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Greeves outlook for 2020

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  • Greeves outlook for 2020

    As we are now into the new year it prompts me to ask the question, what is the future for Greeves bikes (and indeed the club) in this new decade?
    Looking back into 2019 we saw dozens of Greeves come up for sale on eBay, with dealers, and other adverts, many were basket cases or barn finds, many of these turned up again and again on eBay with none or little work being done to them, but with often a higher price tag. Many were being traded between 'back yard dealers' obviously seeking to make a quick buck but not doing any or little restoration work to the bikes. Restored bikes that were for sale were in the main overpriced and being sold by dealers, indeed there are a lot still on ebay that have been on there for months with no takers. These dealers don't seem to have got the message that they are overpricing their bikes and they are not 'a financial investment and better than money in the bank'
    On the Greeves Enthusiasts Facebook page there is a constant stream of bikes being offered for sale, many that have only been bought a few months previous, no one seems to be buying bikes for 'keepers' and to ride.
    So where are the new owners who generally want a bike to ride? There are also those that are trying to restore bikes & finding it difficult to obtain parts, which, like the bikes are now being advertised for silly money, often just piles of rusty metal. All making for a very expensive restoration. Requests for parts often go unanswered on the forum with suggestions to contact Villiers Services, or other commercial parts suppliers. What has happened to the club spirit ie helping fellow members with parts at a realistic price, parts that you may have had lying around under the bench for years and will never use.
    Finally drawings appear still to be an issue, (see Bigduke's recent post How to obtain drawings). Gary Bamford has agreed to take on the drawings and I know Gary is raring to go and get this vital service back on track. But he has to wait until the next committee meeting for arrangements to be made for the transfer of the drawings, why the wait? Gary has volunteered to take the job on so why cant the drawings just be passed over to him. This is a vital service and a reason why a lot of people join the club, so lets as Boris might say "Get the drawings done"

  • #2
    Thanks John W, I was one of the few newbies to all this in 2019. I bought Paul Andrews 24MX4 bike in June 2019 after some help from Dave Harper (after a message from me to Dave Higgins).

    Dave Harper gave me some great advice, like buy a race bike from a GRA member (not a show bike from a dealer) and ideally one from someone who knew what they were doing.

    I would have ridden it straight away, but a prolapsed disk and all sorts of health issues for nearly 4 months curtailed all that. Paul's bike is loved and cherished. I just wish I could make it fly the way he did (I think its all about big balls)!

    It's had its gearbox restored by Geoff Nunn, we've built another spare gearbox from bits and other parts we've tracked down.
    I managed to seize it (probably all my fault (Scott Chappell gave me some good advice the other night at 1am on why).
    Fortunatley Paul A had given me a spare barrell, piston and head so we ran the first race with these and we've had the original barrell rebored, new piston and are ready to rock n roll again. All done throughTerry Sewell at a good price.

    We've replaced cables, primary chain, drive sprocket and gbox sprockets, new clutch plates (it's a two finger smoothey now), new back tyre and I broke an old preston petty at Marks Tey and we're putting electronic ignition on her.

    It's not been cheap (good riding gear is also expensive) but Terry Sewell and Paul A have been amazing- I must have spent days with them and it has been great fun.

    I was pointed in the direction of good people who have their souls invested in this ( Dave Harper, Geoff Nunn, Terry Sewell etc) and competitors and orgnisers like, Julian Smith, John Runnacles, Ray Wood,(even Paul Hughes was really helpful on race day ...just follow me) ! - you all know who you are! Without them It would have cost more time, money and frustration.

    I am amazed at the help everyone on this forum (and at races) will give you privately and publically if you ask- even when I seized her in Somerset - a call to Terry to find the nearest Greeves person (Dave Higgins phoned me in the middle of a delivery, Boretex tried to help too).

    I'd never raced a MX bike before this year, so this is an adventure, I haven't ridden a bike on the road for 40 years either so If I can do this, anyone can.

    So where is all this going? I think it starts with what do the Greeves/ GRA want to achieve?

    Always set the strategy based on the objectives.

    Do you want to increase numbers for the Greeves championship, or spectators or...something else.

    Do you want to increase interest in the restored bikes (esp road bikes)?

    Do you want to help the suppliers?

    Do you want more racers from outside Essex and the home counties (the North, the Souh West, the Midlands).

    Do you want to increase the price of the bikes -they dont appear to be increasing in price tas hey were 4 or 5 years ago?

    Personally, I strongly think we need to try and increase the numbers of younger people involved at all levels as we're all getting older,

    Greater demand for the bikes increases their resale value and for some that justifies either getting inovlved, or staying involved, although that's not my motivation....

