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Van Veen OCR 1000 Rotary revival?

Pitmans Yamaha Chained XS11

Yamaha Single SR500 stayer

RRP: AUS $10.50 NZ $11.99 (Inc.GST)

Mike Dowson Stylish and swift


Racing around the ‘J’


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contents • Issue No.73



COVER STORY 58 Yamaha SR500 An Aussie idea FEATURES 22 Mike Dowson Fast and safe 30 The Universal Swiss style 36 Pitman’s XS11 Chain-drive rocket 42 Van Veen OCR Rotary return 46 Zundapp 100 Mini muscle



48 Memories from the Ekka 52 Tracks in Time Quorn Hall 66 Harley-Davidson KRTT 72 Black Country Museum RACE & RALLY ROUNDUP 86 Vic Historic titles



88 All British Rally 90 Bathurst Easter Tour 92 Ariel Rally 94 NZ Mail Run 96 Maryborough Rally 98 Rudge Rally REGULARS




Old Hat Editorial

10 Blow Your Own Letters 14 Classic Cob From the shed 16 Buzz Box Old Bike news 76 Out & About Here, there & everywhere 100 Suitable Partners



Triumph Speedmaster Benelli TRK 502

104 Good Gear Worth buying 106 Eyes Right Reviews 108 Marketplace & Clubs Directory 113 What’s on 114 Edgar Jessop plus next issue preview





Merlin is a 100% UK owned partnership, founded in 2011. Dedicated to creating the best motorcycle gear, with a strong commitment to innovation and diferentiation. For the new 2018 season, Merlin brings safety, style and old school cool to the Heritage Leather & Wax Cotton range.



E D I T O R ’ S




EDITOR Jim Scaysbrook Email: Tel: (02) 9672 6899 (bh) Mbl: 0411 443444 PO Box 95, Kellyville NSW 2155 CONTRIBUTORS Alan Cathcart, Gaven Dall’Osto, Stuart Francis, Stephen Heath, Des Lewis, Peter Smith, Andy Westlake, Ken Young. PHOTOGRAPHERS Michael Andrews, Phil Ainsley, Gary Chapman, Gaven Dall’Osto, John Ford, Stuart Francis, Stephen Heath, Robin Lewis, Kyoichi Nakamura, Sue Scaysbrook, Keith Ward, Jill Westlake. ART DIRECTOR Mat Clancy Emsee Publishing Design NATIONAL ADVERTISING MANAGER Cameron Davis Email: Ph: 02 9901 6177 Mb: 0401 547 112 ADVERTISING MANAGER Sue Scaysbrook Email: Ph: 02 9672 6899 Mb: 0418 174 558 CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Carole Jones SUBSCRIPTIONS Toll free: 1300 361 146 or +61 2 9901 6111 Post to: Locked Bag 3355, St Leonards NSW 1590 CHEVRON PUBLISHING GROUP a division of nextmedia Pty Ltd. Level 6, Building A, 207 Pacific Hwy, St Leonards, NSW 2065 Locked Bag 5555, St Leonards, NSW 1590 Ph: (02) 9901 6100 Fax: (02) 9901 6116 CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER David Gardiner COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Bruce Duncan OLD BIKE AUSTRALASIA is published by nextmedia Pty Ltd ACN: 128 805 970, Level 6, Building A, 207 Pacific Hwy, St Leonards NSW 2065 © 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior permission of the publisher. Printed by Bluestar WEB Sydney, distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Gordon & Gotch. ISSN 1833-3249. The publisher will not accept responsibility or any liability for the correctness of information or opinions expressed in the publication. All material submitted is at the owner’s risk and, while every care will be taken nextmedia does not accept liability for loss or damage. DISCLAIMER The views expressed in this publication by correspondents or in the form of letters are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers or editorial staff. PRIVACY POLICY We value the integrity of your personal information. If you provide personal information through your participation in any competitions, surveys or offers featured in this issue of Old Bike Australasia, this will be used to provide the products or services that you have requested and to improve the content of our magazines. Your details may be provided to third parties who assist us in this purpose. In the event of organisations providing prizes or offers to our readers, we may pass your details on to them. From time to time, we may use the information you provide us to inform you of other products, services and events our company has to offer. We may also give your information to other organisations which may use it to inform you about their products, services and events, unless you tell us not to do so. You are welcome to access the information that we hold about you by getting in touch with our privacy officer, who can be contacted at nextmedia, Locked Bag 5555, St Leonards, NSW 1590.

True north In the dozens of times I’ve visited New Zealand, I have never been more than a few kilometres north of Auckland itself; to be precise, only as far as the historic and visually amazing Puhoi pub, about 30km from the city itself. This was a situation that clearly needed to be rectified, so as soon as we had issue 72 off to the printer, Sue and I were on the big silver bird across the Tasman Sea. Our great friends at Yamaha once again came to the party, this time with the loan of a brand new FJR1300 – one of my favourite motorcycles – and our travelling buddies Bob and Lynne Rosenthal were supplied with a BMW R1200GS by my mate Martin Farrand – a committed motorcyclist, pilot and international yachtsman – who decided to accompany us on the first leg of our journey on another machine from his stable. Martin has flown light aircraft over the North Island for decades and knows every back road, so we hardly saw Highway One on the way up the east coast to the Bay of Islands. At this point he left us to our own devices and headed home, and we decided we couldn’t go this far north without completing the odyssey, so we rode right to the top – Cape Reinga where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean – before heading back via the West Coast to Auckland. I am trying to avoid clichés, but this is motorcycling paradise. Whoever designed these roads knew how to radius a corner – every one a sweeping delight – and because the majority of the traffic, notably the logging trucks, stick to the main highway, these roads are largely deserted and incredibly well surfaced. And best of all, the Kiwi authorities have thankfully resisted the Australian disease to dumb down every decent riding road with a pathetically low speed limit. Most of these roads are 100km/h or de-restricted, so you can maintain a decent pace without feeling you’ll be arrested at any second. Compared to Oz, petrol is a little expensive but everything else is pretty much on par. There’s good tucker, some of the best wines in the world, comfortable accommodation, and super friendly people. And did I mention great roads? What’s more to want? Do yourself a favour. Take the Northland trip on a motorcycle – there are plenty of bike hire firms in NZ. We packed 1200 km into our five days which included lots of sightseeing stops, but we barely scratched the surface. A return is already being contemplated!

JIM SCAYSBROOK Editor oldbikemag oldbikeaustralasia

OUR COVER Brendan vandeZand’s SR500 at Lake Pedder, Tasmania.. See feature story on P58.




E D I T O R Eric Debenham in his Jaguar-powered boat. The engine is fitted backwards.

Daredevil Debbo Classic Cob (OBA 71) made mention of the hydroplane racing on the Georges River, at Deepwater Park, Milperra, Sydney, which brought back memories of when I used to attend with my brother-in-law when he raced in the smaller classes in the early ‘sixties. The fifty cubic inch class were usually powered by Triumph or Norton motorcycle engines (did you ever wonder where all those engines went from the Featherbed frames?). However the Unlimited class boats were just awesome. The most stunning was Ernie Nunn’s Wasp II which was powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin, ex-Spitfire engine. Others were 351 Fords or 350 Chevs, a few people imported engines from Ferrari or Maserati. It was here I met Eric Debenham who was one of the top competitors with his boat powered by a D Type Jaguar engine. They were incredible to watch; they would raise up on their

Write a winner! Each issue, we’re giving away a pair of tough, stylish Draggin’ Jeans, valued at $249, for the Best Letter contribution. Don’t forget to include your name and address in case you’re selected. And why not have a look at the latest fashion range from the Draggin’ Jeans website at

sponsons and have only three points contacting the water, and in those days there were no restrictions on the exhaust so the sound added to the spectacle. When we’d arrive we’d hear this raucous laugh some distance away and say “Debbo’s here”. Mark Dodds Stanwell Tops NSW.

Reports of Edgar’s demise are premature During his appearance on “Who do you think you are”, Rudolf Jessop-Laywell ponders the site of what he now knows to be his father’s “conception place”. Rudolf, a well known test pilot for his family company (Jessop-Laywell Mile High Aviation) still rides the motorcycle that his father modified with parts procured from the now defunct Spagforth Rudolf Jessop-Laywell scans the countryside near Bathurst for ancestral remains.

factory, after his grandfather Edgar’s demise. These being the infamous Spag-duction system (made from modified personal electric fans produced by the factory) to compete with the Kompressor BMW, Spag-draulic suspension which incorporated methane filled condoms and recycled fish and chip oil, and the little-known Spag-bag-warmer which circulated engine oil through the right leather saddle bag which incorporated a special pouch which kept a flask of tea hot for those long journeys. The original version also had a pie warming section but was discontinued after testing, due to the pies acquiring a strange “Corse 50” flavour. Castrol even produced a special oil for Spagforth which would allow the saddle bag to be fitted with a chip basket allowing deep frying of fish and chips. This version was also flagged when the test bike was dropped and the rider suffered third degree burns to his scrotum. Franc Trost Laidley, Qld. I am afraid Mr Jessop-Laywell has been misled by his family, as Edgar Jessop is far from ‘demised”. At last account, he was living in New York and has recently announced his intention to contest the 2020 US Presidential election as the nominee for the Repulsive Party. - Ed

Pat’s Venom Seeing the picture of the late and great Pat Wise (OBA 71, Norton 88) brought back happy memories. In the late ‘fifties I bought a Velocette Venom Clubman from Geoff Monty & Dudley Ward, famous racers and tuners, and was told that it was raced by Pat Wise who was well known for her exploits with Eric Oliver in that chair. Her old details were on the logbook as a previous owner – also Eric Oliver’s – so I got in touch with her and she invited me around to her and husband Les’ for a chat. On



arrival on the Velo I was made very welcome with lots of tales about racing. I left for home with two large packages of tuning parts for the Velo which I was told was tuned by Ray Petty. This bike I used very successfully in Production racing. My first race was at Silverstone and Pat and Les came along to advise on gearing and lines through the corners and set me on my way in racing. David Kidd Woodbury, Devon UK

More on Geoff Perry Ross Charlton’s letter about Geoff Perry in OBA72 was much appreciated. Many of us have a personal `top three’ riders they saw in action (as opposed to riders they read about, that’s a separate list). Mine is, in alphabetical order, Hansford, Hennen and Perry. Geoff Perry raced in Australia just twice to the best of my knowledge; the Trans-Tasman Match races at Amaroo Park and the Agostini meeting at Oran Park. I’m still not sure I wasn’t hallucinating when Geoff went down the outside of three of our best TZ350 riders while braking into Amaroo’s hairpin

David Kidd attacks Woodcote Corner at Silverstone in his first race on the ex-Pat Wise Velocette.

– astonishing. Of course, he was on a very good bike, the NZ-developed Steve Roberts-framed 500 Suzuki. On the same bike he bested all the Aussies at Oran, only Agostini finished in front of him. I vividly recall Geoff’s unusual line through and out of Energol Bend,

sticking to the absolute inside to shorten the corner and maintaining that trajectory along the straight, which contrasted with Agostini’s classic open line that took him near the outside fence on the exit. Both tracks were new to Geoff, surely he was on the ➢

Mrs Pat Wise on her 350 Manx Norton.



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How to throttle Parkinson’s Disease Like, I imagine, a good number of Old Bike Australasia readers I’m getting on a bit, and on reaching the biblical ‘three score and ten years’ I discovered that I had developed a mild case of Parkinson’s Disease. In fact it was when riding a motorcycle that I first noticed symptoms, as my right arm and shoulder would freeze-up and ache from holding a steady throttle open which made any long distance riding a real pain. When, as required, I reported my medical condition to the State licensing authority they approved that I could continue to ride motorcycles, but curiously they ruled that I could not drive a car fitted with manual transmission. I appealed this decision and it was overturned, but only after I had looked up motorcycles with automatic transmission on the web in case the licensing authority decided to extend the manual transmission ban to bikes. Having settled the legalities, the critical decision now was whether I should continue owning and riding motorcycles as it was no longer the enjoyable experience it once was. When checking the web for automatic bikes I came across cruise controls and throttle locks for motorcycles. What’s the difference between a cruise control and a throttle lock? Just like in a car, cruise control is electronic and maintains steady road speed through the engine management system, while a throttle lock is a purely mechanical device that sets the throttle grip in a fixed position so there will be some variation in road speed whether going up or down hill, but speed is fixed when on the level. The other main difference is price, with an electronic cruise control for my touring bike costing in excess of AUD $1,000, while the throttle lock that I bought cost me less than AUD $100. The rest of this story is best told by quoting from an exchange of emails between myself and the manufacturer of the throttle lock: “I recently bought an Omni-Cruise throttle lock and used it for the first time today. I am 71 years old and have ridden motorcycles since I was 18. I have a mild case of Parkinson’s disease which affects the use of my right arm and this makes holding the throttle open for long periods difficult and quite painful. In fact I was thinking that I might have to give up motorcycling all together because of this condition. But today’s ride changed all that – the Omni-Cruise worked perfectly, and I could have ridden the bike all day. So thanks for the quality product that is the throttle lock, I am enjoying riding bikes again because of it.” The next morning I received the following reply from the throttle lock manufacturer in the US: ”Hello Rob, Thank you so much for the email! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear such great feedback and know that something I did and made can help someone keep a passion they have had for over 50 years alive and part of their life.” Enough said. It did however prompt me to ask if Old Bike Australasia has ever ran an article on the use of cruise-controls and throttle locks for motorcycles?  If not, there could well be a number of mature-aged OBA readers that would be interested in reading. Rob Carmichael Victoria

cusp of becoming a world star until cruelly and ironically taken in an airline crash. Geoff’s Amaroo overtaking move lives in my memory alongside Pat Hennen’s pass of Ron Toombs at Oran Park’s flip-flop in a Pan Pacific race and Gregg’s move on Warren Willing at Energol to win a big scrap at Oran that also involved another Kiwi ace, John Woodley. Chris Sim Kogarah, NSW Although Geoff Perry is synonymous with Suzuki, his early results were achieved on a TSS Bultaco, as the photo above shows from 1968. - Ed

For more information contact:

Off the beaten track I took this photo (right, main) in 1975 of a country store somewhere in south west Queensland; a town that time forgot in the good old days that we long for now. Note the rain water trough for thirsty horses, the pump bowser for thirsty iron horses, and a loaded 30-30 Winchester at ready for anything. I am an old time biker, still building bikes and riding them, and a collector of Old Bike magazine, I have every one from number one to present. Ride safe. Ride British. Gus Dubokovitch Broken Hill, NSW

Bill’s Bantam and Vespas Mentions of his racing exploits and Bantam in previous issues of OBA have brought memories of my first meeting with Bill Morris. In 1961 I purchased a 1951 Vespa for cheap transport, as my daily commute included Bulli Pass this was less than ideal, when I



The Vespa Faro Basso, so named for its low-mounted headlamp. Bulli Pass would have been hard work!

ABOVE Gus Dubokovitch’s outback photo scores our ‘Raritee Tee Shirt Award’ for this issue. - Ed

Incidentally, the Vespa agent was champion tenpin bowler Joe Velo who bowled the first perfect game in Australia at the Northern Bowl in the Illawarra. In 1980 I bought the same model Vespa (1951 low light “faro basso”) for $50 to save it from the scrapyard, sold 2005 for $4,600 to a buyer who lived 15 k’s from me and had been looking for that model worldwide for 10 years. Bob Fulton Darkes Forest, NSW ■


Blow your own! told the Vespa agent that the scooter was underpowered he informed that it could be tuned to do 80 MPH. Not an attractive proposition on 8” wheels. Sometime later I was purchasing a T110 Triumph at Bill’s shop, when I told him about the 80MPH Vespa he let me know exactly what he thought of that idea. To emphasise the point he showed me the work he had done on the twin carburettor sixspeed Bantam to achieve that kind of performance. Fred Van Bockel scored a remarkable third place behind Jim Redman and Kel Carruthers at Oran Park in 1963 on the Bantam.

