As I am sure you can imagine, the telephones at the offices of Classic Trial Magazine are always ringing and recently it was the voice of a very old friend of mine at the other end, Peter Beardmore. We first met in the early seventies and have both been motorcycle enthusiasts for many years. What I did not know was that Peter was also a very keen amateur photographer. I knew for many years that he was involved in the ACU in many different official capacities, but not of his photography collection. His pictures tell a story of his motorcycle exploits and places he has visited over many, many years of travels. Here we look at his varied and interesting life as a true motorcycle ambassador.
Soon, in both Classic Trial Magazine and Trial Magazine, you will see his photographs come to life in various articles, which we are sure you will enjoy as much as we have. Here in his own words, Peter talks of a life he has filled to the limit with exploits and adventures.
I was born on 8th August 1944 at Ashbourne Hospital, so you will appreciate that I played a very limited role in the demise of the Third Reich. My father John Beardmore was in the army, the REME, based at Woolwich and came to see me for a brief visit. I did not see him again until I was three as he was sent to serve in Palestine. I went to school at Cheadle County Primary School on Tean Road at the age of four. On my first day at school, I absconded – going to my aunty’s, who lived nearby. Not a good start to my academic career, I am afraid! My brother Leslie was born on 6th March 1951 at home at 82 High Street, Cheadle. I eventually passed my 11 plus exam and went on to Thomas Alleyne’s Grammar School at Uttoxeter, travelling the 10 miles each way by bus. I was an average pupil and left school at 16 with six GCSEs.
On the 2nd January 1961 my schooling days we over and I started work as a Civil Servant for the Post Office Telecoms in Manchester, travelling to Manchester early each Monday getting a lift with a lorry driver friend of dad’s, and returning on Friday by train. I stayed in various digs and scruffy flats in the Chorlton area. With my parents’ help, I bought a small motorcycle in 1962 and occasionally, when my lift was unavailable, rode it to get there. On the whole, I enjoyed my first experience of work and living in the big city. It was a big change from sleepy little Cheadle, but the travelling and lack of cash due to having to pay for my accommodation etc. took the shine off it somewhat! My first month’s pay was just £25.00, and digs and travel took a big slice of that.
In 1964 I managed to get a transfer to the Telephone Manager’s office in Hanley, where I remained for over 20 years doing a variety of jobs, getting promoted to management level during that time. I purchased my first house at 29 Dane Grove, Cheadle around 1976. I married Kay Lovatt at St Giles RC church on 9 December 1978. We moved to 39 Parklands Road, Tean, in 1979 where my daughter Victoria was born on 26 June 1980. However, after a long illness, Kay died on 21 January 1986.
I then transferred to the BT Technical College at Yarnfield where I was in charge of the purchasing group for the whole of the BT Training Division, and where I was further promoted to a senior management role until the group moved to Wolverhampton in 1991. I enjoyed my time at Yarnfield as the college was a nice place to work and the people were pleasant with a good social life, but I did not enjoy the move to Wolverhampton. With the extra workload and the daily grind of commuting, I decided after three years that it was time to take early retirement, which I did in 1994. This was a good move as it enabled my second wife Margaret and me to enjoy a new life and to travel much more than had been possible before, as well as do other things we wanted. I married Claire Marlene Jones (Margaret) on 13 August 1994 at Cheadle Methodist Church, and we remain married to this day, enjoying more than 23 years of marriage. We lived at Tean for a couple of years until 1996, before eventually moving to our present bungalow at 8 Ash Tree Hill, Cheadle in 1996 where still live today.
Motorcycling I became interested in motorcycling with a 175cc BSA Bantam in 1962 and bought a 250cc Ariel Golden Arrow a couple of years later. This was my pride and joy – a lovely motorcycle! The lifelong interest in the sport started in 1962 with visits to Oulton Park and to the Isle of Man TT, which has continued to this day, including marshalling at the TT in 1968 for about 12 years. My marshalling began at Darley Moor in 1965, and I have retained an excellent relationship with the club to this day. I started to marshal at Mallory Park in 1967 where I eventually took over as Chief Marshal in the 1980s. My affection with the Isle of Man has seen me officiate at many road races and trials on the island ever since then including Chairman of the Stewards at the Manx Grand Prix — 2002, 2008, and 2009, the Southern 100 races at Castletown, as well as numerous national and international trials.
