March 2015
Dates For Your Diary

Monday 13th April
7:15pm for 7:45

Meeting: We will be holding a Technical Evening, covering advanced driving and riding techniques, hosted by Mark Sealey

Monday 11th May
7:15pm for 7:45
Meeting: Rob Braybrooke, a RoADAR car and bike examiner, will be our speaker.

Monday 8th June
7:15pm for 7:45
Meeting: Dave Thomson, who is the RoADAR Group Advisory Panel member for the South Centra area and also a Car Examiner, will be our speaker.

Monthly Ride-Outs
Remember that monthly Bike Ride-Outs take place on the 3rd Saturday of every month. 

Monthly meetings are all held at Liddington Village Hall opposite the church.
Do you have a topic you would like discussed, or know of an interesting speaker?  Please contact Monica!
Welcome to Andy Barlow who has joined the group recently as a member of both car and bike sections.

Welcome too to Stephen Wilkinson-Carr who has recently re-joined the group as an Advanced Bike Tutor. 
Congratulations to Ian Johnson who recently passed his bike re-test with a Silver grade. Well done!
Don’t forget that we have a range of clothing available to purchase. We also offer a range of books, such as Roadcraft, Motorcycle Roadcraft and the Highway Code, and these are available at discounted prices.

For more information visit the Merchandise page of our web site at
We are always looking for more articles, ideas and news for the newsletter. Have you been somewhere interesting recently that would make a good story? If you attend any group events then take a camera and send us your pictures!

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LGV/HGV Driving Experience
We now have just one place available for the LGV/HGV Driving Experience on Saturday 20th June. This will take place at Allied Driving School at Netherhampton, near Salisbury, where you will get the opportunity to experience life behind the wheel of large vehicles. The cost of this is £26 per person, which includes a lunch voucher to use at the onsite canteen. Contact Monica as soon as possible if you'd like to come along.
Williams Grand Prix Tour
We are looking to arrange a tour of the Williams Grand Prix collection if enough people are interested. This collection is housed in the award-winning Williams Conference Centre at Grove, Wantage, Oxfordshire and is Sir Frank Williams' private Williams Grand Prix collection, the largest of its kind in the world, spanning the history of the Williams F1 team since 1978. Tours are composed of:
  • Refreshments on arrival
  • Introduction and preview video
  • Escorted tour of the Grand Prix collection
  • Technology room display
  • Trophy room
  • Williams gift shop
  • Free secure parking
Tickets are £35.00 plus VAT per person 
(Note this does not include access to the Williams F1 Factory)
March Meeting Report: Gary Franks, Banger Run 2014
This month saw Gary Franks return to update the group on the Banger Run 2014 - Brits on Tour run that he and his team took part in last year. Gary had spoken to the group last year showing us how a humble - and cheap (£250) Volvo V70 had been converted to look something like a London Routemaster bus!

The Banger Run was first held in 2011 and was aimed at raising funds for Help for Heroes. So far (including 2014) the combined efforts of all the teams has raised over £140,000 for the charity - and this includes taking advantage of a traffic jam at the Dartford crossing to raise funds from helpless drivers in the queue.

For 2014, why did Gary and team choose a Routemaster bus? The run theme was 'Brits on Tour', and included The Yellow Submarine, Only Fools and Horses, and a fully equipped English pub, complete with on-tap beer.

Day 1, 30th August 2014, started early at Cineworld Ashford with a presentation of a compilation video put together for the teams. A channel crossing on DFDS seaways and mostly motorway driving took the teams to the first campsite near the French/German border.

Day 2 saw the teams following route 500 through the picturesque Black Forest. Picturesque, that is, except for the low cloud which obscured the views for most of the time. Unexpected hazards included a cow in the road, safely negotiated, and the day ended at another campsite southeast of Zurich.

Day 3 is where the cars stared being tested - the Klausen Pass (1952m), Albula Pass (2315m) and the Furka pass (2429m) were all crossed, but the lead team's car found it all too much and died. Some vehicles would have benefitted from brake overhauls before leaving, having to stop every 15 minutes to cool down, or have water thrown on their brakes.

Day 4 brings the final destination, Lake Como, in reach. But before they arrive the San Bernadino Pass (2066m and most famous as the location of the infamous cliff-hanging bus scene in the original 1969 version of The Italian Job) and the "car killer" Stelvio Pass (2757m) needed to be crossed. The short video shown of the "RouteMaster" wending its way down the seemingly endless hairpins reveals breathtaking scenery, and it's definitely not a place to lose concentration!

After a well-earned barbeque at Lake Como, Day 5 was a chance to do some sightseeing on the way back, and an opportunity to drop in at the Nurburgring. The attention paid to the "bus" grated on the owner of a Ferrari 458 parked next to it!

After all the fun of the driving, though, how did the charity fare?  The overall Banger Run raised £38,000 totalling over £140,000 when all the previous runs were added in. Gary and his team raised £2863 which placed them at one point in the top 3% of Just Giving donations - and more importantly, the second best dressed car award.

As the organiser of the run isn't available in 2015 Gary will be taking part in a run in aid of RAFA which will have a D-Day to Eagles Nest theme. We wait to see what he dreams up for a car disguise for this one!