When I got to know Bill he would occasionally talk about his racing days, in one short circuit race he finished ahead of one of his arch rivals who hadn’t been beaten for some time. During the race he resolved that as long as he had fuel in his tank he wasn’t going to be passed, the other rider must have been just as determined, they both kept going after the flag. Ten laps and three new lap records later officials blocked the track with 44 gallon drums to stop them. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who witnessed this event or if the other rider is still around.

If you’ve got something to say, why not write to Old Bike Australasia and get it out to those that might be interested. Send your letters to... Blow Your Own Old Bike Australasia PO Box 95, Kellyville NSW 2155 Ph: 02 9672 6899 E-mail: Letters to Old Bike Australasia must carry the senders name, address and/or an email contact. By submitting your letter for publication you agree that it may be edited for legal, space or other reasons. The letters printed here do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editor or staff of this magazine. Letters may be shortened or abridged to fit the space available.





The Vokes “Distribution Rectifier” I recall years ago in motoring magazines, be it car or motorcycle, various devices appeared in advertisements offering claims for all types of gadgets. They all guaranteed the same results, easier starting, less carbon build up, more miles per gallon, improved acceleration and higher top speed. Recently whilst in Victoria, Rod Tingate gave me one such device together with paperwork from the manufacturer Vokes who were the makers of air cleaners for British motor cycles. The paperwork coming with this device was as follows: ‘The Vokes “Distribution Rectifier”. A further efficient contribution for the benefit of improved motoring, developed by Volkes Ltd, Pioneers of Scientific Filtration. Fitted between the intake manifold and the carburettor the “Rectifier” takes all bias out of the mixture flow and improves vaporization. Vokes Ltd Guildford, Surrey.’ Further paperwork indicates: “The Vokes Distribution Rectifier Positively Provides: Easier starting from cold. Better vaporization of the mixture. Even distribution to ALL cylinders. Smoother running. Greater flexibility and power output. Smoother torque. Better pulling at low speed in top gear. Less gear changing. Better top gear performance. Improved acceleration and fuel consumption. Increase in miles per gallon. Elimination of flat spots and stalling. “ This implement as stated is fitted between the

carburettor and manifold. It is very well made and for carburettors with an inch and a sixteenth venturi and two inch mounting. There is a mesh center which is concaved inwards leaving the inner nine sixteenths for the normal and regular unrestricted manner of flow. I am aware that some years ago tuners of racing sedans had gone away from polishing ports to inserting twirled metal on the walls of the intake manifolds to create a swirling gas flow into the combustion chamber. However I had not previously seen nor heard of this type of fitting for motorcycles.

Thruxton Triumph information Steve Henry (Ph: 0400 255 534) is seeking information regarding his 650 Triumph engine No. ND 31268 T120 T which is fitted in a 1966 frame. Initial inquiries reveal that the engine was built 29th October 1970 and shipped to a firm with a name similar to Engles Garage, Derby. It is believed that the engine was then modified to Thruxton specifications and the letter T added to the engine number. Not sure where and when it was fitted to the earlier frame. The machine is equipped with Lucas Rita ignition and Hagon shocks as well as a 150 mph speedo. The machine has very low mileage and was purchased from a deceased estate and so background history was not forthcoming. Steve would like to hear from any person who is able to give some insight into the motorcycle.

Jack Rudd’s telescopic fork conversion When attending Classic Motorcycle Races in the early 1980s I recall seeing Jack Rudd on his Douglas that had been fitted with a Norton gearbox, from memory, just below the seat. Recently in Queensland Kal Carrick gave me the major part of a set of telescopic forks which he informed me had been made by the late Jack Rudd who passed away in 2002 aged 88. He believed that these had been made by Rudd at the Commonwealth Aircraft Factory, Melbourne prior to the war. My immediate thought was that if this had been the case then he has probably been influenced by the hydraulic landing gear on aircraft made at that time. Kal pointed out the mountings at the top rear of the forks. When original girders were removed then these mounts had been placed so as to immediately bolt onto where the others had been detached. It is believed that these forks were usually used on Rudd’s hill climb machine.

Nabiac Automotive Swap Meet It’s on again the last Sunday in July at the National Motorcycle Museum, Nabiac. For those who are not familiar with the area it is about 1 ½ hours north of Newcastle on the Pacific Highway. Some single sites left in the motorcycle area and a number in the car section and these can be booked by phoning (02) 6554 1333 – 9.30am to 3.30pm daily or email For sellers, gates open 12 noon on Saturday the 28th and buyers, Sunday the 29th at 7. 00am. Interstate traders including Greg Lawn from Victoria and the BSA specialist Mike Reilly from Queensland will be in attendance. All proceeds to Camp Quality. ■ See you next issue, Pete You can get in touch with Pete at... or call (02) 6553 9442 after 7.00pm

It’ss not jusst where yo ou’re e going ... It’ss also the mem mories yo ou collect along g the wa ay!

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• AUSSIE TRIPLES • INTERFoS • NZ SHOW • Kenny Roberts, Yamaha TZ750 mounted at Riverside, California 1976.

Date change for InterFOS The 2019 International Festival of Speed will take place from 14-17 March, one week earlier than usual. Organiser Peter McMillan says this is to avoid a clash with Formula 1 and MotoGP dates, both big television events. “While we have not set in concrete our theme for 2018, you can expect to see some really big names, and some very exciting motorcycles. The celebration of World Superbikes this year was very well received and we aim to build on that.” One name that is being increasingly associated with the 2019 event is three-times 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts, who has visited Australia on many occasions as manager of his own Grand Prix teams, but never as a rider. The sight of ‘KR’ demonstrating one of his stable of former GP bikes would be worth the price of admission alone. ■

Triples half century 2018 marks 50 years since production of the Triumph and BSA triples commenced, and to mark the occasion, the 9th annual Aussie Triples Rally will be held at Evans Head NSW from 17th – 19th August. Organiser Col McAndrew says, “As this year is the 50th Anniversary of the Triple we are organising a ride to Inverell on Monday 20th, following our Rally. We have rides planned around the area with the help of Inverell Motorcycle Restorers Club. On Thursday 23rd we will ride to Grafton to attend the Clarence Valley Club’s Annual Rally. We have one entrant riding a T160 from Albany (south of Perth). He rode over to attend 5 years ago and says it has taken his backside this long to recover.” Details from Col on 0428 869 889. ■

NZ Show powers up The weekend of 24-25 November is shaping up to be a massive event at the ASB Showgrounds, Auckland, when the 2018 Ride Forever Motorcycle Show hits town. Event Director Azhar Bhamji says the response by exhibitors and sponsors has been overwhelming. “70% of the show is already sold out six months in advance. We have already seen a new influx of audience via our social channels and on Facebook, and our website is getting plenty of hits. We have secured partnership with media works and a brand new action arena is just about finalised for the event. There will be more entertainment including live band, more foodies at the event and a big swap meet. Our aim is the keep the event structured as a true motorcycle and motorcycle-related event with 5%/10% involvement from lifestyle and other brands and products. There will be club and trade displays, gear and accessories, parts, services, rider training and much more.” The ASB grounds themselves swell to capacity with more than one thousand visitor bikes forming a mini show in themselves, from Mods ‘n Rockers scooters bedecked with mirrors, to tricked-out trikes, classics, cruisers and adventure bikes crammed into every parking spot. The NZ show is a charity event that supports numerous good causes in association with Rotary and the National Burn Centre via the show’s original instigators, the Papakura Rotary Club. All profits from the show are directed back into the community. For more information see ■



Calling all Panheads The Harley-Davidson Panhead, which first appeared in 1948, turns 70 this year, and to mark the occasion, David Reidie and Kendal Moroney, in conjunction with the Northern Melbourne HOG Classic Register, are planning an event in November. Arrangements are being made for Group Rides from both Sydney and Melbourne to Moruya on the NSW South Coast on Friday 9th November 2018. A full day’s activities are planned for the Saturday around the Moruya area with a dinner and presentations on the Saturday night. Invitations have been sent out to all known owners of Panheads. “We are still on the lookout for any other owners out there as it is going to be one great H-D event and one not to miss”, said Kendal. If you have a Panhead contact Kendal on 0410 649 199 or email to make sure you register and be part of this exciting weekend. ■

The SR lives on In this issue you’ll find our feature story on the venerable Yamaha SR500, conceived in the ‘seventies and, in SR400 form at least, still going strong. The current SR400 has a RRP of $8099 and comes in a Retro Green and Onyx décor as well as black. The SR400 retains the traditional kick-starter but sports modern electronic fuel injection. Yamaha-Motor Australia has built a number of very novel project bikes using the versatile SR400, including a dirt-tracker that sees regular service at Sydney’s Nepean Raceway. Surely one of the most versatile motorcycles ever conceived. ■

The current SR400 in Retro Green.

Brad steps in at Bathurst The National Motor Racing Museum at Mount Panorama, Bathurst has a new Museum Coordinator. Brad Owen took up his new position in April, having previously been the Exhibitions Curator at the RAAF Museum, Point Cook, Victoria from 1998, working on exhibition development, outreach programs and technical programs. Brad says he is a life-long motoring and motor sport enthusiast, and a past president of the Mercedes-Benz Club of Victoria. He’s a regular attendee of historic bike and car meetings with a couple of classic cars in his garage. He’s also currently on motorcycle L plates, but says he’s a quick learner! With renewed activity on the long-awaited Second Circuit at Mount Panorama, Brad should be right in his element. ■


More Old Bike news, photos and stories at...

Bathurst’s second circuit closer The design for a 4.7km international standard circuit to be located to the western side of Mount Panorama has been released as part of the final tender process. In a statement released by Bathurst Regional Council, three companies have been invited to submit tenders. These are UK-based Apex Circuit Design, the Italian company Dromo, and Brisbane-based Integrated Event Delivery Management. Councillor Warren Aubin says the second circuit would be an international standard with associated infrastructure. “It will be situated adjacent to the existing facilities at Mount Panorama and capable of hosting a variety of motor vehicle and motorcycle events with a capacity of 50,000 spectators. The precinct will be a home to commercial and industrial infrastructure.” The cost of the project is currently listed as a $52.4 million, with $35 million already pledged, including $15 million from the NSW government, and $10 million each from the Federal government and Bathurst Regional Council. It is expected to take 2-3 years to complete. There are currently numerous circuit proposals in the wings, most if not all dependent on government funding. These include Ballarat, Mildura, Keysbrook (Perth) and Newcastle, as well as the Bathurst circuit. ■

And a new track for WA? Keysbrook, 60km south of Perth, could be the saviour for motorcycle sport in WA with the announcement of a development application lodged with the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale by the Stati Group. The DA shows plans for a 3.5km circuit that would initially cater for state and national level events, with later development to bring the circuit up to FIA level. With the long-established Barbagallo Raceway at Wanneroo in Perth closed to motorcycle racing since 2016 over safety issues, the new track would be a much-needed shot in the arm for the state. The proposed complex would see multiple circuit configurations including two tracks that could operate simultaneously. The Stati Group has liaised with Motorcycling Australia and CAMS in planning the track, which, if approved, would also feature a separate go-kart circuit and conference facilities. ■

CELEBRATE THE DARK There’s a time to ride, and a time to call it a day, sit back and watch the universe blaze away in all its glory. To remember the joys and pains of the day gone by, and look forward to what tomorrow brings. There, amidst the dark, discover the other half of your riding story, with a motorcycle that’s slept under the night sky since 1901. Embrace the dark with the new Classic Stealth Black and Gunmetal Grey now with ABS.

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Under the Chequered Flag Ivan Mauger Arguably the world’s greatest-ever speedway rider, Ivan Mauger passed away in Queensland on April 16 after battling dementia for several years. Born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1939, after trying to break into the UK scene at age 17, Mauger’s speedway career had all-but stalled until he spent a season at Adelaide’s Rowley Park riding for Kym Bonython, where he blossomed as a rider. Returning to England, Mauger gradually became the man to beat, and after qualifying for his first World Final in 1966, he won the first of three successive World championships in 1968, adding three more in 1972, 1977 and 1979. He was also World Long Track Champion in 1971, 1972 and 1976. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1976, and Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1989. The following year he was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, and was selected to carry the Olympic Torch at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Mauger retired from active competition in 1986 and settled on the Queensland Gold Coast. One of his last public appearances was at the Broadford Bike Bonanza in 2012 where he completed a number of demonstration laps on Neil Burston’s ex-Jack Young JAP. ■ RIGHT Ivan Mauger at the 2012 Broadford Bike Bonanza.

Wally Martin A familiar face as a rider and later an official in the Newcastle district, WALLY MARTIN was brought up at Hexham, where his parents owned the general store, filling station and also operated the Post Office. Wal did an apprenticeship with Brambles Transport as a motor mechanic, he topped every year at Tech and used the bonus money to buy a motor bike. One of his later jobs was work shop foreman for P & R Williams Car Dealership, servicing MG, Riley and Wolseley. His own car was an immaculate black 1951 2.5L Riley, well known for being the fastest tow car to Gunnedah and Tamworth, where he rode short circuit and scrambles meetings regularly. Wal bought his XB 33 BSA new in 1948 and used it for racing as well as his ride-to-work bike, as was the case with most riders those days. Over time he developed the motor to Gold Star standards. He also rode Jack Leach’s Bantam. Wal was a very safe and good B grade rider and he probably won more 125cc races than any other rider in his time, including the 200cc Ultra Lightweight races unique

to the Tamworth Club. Wally was a member of Mayfield MCC, and was for many years a club delegate to the Northern Centre ACU and later as a Northern Centre delegate to ACU NSW. When Wal’s riding days finished, he became an ACU steward. He was also one of the Mayfield members who was a guarantor for the development of the Salty Creek circuit, with his home on the line. He always had the support of his wife Marie. Together, they helped with raffles, working bees and fund raising events. He was a best friend to me, always supportive, prepared my bike over many nights in his garage until he had taught me enough to be able to carry on myself. I would never have been able to race without his input. We started with my 1951 BSA 350cc competition model, and I raced that bike on many dirt short circuits, Bendemeer scrambles, Bathurst road races, with a good share of success. Wal fabricated the fuel tank, seat and tail piece and mud guard brackets etc and nothing ever failed or cracked. He was a water skier until heart surgery stopped that, but he continued to teach many to ski behind

Wally Martin in action – a keen racer and hard worker for his sport.

his boat. He played bowls and was awarded life membership for his volunteer work with the club. He was also a valued member of Probus in Raymond Terrace in later years. He passed away on 20th March 2018 aged 91. His guidance to myself and many others will not be forgotten, he was a true sportsman and gentleman. ■ Ivan Turnbull.



ABOVE Always the supreme stylist, Laurie O’Shea rounds Pub Corner at Longford on his Norton in 1961. Photo Keith Ward RIGHT Laurie O’Shea in 1967 with his Symmons Plains Rider of the Year Trophy. Photo: The Examiner

Laurie O’Shea

Vic Maberley

LAURENCE LENARD O’SHEA, known to his friends simply as “Lectric”, passed away on the 7th May aged 82. As a young builder he used to load up his tools in a knapsack and ride his 125 BSA Bantam to work. When he decided he would like to try racing, he fitted a Walsh kit to the bike, and he had his first race in 1952 at Longford. Later that year at Quorn Hall he stepped onto the podium for the first time with a 3rd in the 125 race. Next came much success with a new 350 BSA Gold Star purchased in 1959. Among the successes were in 1959, a 2nd in the 500 race at Longford followed soon after with a win in the B grade race at Fishermen’s Bend. That was followed the next year at Longford with an epic 2nd place battle with Jack Ahearn at Longford followed by passing and pulling away from him soon after at Phillip Island until he dropped it at Lukey Heights. He set the motorcycle lap record for Baskerville (Hobart) in 1960 on a 500 Manx Norton. After many years racing he was to ride a 350 Manx Norton for Keith Wing Racing and added versatility to that by riding Keith’s new Greeves Silverstone to many race wins. Yates Brothers Racing convinced him to ride their new Yamaha TD1C 250 in 1966 where among his success was a 4th place in a 350 championship race at Phillip Island. That was followed by putting a Suzuki 500 Titan motor into an Aermacchi frame with instant success. He was awarded Life Membership of the Tasmanian Motor Cycle Club in 1972 and in 2015 was inducted into the Tasmanian Motor Sports Hall Of Fame. His last tribute was to have an action photo of him on his 350 Norton as the cover shot of the book “100 Clicks”, the history of the TMCC. ■ Ken Young

The doyen of the Indian marque in Sydney, VIC MABERLEY, passed away in April after a long illness. A man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the brand as well as huge collection of rare models, Vic was known far and wide for his enthusiasm and willingness to assist others with restoration and advice. His vast shed in Sydney’s north west was a magnet for Indian enthusiasts and club groups, all of whom were welcomed with open arms. Vic’s Indian stable ranged from tiny two-stokes to the big twins, and the single cylinder Princes models from the late ‘twenties. Vic used to say, “Nobody knows everything about Indians. There are just too many detail changes between models, even within the same model in some cases.” That may be so, but Vic must have come mighty close. His story appeared in OBA 27. ■

Alan Kempster

Alan Kempster with his Kawasaki ZXR at the Burt Munro Challenge in NZ.

