IN 1910 motorcyclists in Ilkley and the surrounding areas were invited to a meeting at The Crescent Hotel.

The event, on December 21, led to the formation of the Ilkley and District Motor Cycle Club - open to residents of Pool, Otley, Menston, Guiseley, Burley, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, Adingham, Silsden, Bolton Abbey, Draughton and Skipton.

This year as it prepares to celebrate it’s 110th anniversary the club is still one of the most successful and respected in the area, with a membership of almost 400.

A fascinating series of photographs from its archives shows some of its earliest members as they took part in the fledgeling sport.

After the first meeting there were monthly hill climbs, speed trials and reliability trials until the outbreak of war in 1914 when many joined the Armed Services - often as despatch riders.

In 1919 the club was reformed and in keeping with the changing times it was was renamed The Ilkley Motor Cycle and Light Car Club.

Club historian Janet Kitching said: “Founder member Fred Marshall of Otley had been awarded the Military Cross whilst on service in France and was elected a Vice-President. J. Norman Longfield, the Founder Secretary of the Club, had been promoted to Captain and was elected President and tribute was made to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.”

The organisation staged both competitive and fun events including a charity gymkhana, and the new sport of motor cycle football, which was introduced in 1924.

In 1927 an event run by the club at Rosedale Abbey Bank in North Yorkshire drew an impressive entry of 240 and massive crowds of between 8,000 and 10,000 people. At that event Charlie Thackray of Ilkley took best performance in the car class. His passenger was Ilkley headmaster Percy Crossley.

In 1928 accomplished riders Miss Edyth Foley of Stockport and Miss Marjorie Cottle of London took part in the Scott Trial. The two women, along with Mrs Louie McLean, had made up the British Ladies Team, which won the International Vase in the International Six Day’s Trial held in the Lake District in 1927.

Such was the popularity of the club that at its annual dinner in Otley in 1935 no fewer than 118 prizes were distributed.

Janet said: “By August, 1939 events were being curtailed because of the ‘present International situation’.

“Many members were already on active service and the Club’s fine collection of silver cups and awards were put into safe custody, for the duration, the names of the winners having first been engraved.

“The following year it was recommended that members serving with His Majesty’s Forces would retain their membership without payment and that £50 from the Club’s funds should be loaned to the Government, free of interest. Motors sport, as such, ceased.”

In the years following the Second World War enthusiasts returned to the sport and the Ilkley club went from strength to strength. In 1995 and 1999 it was awarded the prestigious title of MSA Motor Club of the year.

Janet said: “The coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to all activities, however, the club is continuing to ‘hold’ Committee Meetings via WhatsApp and Zoom each month and there have been very successful ‘virtual scatters’ using Google Earth and complying with the rules as to time allowed once the questions went live at 7.30.p.m. There was an amazing entry of 39 from all over the U.K. for the first ‘event’ and 41 for the second.”