John Ballinger - RIP

Stroud Valley MC is mourning the loss of one of its great servants - John Ballinger. Fellow SVMC Life Members, and ACU Western Vice Presidents Bob and John Miles have paid tribute.

Bob: "Sad news today (Jan 18). John (Dad) Ballinger passed away at 91 years of age. Stroud Valley Chairman for some time before he moved to Cornwall. Also CoC for the national Cotswold Cups Trial as well as OC & CtoC events and helped other CoC to mark out many events.

A great bloke I was so glad to have as a friend. Son Richard, an artist carries on John's other love of painting while son Paul shares John's love of bikes and trials and still performs locally and in Wessex & South Western events. He liked a good discussion and is probably bending the ear of St Peter already!"

John: "I first met John Ballinger when he appeared at bvm one Saturday together with his mate Steve Davies and they started measuring trials bikes even lying underneath them, eventuall curiosity got the better of me and I asked what they were doing?

To my surprise they said they wer modifying a Honda SL125 to ride next days SVMC novice trial. I was Secretary of the Meeting and had knowledge of their entry, next morning there they were at Lypiatt and being unusally kind I let them enter not realising that they wanted to share the bike, suffice to say they did not get far. Within a short time they were back and bought proper trials bikes and John was soon a regular and Popular member fo the Western Centre trials scene.

John supported all the club events soon being elected to the committee and eventually tking over as Chairman when Tommy Barker retired. Together with Tony Hunt, Alex Livingstone and occaisionally Nigel Ross, John was a regular on my weekend exploratory walks for the Cotswold Cups which started in October and continued right up until the trial in March.

We spent many happy hours grovelling around in streams and dingy woodlands often to no avail, Last of the Summer Wine in the Cotswolds. We used to meet on Wednesday evenings in The Stirrup Cup at Bisley ostensibly to plan the Trial - a good excuse, from this the regular Wednesdays at the Srirrup Cup started and I have fond memories of sitting at table, laden with empty "Heldenbrau" bottles, along with John and the late Sonny Cleaver putting the world to rights.

John and Sonny became good friends and custodians of and the operators of the GP style scrambles starting gate that SVMC bought working together at many of the clubs scrambles. When he eventually retired as a rider John was regularly seen at centre events where he was if required a willing and popular observer whilst encouraging his son Paul in his riding. John eventually retired to Cornwall where he welcomed visitors. Condolences to Paul and the rest of the family. R.I.P. John Ballinger."

[on 21Dec2020]