The 1990 road accident that cost ALAN KEMPSTER his right arm and leg may have changed his life, but it did nothing to dampen his tenacity and indomitable spirit. Alan was a professional pilot, and after a long period of recuperation took up water skiing, eventually representing Australia at international level and competing in five world championships, winning three. He also resumed road racing at age 48 on a Kawasaki 400, showing a sense of humour in using the race number “1/2” to signify his missing limbs. Basically self-funded, he competed in many high profile events, including the Burt Munro Challenge in New Zealand, the Barry Sheene Festival and Island Classic. In 2014 he raced at Mugello, Italy in the Di.Di. World Bridgestone Cup, the first international meeting for disabled riders, where he rode a GSXR600 Suzuki. You can watch this inspiring video at: Alan passed away in Melbourne on 15th April, aged 56. ■


MIKE DOWSON Dowson made his presence felt in the 1984 Swann Series on the out-dated Pitman’s TZ750 which was fitted with a FJ1100 front end.


STYLISH, SWIFT, SAFE. Mike Dowson stood at the top of the podium at Tsukuba Circuit in Japan, having just ridden the race of his life. He looked down at the huge crowd that had gathered for the presentation. This should have been a highlight for Dowson. He’d just blown away the top international Superbike riders, including recently crowned 1991 World Champion, Doug Polen, in his first outing on a bike he’d led the development of for Kawasaki. Story Des Lewis Photos John Ford, Mal Pitman, OBA archives.



Instead of feeling euphoric, he was exhausted. Not from the day’s race, but from enduring the most frustrating two years of his career where he felt hamstrung by mismanagement, unfulfilled promises and lack of commitment by the parent company. Sure, he’d made an emphatic point to Kawasaki Heavy Industries after developing the bike with his own satellite team, but the taste in his mouth was bitter. He felt it was time to part.

He peeled off his leathers and riding gear, and threw them all into the crowd. On the way out, he walked over to the team manager and said, “see you later, I’m out of here”. This effectively closed the chapter on Mike Dowson’s international motorcycling career. One that had promised so much but fell short, just when he was on the brink of international success. Mike was one of Australia’s most gifted and successful riders. He was up with the best of them.

He’d been in the winner’s circle nationally with achievements that included the record for the most wins in the Castrol 6-Hour (which he shares with Ken Blake). He also scored eleven victories in nine years at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, including a double win in his first year there, 1980. Immediately before his time with Kawasaki, he was contracted with the successful Yamaha Racing Team in Japan where he had two good seasons in ➢


MIKE DOWSON the development classes. But at the end of ’89, he jumped ship from Yamaha in an ill-thought-out decision that likely put paid to prospects of success at the highest level. How Mike got to this point is a captivating story and a classic case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Like most successful motorcycle racers, Mike cut his teeth in the sport as a kid. He and his young brother, Anthony, started competing in motocross at the Shrubland Park Motocross track outside Bunbury in WA’s south west. The family’s involvement in motorcycling was extensive and went beyond motocross competition. His father, Rex, was a mechanic and had moved the family to Bunbury to start up a Yamaha dealership for Ken George. “My first ride was around 1973 on a trail bike that Dad converted into a motocross bike, based on the Yamaha LT2 MX. I was just a kid and didn’t take things too seriously,” says Mike. “I do remember watching the likes of Glen Britza, Ray Buck, Phil Bruce and Wayne Patterson, who were all successful in motocross and raced at the track. But really, I was more concerned about having my turn. I don’t think I was ever that good at Motocross”, he reflected. “We’d also go to Wanneroo to watch the WA round of the Australian Road Racing Championships. It was mind-blowing stuff. While dad was in the pits helping George Scott and the other locals, I’d head to the back of the track where I could watch all the big guys come out of the basin, up and over a crest and then down the long straight. I remember the likes of Warren Willing, Greg Pretty, Murray and Jeff Sayle, riding TZ700s, Kawasaki triples, etc. Those bikes were awesome and it just blew me away.” Mike says one rider who really set an impression was Gregg Hansford. “The guys would come out of the basin lighting the back wheel up. They’d be wrestling with their bikes while on the gas, before straightening for the crest, where the bikes would want to wheel stand. Then they’d be rolling the throttle off to keep the front wheel down, losing momentum, before getting back on the gas. Gregg would come out of the basin and as he got to the hill, instead of going straight, he’d take a turn and swing back again to go around the crest, effectively turning it into a bend. By getting the bike on its side, it would reduce the gearing, so he could stay powered up and maintain momentum. He was the

On the Team Henderson RGB500 Suzuki in the 1983 Swann Series round at Surfers Paradise.

only one to do this and it was the most technical and exhilarating thing I remember as a young bloke. It still blows me away thinking about.” These visits saw the Dowson boys and their father turn to road racing. “Dad was influenced by the guys from Ken George, and Anthony was becoming really keen on road racing. Dad built a replica TA125 road racer with the motor from the old YZ125 motocross bike mounted in a road bike frame and running on methanol. While Anthony was the driving force, he was too young to ride at Wanneroo. So, I got the first ride. We progressed with an RD250, where I

‘this kid’s pretty good, you need to get him on the east coast’. started running in both the 250 and 350 events. We’d contest both classes on the one bike with Dad working feverishly between races to replace the barrels, re-jet the carbies, change the pipes and switch external sprockets to get the gearing right. Dad’s a legend when it comes to mechanics, so between him doing the work on the bike and mum praying, I had it pretty well sorted,” he laughs. Between 1976 and 1979, Mike honed his skills at a state level, contesting track events at Wanneroo and round the house events throughout WA. This bore fruit and in the 1981/82 seasons he met with success, winning most of the state titles. “At the time, production races were popular. Andrew (Ajay)

ABOVE Mike teamed with Kevin Magee to win the 1985 Denso 500 at Winton on the Yamaha Dealer team FZ750. RIGHTE Collecting the 1985 Denso 500 trophy with teammate Kevin Magee.

Johnson came to Wanneroo for the 3 Hour Unlimited Production race. He also rode in the 250 event in the morning, and I beat him. After the race he went up to mum and dad and said, ‘this kid’s pretty good, you need to get him on the east coast’.” “In 1980 we ventured east and took a new RD250LC to Bathurst. I won the 250 Production race. The bike hadn’t yet been released for sale in WA and the win was controversial, with some accusing us of cheating as they felt the bike was a prototype, even though it had been released over east. I don’t really remember much about this though as the folks dealt with it. I was just focused on my riding, the mechanics and the bike; it was just about going quicker.” So, to take his racing to the next level, the family uprooted in 1983 and moved to Brisbane. Mike recalls they were helped a lot by Rob Assink from Gaythorne Yamaha in Brisbane. Rob gave his father a job in the workshop and also found work for Mike. “1983 was mainly about gaining momentum. I was racing against the likes of Paul Lewis, Chris Oldfield, Jeff Sayle, and many others who were at the fore of the 250 and 350 leagues,” recounted Mike. “I wasn’t really knocking at their door, but learnt heaps.” 1984 was a big year as his racing stepped up a cog. He had a lot of fun as he started cutting it in the big league. “We went to Bathurst at Easter in ’84 on a TZ 750 that Mal Pitman had built. It was insane and I had a frigging ball. It was 300km/h stuff, doing wheelies down Conrod straight and putting down just before

Heading for the 1985 Bathurst Centenary GP win on the Pitmans TZ750.

LEFT With the silverware after winning the 1985 Bathurst

Centenary GP, with team manager Mal Pitman (left).

the braking zone. On one lap, I had the front wheel up so long it stopped spinning and when it put down, it just flicked onto full lock. In that split second, I somehow caught it, put the brakes on, shat myself and thanked mum for her prayers. It was a bucket load of fun. Here I was, a young guy from country WA, mixing it with all my legends. It was very, very cool!” While contesting the Australian Championship rounds, Mike was approached by a group of businessmen who’d formed Team Camo. They asked him to scout a young rider for them. “So, while I was travelling, I’d often seen Mick Doohan out there in different places. He’d be getting around in this old Holden ute with his German Shepherd. Even as a young bloke, he was fast and very impressive. I tracked him down to the Gold Coast, took him to Brisbane, got him a haircut, and introduced him to Team Camo. And really, the rest is history. He became the best rider I’ve ever seen.” But for Mike, 1984 was a big year and he hit the spotlight with production endurance racing. “A number of new production bikes had come out, including the GPz900 from Kawasaki, Honda’s V4 1000R and the GSX R750 Suzuki. Yamaha rushed three of the new RZ500s into the country just in time for the start of the ’84 production endurance season. I was lucky enough to get a ride on one. The Hub 300 was one of the early endurance races in the year, ahead of the Winton 500 and the big one, the Castrol 6-Hour at Oran Park. So, I got this ride through Rob Assink, up against this top field, on the little RZ500.” And with a big grin he says, “And I won it. That put the focus on me nationally for the first time as all the guns were there, including Rob Phillis and Malcolm Campbell. After this, Mike was contracted with (Dunlop distributor) Emerson Sport to compete in the Castrol 6-Hour, teamed up with Geoff McNaughton. The Castrol 6-Hour really was a really big thing and it was being televised live. The manufacturers were throwing everything at it. Wayne Gardner, who was already a household name internationally, was the main drawcard and had come across to compete with John Pace on the Honda. The lead entry for Yamaha was the Toshiba team with Richard Scott and Steven Gall. But in the lead up to the race, it became apparent my times and Richard Scott’s

On the Yamaha Dealer team FZ750 at Bathurst, 1986.

At Bathurst, 1986 where he scored a 250/350 GP double.

were comparable, as were Geoff with Steven’s. A decision was made the day before the race that the two teams would join forces. I’d ride with Scotty, and Geoff and Gally would team up.” The 1984 6-Hour went down as one of the most tightly contested in the race’s history. The circuit had been changed from Amaroo to Oran Park and

consensus was the RZ would struggle against its bigger and more powerful rivals on this circuit. The pace was furious and Mike rode his heart out during the first stint to set them up for the rest of the race. He worked his way past the leaders, which included a tough battle with Wayne Gardner and a brilliant overtake of the race favourite, Rob Phillis, to take ➢



The Marlboro Yamaha team at the Phillip Island Swann Series round in 1988, Michael Doohan, manager Warren Willing, Peter Goddard and Michael Dowson, who clinched the series win after five years of trying. f

TOP On his way to winning the 1988 Arai 500 at Bathurst, teamed with Michael Doohan. ABOVE Arai importer Jim Cran-Crombie presents the 1988 Arai 500

trophy to Dowson and Doohan.

the lead ahead of the first stop. The frenetic pace continued all through the race and, as it drew to a close, Richard Scott was in the lead, peddling hard to fend off a challenge from John Pace. Richard managed to hold on and take the chequered flag. After this highlight, Mike continued to enjoy the rest of the season. Even though they didn’t win, he recalls with particular amusement the international Swann Series. Suzuki and Honda were in fierce competition with their new breed of ultra-light 500cc Grand Prix machines; the four cylinder Skoal Bandit RGB Suzuki 500, and the RSV500V3 from Honda. Riders included Rob McElnea and Wayne Gardner, who were continuing their battle from Europe, as well as the likes of Glenn Middlemiss, Andrew Johnson, Malcolm Campbell, Rob Phillis and John Pace. “Mal Pitman built up the old TZ 750 for me to contest the series. By then, it was getting pretty long in the tooth. Will Hagon, commentating for the ABC, took the micky out the bike calling it ‘the old man’s axe’. There I was on Mal Pitman’s homebuilt TZ750, lining up against the factory sponsored Grand Prix racers.” The series of six races over different circuits was hotly contested, with wins by a number of different riders. Mike was right in the mix on this bike that had no right to be so competitive. “I think we finished around 4th or 5th over the series, which surprised many. And we got great TV coverage,” he says reflecting on the series. “Toward the end of the season we were told we had the Toshiba sponsorship for the ‘85 season, which meant we were directly linked with Yamaha Australia. We had a reasonable year, winning a few endurance races including the Denso 500 at Winton, where I teamed with Kevin Magee.”

One of the highlights for 1985 was the Bathurst Centenary Grand Prix. “During the year, Mal Pitman produced another TZ750, did it up in the Toshiba Yamaha colours and we took it to the Bathurst Centenary GP. It was basically an unlimited event and everyone was there. Johnny Pace was probably my main competitor, riding the RGB500 Suzuki. The field also included a whole bunch of guys on superbikes, which were just starting to take off. “Johnny and I managed to take off and gap everyone, and for the whole race we were all over each other. On the

Rostrum for Leg 2 of the 1988 World Superbike Championship with American World Championelect Fred Merkel (3rd), Mick Doohan (1st) and Dowson (2nd).

last lap he came off at Forrest’s Elbow and I just closed for home to take the win. “Unfortunately, Johnny hurt himself in that fall and didn’t come good for a while. But one thing that was amusing was the lead up where I remember trying to get the gearing right. The bike’s maximum revs through the gears was 8,500 and I wanted that down Conrod. We were fiddling with the aerodynamics and other tweaks to get it right, but the bike was only pulling 7,900 and I was getting frustrated. Unbeknown to me, they’d set up speed sensors down Conrod and the media had announced the speeds we were doing. I came into the pits frustrated at not getting the revs. Mal came up, slapped me on the back and said, ‘how’s that?’ I turned and said, ’I’m only pulling 7,900’. And he said ‘your never bloody happy, I don’t know what I have to do to keep you happy! You’ve just done 305. No one’s been that fast before and you’re still not happy’.” The set-up must have been good because, apart from winning the race, Mike also set a new lap record for the class, which was no mean feat given the bike’s age. “During ’85, Kevin and I were pretty much hot favourites for the Castrol 6-Hour. It was a dry/wet race and we were changing rear tyres and rider each hour. We had soft and hard tyres and the only way to tell them was a little coloured spot on the tyre. On one stint though, where I was to have a soft tyre, I just didn’t seem have any grip and couldn’t hold the thing up. Eventually I went down. To this day I’m convinced I had the wrong tyre for that hour. I say that because both before and after, Kevin and I were doing the same times. It was just the one stint where I struggled, and I reckon it cost us the race. We finished third. We’re good mates and he still ➢



ABOVE In his only Grand Prix start, Dowson dices with Randy Mamola’s works Cagiva at Phillip Island in 1989. The Yamaha was a works 1988 engine in a 1989 chassis and Mike brought it home a creditable ninth in the 500cc GP.

ribs me on how I cost him his first Castrol 6-Hour. It would have been my second, but that’s racing.” Redemption is sweet though and Mike went on to win the 6-Hour for the next two consecutive years. This meant, in the four years prior to the race being dropped, he won three and came third in the other. In 1986 Warren Willing took over the Yamaha team management and started the Marlboro Yamaha team. Mike and Kevin continued as team mates and Mike is full of praise for Warren’s “genius” and how he helped all those he worked with. “1986 and ‘87 were good years for us under Warren’s guidance. Once we hit our straps, we were pretty well winning everything and it was a time of real dominance. We didn’t contest the 250 and 350 Grand Prix championship events and focused on the Superbikes. When the Marlboro Yamaha thing happened, it was almost surreal for us. We were both just country lads and here we were in the most high-profile team in Australia. We were a bit shell shocked to be honest.” But the ‘86 season started with a wake-up call for them. “We’d both flown in to Calder for the first race of the season. A good friend, Trevor Flood, who’d sponsored Kevin previously, came to our hotel on the Saturday evening after qualifying. “Trevor says,

Mike Dowson on author Des Lewis’ 1978 RD400 – identical to his own first road bike.