Dave Venman 
Wiltshire RoADAR Survey
Many thanks to those of you who took the time to complete the online survey that we ran at the end of last year. We have now carried out an analysis of the results, and are considering what actions should be taken.

Overall, the responses were predominately very positive about the group; with members rating the quality of training that we provide highly, and also giving positive feedback regarding the meetings and events that we hold. There are a few things that we need to consider, such as whether we should seek an alternative or additional meeting venue as Liddington is a long way to travel for some (although the majority of our members are still based in the Swindon area). We also need to appoint a new Motorcycle Training Officer as that role remains vacant. There were plenty of good ideas too for promoting and improving the group and the way we do things - we will be following some of those up in the coming months.

Here is a summary of the results:
  • 54 responses were received.
  • Of these, 27 were car members, 22 bike members and 5 were dual (car/bike) members. 
  • 20 were Tutors. 
Joining the group (relevant to those who have joined in the last year):
  • 50% heard about us through the internet (either our web site, national RoADAR web site or using an internet search engine)
  • 25% heard about us through an existing member
  • 8% heard about us from the Emergency Services Show
  • 8% heard about us from Calne Bike show
  • Almost everybody said they joined mainly to improve their skills/take their advanced test.
  • 87% of members who have received training in the last year said they were happy with the frequency of their training drives/rides.
  • 'Other pressures on their time' was usually the cause when people weren't happy with the frequency.
  • Everybody rated the useful of their training drives/rides at least 4 out of 5.
  • Most were happy with the quality of training materials supplied, although 26% rated this as 3 or less out of 5.
  • Everybody rated their Tutor's knowledge of the subject at least 4 out of 5.
  • Everybody thought their driving/riding had improved at least a little.
  • Almost everyone said that the training provided had met their expectations. 
  • 81% if members who have not received training in the last year said they would be interested in refresher sessions when they approach their re-test date. 
  • All our Tutors rated the quality of Tutor training at least 3 out of 5
  • 50% were happy with the frequency of training sessions, although quite a few wanted more frequent sessions.
  • Most were happy with the support they receive from the training officer, although many of the bikers pointed out that this Bike Training Officer role needs to be filled.
  • 80% of Tutors were happy with the number of associates they have allocated, the other 20% want more. 
Events and Activities:
  • Unsurprisingly, ride-outs are the most popular events for bikers. There was little consensus regarding when ride-outs were held - some Saturday, some Sunday. A few suggested the day should be varied. A few preferred shorter rides. Most seemed happy with the frequency. 
  • The most popular events across the full membership are instructional events and visits/tours.
  • The majority of comments were positive about the events we run.
  • 81% would be interested in attending future events
  • 44% attend meetings regularly or quite often, 22% never attend.
  • Of those that don't attend regularly, most say this is because Liddington is too far to travel or because of other commitments.
  • 70% are happy with the time that meetings start.
  • Most come for the guest speakers and social interaction.
  • 63% think the mix of speakers/topics is about right.
  • 69% said they occasionally visit the website. Of those that don't visit it, most say they have no need.
  • 72% think the content is satisfactory.
  • Only 7% regularly visit the forum; 40% never use it. A few members commented that there is very little traffic using it now.
  • 30% say they follow us on Facebook, 13% on Twitter. Nobody seems to think we should increase our social media coverage to other sites.
  • The majority highlight developing and maintaining skills as being one of the main benefits of membership. Contact with other advanced drivers/riders is also important, as is attending group meetings and passing on skills to others.
  • 96% say they would recommend Wiltshire RoADAR to a friend or relative.
North Wiltshire Blood Bikers Wanted!
It was about 4 years ago that two Severn Freewheelers Committee Members came along to a Monthly Members Meeting to inform our members of the great service they provide in our region; I was enthused by their pitch and wanted to put my newly acquired RoSPA advanced riding skills to good use, joined the charity and have been a committee member and Blood Biker ever since.

The charity is a member of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes (NABB) and provides a secure, emergency out of hours courier service for the regions National Health Service Trusts, covering the North Wiltshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire areas and we are looking to recruit advanced riders in the Swindon area right now.

The charity carry blood and blood products, samples, medical records, equipment, medication, drugs and breast milk around our region on weekday evenings and at weekends on the groups police specification BMW RT1200P’s 52 weeks of the year.

If providing an essential service to the public and NHS trusts, using one of the group's bikes to further develop your skills and being provided with further training (including the use of Blue Lights) appeals to you please look at our website for details including how to apply for membership or call me directly on 07989 492616.

I look forward to seeing some of you at our Prescott or Shelsley Walsh events this year and possibly on the SFW Riders Rota soon (

Tony Wilkes
Severn Freewheelers Trustee, Secretary and Compliance Officer 
Highways England
Highways England, a new government-owned company will take over the running of England’s motorways and A-roads from 1 April 2015. The Highway Agency as such will then not exist and the new company will have longer-term funding, which will mean it can plan ahead and invest in skills and equipment to speed up essential work and drive down costs to the taxpayer. 

Thanks to Chris Gleed for this information.
Membership Secretary: Mrs. Monica Graham, 114 Marines Drive, Faringdon, Oxon. SN7 7UG.Tel: 01367 242377
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