Life President - Martin Bartlett

Martin BartlettI started motorcycling as a teenager so that I could get from South London to my weekend job working in the Joe Lyon’s teashops in London’s West End in the late 1950’s. My first motorcycle was a Dayton Albatross scooter, manufactured in Park Royal, North West London and fitted with 225cc Villiers two stroke engine. It was not long before I had saved enough to buy a new Ariel Arrow, another two stroke!.

In the Sixties, I was keen to ride more, so I started sprinting and road racing on my Ariel Arrow trying to emulate George Brown who held the 250cc Sprint record with a modified Arrow and Micky O’Rourke who had done well in the TT also on an Arrow; however I did not enjoy their success, but had a great time trying to!

After University in Newcastle upon Tyne, getting a Master’s degree and getting married, I sold my beloved Ariel Arrow and had to get a proper job to raise a family etc. After many years without a bike and after my first marriage came to an end, I met Anna and on my first visit to Poland with her, we were invited by friends to ride with them in woodlands in South Poland.

After the Polish riding, I fancied having a motorbike again and went to a local dealer in South London and purchased a new CBR600. I joined the PEMC in 1989 after being encouraged to do so by a work colleague, Peter Ashdown. Peter and I started attending dealer days (very popular at the time), pub turnups and and Anna joined us for Sunday lunch events. It wasn’t long before I organised my first Pub Run in March 1991 at the The Cricketers, near Petworth, West Sussex. Food was very good, weather was appalling!!

Later in May of that year, Peter, Anna and I went on our first European Club trip, Richard Frost’s Rhine / Moselle event, along with 32 others. We enjoyed the event so much, we signed up for Club trips in 1992 to Lake Annecy organised by Frosty and the Pilsen Brewery in Czechoslovakia, organised by Graeme Lynam. What a fantastic trip that was with visits to Prague, Michelin star cuisine in a school for chefs in Bayreuth, Germany and fantastic German roads for quick riding!!

We were hooked on European events and attended further Club trips to Corsica, Eight Nights at Eight German Castles, Perched Villages in France not to mention various great UK events including Track Days at Cadwell Park, Mallory Park and Brands Hatch. In 1994, Anna and I organised our first European event for the Club which we called “Green Spain” as it was to the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain, this was the start of many trips we organised, including: Red Italy, Spain and Portugal, and regular annual trips to WSB Race meetings at Hockenheim and Nurburgring etc.

In 1996, Angus Lees the Chairman at the time, invited me to be the Club Chairman, which I readily accepted. PEMC Ashdown Trophy

Unfortunately, not long after taking up the Chair, our good friend Peter Ashdown, tragically died. As Peter and I had got so much enjoyment from attending PEMC events, I decided to donate a Trophy to the Club in memory of Peter, to be awarded annually to the member who attended the most PEMC events in the year. Over the years, this has resulted in friendly rivalry between members. At the time of writing, there are 25 winners to whom I have presented the Trophy, albeit that in 2020 we had a winner but no presentation!!!

After my two year stint as Chairman, I handed the Chair to Chris Holland in 1998, however, it was not long before I needed to step back to cover as Chairman again, when Chris Holland departed early. By 1999, Ken Gore kindly offered to take over the Chair. I decided to teach myself about Web Design and my first site was for the PEMC, which went live in 2005.

From those early days of the website when less than 30 members had PCs to view it, it is now viewed regularly by many of the 300+ members. The website provides an online Booking System; a range of support facilities for the Club Officers, mainly Events and Membership; a system to support the collection and presentation of event attendances; an online Events Calendar which is regularly updated and many other Club related pages for Members to use as required. More recently the Club’s Facebook has grown alot in popularity

On the biking front, I decided to try Off-Road riding again and I purchased a Suzuki DR350. Despite lots of advice from the regular Off Roaders and joining them on Sunday outings, entering the Club Enduros etc., I eventually decided it was not for me, when I fell off on a very wet ride in the Pennines breaking my collar bone at the highest point and having to ride back to the hotel through extremely wet terrain and flooded rivers!!!

In 2007, I stopped riding. We kept our beloved Red Honda VFR 750 and the Suzuki for some time but I soon purchased a Honda S2000 sports car.

Jeff Poulter encouraged Anna and I to book on his Mugello GP event in May 2007 and come in the S2000. Having ridden all over Europe with the PEMC over the previous 16 years without a hitch, the first time we ventured on a PEMC event on four wheels, we had a driving mishap.

Having enjoyed sunny weather in the morning driving on D roads and stopping for lunch, the weather changed, the rain poured down and. I decided to join the A48 Autoroute. 25km short of our destination in Grenoble, we hit a stream of water flowing across our lanes which spun us into the Armco. With the car a write off, we returned to UK in a hired car provided by Aviva. After receiving a good payout from Aviva, we purchased another S2000, which we still have and enjoy!!

At the 2017 Christmas Party, the Chairman, Roger Fellows offered me the PEMC Life Presidency. I was rather shocked, but very honoured to be offered the role, which I accepted together with a Crystal Glass Plaque.

As Club President, I hope my approach is similar to that taken by Mike Parry, the Club founder, when he was Club President. To offer support, as required, to the Chair and Officers, and so far, I have also continued with my website activities.