20 was in some considerable doubt, but once again an organising team was established, and with help from the circuit management, Beezumph lived again. Not surprising was the reduced number of entrants on track, the rally ticket sales struggled compared to previous years as well, but whilst there were fewer “star” names everyone there had a good time, no doubt helped by the terrific weather and fabulous scenery. Whilst the numbers were down B20 had a very relaxed atmosphere, with a smaller contingent of non club members, no doubt all those camping were thankful to be waking up in the tent they went to sleep in as opposed to watching there belongings disappear in an easterly direction. Financially it had been a struggle, but in the end a very small profit was made, thereby ensuring the future of the club’s annual rally/track day.

B 21 was a typical Beezumph in that it was the same, but different. Once again held at Anglesey, it was business as usual, but with a great theme of the TT triples, the organising team went to a lot of trouble to assemble an excellent line-up of triples with connections to the TT, alongside the bikes, there were some of the riders including TT Marshals and Ray Knight on the Hughes Trident. Some “interesting” bikes managed to take to the track minus their silencer baffles, which brought smiles to the faces of the spectators, if not to some the of the track officials. New ideas were tried to promote different aspects of the event, some worked, some didn’t, but in the end it all came together, albeit with the figures being watched as closely as the share price in a city dealers. A considerable effort put in by the organisers on behalf of the club, much appreciated by all those attending, again the weather was brilliant with sun cream much in evidence. Having said that, it had still been a very hard sell to fill the track places, which was a huge disappointment given the quality of the track, and the circuits ever improving facilities, highlighted by the new pit lane complex.

Back to Cadwell! Beezumph 22 returned to its original venue, a tough decision given the support and welcome received from Anglesey, but in the end the numbers counted, and it was felt that at Cadwell it would be easier to fill the track places, and so it proved. To be fair, ever since the loss incurred at B19 the club committee and the Beezumph organising teams had been under considerable pressure to at least make a profit, if not a healthy one. Not because the club’s main event was meant to be a commercial enterprise, it wouldn’t have lasted this long if that had been the intention, it was just a simple fact that another big loss could have been the death knell for the club as a whole. So the budget for the return to Cadwell was cut to the bone, the rally was held over two days, with the Saturday being the only track day, although there was the Morini club track day on Friday for those who wanted it. Well the right decision had been taken, and a decent profit was made, and some confidence was injected into the future viability of Beezumph, and thoughts could return to enjoying ourselves instead of looking at spread sheets.

B23-final-LOGOIn 2014, Beezumph 23 followed the same format as 22, at Cadwell, but with a slightly more expansive programme, once again new things were tried, but the essential basics were retained. The rally gives club members, guests and just plain fans of Beezumph an annual opportunity to get together, meet old friends, make new ones, and talk about bikes in general, and triples in particular. A well tried and proven formula that will hopefully continue as long as triple enthusiasts and all classic bike fans want to see and hear their bikes used in anger.