    However, it does help when convincing the wife about the cost of a griffon engine rebuild.

    Some suggestions

    A). Start with existing owners who have the bikes, never race them or don't use them as frequently as they'd like or have a son or daughter who would use them, but don't and ask why not ? E.g. may be its not working and they think the price will be prohibitive?

    Ask yourselves why they don't get involved or more involved ?

    You could consider widening the Greeves championship to the other areas, e.g. the SW - there's a bunch of Greeves enthusuasts down there. Test the idea and see, you might ' suck -in' some other people we don't now about who have a Greeves and use the distance to Essex as a reason for not using it or getting it running. Other reasons for not getting involved could be mechanical? Get the " bring it and we will help" message out there - have the Dave H/Geoff Nunn/Terry S/Scott C / Dave H /Sam H types etc on hand to give advice /explain next steps, the least cost best bang for your buck next steps.

    B).Target people who owned a Greeves in their youth (as I did 40 years ago and want to have another go) are retired and need an interest that keeps them fit and stirs their minds too.

    C) Target other groups who may be interested - Youngsters, Motor Sports people, competitive types, Sailers, Mountainbikers, (Sporting, Finance etc), those attending race schools or taster MX events etc

    D) Work out who to target and how. Use marketing communications to go after them (build awareness, then desire, then move them to do something about it (we need to get them to ACTION)

    Write PR - Artcles in bike magazines, the Sunday Times, Dailymail, etc.Use video where possible.

    Use modern social media and videos, social media makes it far easier to target someone with articles, a blog, videos on someone starting this, someones journey in video - a youngster if you're targeting youngsters, a middle aged person if going after middle age, a 55-65 if going after retirees.

    Tick tock is 30 second video sound bite and music platform (an App) which enables you to put videos on phones and the web to music. Instagram and ticktock are what the youngsters are watching, Facebook and Linkedin for older people.

    Which commercial organisations do better if Greeves thrives? May be we consider getting them together and discussing how they think we should proceed, may be producing something profesional that everyone circulates so there is maxumum exposure.

    E) Finally if youve never done MX and want to have a go at something that's less competitive (start by being at the back of the Greeves chamionship) - its probably a lot safer than other classes . If you are worried about training - Neil Berry has electric KTMs at e-nduro and he can control output from virtually nothing to something faster than a CR250 and he'll teach you 1:1 or in a group.

    Enough from me !
    Last edited by John macleod; 12/01/2020, 03:48 AM. Reason: Spelling


    • #3
      I totally agree with your remarks , and the points concerning the drawings, next Saturday the 18th there is a committee meeting at Kidlington so trust that these will be answered and acted upon, I have sold two of my bikes this simply as i am only doing a few Trials , and just my Anglian is more than enough greeves, also i am now 75 and having to downsize property to a smaller place with less upkeep.
      Also where are the younger GRA members, (i dont mean youngsters in the 20 to 30 age group) but the members who compete, and show bikes, in the 40 to 60 age area?? we need them to run the Club now !! us older members struggle and keep on as well as we can , and try to do shows that we enjoy, and are supported by a lot of club members at events.

      We need to have support, so let us have new people at the AGM with ideas, and come on board the committee, before we all fall off our perches .


      • #4
        I have to say that John Macleod's message was one of the most heartening I have seen on this forum. It shows that there is still a great club spirt with people putting themselves out for other riders. This is something I have experienced myself, particularly when I was riding with the Bantam Racing Club and it's good to see that it is still live and well and makes a nice change from some of the carping you see on the forum. I hope that we can also take some of his suggestions seriously. Thanks John.


        • #5
          It would be good if we could read John McLeod's post! I think he must have deleted it, because it has disappeared.....


          • #6
            We need to get a major point over in that the GRA has no involvement in the Championship. It is run by Dave Harper under the rules of the AMCA, while the GRA is affiliated to the ACU. The fact that some riders are members of both AMCA clubs like the Pre-65 MX club and also the GRA is co-incidental. As you may realise, the GRA has no influence over the ryles and running of the Championship, except that if there were to be a visible problem, I'm sure Dave would not be slow to take action.
            Modern social media is not really the realm of the GRA, at least at present. As the UK moderator of the Greeves Enthusiast page on Facebook, we have a constant stream of technical and sales queries that are not the real purpose of that medium. We do our best to steer such queries into the people more able to answer the questions within the GRA. I see the FB page as a feeder to the GRA Forum, but some people are not really wanting to take out full membership for what is probably only a fleeting interest.