My trials riding career started in 1973 on a 125cc Sprite. I took over as Trials Secretary of Cheadle Auto Club in 1974 and then as the club Secretary a couple of years later, a post which I held until 2017. I was made Life President when I retired in 2017 and remain an active member of the club. Over 25 years I rode in all of the local East Midland trials as well as a couple of outings in the National Bemrose trial, winning a couple of club awards in the process. During that time the Cheadle club prospered. We organised many national British Championship events such as rounds of the Ladies and the Youth National series as well as a full programme of local events and until I retired in 2017. I joined the East Midland Centre Executive committee in 1989 where I held several positions including the Centre Secretary, which I did until I retired in 2015 when I was made an Honorary Life Member. In 1991 I was elected on to the ACU National Trials and Enduro committee and remained on it for the next 13 years.
Representing the ACU and the British riders as a Steward and member of the international jury at many World and European championship trials was very rewarding, as was being appointed National Steward at numerous national championship events. I also took on the job of Chairman of the ACU Training Committee and ran the Youth and Ladies National trials squads for over ten years.
The Youth and Ladies trials squads was a particularly enjoyable episode in my time with the ACU. When I took over as Chairman of the Training Panel, Dave Smith from the MX committee and I approached the Board of Directors for some money to form the squads, which to their credit was readily granted, and the Trials and MX Squads were quickly established. For the next ten years, I was fortunate to be able to help with the development of many of our young riders, in particular, the ladies section which up until then had not been considered to be worth bothering with. With some excellent instructors such as Steve Saunders, Wayne Braybrook and Martin and Michael Phillipson we organised several training sessions and encouraged the squad members to branch out and ride in the European Championships. With the help of Dave Luscombe, we also sent them to the Lilleshall Training Academy, which is used by all of the top British athletes, and proved to be of enormous benefit to all of the squad who attended. The success of the squad can perhaps be judged by the success of its members, with James Dabill and Michael Brown being the most notable of the boys and we took the ladies from a minor role in the trials scene to being World Champions in the Trial des Nation. This was a very busy and rewarding period, and it meant that Margaret and I travelled to trials all over Europe, as well as most parts of the British Isles including the Isle of Man and Ireland.
We bought the first of our two motorhomes and drove it to many events. It got us to parts of Europe that few tourists have visited and met local people and officials that we would not otherwise have been able to do, as well as being taken to dine with them at many unusual and very fine restaurants in their localities. When the locations were not suitable for driving, we flew and hired a car. The trip to the trial at Tossa de Mar was very good, and unusual in that some of the sections were on the seashore and we were taken to see them by boat – and treated to a champagne afternoon tea!
Meeting many famous names on the national and international scene over a very long period, including Geoff Duke, Martin and Dougie Lampkin, Sammy Miller, Jordi Tarres, Thierry Michaud, Yrjo Vesterinen and many others was a pleasure. I think that we have travelled to almost every part of Western Europe. During that time I also stewarded many National road-race championship races all over the country. This included the Manx Grand Prix, the highlights of which included being taken on some high-speed laps of the course in the course car, garden parties at government house and meeting Geoff Duke and BBC sports commentator Murray Walker as well as the Governors of the Isle of Man!
2004 was a very special year as we were invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, where we were introduced to Prince Phillip who is a Patron of the ACU. An invitation to join the Board of Directors of the ACU followed in the same year, where I remained until I finally retired in 2016.
After Kay passed away, I spent many years having the difficult but very rewarding task of bringing up my daughter, Victoria, alone until I met and married Margaret. I met her family too; Julie, Nigel and, granddaughter, Natasha. We enjoyed many family holidays together, usually in caravans and travelling around the country in our vans, and in the static caravan, we had at Porthmadog. In 2005 Rozie the Schnauzer joined us, travelling with us everywhere both in the UK and Europe in the motorhome. She was one of the very first dogs to have her own Pet Passport. We later had Phoebe, a Westie, and eventually our little Bijon Frize Bobby. When caravanning became more hard work, we bought our second home in Skegness, where we still enjoy the sea air.
