Phoenix History

In May 1961 five members of the Fosse Riders club met in the 'Gate Hangs Well' and made plans to form a new club catering for touring motorcyclists and they agreed upon a name: The Leicester Phoenix Touring Motor Cycle Club.

Their first task was to find a club room and the following week they moved into the Princess Charlotte public house in the Newark. The room had a very homely atmosphere with a large open fire and friendly landlady who served up large helpings of sausages and onions. The club was very happy there and although other clubs doubted their survival the Phoenix expanded at a moderate scale.

When the pub changed hands the new landlord agreed to keep the club on but then let the room to another party. After a very uncomfortable evening in the store room a motion was passed to find a new clubroom and they moved to the Rocket on Stephensons Drive which was to be the home to the club for many years.

The year 1962 was big for the club with numerous club runs and weekend camps. Whitsun was spent in Wales and August in Cornwall where they met a character called Bruce Semmers who virtually insisted that they camp on his land. The club became such good friends with Bruce that they revisited him for many years and on one occasion when a club member bent his bike Bruce and his wife set to it with welding gear while the lads had a bash at farming.

Members of the club also braved the winter snow to attend the first Dragon Rally organised by the Conway and District MCC. Since then the Dragon Rally has always been attended by Phoenix members.

In 1963 the first Blackpool Motorcycle Show was held and was attended by a large contingent of the Phoenix who stayed for the weekend bed and breakfast. The Daily Mirror staged a concours d'elegance competition for the best turned out club and the Leicester Phoenix carried off the prize upsetting the Rudge Owners Club who were confident of winning. The winning team comprised of two Nortons and three BSAs and they received a silver engraved cup and twenty pounds. After the Mirror had taken some photographs the club led a police escorted parade around Blackpool.

Come 1964 and only two of the founder members remained: John Muschialli and Robert Burgess. Local greasers had caused trouble at the Rocket and the landlord blamed the club so the committee searched for another room and soon moved to the Abbey Hotel. The Rocket then changed hands and the new landlord let it be known that the club was welcome back so they returned.

But membership was now on the decline and members had taken to canvassing for membership outside Kings (motorcycle shop) on Belgrave Road. On one such occasion they met a member of the Kettering and District MCC named Roy Houghton. Arrangements were made for the clubs to meet and since then we have always had good relations with this club (the Chase Rally last year being no exception as I'm sure all who attended will testify).

In later years the club held many successful rallies and camping weekends and always contributed a good turnout to other clubs' rallies. The two most important British rallies then and still are the Dragon and the BMF. The Dragon was always proceeded by a 180 mile run round the Peak District.

Early in the life of the club the name was amended to the Leicester Phoenix MCC and the motto dropped. I personally like the motto: Exceleremis - 'Always on the move'. It fitted the mood of the club then and even more now.

 

T.R.