Plymouth History (First Draft)
The Plymouth Branch of the Triumph Owners Motor Cycle Club (TOMCC) was started in 1968 by John Cordery a member of the Headquarters (HQ) Branch and Pete Lansdell a member of the Epping Forest (EF) Branch who moved from London to Plymouth in 1966. John and Pete met through correspondence in the Club’s monthly magazine “Nacelle”. Sadly John has not been with us for some years but Pete is still going strong and holds the position of Branch Chairman.
The Branch’s first meeting place, or HQ, was a social club over a garage workshop near the Broadway in Plymstock. It took a few weeks before the word got around but then membership increased steadily.
The garage site was threatened with redevelopment so the Branch moved to the Methodist Hall about a mile away, where it remains to this day, although there were a few periods in other premises when the question of redevelopment of the Church Hall site threatened from time to time. The Hall has now had extensive renovation, so our residency seems to be guaranteed for the foreseeable future.
Branch activities initially centred on Club Runs at the weekends and these were very well supported. Interest in speeds greater than permitted on the roads soon tempted some members to entre in local race meetings on the many ex-airfield circuits that abounded in the West Country. St Eval being but one which proved to be very popular.
Machines ranged from bog standard road bikes with headlamp glass crisscrossed with black tape for safety reasons and numbers marked on the sides with more black tape, right through to out and out racing machines, prepared to whatever racing spec that the owner/rider thought would give maximum speed. Road holding was not, at that time, a very serious issue. The circuits were flat, surfaces were reasonable and the bends sweeping. To make things interesting the organisers would sometime include chicanes formed with hay bales “borrowed” from a local farmer who occasionally had to be prevailed upon to mow the hay crop to enable access to the circuit. Riders who misjudged bends usually took to the countryside, if they kept upright, the fine, they circled back to the track but if a furrow or rut brought them down it could be a while before they could be located if they were unable stand up unaided.