Southern Moto Cross club was started because Tony Ford had an argument with a South Eastern Centre ACU club over the way they ran meetings, and treated the riders. The club in question's answer was "If you can do better do it yourself". He rang the AMCA to ask to join them, and was told as he had an ACU licence he'd have to wait until January the following year to join them. His response was "You're as stupid as the ACU" - not diplomatic but possibly true!
The Club started life in November 1981 and started running events on January 3rd 1982. Tony's aim was to give the rider a good days sport with the minimum of fuss and treat every standard of rider equally. It worked as we always have a very happy atmosphere at all events.
Tony instigated many innovations, for instance entry on the day at most events, riders paying a fee so that marshals could be paid expenses & paying a standard amount to pay paramedics fees.
In 1982, total club membership was 156, 400 by 2001 it was nearly 400 and over 500 in 2006.
In the early 2000s, SMX had become too successful so that although they were affiliated to the ACU a cartel of clubs got together to try force the centres to restrict their events to two Sundays a month. They wouldn't admit it was because they needed to run better events to compete with SMX. Tony obviously wasn't happy about that, so got together with Reg Slack, a good friend who owned Matchams, and they formed ORPA. Reg had good contacts in insurance as well as a good solicitor, who advised on Restrictive Practices acts. These were used to force the ACU to change their rules, and recognise ORPA and allow riders and officials the freedom of movement between the organisations, that we take for granted today.
In 1982 SMX used eight different tracks, it was unheard of in those days for clubs to have more than two or three tracks. The second year they took on six more and never looked back. Although we have dropped some and taken on others, we have regularly used around six or more tracks each year.
Several tracks are permanently erected, all of which are graded regularly. In the early days tracks were only graded once or twice a year!! Also in the early days, there were only one or two jumps on tracks, unfathomable in the modern day and age.
Normal events consist of a series of heats with riders graded into groups on ability, with trophies being awarded down to sixth place in each group.
We run several annual championships:
The Main and Support championships, the club's premier competitions, are for members who qualify for A group, with all A Group races throughout the year counting. The top ten in each championship qualify for the next year's Main championship. To win either of these championships requires complete dedication over the 50+ meetings organised each year.
In addition we have 125, 250 & 500 Two Strokes and 250 and Open Four Strokes - twenty minute races run before the main programme gets going; Rider Age (Over 40s, 50s & 60s), Machine Age (Pre 95; Pre 05 & Pre 15), Four Strokes & Ladies, all of which comprise of three scratch races these days whereas it use to be one scratch race and handicaps based on age and ability.
Also, annually we run the British Veterans GP and the ORPA Adult British Clubmans Championship.
SMX have run approximately 1900 meetings since 1982, meaning that they likely just about have the hang of it !!!!