‘Why don’t we go out and celebrate this thing you guys are doing’. Not a problem we think, so we hop in his BMW and he drags us off to his favourite bar in Melbourne. We didn’t get back until around three in the morning. I’m not much of a drinker and was in a hell of a mess. Sunday morning and I’m in the pits with a hangover. George Pyne, who’d put this whole thing together for Yamaha Australia, had flown in to watch. We didn’t know, but he was staying at the same hotel. In the morning, he says to us, ‘Can you boys come over here, I want to have a bit of a talk to you both?’ I’m crapping myself thinking he knew what we got up to. And then he says, ‘I’d just like to say I’m so impressed with you two young blokes. I got into the hotel at about 8:00 last night and saw your cars in the bays and that your lights were out.’ And thinking we’d turned in early, he said ‘I would like to say it is a great thing that you guys are on this team and I’m sure we’ll do well.’ “We never did that again. And it was all Trevor Flood’s fault,” Mike says with a laugh. Success riding in the Marlboro Team also opened the doors for both riders internationally. “Kevin had done the Suzuka 8-Hour the year before and said we ‘gotta do it again’. So, it was in our contract and in July we rocked up to do the race.” The field included Kenny Roberts teamed with Mike Baldwin, Wayne Gardner with Dominique Sarron, and Kevin Shwantz with Sotoshi Tsujimoto. “At that time Yamaha had three tiers in its motorsport division. MS1 was the highest end, with bikes ridden by the likes of Kenny Roberts. Then they had MS2, which was the development class and down a notch, on the lowest performance rung, was MS3, the production bikes. We got our chance on a production bike, an FZ750. Gardner and Sarron won the race and Kevin and I got second. That blew us away. There were more than 100,000 spectators and it was like achieving rock star status. Second was unreal, especially as we were on a production machine. And we won $50k prize money. Once again, a couple of kids from country Australia exceeding their wildest dreams. After that, while we had commitments in Australia during 1987, we signed up for a lot of races in Japan. It was a pretty good time.”

Swan song. Dowson on the Peter Jackson Yamaha at Phillip Island in 1993.

Throughout 1988 and 1989, Mike continued with the Yamaha Racing Team in Japan, competing mainly in Japan and Malaysia. Most of his racing was in the International superbike series and he was posting some reasonable results. He was also riding back home and in 1988 was teamed with Mick Doohan in the Marlboro Yamaha team. They had a good season, although Mike found he was always running second to Doohan. “I couldn’t beat the bugger”, he laughs. “As the ’89 season drew to a close, I got approached by Peter Doyle. He and his father Neville had run the Kawasaki racing team in Australia for years. Peter was the main guy behind Rob Phillis and Aaron Slight. They’d been travelling to Japan for some racing and we’d got to know each other.” “Peter called and said Kawasaki were looking for a rider. ‘Your name’s been mentioned and they’re keen for you to do the Formula One stuff.’ He said they were also developing a 250 Grand Prix bike to go back into the world championships, which particularly interested me as I still considered myself a Grand Prix rider and harboured ambitions in the 250 and 350 classes. At the time Yamaha had such a depth of talent and no approach had been made to me about the next season. Even though I’d had a good year, I was feeling a bit insecure. Given Kawasaki were wanting to get back into Grand Prix, I thought, ‘I’m in’. It seemed a no brainer. And, no sooner than I’d made my mind up, I was back in Bunbury and got a call from Maikawai, who was

From bikes to boats: Mike and Jo Dowson at their charter boat base.

Head of Yamaha Racing’s MS1 division. He says to me, ‘Mike san, what do you want to do next year?’ “I was confused as normally they’d just tell you what you’d ride, so I misread the situation. Like an idiot I thought this was a signal I was on my way out and told him I’d taken up an offer from Kawasaki. But what became clear to me afterwards was I was being offered a great opportunity; that I could effectively take my pick. If I’d realised what he was saying, I’d have pulled out of the Kawasaki agreement and put all my efforts into a Grand Prix bike in the Japanese championship, because that’s what was being offered.” The move to Kawasaki proved to be a train wreck from Mike’s perspective and, worse still, they soon dropped development of the 250 Grand Prix bike, which had been a major incentive. “I hadn’t realised how badly Kawasaki had lost its way and what was happening. Appointment as Engineer in Charge of the team was largely a prize for an engineer from another division within Kawasaki Industries who’d exceeded targets. They didn’t need any motorcycle racing experience. The Engineer in Charge during my first year had actually come from the power products section. Each year they’d have a new guy in charge. They were going around in circles and it just got worse. “At the end of the first season, I was fed up. It was a nightmare. I’d never crashed so much in all my career. I wasn’t a crasher and here I was crashing all the time and breaking bones. At one stage I couldn’t ride for two broken arms. Aaron Slight was my teammate and he was having the same problems. So, at the end of the year, I flew to Japan with an interpreter and said, ‘I either want out of the contract or you give me my own team and we’ll build a machine’. They said ‘yes, no problem, we can do that for you’. “Two weeks later I was home and my interpreter rang and said ‘I’ve got good news and bad news. They are going to build the bike you want but it won’t be ready until the end of the season’. There was that much to change. This did my head in. I’d gotten nowhere in the past twelve months and my reputation had hit rock bottom. I persevered through that second season. Eventually, the bike was ready for its first race, which happened to be the last race of ‘91 at Tsukuba. Most of the world superbike guys came together as this was a fairly prestigious international meeting and the last of the Japanese series. And I managed to blow them away on this new bike in its first outing. I felt vindicated and had proven a point. It was then I walked away.” Tsukuba was the closing chapter in Mike’s international career. After a break, he did some national events over the following couple of seasons, riding cameo for Mal Pitman in the Peter Jackson Yamaha team. He also rode in the Suzuka 8-Hour for Yoshimura Suzuki. But the disappointment of the final two years in Japan had sapped his passion and he stepped out of racing after ’93 to pursue his other love; boating. Mike now works in the charter boat business. He recently re-married and, with his wife Jo, runs a charter boat business. Each year they head north for tours around the Kimberley region. It’s not a bad life after all, despite his regrets. ■





survivor Out in the wilds of rural England, Andy Westlake unearths a rarity…

Story Andy Westlake Photos Gary Chapman, Jill Westlake and Jim Scaysbrook

One of my best sources of interesting bikes is via my local MOT station and it was thanks to a conversation with the examiner Tony Clark I was put in touch with the owner of this incredibly rare machine. The bike in question is a Swiss – made Universal B50 Meteor and it’s believed that this particular model is one of only six from a production run of a thousand left in the world. The owner of this BMW lookalike is West countryman Gareth Burnard who invited me along to take his 570cc horizontally opposed twin for a spin through the Wiltshire lanes. However before we fired the big four stroke into action his father Jim told me a little about the day in 1997 he bought the bike. “At the time I had a Harley-Davidson Sportster but it wasn’t my sort of machine so I put an advert in the classic press offering it in part exchange for something ‘interesting’. In response I had a call from a chap who lived on a farm near Cheltenham who told me that he had the ideal thing in the form of a B50 Universal; a manufacturer I’d never heard of. It transpired that the horizontal twin had originally been imported to the UK some years earlier and was still in its original livery but



ABOVE Familiar looking

headlight/speedo arrangement. ABOVE RIGHT Swiss-made OBA carb hides under a neat cover.

although running, needed a bit of TLC to the ignition, brakes and clutch. It was perfect for me, the guy liked my Harley and with the deal done the big Swiss four-stroke was loaded into my van and back home in the workshop it was time to get acquainted with my new bike. It was obvious that it was much too good to restore and just needed a few jobs to make it rideable. Getting it roadworthy gave me an insight into the workmanship and quality that had gone into the overall design when the B50s were manufactured in the ‘fifties and early ‘sixties and in many ways it was superior to many BMWs I’ve worked on. In the first summer I used it in several Bath and VMCC runs and understandably it always created a lot of interest. Through a Swiss friend I managed to obtain a bit of history of the company and a photo of a similar machine when it first rolled off the production lines in 1960. It transpired that the model I’d acquired was a B50 Meteor which unlike the standard Universal twin came with an Italian styled petrol tank which wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Ducati. We discovered ➢



ABOVE Test bike has plunger rear

suspension but swinging arm models were also produced.

that there were possibly three others in the UK, two in America – one of which is a twin-carb Sport model in the Barber museum – and another in Argentina.” Universal AG was founded in 1928 near Lucerne using proprietary engines but initially their bikes were marketed under the name of Helvetia and it was sometime later that the first Universal appeared. These were powered by a mixture of JAP, Python and Anzani motors and during the war years – in conjunction with Condor – they made an inline 1000cc vee twin, many with a sidecar attached. Post war the first ‘Karden Boxer’ appeared, most of these went to home market but I understand that some went to the Netherlands, South America and to Germany where – with a modified frame – they were rebadged as a Rabeneick. The Rabeneick Company had been founded by August Rabeneick in 1925 and initially concentrated in building high quality bicycles which were highly successful in racing and it wasn’t until the late 1940s that their first small motorcycle appeared.

The man who was mainly responsible for the success of the motorcycles was Erich Engelhardt who was described as a very friendly, charming, polite and intelligent person who according to a period report by Ernst Hiller (6 times German 500cc championship winner) used his dog to test the motorcycles exhaust. If Hiller is to be believed the dog would be fine with an exhaust note that was OK but would start chasing the bike if it was too loud and noisy. All of these machines were small capacity but Engelhardt was keen to build a bigger machine and working in conjunction with Hiller the prototype 500cc boxer twin Universal appeared at the 1951 IFMA show. Due to high costs the Rabeneick-framed Universal twin was only produced in small numbers but the standard B50 – which was available in both side valve and overhead valve operation with either rigid or plunger rear suspension – was well regarded and throughout the 1950s was often used by the Swiss police. Up to when production ceased in 1962/’63 it would appear



that around one thousand of the standard boxers were produced – alongside a 250cc single – and I’m told that although you sometimes see one turn up at a classic meeting in Switzerland Gareth’s model B50 with its unusual petrol tank and plunger rear suspension is now very rare. During the summers of 1997 and ‘98 our test bike was used on several local classic bike runs but some trouble with the clutch saw it taken off the road and laid up for the best part of seventeen years until Jim’s son Gareth recommissioned it and got the big twin running sweetly again; Gareth takes up the story. “When dad bought the bike he was aware that the clutch was a bit ‘tired’ and although he did several hundred miles during the first two years it eventually gave up the ghost and as we had other bikes to use the Universal was put into storage until we had time to attend to the slipping clutch. Little did I think at the time that the bike would be standing in our workshop until 2017 until we got it mobile again? Originally all of the engine parts were made in the Swiss factory and I soon discovered that although it looks just like a BMW twin none were compatible so I had to fabricate my own clutch and pressure plate.” For most people this would be a formidable task but Gareth – who in his day job sees him restoring and fabricating wood bodywork on classic cars – soon had this in hand. “With the engine removed from the frame I discovered that a clutch plate from a Hillman car was the same size as that on the bike so after getting it relined by Friction Services in Bristol I then just needed to turn down a solid piece of billet ➢

Andy Westlake puts the B50 through its paces on the West Country back roads.

Swiss take on the flat-twin theory.


UNIVERSAL B50 METEOR for the pressure plate and drill some holes in it for the springs. With this fitted the engine – despite having nearly 100,000 kilometres on the clock – was in remarkable condition and other than new oil seals in both engine and gearbox and new brake linings the only other thing I had to turn my attentions to was to the ignition system. Thanks to some help from a friend we fabricated a purposemade distributor to replace the worn unit and replaced it with an electronic 6 volt system. When it was manufactured the B50 came either with a dual seat or two singles; ours was fitted with a pair of the Pagusa seats. I had to replace the rider’s one as it was split, with one from BMW specialist Bob Porechia – but as it was never going to be used to carry a passenger we removed the pillion and it is now safely tucked away in our store. The wheel rims – which have an unusual ‘crinkle’ in them – were like new and with some new petrol in the tank I was amazed when it started first kick.” Prior to my road test Gareth had only covered a trouble free 100 miles or so on the Universal although prior to me setting off he did warn me about its rather cramped riding position which means the handlebars come into contact with the rider’s knees when making a tight manoeuvre. Unlike a BMW with its difficult-to-use kick starter – sited at the rear of the gearbox – that fitted on the Universal is in the conventional position and as I discovered is one of the easiest starting four stroke twins I’ve ever encountered. With just one swing of the right sided lever was all that was required to bring the softly tuned twin into life and not surprisingly the exhaust note is very much like that

Garth Burnard with his Swiss rarity.

The ultra-rare twin-carb Universal in the Barber Museum, USA.

of a Germanic flat twin with a muted rasp through the long “Burgess” style silencers. Engaging first gear – via the right sided lever – was a bit of a ‘clunky’ affair and the clutch was a bit slow in takeup but under way the B50 was soon in its stride and for the first mile or so comfortably kept up with the West Country traffic. Sadly that is where our road test came to an unexpected halt when the engine suddenly died, but fortunately this coincided with a convenient minor road where we managed to park up and tried to diagnose the problem. With the suddenness of our breakdown it all looked like a failure of the sparks and with a plug removed this was confirmed. A long push back to Gareth’s workshop later revealed that the three long fasteners holding the electronic ignition unit in position had come loose but this was quickly rectified and we were on our way again. I’ve ridden

countless thousands of miles on bikes with shaft drive and I’m used to the fact that when compared to a chain drive it’s important to balance the revs when making a downward gear change. However despite my best efforts the gear change on the B50 was – as Gareth had warned me – decidedly ‘notchy’ and steadfastly refused to change into a lower ratio smoothly, this was later rectified and improved by changing the gearbox oil to straight 60 in place of the previous 10/40 multi-grade. The 570cc – 28bhp – twin is no speed machine but it was quickly up to its happy running speed of around 90km/h and for a bike that is now approaching sixty years old both the brakes – single leading shoe front and rear – and suspension – telescopic at the front and plunger at rear – gave it a planted and well balanced feel. The lanes and minor ‘B’ roads in West Wiltshire are some of the best in the UK and here the Swiss horizontal twin was in its element. I returned from my ride with a huge smile on my face and there is no doubt that Gareth’s Universal is a super bike to ride and it’s also a reminder that not all horizontal twins were manufactured in Germany. Big thanks to both Gareth and Jim for allowing me to ride the very special Swiss twin. ■

1960 Universal B50 Meteor

Specifications ENGINE

OHV four stroke air cooled flat twin










4 speed foot change




6 volt


OBA (Swiss)


Front and rear single leading shoe


18 inch interchangeable


Front: Telescopic Rear: Plunger


65mph (est.)


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British, European, Japanese and American Motorcycles, parts and memorabilia, 35 years and older only. AUSTRALIA USA


August 25th+26th, 2018




AMCA Australia have appointed Flight Centre Business Travel to assist with your travel needs to our AMCA Antique Motorcycle weekend in Bulli, just South of Sydney, Australia, the last weekend of August. Here is what they can offer you: • Flights (domestic and international) • Accommodation • Car Hire • Package Holidays • Transfers (private and shared) • Tours • Travel insurance (Australian residents only) CONTACT THE TRAVEL ORGANISER FOR THE EVENT, CLAUDIA ZAMORA, DIRECTLY: • Ph: +61 2 8922 7900 • Email:



transformer The shaft drive XS11 Yamaha was never conceived as a race bike, but that didn’t stop it winning countless Production races from 1978 – at a time when the Unlimited Production class was the hottest and most ferociously-contested event on most programmes. Story Jim Scaysbrook Photos John Ford, Keith Muir, Rob Lewis, Sue Scaysbrook, Mal Pitman



ABOVE Greg Pretty rounds Hell Corner en route to the top step of the rostrum in the Arai 500 at Bathurst, Easter 1981. RIGHT Greg Pretty and the Pitmans Yamaha XS1100 – an almost

unbeatable combination in Production Racing in the late ‘seventies.