In April 201,5 I was very proud to walk Victoria down the aisle when she married Sebastian in Manchester. We have also enjoyed spending a little time with my stepson Christopher and stepgranddaughter Amelia, who unfortunately live away from us in Surrey. I am very proud of how all of my family have turned out and am so pleased to have had their support over the years.
I have also been privileged to be involved with the local community around Cheadle for many years, following my interests in motorcycle sport and photography. We have always had a keen interest in the theatre, especially musical theatre, and regularly went to see the top shows in London and locally.
After I retired from BT, I worked part-time at the Theatre Royal in Hanley, helping in the publicity and promotions office, when we got to go to all of their productions. Margaret and I were founder members of the Cheadle U3A in 1997 with her acting as Press Officer and me as their first Treasurer, until we both retired in 2005 having served eight years on the committee. Afterwards, I was persuaded to take on the post of Treasurer of the Cheadle Homelink scheme, which I did until 2011.
In June 2014, I was very proud to be awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours list for services to motorcycle sport and the local community.
John Hulme: “Despite my best efforts to get this into print, Peter sadly passed away before it was finished. I take some comfort in the fact that he worked on the draft copy with me and approved of the text. I was very privileged to be able to spend some time with Peter and reminisce over our times together before his untimely death”
His trials riding career started in 1973 on a 125cc Sprite, and he took over as Trials Secretary of Cheadle Auto Club in 1974. This well prepared 250cc Ossa MAR found its way into the garage. Over a period of around 25 years he rode in all of the local East Midland trials as well as a couple of outings in the National Bemrose Trial, winning a couple of club awards in the process. Kay, Peter and daughter Vic at Caulden Low, near Cheadle in the early eighties. It was four-stroke power in the late seventies.
Daughter Vic on a charity cycle ride in 1985 at Mallory Park in aid of the ACU benevolent fund. Peter on the left at the 1992 Italian World round, representing the ACU. Mick Andrews tries to convert daughter Vic to trials riding. Trials results specialist Charley Demathieu, in the red shirt, looks on after dinner in Andorra 1995. Peter and Margaret have made many friends over the years, in all corners of the earth. Always close to the action, this picture from Peter catches Jordi Tarres at the 1992 Italian World round. Peter’s wife Margaret has been a very important part of his career in various official posts. Here she deals with the flowers at the French World round in 1999. It was a proud day for the ACU and Peter when team Great Britain won the Trial Des Nations on the Isle of Man in 1997. They purchased the first of two motorhomes and drove them to many events, which got them to parts of Europe that few tourists have ever visited.
Peter has a very pleasant memory of spending an afternoon with Jordi Pratt the Spanish Team Manager at a European trial at Ripoll in Spain. Jordi had brought a bottle of wine and an excellent Spanish ham, which they ate while he taught Peter how to drink the wine from a Porum. It turned into a very nice and educational day! At the 2002 TT presentation of awards: Martin Moore, Peter Beardmore, Norman Cowin. 2002 Sharpcliffe Hall: Taking on the job of Chairman of the ACU Training Committee he ran the Youth and Ladies National trials squads for over ten years. Running the Youth and Ladies trials squads was a particularly enjoyable episode in Peter’s time with the ACU. For the next ten years he was fortunate to be able to help with the development of many of our young riders and in particular the ladies’ section, which up until then had not been considered to be worth bothering with. With the help of Dave Luscombe they sent them to the Lilleshall Training Academy, which is used by all of the top British athletes and proved to be of enormous benefit to all of the squad who attended. The success can perhaps be judged by its members, with James Dabill and Michael Brown being the most notable of the boys, and the fact that the girls went from a very minor role in the trials scene to being World Champions in the Trial Des Nations. With Mike Hailwood’s Ducati at the 2007 TT. 2007: Peter feels very privileged to have had the opportunity to both meet and photograph some of his racing legends, including John McGuinness in more recent times. Pictured at the 2014 TT: The passion for the Isle of Man never goes away.