Club history

The first ever IAM motorcycle test took place in Guildford in 1974, and routine Observed Runs were then carried out by the Motorcycle Section of the Guildford and District Group of Advanced Motorists. This section continued until 12th April 1984 when a motorcyclists sub-group was formed, named the Wey Valley Advanced Motorcyclists’.

1 - WVAM original logo

The original WVAM logo

The club was formed by six founding members (Peter Parvin, Keith Millican, Ron McLaughlin, Geoff Baldwin, Tony Warner and John Bennett) with Lord David Strathcarron (of the All Party Parliamentary Motorcycling Group) as President and endorsement from the Mayors of Guildford and Woking, the Assistant Chief Constable of Surrey, Surrey County Council and the IAM.

The membership then totalled 30, the membership fee was £6, with a joining fee of £2, while the cost of the IAM test was £30, including the subsequent year’s IAM membership of £10.

The club concentrated on delivering training to associates whilst working on recruiting new members via open days and local press articles (fifty-five in ten years).

In 1986 our dedicated Secretary, Keith Millican, stood down at the AGM having become involved in founding a second IAM motorcycle Group based in Basingstoke.

The following year saw WVAM hold an ‘Any Questions’ style of debate at the House of Commons. The panellists were Peter Bottomley MP and Under Secretary of State for Transport, Ted Clements the IAM’s Chief Examiner, and our very own President, Lord Strathcarron. Shortly afterwards, Bottomley referred to the WVAM in glowing terms (see Hansard 24th April 1987) during a debate on the Motorcycle Noise Bill.

Having manned the IAM stand at the NEC in 1986 & 87, the Group took responsibility for organising the following year’s IAM motorcycle conference at the Motorcycle Museum. This was the fourth such meeting and displayed quite an astonishing ambition for such a new IAM Group.  Nevertheless Peter Parvin, as ever, took the initiative, getting a team together and chairing the day with professionalism and humour.

Also in 1988, the club membership had reached 130 and from August onwards the Observed Runs now took place at Ripley Village Hall, where we remain 25 years later.

On our ten year anniversary in 1994 club membership had reached 179 and notably, Jim Osborne’s daughter Rebecca, had become an observer aged only 19, and later went on to become the IAM’s youngest ever female Senior Observer.

In 1998 Charles Hooker, beside his yellow Firestorm, was featured on the cover of the club magazine after fortuitously become the 1000th member signed up since records began (in the Medieval period). In fact the Club membership had just reached another all time high at the end of Mar, at 438. By the close of the year membership had peaked over 500, where it remains today.

This history is an abridged version provided by John Bennett. Read the full article here.