Mike finally lost his hard fought battle with cancer on the 23rd May and died peacefully after fulfilling his wish to end his days at home.
He was the last remaining founder member and had been the Aldermaston Nomads chairman for most of the years since the club was formed. There was a loose assembly of apprentices and scientific assistants living at the time in the AWRE hostel at Boundary Hall with a general interest in motorcycling. Mike and his fellow founders decided to round these up and form a proper club and thus the Aldermaston Nomads were formed in 1962. Initially as a section within the AWRE Rec Soc and subsequently as an ACU Southern Centre club.
With three of the four founders running double adult chairs his sporting interests lay with sidecar trials. When I could not afford to keep my over ported Greeves scrambler in pistons, he suggested that I bought a trials outfit. Having passengered for Phil Challis just once in the Manx 2-day it seemed like good fun. We went up to London and bought an old ex-Bill Slocombe 500T Norton outfit and with the impetuousness of youth entered it straight away in local and National trials with Mike volunteering to passenger and point this novice in the right direction!
After learning about the existence of the Motor Cycle Club (and in those days finding someone to sponsor our membership) Mike unhitched the double adult and fitted a trials chair. His enthusiasm for these long distance trials led to nine Nomads entering at its peak and his interest lasted for over 50 years. If he could not ride, he marshalled in the West Country. He was C of C for the Edinburgh Centenary Run in 2004 and his last competitive event was the Testing Trial two years ago (still using his original 19S Norton he started out with). He also came to support the Nomads Popham start team at the MCC Lands End Trial this year.
I have known Mike for 56 years, he was the complete engineer, never forgetting his machinist background but moving on fast to design engineer at AWRE where he was one of the first to learn how to use the early super computers. He left to take on aircraft design with Lockheed working on the wing for a new transport plane (and took pleasure in telling them that the American designed undercarriage for it let the wing tip hit the ground on a heavy landing). He then went to Darmstadt in Germany to work for the European Space Agency, (totally wearing out a new Norton Commando in his fortnightly commute from home). Finally becoming self employed on a variety of projects, adding pneumatic controls to his CV (and finding time to learn how to fly in his spare time). One of the last projects he was still working on was the Mk.2 design of a man powered aircraft to extend the flight distance off Brighton pier beyond the 100 metre mark his friend achieved with the MK.1, only to have the competition cancelled because of lack of sponsorship.
He got the club interested in skiing (leading to 3 of the Nomads getting married!), was my best man 47 years ago and a very good friend – I shall miss him.