About the ACU Eastern Region

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What is the ACU Eastern Region?

The Auto Cycle Union, founded in 1903, is the National Governing Body for Motor Cycle Sport in the British Isles. It sets the rules by which the various aspects of our sport run. It maintains standards so that competition is fair. It trains meeting officials, it sets safety standards for events and tracks, it organises insurance cover for riders and much, much more.

The ACU, the governing body of motorcycle sport in England and Wales is divided into 20 regions to allow easier local administration of the sport.

Each region has its own ruling body and as such, ACU Eastern has a structure designed to suit its needs for governing motorcycle sport in its local area.

This covers the area of England comprising the counties of Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and the area of Greater London north of the River Thames and east of the River Lee

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The map above gives a rough guide to the area covered by the ACU Eastern region.

Within the ACU, the Eastern region is an affiliation of over 30 clubs and over 2,500 like minded members in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. We manage all aspects of motor cycle sport in the region and organise some 150 competitive and social events a year across all disciplines.

ACU Eastern and Club Officers are all volunteers, who give of their time freely to ensure the stewardship of the region's assets, the safe running of events, the organisation of Championships and the myriad of administrative duties that need to be done to ensure that the organisation's business is professionally carried out.

ACU Eastern Bylaws
What is the ACU Benevolent Fund?

The ACU Benevolent Fund has helped thousands of riders through times of hardship since it first came in to being more that 50 years ago.

The Ben Fund Officer for the ACU Eastern region is Martin Cross.

Background History of the Benevolent Fund

The Auto-Cycle Union Benevolent Fund, in it's present form, was brought to life in 1950 with £80.00 in the kitty. The fund was originally financed, in cash, by the ACU Management with an amount of £396 and one penny and subsequently by donations, subscriptions, bequests and subscriptions under covenant.

The original Trustees who formed the Administrative Committee.were:

  • Professor A M Lowe, Major Harry Watling, John Ferguson and Ken Topping, who became the first treasurer.
  • The editors of the Motor Cycle and Motor Cycling were: Arthur Bourne and Graham Walker (father of Murray Walker).
  • The Presidents of the South Midland and Yorkshire Centres, Bob Lowe and Alan Jefferies

Centre clubs and individuals responded to appeals for financial help. Organisers promoted Grass Track, Motocross and Road Race meetings on behalf of the Benevolent Fund. In 1954 came the introduction of Ben Fund TT Badges with a different design every year.

Early on it was realised that a committee meeting could not function effectively without the guidance of advisers on the spot. For this reason, representatives from ACU Centres were appointed and many cases of hardship would not have come to light without their local knowledge. From the beginning, the intention of the fund was to reduce financial hardship.

The Benevolent Fund, like any other Registered Charity, is registered with the Charity Commission. The fund is not an insurance scheme for which stated benefits are an entitlement. No-one has a right to help from the fund. It is up to the committee to decide the amount of assistance that may be given.

The first Chairman of the committee in 1950 was Alan Jeffries, followed by Harry Louis, Lou Ellis and Keith Collow. Our present Chairman is Roy Hanks. The first Treasurer in 1950 was Ken Topping, followed by Eddie Cope and Bill Smith, all from the East Midland Centre.

Without investments, the income received from donations, the sale of badges etc., would not cover the grants paid out each month. Investments help but it is essential to have a steady flow of donations to cover the higher level of grants necessary, to offset inflation.

Ken Blampied

A bit more about the Benevolent Fund

After our 50th year, the Fund is continuing to help past and present club members and their dependents who, through no fault of their own, face financial difficulties and need help in coping with them. The grants they receive help them considerably over this period, but we must once again make it very clear that the fund is NOT an additional form of insurance (members are covered for this by the ACU insurers). Rather, it is a charity supplying grants monthly to augment small incomes.

Insurances, social benefit and other state benefits could be applicable and sufficient in most cases. The area in which the Benevolent Fund can be of assistance is in the initial period prior to the state benefits being arranged. Our centres help us with donations, sponsored events, raffles, functions etc., and we are very grateful for the money they send us. Everyone will appreciate in these difficult times, that the Benevolent Fund is requested to give more assistance than in the past. Therefore, we again request your continued support in helping us to assist those in need.

Finally, everybody who buys one of the yearly TT badges is helping in a small way to contribute, as without all these sources of income, we would find it very difficult to maintain our present levels of assistance.

Each centre has at least one Centre Benevolent Fund Officer (or CBFO) and it is his/her responsibility to obtain all the information possible on the special forms provided, verify it and then pass it on to Rugby for consideration at the next committee meeting. However, if it is urgent, there is a small sub-committee consisting of the Chairman and Treasurer of the Fund who are empowered to make an emergency grant without waiting for it to be agreed in full committee.

It should also be made perfectly clear that all the information on the forms, i.e. names, personal details, questions regarding income and expenditure is treated as STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL to the CBFOs, the Ben Fund Trustees and their Committee and also their Secretary, and the information is never divulged to anybody else without permission

What do the various committees do?
The Board

The ACU Eastern Board is responsible for the control of the region and comprises an executive consisting of the elected officers of the region together with representatives from each affiliated club. Clubs with an affiliated membership of up to 100 persons are eligible to have two representatives with voting rights at each meeting of the Centre Board, whilst clubs with more than 100 affiliated members are eligible for an additional voting representative.