38 : OLD BIKE AUSTRALASIA Greg Pretty ploughs through the rain to win the Coca Cola 800 with Gary Coleman in February 1981.

PITMANS YAMAHA XS1100 SUPERBIKE But the nascent Superbike category was another thing altogether – the domain of home-brewed rockets like the Syndicate Kawasaki and the Hone Suzukis, particularly in the NGK-sponsored Victorian Superbike Championship which morphed into the national title in a few short years. In this class, the XS11 was simply off-spec – the shaft system too heavy and the machine itself ungainly. However over the summer of 1980/81, Yamaha Pitmans in Adelaide – a distributor with close ties to the factory in Japan – decided to rectify the situation. In Greg Pretty, their contracted rider, they had a man of outstanding ability and determination, who weighed just 53 kg, just what was needed to make the portly XS1100 competitive in Superbike trim. But there were other issues… To start at the beginning, Yamaha had retreated into its shell following consecutive disasters with the twin cylinder TX750 – the company’s first four stroke – and the TX500 – its first twin cam design, and had guardedly prepared to rectify the situation (and its badly tarnished image) with its first fourcylinder four stroke. This was the XS1100 (or XS 1.1 in USA) that broke cover in late 1977, designed first and foremost as a luxury tourer. That is, until Yamaha Pitmans got hold of it. Mal Pitman, the technical chief of the company’s racing efforts, explains the process that ultimately resulted in the XS1100 Superbike. “In December 1977 Yamaha brought a crew of a technician and three riders from Japan, and we tested the bikes in the eastern area of South Australia; we went up and down the border with Victoria, 650km rides each day. They wanted us to do over 180km/h all the time, so they could check the durability of the engine. This was the middle of summer, 40 degrees ambient with the road temperature up around 60. The rear tyres were lasting 650 km and they were shredded. We basically brought all the 17 inch tyres we could find in Adelaide.

“We had a good rider in Greg Pretty – he was one of the guys that tested the suspension with us – but he wasn’t familiar with the XS1100 and had always ridden Kawasaki 900s. On the first day he went into a corner two fast, and not being familiar with the XS11, shut the throttle and down he went, decked the bike. When you close the throttle on a shaft drive in the middle of a corner, the bottom drops. When he crashed that bike, the Japanese really wanted to know if their rollover sensor, or tilt angle sensor, had worked, and had cut the engine. So tongue in cheek I told them that when I got to the bike, it was stopped. It was also in several pieces as well! So he learned how to ride the bike and when he went onto Production Racing, he won everything, but the Superbike was something he really wanted to ride because they had more horsepower and he was a horsepower nut.” Pretty and the XS1100 instantly became the major force in the 1978 Production Racing season, winning the prestigious Advertiser Three Hour in April, and two weeks later, the Perth Four Hour, this time paired with Mick Cole. In September, Pretty took out the Surfers Paradise Three Hour, the traditional curtain raiser to the ‘big one’ the Castrol Six Hour at Amaroo Park. Teamed with Jeff Miller, Pretty’s Pitman’s team looked a shoe-in for the Six Hour, and led the race until Miller crashed the bike and put it out. Although devastated, the Pitmans team shifted their attention to helping the Avon Tyres squad, which was also running and XS1100 for Jim Budd and Roger Heyes. Between them, they pulled off a master stroke by changing the rear wheel at half distance and won the race. The amazing Pretty commenced the 1979 season where he had left off in 1978, winning the Advertiser Three Hour again (and covering five more laps than the previous year, on the same bike), then snatched the Perth Four Hour, partnered this time by Jeff Parkin. Teamed with 1978 winner Jim Budd, pretty and the Pitmans XS1100 again went into the

“Pretty and the XS1100 instantly became the major force in the 1978 Production Racing season, winning the prestigious Advertiser Three Hour in April, and two weeks later, the Perth Four Hour, this time paired with Mick Cole.”

Castrol Six Hour as firm favourites, but lost out to the Suzuki GS1000 of Alan Hales/Neil Chivas, who went through the race on one set of Pirelli tyres, while the Pitmans Yamahas needed a rear wheel change and finished second, three laps in arrears. Pretty decided to try his hand in Europe in 1980, so the Pitmans squad remained largely under wraps. The face of racing in Australia was changing too, with the big, bellowing and spectacular Superbikes – largely home-brewed specials – emerging as the next big thing over the traditional grand prix classes. When Pretty returned and faced the prospect of spending the 1981 season at home, he wanted to be part of that scene too. His problem was that Pitmans, and Yamaha, had nothing suitable for the class. Or did they? Mal Pitman was one person who was convinced that the XS1100 could be made competitive in the Superbike class – but with one major modification. “Because of (our experience with the model) and our connection to the factory, Yamaha decided to make some factory engine kits for the XS1100 to allow them to go Superbike racing. Unfortunately they felt the shaft drive was suitable for Superbike racing, and I didn’t think it was, so they forwarded the bits to my father and uncles who ran Yamaha Pitmans and said they’d really like us to build a Superbike. My uncles basically told them what I’d said; that shaft drive was a waste of time. But they said, ‘you have to build it for us because we want to get the coverage’, so I elected to modify the bike to turn it into a chain drive XS11, and once I’d done that it made the kit come to life because you had less weight, you could change the gearing, and so then we were able to get racing. I had a local guy who loved bikes, was a machinist and dabbled with casting, and I showed him the problem

The XS11 as it emerged from the shed.

Original Solex carbs have been retained for future refurbishment.

RIGHT Making it two wins from as many starts, Pretty powers to victory in the 1981 Arai 500 at Bathurst. LEFT A shot that graphically illustrates a diminutive jockey on a big bike; Pretty on his way to victory in the 1981 Coca Cola 800 at Oran Park.

The restored XS11 made its public debut at the 2018 International Festival of Speed and drew crowds all weekend.

Taking shape.

we had with the right angle drive. We worked out that the shaft inside the right angle drive had the same spline as a TZ750 sprocket, so we proceeded to pull the shaft apart, cut the box up, we made an extension off the gear cover on the left hand side so it had an outrigger bearing, so we used the original shaft with two new housings and that gave us the sprocket on the engine. Then I had to build a swing arm for it that was wide enough, because we had to run the sprocket very wide, to miss the gearbox. That was made out of chrome moly, super strong, and we then ran TZ Dymag magnesium wheels – or the spoked wheels, depending on the weather. The rear shocks are the aluminium body and finned Koni 76V shocks, 5-position adjustable internally, which you did by taking the spring off and pushing the shaft to the bottom to adjust the internal damping mechanism for rebound and compression. “It (the factory kit) was a very comprehensive kit. Crankshaft, con rods, pistons, a twin-plug head, camshafts, exhaust system, carburettors, hydraulic clutch, clutch springs, magnesium oil filter cover. The twin plug head Yamaha partly made with their Toyota 2000GT technology. It was an all-new head with 10mm plugs, the original plug was 14mm. Two

plugs were side by side but you had to run each from a different ignition system. They supplied side draft Mikuni/Solex carbs, 40mm, sleeved back to 36 with the effective venturi 34mm. They had big long bell mouths, and long intakes like a 6 or 4 cylinder car, under-bucket shims in the head. I ran 11.5:1 compression, 100 octane fuel, two base gaskets to get the correct compression, XJ650 ignition as per factory spec. For Oran Park and Bathurst we had a small single phase generator on it with total loss for Undercoated frame and wheel components.

the last race. The race crank was a couple of kg lighter, with special con rods, and bigger con rod bolts. Forged high comp pistons, very thin 1mm compression rings, standard oil rings. The kit came with Mikuni/Solex Weber style carbs, they worked quite well but the bike was very hard to start. I didn’t want to run them because on that type of carb the float runs side to side so when you turn a left corner it leans off and when you turn a right corner it richens up. For me that was a big problem but Greg was happy to run that at Bathurst and we had no problems. Because we were running a TZ750 countershaft sprocket we had to change the middle gear (primary?) so Yamaha calculated what we needed and made me a set of new middle gears, I told them first gear was too low so they made me a high ratio first gear to make the gearbox a bit closer, but apart from that the gearbox was standard. Part of the factory kit was a bigger oil cooler. It got very hot if you idled it but in operation it was OK. It was still 1100cc standard so had plenty of fin area. Brakes had to be standard from the era, but in the day Yamaha brakes were the preferred brakes because they were 300mm, Suzuki and Kawasaki were only 280. They’re terrible now but in the day, they worked very well.

RIGHT New outrigger

bearing housing was specially made in 1981.

“We had planned to race the Superbike at the Coca Cola 800 at Oran Park, which was an 8 Hour race in February 1981. We were still building the bike as we were travelling to Sydney because it was such a big undertaking. Gary Coleman was the co rider. On the first day, he jumped on and did half a dozen laps and came in and said, “We’re going to win the race, no problem’. I didn’t believe him but he was quite sure. Then it rained and we won the race by seven laps, but Gary said the bike was so rider-friendly and easy to ride that we just walked away. “We then decided we would run at Bathurst in April, so we had a TZ750, TZ500 and the XS1100 for Greg to ride. Unfortunately at Bathurst there was only one practice session for all those bikes, so Greg had to go out and do two laps on one, come in, two laps on the next one and so on. It was the first time we had run the TZ500 and I hadn’t had a chance to do the jetting on it and it was jetted way too rich and even though I put 30 litres of fuel in it he ran out of fuel on the last lap when he was second. But he won on the 750 and in the Arai 500 he rode the XS and won by about a lap and that became folklore because it was a legendary bike that had a 100% winning record.”

All change

ABOVE CENTRE Front brakes look a bit antediluvian but perform quite well. ABOVE Not much to watch.

That could have been the end of the story for the chain-drive XS1100, but Yamaha Pitmans allowed Pretty to take it to Winton in Victoria for the opening round of the NGK Superbike Series in May 1981, along with a mechanic. However Pretty failed to make it to the grid after stepping off the Yamaha during practice, damaging it too extensively to make the race. The bike went back to Adelaide with immediate plans for a further outing. That matter was settled when Pretty dropped a bombshell by taking up an offer to join Team Honda, whose lead rider Dennis Neill had suffered career-ending injuries at Bathurst. It was a move that floored Pitmans, and severely cooled their enthusiasm for racing. In fact, it was just a further element in a chain of events that would change the

company’s traditional business role, as Mal Pitman explains. “So we lost Greg, and the next year the government devalued the Australian dollar. We were importers so the family business decided we had to get rid of our race bikes, so they were all sold off. I had a guy, Colin Dymock, who used to come through each year when he was on holidays and he would always ask me if he could buy the XS1100 Superbike. I said it wasn’t for sale but about the third or fourth time he came through I said I’d sell it to him. He had eleven XS1100s so he had serious issues! He took it away and gave me his phone numbers at home and at work and I said if you ever want to sell it let me know. I rang up about five or six years later but both numbers had changed, so I lost contact and the bike basically disappeared for about 35 years, but he never told anyone he had it. “Then John Testore, who had worked for the NSW Yamaha distributors, McCulloch and used to service Colin’s XS1100s, was talking to him. Colin had become quite ill and was having trouble walking, so he took John down to his garden shed and said to him, ‘I’ve got the Yamaha Pitmans XS1100 chaindrive’, and John said ‘no way’, so he told him to go into the shed and look for himself. Unfortunately the roof had fallen in on the shed so the bike was badly weathered, but John knew straight away what it was and bought it from Colin and promptly rang me up and told me had had the bike. I kept that in the back of my mind and I was pretty keen to buy it because I’d always wanted to own it from back in the day. “Then in December 2017 PCRC rang me up and said they were having this 30 Years Celebration of Superbikes at the International Festival of Speed in March and could you bring the chain-drive XS? So I rang John and he said ‘I was going to ring you, I am pretty keen to get the thing restored’. So he brought the bike to the Australian Historic titles in 2017 at Goulburn and I took it back to Adelaide and got to work on the bike. It was a very tight schedule; it was only finished on the Tuesday of the week of IFoS. It’s not completely finished to my satisfaction but it has come up very nice although the carburation needs sorting out.

A rapid restoration With scarcely three months to completely restore the bike, Mal Pitman had his work cut out, but despite the bike’s enforced hibernation, the task was not quite as daunting as it could have been. “The exhaust valves were stuck open and two of the



A new set of 35mm Keihin CR carbs replaces the original Solex/Mikunis – for the moment.

pistons had some moisture damage but I was able to get CRC into the motor and move it backwards and forwards until I could get it to turn over. I wanted to check the cam timing just to refresh my memory. So I pulled it all apart and it was still in really good order inside. I replaced all the main bearings and big end bearings, honed the bores, ran the same pistons and rings because they were in good order, cleaned the valves and recut the seats, re-shimmed it, put a brand new set of Keihin CR33 smooth bore carbs on it, fired it up and she ran sweet as. It was John Testore’s decision to fit the Keihins, but the original Solex/Mikuni carbs were badly corroded and would have taken a lot of work to get them back into working order – more time than we had. “I know the guy at the local trade school so I put it on their dyno. This was the Tuesday night before IFoS and we had to leave at 3am on Wednesday morning.He said it was a bit lean at idle, too rich in the bottom range, nice at three-quarter throttle and probably a jet size out on the main jet. He said the torque curve is a flat line; it’s incredible how much torque it’s got. It was showing 108kW, or about 144 horsepower, and that blew me away because we always thought it was about 120 horsepower, but in those days we didn’t have dynos – we’d just ride it and see how it went. We were pretty impressed back then because it was as fast as Robbie Phillis’ GSX1100 and as fast as the CB1100R that Dennis Neill rode, which had a factory Honda RC kit on it. But Honda and Suzuki Yoshimura had all the experience whereas Yamaha had no four stroke experience. The next model they brought out was the FJ1100 which chassis wise were not great but the motors were bulletproof and great for making horsepower, and from there to the FZR1000. So this bike was the stepping stone and probably the first Superbike from Yamaha anywhere in the world. I know Sonauto had the Fior one (also chain drive which raced at the Bol d’Or) which had the same race kit on it but we basically raced ours as a full Superbike. All the cycle parts are standard – heavy steel fuel tank. I reckon the bike now is around 200 kilos and I think it could lose another 15kg by doing lots of little stuff.