            • #7
              Originally posted by johnrunnacles
              Please Mr. Moderator, how do I get my above submission (#7) approved for publication? It is presently shaded green and marked Unapproved for some strange reason?
              John R
              This is a common problem John, John McC has had the same issue with his post and I have had it myself several times. It would appear that the moderators are unsure how to approve the post.
              Just one of a number of 'bugs' that have not been addressed on this over complicated website.
              Best thing is to delete the post and enter it again.


              • #8
                To be fair, the GRA has become very supportive of Dave's Championship series, even though it is run outside of the GRA for the most part, and most of those involved in the series in whatever capacity are very appreciative of that support.
                The US-inspired Greeves Enthusiasts page on Facebook is separate from the GRA too, as Brian has made clear, but serves in its own way to complement that which the GRA provides whether by way of its own website (this one!) and/or by printed media, e.g. the GRA newsletter, Leading Link.
                Other media, e.g. eBay, play a part in keeping the Greeves Dream alive even if, as suggested, they seem to do so by putting an unrealistically high price on the enjoyment of all that Greeves bikes have to offer, still.
                It does not have to cost a lot of money to have an enjoyable time in the Greeves Championship series, Dave's very clever formulation of the "Rules" sees to that!
                Dave Harper's original dream was that his scrambles series might unlock the latent potential of Greeves scramble bikes and parts which had been stored away and virtually forgotten about because there had been little or no use to which they might be put in the 21st Century.
                It worked, at least it has done now for best part of 20 years since his inception of the Greeves Championship series ….. and long may that continue! Dave himself has aged with the series, as have many of the original riding participants ………………. indeed, it would be hard to find many more than a handful of the original names now on the start line.
                But the start line for a Championship round remains respectably full, so where have they all come from?
                As for expecting younger riders to participate too in running of the GRA, it needs to be remembered that most have a day job to keep up with, which can be nigh-on all absorbing in the capitalist environment in which many have to exist.
                It is interesting that John Mc lists the 55 - 65 years age group as the ultimate group for target. I wonder just how many of the present line-up of competitors figure in the 65 years-plus age range, and how many of those may be "out there" just itching for a gentle return to an activity of their youth if extended the invitation?
                And there is more encouragement coming out of the GRA (and this Forum in particular) by way of supporting younger riders, bike restorers too, than has been suggested.
                John Mc may not be aware, too, that the Greeves series did extend to rounds in more far-flung locations than its present largely-Essex "home". I have fond memories of riding in the West Country, Cotswolds and North Devon in the not-so-distant past in order to accrue those precious Greeves Championship points! I should explain, of course, that those Greeves rounds were by kind invitation of the AMCA-affiliated Clubs active in those parts of the country, as indeed is the main focus of the Greeves Championship in the East and Midlands by generous invitation of the Pre 65 Motocross Club and the Northampton Classic Club, respectively..
                My four-pennorth, for what it may (or may not be) worth?
                John R
                Last edited by johnrunnacles; 14/01/2020, 10:29 PM.


                • #9
                  I should add that Dave Harper is in hospital at present and may well not be fit enough to attend the first round of the Championship in March. An appeal has been posted for a lap-scorer to assist in the running of the Championship races.


                  • #10
                    Without wishing to get involved again with geographic discussions it does appear that nothing happens up north for us to attend so all we can do is read about the events in the south. Has anything ever been run in the midlands or even further north? Not a scrambler but ride my 24TD to observe in local pre-65 trials so it does get used in a fashion.
                    Ian Wilkinson '61 Scottish 24TD118


                    • #11
                      Interesting that the comments so far have focused on the competition side of things. To be fair the club has never really been about organising sporting events (trials scrambles road racing etc).
                      Being a non teritorial club it would be difficult to cater for all parts of the country and of course it requires a lot of expertise, time, volunteers etc and of course land to run events. These are better left to sporting clubs who although don't specifically cater for Greeves do run pre 65 events.
                      I see the main purpose of the club as a source of help for owners of the Greeves make who want to restore and ride Greeves bikes. So the club needs to concentrate in its ability to help members with information, drawings, DVLA authentication, etc. on all models. At the moment the clubs strong point would appear to be at shows where it gives a good account of itself showing its wares. but that is a bit like having a motorcycle shop with lots of polished bikes that are not for sale in the window, but an empty shop floor inside and no service or spares dept!
                      So owners are attracted to the club pay their fee to join but then find that there is little on offer, and what there is can be difficult to access. So after a year they don't rejoin and in some cases sell their Greeves and move onto another make. Remember the club is not only about scrambles (or trials) but also road and road racing bikes, even Invacars (yes some members are restoring these)