The Board has the right and authority to appoint other persons as Assistant Officers and currently appoints a Permit Officer, a Fixtures Secretary, an Environmental Officer, a Rights of Way Officer and the Officers of the Eastern Centre Gazette.

The Board also authorises the appointment of any sub-committees necessary to satisfy its commitments. Currently, the Executive/Emergency Committee and the Competitions Committee have been in being for many years, membership of the Competitions Committee being by election at the first Board Meeting following the Annual Meeting. Normally the Board meets four times during the year. See the Event Calendar for details of the meetings for this year.

Competitions Committee

The Competitions Committee is responsible to the Board for the control and administration of sporting matters in the region. It is empowered by the Board to undertake any judicial proceedings relating to appeals etc. which are addressed to the centre in the name of the centre but if called on to do so, have to justify the actions taken by the committee.

Sub-committees chaired by a member of the Competitions Committee have been set up to look after the interests of the motocross, trials, enduro and grass track disciplines. These sub-committees, the members of which comprise both riders and organisers, prove to be a very useful stepping stone between grass roots organisers and riders, and the main Competitions Committee.

The Competitions Committee also has the responsibility of appointing a Permit Secretary and a Stewards Co-ordinator. The duties of the Permit Secretary include approving permit applications and issuing permits for all events held under the jurisdiction of ACU Eastern. He also liaises with the appropriate Police Authority to ensure compliance with the Road Traffic Act regulations which are applicable to all events held on private land.

The Stewards Co-Ordinator is responsible for arranging the appointment of ACU Stewards as necessary, to represent the interests of the centre at all speed events and all Trials with a status higher than Restricted Invitation.

Recorders for the various disciplines, are appointed who may or may not be members of the Competitions Committee. The recorders for each discipline are required to compile and maintain a record of the Championships for their discipline and also, where applicable, to control the grading system for their discipline which relates to riders’ ability.

The Competitions Committee meets on a regular basis and affiliated clubs or individuals may make representations to the committee for their consideration. Any such representations should in the first place be put in writing and sent to the ACU Eastern Secretary for inclusion on the agenda of the next meeting of the committee. Meetings of the Competitions Committee are formally minuted and and once approved by the committee are presented to the Board for adoption.

The Competitions Committee are also the body responsible, together with its appointed Fixtures Secretary, for setting the calendar of events within the ACU Eastern region. A 'Dates Meeting' is held in the autumn to consider application received from organising clubs for the following year and to sort out a provisional fixture list for the coming year, a copy of which is distributed to the clubs at the November Board meeting. The committee always tries to ensure that there is no undue clash of similar events which are likely to make one or more of the events non-viable for the organising clubs.

Emergency Committee

Formerly known as the Executive Committee - this section is currently under review.

Sporting Committees

Each discipline (motocross, trials, etc.) has it's own committee.

These committees comprise ex-officio members from the Competitions Committee, together with organisers and riders who have been selected at a forum to serve on the sub-committee which is open to all interested parties within the centre.

As with all committees and official posts within the region, members of the Sub-Committee must be affiliated members of the ACU and also members of clubs affiliated to ACU Eastern. However, it is understood the subcommittee may co-opt individuals who do not conform to this criteria if it is thought their respective skills or knowledge may benefit enduro and its furtherance throughout ACU Eastern and/or the ACU.

The Sub-Committee meets to discuss items of interest and importance to the running of events within the region but cannot itself make decisions that are binding. Instead, the committee acts as an expert consultancy and advises the Competitions Committee on changes that it feels are necessary. It is then up to the Competitions Committee to agree or disagree with their deliberations and propose the adoption of the changes through a meeting of the Board.

Where can I find minutes of the meetings?

Minutes of the meetings can be found here

How do I join a club?

Before being able to take part in competitive events, it is normally necessary to become a member of a club affiliated either to the local region, in this instance the ACU Eastern, or to what is called a non-territorial club where the club is affiliated directly to through the ACU.

Here in the Eastern region, the vast majority of clubs are affiliated via ACU Eastern, and as such organise events which, in the main, become available for members of other region's clubs to enter.

There are no hard and fast rules as to which club you should belong to. By that we mean that if, for example, you live in Sudbury there is no hard and fast rule that states that you must belong to the Sudbury club. However, the preferred scheme of things is that you should join the club nearest to your place of residence that supports the discipline or disciplines you have an interest in. Please go to the our Clubs page to find details of clubs in your vicinity and their interests/disciplines. It must be stressed though that not all clubs who have declared an interest in a particular discipline/s, organises or possesses the necessary land or expertise to organise such events.

It is possible to do a simple check as to whether a particular club organises events of the discipline you are interested in by going to the Events Calendar on the home page.

Club membership normally requires an annual subscription to be paid, this varying from club to club. However, in most cases it reflects the service the member gets from UNPAID VOLUNTEER members of the club who act as its officers. Some clubs include the cost of the monthly ACU Eastern Gazette, a club newsletter and all postal costs in their subscription fee whilst others don’t. There may also be other various costs to be considered as well.

We would suggest most strongly, that you do NOT automatically ‘plump’ for the club with the cheapest subscription rate but to join whichever club satisfies most of your requirements.

Is there a club near me?

For a list of clubs in the Eastern Centre, together with contact details, visit our Clubs page.