A quick squirt At Sydney Motor Sport Park, I was able to get a run on the XS1100 during one of the IFoS Legends sessions. After doing the earlier session on Murray Kahler’s NCR Ducati that I had raced in the 1978 TT, jumping onto the Yamaha was quite a contrast; one

Heart of the matter; the chain drive in place of the original shaft.

low and long, and the other bike high, wide and handsome. Mal Pitman’s son in law Nathaniel Wilson had taken the Yamaha out for a shake down run and reported fluffy carburation, so there was a quick hunt through the pits for alternative jetting prior to my ride. This went part of the way to curing the problem but Mal says he’s still not entirely happy with it, although considering the short space of time he had to complete the work, it’s a job very well done. Look at the period photos of Greg Pretty and you will see a little bloke on a big bike. The power-toweight ratio was very good. When I hopped aboard the XS I was immediately struck with the sheer presence of the machine. It’s not just that it is physically large, but the styling, especially the fuel tank, make it appear that way. Nevertheless, once you’re underway this impression disappears. What takes over is the stonking mid-range surge of power, and the overall performance package which, for a machine originally conceived over 40 years ago, is mighty impressive. From my lofty perch it seemed a long way down to the track, but the XS steers perfectly, and even though I had been pre-warned about the efficiency of the brakes, I found very little lacking there. I definitely agree with Mal that Yamaha had the pick of the brakes back then; even my own 1973 TX750

The editor tries the restored XS11 at the 2018 IFoS.

with its single disc, twin piston caliper stopped quite adequately, and I never had any complaints about the range of TZ350s, similarly equipped, that I raced in period. You do notice the weight, no question, particularly at the downhill hairpin at SMSP, where the force of gravity, coupled with a tight, decreasing radius corner, makes changing direction a considered exercise. But then comes the good bit, accelerating away towards Turn 11 and the Yamaha fairly bolts, with plenty of time between gear changes to savour the experience. As Mal says, the carburation is not yet spot-on, but it’s not all that bad either. Hey, let’s put the Solex/Mikunis back on and try that! It would be an interesting exercise if Mal could indeed remove another 15kg, but in a way, I hope he doesn’t. Here is a time-warm motorcycle, pretty much exactly as it was raced in 1981. Even the paintwork is original. Yes, true – it only required buffing, even after all those years semi-submerged in the leaky shed. Thanks to owner John Testore for allowing me the chance to savour a real survivor of the battlefield that was the early ‘eighties Superbike scene. ■ FOOTNOTE: Scott Heyes (son of Castrol Six Hour legend Roger) has unearthed some historic footage of the Pitmans Yamaha in action in the 1981 Coca Cola 800 at Oran Park. Check it out here: and here




Revival? ROAD TEST


Around thirty years ago rotary-engined motorcycles seemed set to be the next big thing, after the Norton RC588 scored a Wankelengined bike’s greatest victory by winning the 1992 Senior TT in the Isle of Man. Story Alan Cathcart Photos Kyoichi Nakamura



Norton might have expected to benefit from this with a spike in demand for its F1 Sport race replica streetbike – but the indebted British company was sliding towards insolvency, and production was soon to shut down of the last Wankel-engined motorcycle money could buy. Until now. For it’s once again possible to purchase a streetlegal motorcycle powered by an engine of the kind invented by German engineer Felix Wankel, whose prototype such design, featuring an eccentric rotor turning within a trochoidal chamber containing peripheral intake and exhaust ports, first saw the light of day in 1957, powering an NSU car. But not from born-again Norton. Instead, the rotary-engined motorcycle you can buy right now is built in the Netherlands by OCR Motors, whose owner Andries Wielinga is making the past live again. For in the 1970s, Dutch two-wheeled tycoon Hendrik ‘Henk’ Van Veen produced what was then by far the most high-performance, as well as the most expensive ➢


VAN VEEN series-production streetbike money could buy, powered by the same 100bhp twin-rotor engine equipping the NSU Ro80, the world’s first production rotary-engined car which entered production in 1967. The Van Veen OCR 1000, of which he sold 38 examples at a retail price equivalent to Euro 40,000 today (twice the price back then of a BMW R100RS, or half the cost of a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow limousine!) before the company closed down in 1981, was in every way symptomatic of the age of excess – which makes Wielinga’s decision to build ten exact replicas of the late-‘70s production Van Veen OCR Rotary retailing at Euro 85,000 tax free, either a very brave or a very foolish decision, depending on which way you look at it! Van Veen’s eponymous company imported Kreidler 50cc mopeds and minibikes to the Netherlands from Germany in such volume during the ‘60s and ‘70s – Dutch sales of Kreidlers passed the 100,000 mark in 1971 – that he was able to go Grand Prix racing in the 50cc category with his own specially developed Van

TOP Original Van Veen technical drawings. ABOVE The prototype OCR 1000 on display at the 1974 Cologne Show.

OLD BIKE AUSTRALASIA : 45 Hendrik Van Veen at age 75 with his own OCR.

Veen Kreidlers, and see his riders win four World championships; the first in 1971. But, that very same year, Van Veen had taken the first steps towards establishing his own series-production motorcycle brand. He did so by creating a 100bhp prototype road bike featuring a 1000cc Mazda Cosmo rotary engine shoehorned into a Moto Guzzi V7 frame, still with shaft final drive, and although the result was significantly challenged aesthetically, its performance was so impressive by the standards of the era – 100bhp was a lot back then, Van Veen decided to put such a bike into production using the NSU engine manufactured by Comotor in Luxembourg. To do so, he gave the job of designing it to one of his GP riders, 24-year old Jos Schurgers, who created the rotary-engined Van Veen OCR 1000 (standing for Oil-Cooled Rotors) with the help of British designer Simon Saunders. The result duly made its debut at the Cologne Show in October 1974, where its impact was almost show-stopping. Schurgers’ groundbreaking styling was later widely copied by other manufacturers. At a time that the world was shakily recovering from the 1973 oil embargo crisis, when the quadrupling of petrol prices had put an end to decades of cheap fuel, the idea of launching such an expensive, excessive and above all thirsty motorcycle (high fuel consumption and dirty emissions have traditionally been the achilles heel of Wankel engines) seemed decidedly risky. But Henk Van Veen pursued his dream, establishing a factory at Duderstadt to manufacture the OCR 1000 in his key potential market for such a bike, West

Germany. In 1976 a select few journalists visited it to ride the pre-production version of the bike. This had a remarkable specification for its time, with 100.4bhp delivered at 6,500rpm by the twin-rotor engine measuring 996cc in terms of the swept volume of the trochoidal rotor chambers, amounting to the equivalent of 1,693cc under the FIM’s 1:1.7 equivalency formula. Sourced from Comotor, this was essentially a joint-venture project between rotary pioneers NSU and traditional avantgarde thinkers Citroën, who installed it in their Birotor GS model – but an agreement was made to also supply the engine in batches of 50 to Van Veen. In spite of a 292kg dry weight, performance was impressive, with a 0-100km/h acceleration in just 3.6s, and a top speed of 224km/h. The 0-200kph time was 16sec – impressive for a sports tourer, which is what the OCR 1000 essentially was, especially when fitted with the optional very protective fairing designed by Schurgers. However, complaints from outside testers about poor throttle response, a flawed gearchange, and ineffective brakes – a critical factor on such a fast, heavy bike with minimal engine braking – saw Van Veen forced to delay production while these issues were addressed. One year later in 1977 production of the Van Veen OCR 1000 got under way – although the target of producing 2,000 bikes annually always seemed hopelessly optimistic, even without the problems of engine supply which would shortly hit the project. For, after just a handful of bikes had been constructed and delivered to eager, well-heeled customers, using the first batch of 50 motors supplied from Luxembourg,

LEFT The OCR muffler emits a totally unique burble. RIGHT Bosch-Hardig CDI provides the sparks. BELOW LEFT Very ‘seventies

instrument panel.

production of the engine stopped, and Comotor folded soon after. There had been technical problems with the rotor’s tip seals – a recurring problem on early rotary engines, even for Mazda which eventually resolved the issue – plus the now Peugeot-owned Citroën had ceased production of the poorly-received Birotor after making just 847 examples. NSU was now part of the VW empire, and in 1977 made the last of the 37,204 Ro80 cars. Van Veen staggered on with production, with the final original OCR 1000 of the 38 built completed in 1981, before everything ground to a halt, and the factory closed. But now, this Van Veen ultrabike is back in production, thanks partly to Dutch rotary-engine enthusiast Ger Van Rootselaar, who purchased the entire stock of unassembled parts from Van Veen when the factory shut. From these, he assembled Van Veen OCR 1000 no. 39 for himself, but had no intention of doing anything more until he met up with Andries Wielinga, based in the nearby north Holland town of Wommels, and a restorer of ➢



classic Citroën cars. “I ride bikes on the road, so when Ger Van Rootselaar decided he wanted to sell his Van Veen OCR parts because they were just gathering dust, he came to see me and we got talking. We agreed that I’d buy the parts from him, and he’d build the engines for me. That was in 2009, and since then we’ve digitalised the original drawings, and built up a complete parts stock to build ten motorcycles, using in most cases the original suppliers. I’m making the exact same bike from forty years ago, with all the original parts just as Van Veen made them back then. We tracked down every small part supplier, even down to the ones making silly things like the special kind of tie wraps for the cables. We wanted to make a completely authentic original bike, and we managed to find all the parts to do so, except for the tubular steel frame, which is made by Nico Bakker to exactly the same design as the original, and of course the tyres, which are Michelin Macadam. Otherwise, this bike is history on wheels – but brand new!” The born-again Van Veen OCR 1000 isn’t so much a replica, as the continuation of production, with mostly original period parts acquired as part of the factory clearout, even down to the Ronal cast aluminium wheels made by a Mercedes-Benz/BMW car supplier. Also avantgarde for back then were the modern-sized 42mm Van Veen telescopic forks with Koni internals, the twin Koni shocks nitrogen gas shocks with three-way preload adjustment, and the trio of 280mm Brembo cast-iron discs with twopiston Brembo calipers, which apparently cured the braking problems experienced with the stainless steel discs originally fitted. Delivery time is three months from the customer placing an order, and the price includes a two-year unlimited mileage warranty – the same as Van Veen offered back then. Just ten bikes will be built – seven of which have already found customers – reflecting the number of engines held in stock. The Comotor twin-rotor motor fitted to the bike, with wet sump lubrication for the oil-cooled rotors and a watercooled engine casing – hence the large radiator – is built up by Ger Van Rootselaar with uprated rotor tip seals, reflecting Mazda’s successful resolution of this single most contentious rotary engine issue. The four-speed gearbox with gear primary, shaft final drive and a dry twin-plate diaphragm clutch with hydraulic operation, was developed and manufactured for Van Veen by Porsche, in keeping with the calibre, and the price tag, of the motorcycle. The chance to spend an afternoon riding this backto-the-future bike revealed an enticing blend of old and new, that in some ways was nevertheless rather frustrating. I must admit to be seduced by the Wankel engine’s smooth running, compact build and broad, rideable spread of power. Thumb the starter button to fire up the OCR (the starter motor comes from a Johnson outboard engine, since Van Veen was also the Dutch distributor for them!), and the twinrotor engine bursts immediately into life via the twin-choke Solex carb’s automatic cold start setting,

before settling to a fast-sounding but totally vibration-free 1,300rpm idle, accompanied by the trademark offbeat rotary burble that’s halfway between a two-stroke’s high-pitched crack and a four-stroke’s deeper rumble. Having only ever ridden a 588cc twin-rotor Norton Rotary streetbike, I was unprepared for the depths of performance delivered by the Van Veen’s engine with

The Comotor engine motors hard and fast with a totally seamless power delivery toward the 6,500rpm redline. almost twice the capacity and practically double the rate of acceleration, in spite of its weight. Notch bottom gear, and you can feel the OCR pull smoothly away from literally off idle, with impressive wide open acceleration from 2,000rpm upwards without any risk of lifting the front wheel, thanks to the long 1550mm wheelbase and also the fact the heavy motor (because of the cast iron rotors) is carried way low in the bike. The Comotor engine motors hard and fast with a totally seamless power delivery toward the 6,500rpm redline. There’s 100.4bhp on tap there, matched to 13.8mkg of torque at just 3,500rpm. With the 160km/h mark showing on the speedo at just 4,200rpm, and 100km smooth running at just 2,500rpm, both in top gear, the rotary motor has serious reserves of performance – but without the slightest undue vibration at any time. The gearchange is OK by shaftie standards, though there’s a clunk when changing from first to second through neutral, and the hydraulic-operated diaphragm clutch is quite easy and precise to use. The OCR’s riding stance is very ‘70s, upright but pretty comfortable until you get much over 140km/h, when you start to struggle to hold on. The location of the right footrest is annoying, though – the clutch

housing protrudes into your ankle bone, which means you can’t reach the rear brake pedal properly, and also can’t park your toes on the footrest. And without much engine braking to speak of, you do have to use both front and rear brakes very hard to stop. Really, the brakes fitted to the OCR aren’t up to arresting the significant performance of such a fast, heavy bike – you have to squeeze like mad on the non-adjustable front brake lever, and somehow find a way of stamping hard on the rear brake pedal to get it to do so – eventually. The bike also disappoints in terms of suspension compliance. Konis were the hot tip in the twin-shock era, but while the Bakker frame steers as well as Nico’s creations always do, in spite of that long wheelbase and the rangy 29-degree fork rake, the rear suspension feels way oversprung, probably in order to counter all that torque and the substantial weight transfer under hard acceleration. The relatively primitive 42mm Van Veen period forks with zero damping adjustment feel very stiff and not very compliant. But you can’t really feel what the front Michelin tyre is doing, and this is pretty important with a Euro 85,000 package you need to bring home in one piece, especially with the skinny 18-inch tyres and all that weight. I can’t help thinking Andries Wiesinga has missed an opportunity here. Nowadays, a bike like this with such a fabulous high-performance engine deserves much better suspension and brakes to allow you to exploit that performance in safety, and he should fit modern Öhlins forks and Brembo radial brakes to the OCR 1000 to let his customers do so – especially at that price! Instead, you must exploit the thoroughly modern performance of that crown jewel of an engine via period handling hardware that’s not up to scratch. Reproducing the bike in original guise is one thing, but to include all the period drawbacks when they’re easily resolvable is a mistake. My test confirmed that the OCR was way ahead of its time in terms of concept, and performance, but the old-school brakes and suspension stop you enjoying the fruits of that. For more information, log on to... ■



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AV54 Rear



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AM26 Rear

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A face full of dirt

and a heart load of memories Brisbane Exhibition Grounds Speedway If anyone is to blame for a lifelong addiction to the song of race engines at full cry and the tang of racing fuel, I lay it squarely on the shoulders of my father. We lived in the inner-city suburb of Spring Hill, within walking distance of the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds – the ‘Ekka’- the Saturday night venue for Speedway as promoted by the venerable Frank Arthur under the banner of Empire Speedways. I wasn’t even school-age when dad would hoist me on his shoulders and off we’d go for a night of thrills and sensations that would dazzle a small boy and forever stamp its imprint into his DNA. I quite literally grew up with the howl of the JAP and Offenhauser in my ears and the intoxicating scent of Castrol R and methanol in my nostrils, so that even now, that sound and that smell transports me straight back to Saturday night at the Ekka Speedway. Considering the proximity of the Ekka to the Royal Brisbane Hospital, it was remarkable that something as ear-shattering as Speedway was even permitted, but I suppose that was an age when we were far less prone to the dubious art of complaint and litigation. The oval track was surfaced in decomposed granite

which the broadsiding bikes and cars sprayed and flung in great clods at spectators who chose to sit up close to the action. Regular watering of the track throughout the programme added a certain glutinous quality to the flung granite and as it happened, this provided the ingredient for a source of illicit souvenirs. In an era before the visors and pull-offs of today, riders and drivers alike wore multiple pairs of light, anti-gas goggles left over as war surplus. As a set of goggles became plastered, they would be peeled off to expose a fresh set beneath. By night’s end there were clagged-up goggles aplenty and I would keep an eagle eye out for any in close proximity to the fence where we were sitting. When the last race ended, and the track closed, disregarding the ➢

Stock car action; ‘Penelope’ mounts a trackside oil drum.

An England versus Australia test heat gets under way in front of a packed grandstand.

Story Gary Edgar



LEFT Great Ekka action shot; possibly Ron Mountford. BELOW Sandy McCrae and Monty Petrola,

stars of speedway and road racing.

Australia’s top speedcar driver for many years, Ray Revell.

Vic Sage takes aim at a trackside marker drum.



LEFT English rider Ron Mountford, who died in 1993, had a 22-year history in the British league and was a regular Ekka visitor. RIGHT Gary Edgar’s favourite rider Keith Cox, who autographed the rear of this print. BELOW LEFT Popular sidecar star

Jim Davies with his Norton.

dire warnings over the PA system, I was over that fence in a flash to scoop up a sticky, battered prize. For anyone wanting a panoramic view and not averse to sitting in the open air, there was the tiered, bleacher-style seating of Machinery Hill, while for those of finer sensibilities there were the Ernest Baynes and John Macdonald Stands. Dad and I were usually on Machinery Hill, close to the primitive arrangement under a section that served as The Pits. This was a world of sound, fury and mystery forbidden to the public, but you could get a glimpse through the open but well-guarded gates. As a bonus, when a bike or car needed to have a short low-speed “tuning run” they would use the roadway ‘Chook’ Hodgekiss with his fearsome twin-engined JAP.

at the back of the Pits and Machinery Hill and you could get up close to these wondrous machines. The Solos and Speedcars ran in an anti-clockwise direction, while the Sidecars ran clockwise. There was always a full programme to satisfy one and all and in time this was expanded to accommodate what are today known as “Compact Speedcars” and expanded again with the arrival of Stockcars. The first Stockcars were set up for blatant biff and barge, sporting great bull bars and roll cages. To add to the general mayhem and provide some added shrapnel to what was the forerunner of the Demolition Derby, 44-gallon drums were placed around the inner verge of the track. Appearing at the end of the night’s racing, Stockcars were enormously popular. A number of riders and drivers such as Sandy McCrae and Allan Belcher would enter their own Stockcars to cap off the night with some light relief. I of course had my heroes of the two, three and four-wheeled kind and as a regular treat, Dad would buy me a souvenir photo of my choice. Against all the odds of time, divorce and moves, that collection of almost 40 photos survives in my possession, intact and pristine. Amongst them is a shot of prominent Solo rider Keith Cox. It’s clear that I had met the great man in my boyhood, because it’s signed on the back “to my speedway supporter Gary from Keith Cox.” I met Keith again many decades later while attending a vintage Speedcar event on the Ekka

track. Keith was in his eighties by then but had ridden some demo laps on a vintage Solo and was still riding a scooter daily. As I chatted to him at the end of his demo run, someone asked him his secret to still being on a bike at his age. His answer? “Son, I never got off.” Sadly, Keith passed “under the chequered flag” a few years back. The iconic track survives as part of the greater Brisbane Exhibition complex where the annual Show – colloquially known as The Ekka – is staged. The complex has undergone considerable redevelopment and although that magic oval remains intact, it no longer hosts such spirited or resonant action as a pack of Solos, Sidecars or Midgets locked in gladiatorial combat. Speedway action has now moved to the suburbs, with cars of all sorts at Archerfield Speedway, and Solos and Sidecars out at the Mick Doohan Raceway at Banyo. How long these situations can be maintained is questionable. The Doohan track is at least in an industrial precinct beside the Gateway Arterial Road, so perhaps it’s safe for the foreseeable future. Archerfield however may be less secure. Despite it also being in an industrial area and on the boundary of Archerfield Airport, urban creep is sounding alarm bells that such activities may be banished to more remote realms. The texture of Speedway has moved on a bit too, at least in respect to the cars. The struggling privateers of the Fifties, operating on the smell of an oily rag, have been replaced by huge pantechs loaded with spare everything needed to get a mangled Sprintcar back on track for the next heat. It’s perhaps a bit less evolved where the bikes are concerned. Regardless of changing times, I still attend both venues because it’s too deep in the blood now and even though there’s not perhaps that same raw edge of childhood memory, there’s still a very basic aspect visible in the minimal spectator facilities and rudimentary Pits that conjure up the “paddock” of early racing venues. In my seventies now, I continue to ride and those words of Keith Cox “Son I never got off” have become my personal mantra to keep at it, however many years I may clock up. ■

Main photo: Katie Peters

Experience the heart and heritage of Australian motor sport

Visit the National Motor Racing Museum at Bathurst No visit to Bathurst is complete without a stop at the National Motor Racing Museum at Mount Panorama. Inside you’ll find a constantly changing display of cars and motorcycles that have made their mark in Australian motor sport, plus a huge collection of memorabilia like helmets, driving suits and leathers, trophies, posters and photographs. Check out the museum shop which is packed with books, videos, posters and team merchandise, and of course, take the time to drive or ride a lap of Mount Panorama itself. The whole family will love the experience.

Murrays Corner, Mount Panorama, Bathurst NSW 2795 • Open 9am – 4.30pm daily (except selected public holidays) • Ph: 0263 321 872 • Web: •


Racing around the ‘J’ Quorn Hall, Tasmania

View from the top hairpin with Max Stephens and his traditional rival Dave Powell on their KTT Velocettes.

Dave Powell leads Max Stephens around the oil drums in 1952.

Tasmanians are a resourceful lot. They have to be. And when it comes to enthusiasm for motorcycle racing, they’re 100%. The Island State has produced some very fine riders, and boasts an incredible passion for the sport. Story Ken Young Photos from Jeff Frankcombe, Ken Young and OBA archives.



During World War 2 the Federal Government decided, with the Japanese so close, they needed somewhere safe where the air force could retreat to and regroup if necessary. Many large Tasmanian properties had basic airstrips and Western Junction (later to become Launceston airport) was being used as a training airstrip for new pilots. So, Tunbridge, Valleyfield and Quorn Hall were upgraded to be able to handle heavy bombers. Quorn Hall was situated on Mr T.C. Clark’s property. It had been in the Clark family since the 1830s and specialised in fine wool. As Trevor Jowett described how to get there in his January 1952 column in the Tasmanian Motor Trade Journal, “To reach the course from Campbell Town, spectators should travel to the southern end of the town, turn left on to the Lake Leake Road, some 200 yards beyond the bridge. Approximately three miles along this road, banners will be seen on the right hand side. Turn right through the gate for half a mile, and there you are. It’s as easy as that and you’ll have a great day’s fun. Be seeing you!”

Astute members of the Tasmanian Motor Cycle Club organised in May 1946 a club ride to Quorn Hall for a picnic lunch where keen beach racing members were able to see the potential for the airstrip. In fact, later reports indicate the TMCC did run some races on that “picnic” day. By then many states were using exwar airstrips as race tracks. The runway

was still in use for commercial flights and was in the midst of a tug of war as to which airstrips should be upgraded and which should be closed. The plan hatched was to put straw bales down the middle of the runway with 44-gallon drums as corner markers and use some of the oiled gravel access road in a “J” shaped pattern. It may ➢

ABOVE The November 1952 Tasmanian TT. Senior winner Ray Owen with second placed Dave Powell (21) and Max Stephens (74). BELOW Start of the Senior TT in 1952 with the Stephens brothers Col (49) and Max (74) well away.



With a sidecar mounted on his 500 Norton, Dave Powell (21) chases George Martin’s pre-war R10 AJS (10). Bill Gough on his homebrewed 125cc special.

Visiting Victorian Ivan Tighe on his 7R AJS in 1952.

Ray Owen leads NSW rider John Astley in 1952.

have been basic but, unlike beach racing, you didn’t have to wait for the tide to go out and most of the 1½ miles was sealed. It wasn’t until 1951, in front of 2000 people for a combined car and bike meeting conducted by the Southern Motor Cycle and Light Car Club, that racing was officially noted. The first motorcycle race was for 250/350 Clubman machines and was won by Devonport’s Pat Brown on a 348 BSA. Interestingly the first car race was won by J Taylor in a Jaguar; the same surname as the owners of the nearby Valleyfield property, where airstrip racing had begun in 1949. The success of the first meeting saw the clubs combine to run another one in January 1952 with Max Stephens able to dominate the Junior and Senior races on a 350 KTT Velocette. The Tasmanian Road Race Association had been formed to

bring the clubs together and to take some of the heavy workload off the usual competition promoter, the Tasmanian Motor Cycle Club. The TMCC still dominated the positions in the TRRA but other experts were able to help run the events. That made two very successful meetings in a row so the TRRA decided to return in March for a third meeting. With racing so new to many riders it was decided to encourage younger new riders with two races aimed at them; one for B grade clubmen riders who used pump fuel and the last race for riders who had been unplaced for the day. Again, Max Stephens dominated, winning the 350 and 500 races, and the pairing of Max Eaves/Bill Denne taking out the Sidecar race on their 500 Manx Norton. The Tasmanian TT set down for the November long weekend in 1952 was switched from Valleyfield to Quorn Hall.



Max Stephens flat out on one of the straights.

Jack Bratt, Dave Powell and Don Gorringe with Powell’s new Manx Norton in January 1953.

light being Longford the following March. The 1955 season opened in October on 27th and was all about Max Stephens with his new 350 and 500 Nortons, who smashed the lap record by 2 seconds with a lap time of 1min 5 sec in the ➢

Quorn Hall Circuit To Lake Leake Rd . 1/2 mile

Lap Distance: 2.41 kilometres

Straw Bale


20 MPH Motor Car Track

Start & Finish Line


Valleyfield, when a charted aircraft brought riders like Ken Kavanagh, Bernie Mack, Maurie Quincey, George Skinner and Frank Sinclair to the isle. The November 1953 Quorn Hall meeting was billed as the Tasmanian TT with another bumper crowd. The meeting again showed the talent of Max Stephens who defeated Dave Powell, the Hobart pastry cook known as “Pastry Dave”, to win the 350 class on his trusty KTT Velo and the Unlimited on a 500 BSA. It was Stephens who World Champion Geoff Duke approached at Longford in 1955 to join him on the International circus. Stephens couldn’t afford to go and stayed in Tasmania. Reg Leslie won the 250 class on his BSA, and Powell on his new £600 Norton took out the Senior after Stephens stepped off his Velo. Riders like Don Thompson, Donny Miller, Peter Thurley, Dave Perry, Peter Ricketts, John Barrenger, Ike Chenhall and Sam Hughes were also beginning to appear on the result sheets. The preview to the 1954/55 season opener on October 31st showed how much the local mechanics had also taken to road racing and expanding their horizons. New rider Laurie O’Shea was entered on a 125 Bantam with a Walsh conversion kit. Ex-pat Swiss rider Tony Branderer had obtained hot up specs from DKW for his Bantam. Another Bantam converted by Alan Ikin was to be ridden by Don Thompson, the Gough Special was ready to go and the Brown Bros. special was hoped to be ready. Dave Powell again dominated although it could have been different as Max Stephens had purchased the ex-Quincey Manx Norton, but he clipped another rider after a slow start and sliced the front tyre. With no spare available, he was out for the remainder of the weekend. Quorn Hall was now the warm up meeting for each season with the high-


Reports indicated this was the first time mainland riders were to appear at the circuit. Now mechanics were getting interested in the racing as well, with three specials mentioned. The Brown Brothers in Devonport were building a 125 based on an early Overhead Cam Velocette with their own designed crank in an over square 52 x 55 bore/stroke. Launceston mechanics, Bill Gough and Trevor Jowett were yet to reveal their creations, but it was known that the 125 Gough Special was using a new idea of a swinging arm suspension attached to a full loop frame. For this meeting the TRRA conducted some improvements to the concrete surface of the runway. They tarmacsealed an extension to the northern end and sealed some of the perimeter road – modifications that tempted an influx of top riders from the mainland. Saturday’s races were the main championship races with Victorian motor mechanic Ray Owen the star of the day with winning rides on his 125 CZ, 249 Triumph and 500 Norton. He then bolted a sidecar on the Norton and put younger brother Ron in to finish second in the Junior sidecar, with mechanical gremlins slowing him. In the Senior he was to lead home local stars in Dave Powell (498 Triumph) and Max Stephens (348 Velocette). With the championships won, Monday’s program was devoted to support races with N.S.W. rider John Astley (499 Norton) winning the A grade race from local “Ike” Chenhall (998 Vincent Black Shadow) and Owen. The Clubman class was won by Charlie Rice with his 498 Matchless. For the March long weekend in 1953 all attention was switched to the first meeting at nearby Longford, signalling the start of circuit racing proper in Tasmania. This was a very big boost for road racing in the state and the biggest influx of top names since the 1950 Tasmanian TT at

20 MPH



ABOVE Max Eaves gets his

500 Norton under way ahead of Bob Easton’s Triumph. ABOVE RIGHT Scratch man Max Stephens waits at the back for the start of a handicap event. BELOW‘Ike’ Chenall (90),

Sam Hughes (18) and Noel Windsor rounding the drums in 1954. This is the hairpin at the bottom of the ‘J’.

500 race, on his way to a 350/500/ Unlimited triple win. The 125 was won by Don Thompson’s Bantam and Ev Sadlier (Sadlier Special) took out the 250. The 1956 Longford meeting was cancelled because of a shipping strike so a TT meeting was set down for Quorn Hall on the 15th April. Don Thompson’s Walsh-kitted Bantam again collared the 125, and Thompson’s little bike proved so quick that it placed second to Ev Sadlier in the 250 TT. BSA-mounted Dave Powell used the 350 TT to start his run of 5 wins. He took the 350 from Peter Thurley (348 BSA) and the 500 from Larry Eaves (497

Ariel). He used the same bike to win the Unlimited, then attached a sidecar to win that race as well. The November 1956 meeting was a Quorn Hall Championship and “Clubman” meeting. The “Clubman” class was for non-factory racing bikes running on standard pump fuel, and saw Peter Thurley’s BSA win the 350, while the 500 was won by Dave Powell (BSA) from Sam Hughes (Matchless) who also won the 350 B grade Clubman’s. The return of Max Stephens fired up Powell with the two of them taking Powell’s recent lap record of 1min 5sec down to a final 1

min 3sec. The 125 went again to Don Thompson with Ev Sadlier as usual winning the 250. Thurley ((BSA) defeated Dave Perry (Norton) to win the 350, while the 500 was taken out by Powell (Norton) from Stephens (Norton) and Peter Ricketts (Matchless). Stephens got the better of his rival to claim the Unlimited and the sidecar was won by John Barrenger (Norton). The 1957 season concluded in May at Quorn Hall with a full program of Clubman, Sportsman and Open classes. The 250 provided a win for Dickie Lee (348 Velo), while Peter Thurley (348

BSA) downed Dave Powell in the 350. Peter Ricketts brought his G45 Matchless home first in the 500 race, but was beaten home in the Unlimited by Powell’s Norton. This meeting entered local folk law when Sam Hughes, at full noise heard a bang and lost power. When he pulled up he found that under the tank the head mounting bracket held a small amount of metal with nothing below it. The motor was spread all over the track and it was made worse by the fact that it was a borrowed bike. Leading Sportsman class rider Laurie O’Shea had a brand new 350 Clubman’s Gold Star BSA for the October 1957 meeting. More and more local riders were also crossing to the mainland to race and the story pointed out that the star of the meeting would be Peter Thurley who the weekend before had placed 3rd in the Junior TT at Fishermen’s Bend. Not crossing to the mainland to race but “crossing over to the dark side” was Max Stephens who was down to race a Buchanan MG car. Only a year or so later Dave Powell was to do the same. Cars, many of them home-made specials, had all along been on the support card for each meeting usually with 3 or 4 races in an up to 15 event program. In fact on many occasions these basic cars were raced with the sidecars, usually in handicap races as sidecar stars like Trevor Jowett with a 350 AJS could give them a lap start in a 4 lap race and still win. O’Shea’s new toy was a winner straight out of the box beating Ian Tilley (348 BSA) and Dickie Lee (250 Velo) in the Sportsman class race. The combined 125 and 250 class went once again to Ev Sadlier on his home-brewed special from Don Thompson’s rapid Bantam, while Dave Powell took a 350/500 double on his Nortons. Australia at the time was trying to increase the population with quality

imports called 10-pound POMS. If someone would sponsor a family and find work for them the government would pay most of their passage. The Tasmanian Motor Cycle Club decided to get in on the act and sponsored 5 men whom had a motor cycling background. Bill McGregor, a handy racer on the rise, was one of them and won the B Grade Clubman race. A combined 125-250-350 Sportsman handicap showed the officials were on the ball. It was won by Ian Tilley from Peter Thurley and Laurie O’Shea, all on 350 BSAs. Although the bikes were the same, Tilley was a rising star, Thurley top line “A” grader and O’Shea almost a star with a new bike. Chief handicapper Jack Bratt allocated handicaps based on times from previous meetings. Talk of the meeting would certainly have been that in 4 months a new track near Hobart was to be opened called Baskerville – the first purpose-built circuit in Tasmania. It opened in 1958 to a reported 20,000 crowd to show the popularity of road racing following the great success of Longford. Symmons Plains near Launceston opened two years later and both are still in operation. It was the time spent “airport racing” at Valleyfield and Quorn Hall that had set the foundations for road racing in the state, but it was time to move on and lock the gate, as the Tasmanian Road Race Association under the control of the Tasmanian Motor Cycle Club, with the added expertise of some other club officials shifted their focus to Longford, Baskerville and a continuation of beach racing. ■


Max Stephens exits the main straight on his KTT Velocette in 1952. ABOVE Ev Sadlier

– almost ready to go racing.



BORN IN NORTH SYDNEY Story Jim Scaysbrok Photos OBA archives, Brendan vandeZand, Nick Shaw, Phil Vergison.

Yamaha factory rendition of the new-for ’78 SR500.

Back in the late ‘seventies, the band Mental As Anything had a big hit with “The Nips are Getting Bigger’, which was about Scotch Whisky, not motorcycles. But with a little imagination, it could have applied to a trend emanating from Nippon itself, specifically Hamamatsu and Tokyo, where first Honda, and later Suzuki and Yamaha, were steadily evolving a new breed of four stroke singles. Singles that did not leak oil, started reasonably easily, and even sounded right. By 1972 these models included the ground-breaking four-valve Honda XL250 and a year later, the rocker-arm breaking XL350, leaving Yamaha with but one choice if it were to steal a march on the opposition – a 500 single. That single was the TT500C, first displayed at a dealers’ convention in September 1975. Now this was a quantum leap – backwards. Back to the days of the big, bad old British singles, in as much as the TT500 was not a small or mid-sized buzz-box, but a full-on 500 single with internal dimensions that could have come straight from Birmingham. A real thumper. True, the new Yamaha was strictly an off-roader, and in most markets, such as Australia, could not (legally) be registered for road use, although quite a few subsequently managed to get around this. But it was a beauty, make no mistake; a free-spinning engine with heaps of torque, ➢





and it was even relatively easy to start, provided you observed the correct rituals. The dry-sump motor carried its lubrication in the top frame tube, freeing up the midriff area that normally belonged to an oil tank for a decent air filter and all the electrics. It wasn’t long before Yamaha became aware of the need for a second model, with more emphasis on road use and with a battery, lighting (the

ABOVE Brand new SR500 in the pits at Bathurst in 1978. BELOW A much younger editor aboard an SR500 in this 1978 ad.

headlight sourced from the TY250), indicators, instruments, a horn, larger (160mm) front brake, steel (rather than plastic) mudguards, and a street legal exhaust system – all of which added weight but still resulted in a pretty nifty package that sold very well from the moment of its release. The XT engine was basically identical to the TT but used a smaller 32mm carburettor. So that’s the range, Yamaha concluded, job done. Well, not quite. More than a few XT owners eyed their mount and saw stars – Gold Stars. Herein was the basis for a new breed of road rocket, one that with a bit of work, would not look out of place in the forecourt of the Ace Café. Some attempts were made but the result was always compromised by certain limitations of the donor machine – most notably the overall height and front suspension geometry. It wasn’t just a restyling exercise, and Yamaha was loathe to explore a concept born purely out of nostalgia. At the time, Sydney advertising agency Harris Robinson and Associates handled the Yamaha advertising account for NSW distributors McCulloch of Australia. There was a great deal of motorcycle experience on tap here, with Vincent Tesoriero in charge of promoting the Mr Motocross Series and previously at the helm of the Castrol Six Hour Race, as well as various staff members who rode bikes. Vincent takes up the story. “We used to travel regularly to Hamamatsu in Japan to have meetings with the Yamaha marketing department. One time around 1976, my

throughout the history of motorcycling –Manx Nortons, Matchless, AJS, Gold Star BSA, Velocette and so on. And as the campaign came together it was only natural for us to put two and two together and imagine what the new XT 500 motor would look like in a road frame. After all, both Robbo and I owned 500 Velocettes, so we understood ‘the vibe’. “A few weeks later when we went back to Japan to present the XT500 campaign, we also had some concept ideas and layouts for a new 500 road bike in my portfolio. These visuals had the concept bike standing proudly alongside the great classic marques and spoke of their racing heritage, successes at the TT Races, and the great riders who rode them. “At the Yamaha Factory and in front of a room full of marketing people we presented the XT500 campaign and explained the history of the 500 single engine. They seemed to grasp the heritage angle, so we unveiled our idea of using the 500cc motor in a road bike configuration. I don’t know what happened after that. The discussion went from stilted English to animated Japanese and continued for six hours and late into the night. The next morning we were supposed to fly back to Australia, but we were escorted back to Yamaha’s marketing office to repeat the presentation to a room full of development engineers, then again to another group of production people. This went on all day. The room kept filling up with more people, the presentation kept getting slicker and finally the MD comes down and we had to start all over again – for

The original poster by Alan Puckett produced in 1978 for the Australian SR500 launch.

“They seemed to grasp the heritage angle, so we unveiled our idea of using the 500cc motor in a road bike configuration. I don’t know what happened after that.”

business partner Michael Robinson and I went there to be briefed on the various new models and the campaigns they wanted us to develop to launch the bikes into Australia and NZ. One such bike was the brand new XT500, which featured a glorious looking 500cc single motor. Back in Australia we came up with some great creative for the new XT500 model which spoke about the evolution of the 500cc single engine and all the great bikes it had powered

the fifth time. That night we were driven back to the airport without any real idea of what happened or what they thought. Imagine a room of 30 factory people, all dressed in the same uniform, all speaking Japanese, for two days straight. No break. No lunch. We were exhausted and wondering why we had bothered. “The next morning when we arrived back in Sydney there was a message waiting at the office.

Malcolm Burnham and his SR500 are regular rally goers. This shot is from the 2015 Macquarie Towns Rally.

BELOW Hard riding South Australian

Chris Hayward and his SR500 are regular visitors to the podium. RIGHT Max Wheat and Les Raynor, pictured at the 2018 Bathurst Easter rally at Tarana, have owned their SR500s since new in 1978.

Could we go back to Japan at the end of the week with a developed launch campaign on the new Yamaha SR500 model. Could we design a logo for the side cover and what colour should the bike be? The last one was easy…. black with a gold pinstripe.” “I supplied one of our art directors, Graeme Davey, with a pile of logos from the old British bikes and told him to design a sticker for the side cover that read “500 single”. He came up with a basic idea and

John Richards, a finished artist, completed the job. So back we went to Japan, and during the previous week or so, Yamaha had done a lot of thinking as to how to best make it all happen. They had worked out how to use as many existing parts as possible and how the XT frame needed to be adapted, but they were not entirely sold on the heritage aspect and only agreed to produce the stickers for retrofitting for the Australian market. As it turned out,

the new model was an instant success not just here but in England and throughout Europe. “For the local launch, we assembled a bunch of old British bikes and a group of us from the agency dressed up in period costume. We photographed each bike individually, as well as the SR500, and the artist Alan Puckett, who was a real enthusiast when it came to old bikes and cars, put it all together as a poster. This was used as a double-page spread in ➢



magazines, and the poster was supplied in very limited quantities to Yamaha dealers. I still have one hanging in my office.” At the time, I was doing freelance work for Harris Robinson & Associates, and there always seemed to be an SR500 or two on loan from McCulloch, which I grabbed at every opportunity. Perhaps my enthusiasm for the model was obvious, because I was recruited as rider in a photo shoot for a series of magazine advertisements. I recall the photographer was obsessed with dawn scenes, which meant 4am starts at various far-flung locations. Yamaha could not have foreseen just how popular and durable the SR500 was to become, remaining in production from 1978 to 1999. The SR500 retained most of the XT’s infrastructure, the same strong sohc design with its rigid crankshaft supported by large ball bearings, but with a larger inlet valve, modified cam timing, heavier flywheel, and slightly larger finning for the cylinder head. The 34mm carb (with an accelerator pump) was 2mm up on the XT’s, and CDI replaced the XT’s points ignition. Oddly, the internal gear ratios of the SR and XT were identical – odd given that the XT was meant to be a dual purpose/ road/trail machine. The frame, with revised dimen-

Les and Dianne Raynor on their SR500 in the 2018 Bathurst Easter Rally.

sions in steering geometry (2 degrees less fork rake, hence 20mm less wheelbase), was of thicker-walled tubing, with extra gusseting around the swinging arm pivot. Instead of spoked wheels, Yamaha opted for cast-alloy jobs which were on the heavy side and contributed to the 23kg weight gain over the XT500. The overall package was still reasonably light, and the new model gained instant and universal praise for its sharp handling and ‘flickability’. Originally for the Japanese market but subsequently sold elsewhere, the 399cc SR400 was identical except for a 67.2mm stroke instead of the 500’s 84mm. Perhaps the only major grumble was the lack of an electric starter – which Yamaha claimed was for weight-saving – but challenging for a generation of riders who were by now used to thumbing a button to get things under way. Not that the SR500 was a reluctant starter. Yamaha had done much work in this respect and developed what they termed an “automatic decompression system,” which worked, to a degree. The SR500 had a small window at camshaft level on the right side, which provided the would-be rider with a view of a small pointer that came into view at top dead centre. Then it was a case of pulling in the decompression lever on the

left handlebar, moving the kick start lever through half its travel, releasing the de-compressor, and letting the lever return to its normal position, whereupon an audible ‘click’ was emitted and it was ready for a full flowing kick, followed, hopefully, by internal combustion. Just don’t open the throttle until the engine is running! For starting a hot engine, the SR has a ‘Warm Start’ button. In Europe, Australasia and Japan, the SR500 gained cult status in short order. Later models dropped the disc rear brake in favour of a drum, oil capacity was increased, and carburettor size reduced slightly. Around the model, a worldwide industry sprang up supplying café-cool items like alloy tanks, racing style seats, rear-set footrests and foot controls, swept back exhaust systems with megaphone and Gold Star replica silencers, clip-on handlebars, fly screens, plus numerous engine bits. In Europe, the SR500 was released in 1978 with wire wheels and a drum rear brake, but a year later had adopted the cast wheels with discs, continuing in this form until 1984, when the wire wheels were back, with the front becoming an 18 inch. In 1988 a front drum brake was fitted and this version remained as the standard offering for a decade.

ABOVE LEFT Ed Chambers on the 2016 VJMC Rally in Canberra. ABOVE CENTRE Nick Shaw’s SR500,

owned since 1983, has done service as a bush-basher, but was restored in 2017 as a café racer. ABOVE Looking like it could have stepped out of the AMC factory in London, this Matchless G50inspired SR500 is a product of Japanese specialist company CHS (Custom House Stinky); see their web site for many more customised SRs (although it is in Japanese only). LEFT Despite appearances, Shane Kinnaird’s SR500 dates from 1978, but has been rebuilt in the style of a 2000 model, complete with Japanese market drum brakes and spoked wheels.

A 1980 Australian model SR500 ‘G’, ridden with beard-flailing verve in the 2018 Bathurst Easter Rally.

For the home fiddler, the SR500 became so popular that today, finding one in original specification is quite rare.

Fast forward In Australia the SR500 Club is an energetic group of enthusiasts who share a common enthusiasm for the model, and its close cousins – the TT and XT500, SRX600, SZR660 and even the MuZ Skorpion.

ABOVE Stew Ross’ 125mph Dry Lake racer

SR500 at the 2015 VJMC Rally in Canberra. RIGHT At first glance, a BSA Spitfire, but no, it’s Naime Elder on her SR500 at the 2010 Broadford Bonanza.

The SR500 Club has in its ranks members who have taken the basic machine and created highly individualistic renditions of the 500 single theme; everything from Salt Racers to Flat Track replicas, innumerable café racer concepts, and, yes, even standard originals from the various years. Canberrabased member Stew Ross has cooked up some very tasty versions, and has also produced a comprehensive history of the model; the result of ➢

“Yamaha could not have foreseen just how popular and durable the SR500 was to become, remaining in production from 1978 to 1999.”


YAMAHA SR500 BELOW Our cover bike, Brendan vandeZand’s SR500, photographed in the Snowy Mountains. Front brake calliper is a non-standard Brembo. BELOW CENTRE Bill Ross on his G50-lookalike SR500

at the 2018 International Festival of Speed.

some exhaustive research no doubt. Stew notes, “The SR was styled by Japan’s GK Dynamics and Mr. Atsushi Ishiyama. GK, which is possibly an arm of Yamaha, was also responsible for bikes such as the stylish Yamaha XS 650 twins, the V-Max, and the MT-01, among others. The SR, like the XS1, is a great looking bike with styling that doesn’t really age.” Stew continues, “In Australia the SR500 was available through dealers for only four model years. The 1978 ‘E’ and 1979 ‘F’ models were released in black/gold with differing pin stripes, and Asahi aluminium mag wheels with single front left and rear right disc brakes with single piston brake callipers. For 1980, the ‘G’ model came in red/gold, and the rear disc wheel had been replaced with one incorporating a rear drum. The 1981 ‘H’ model was basically the same as the G except for the back and red paint scheme. Both G and H models were fitted with a larger 8-inch headlight. Sadly, the 500s were discontinued in 2000.” It has been pointed out to Stew Ross on more than one occasion that his own initials match that of the model itself, so it is probably not just coincidental that he decided to create another SR – standing for Salt Racer. With his brother Glen, Stew built an SR500 “for a full-on attack on the Dry Lake Racing Association (DLRA) Australian Modified, Partial Streamlining, Fuel 500cc (MPS/F 500cc) 2010 class speed record.” The first attempt was OK, but quickly morphed into a Mk2 version, with full streamlining, which achieved a class record of 125.357 mph. Despite the demise of the SR500, the SR400 soldiered on with various updates, including new forks, a twin-piston front brake calliper (with the

1978 Yamaha SR500E


disc on the right hand side), a new style front disc and wire wheels on new hubs. Various internal mods were made in the face of increasing restrictions on exhaust emissions, and in 2008, fuel injection replaced the old CV carb. A catalytic converter now resided in the muffler. Reintroduced to the Australian market in 2014, the current edition of this venerable model, now fuel-injected and selling for a very reasonable $8099, the SR400 introduces the joys of kick starting to a new generation of learner riders. Moreover, it provides a palette for individual expression like few other current motorcycles, and a riding experience virtually unique in this day and age. It came from good stock and was, in no small part, conceived right here back in 1976. ■


Air-cooled 4-stroke single, sohc.


87mm x 84mm 499cc




33hp at 6,500 rpm


38.2 Nm at 5,500 rpm


Dry sump, trochoid pump.


Mikuni VM34SS






Tubular steel, single downtube, semi double cradle.


Front: Telescopic forks, two-way damping 150mm travel. Fork rake 27.5 degrees, trail 117mm. Rear: Kayaba oil-damped shocks.


Cast alloy wheels with single discs and single-piston floating callipers.


Front: 3.50 x 19 Rear: 4.00 x 18


12 litres


163 kg



MAXIMUM SPEED 151 km/h Thanks to several members of the SR500 Club, including Craig Lemon, Stew Ross, Mike Cowie and Brendan vandeZand for their assistance with this article.


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A tale of

mystery and intrigue Just across the floor plate from Burt Munro’s “World’s Fastest Indian”, in the E. Hayes and Sons’ shop in Invercargill NZ, stands John Shand’s 1960 KRTT 750 Harley-Davidson; one of only a couple of C class racers ever to be sold by the factory racing department outside of North America. Story and photos Stuart Francis



The long racing history of this unique-to NZ machine is well known, but what is intriguing is the story of the owners, one of whom shot his boss, while another was murdered on a remote outback track in Australia. The final mysteries are; who ordered a set of tuning parts from the factory racing department and why did the factory send two complete sets of tuning parts? The first owner of the machine was Alf Groves of Invercargill NZ, a contemporary of Burt Munro. Alf was a complex character, a talented racer and tuner who suffered from bouts of depression and had a very quick temper (possibly due to an accident on a Harley in the late 1940s). Alf worked for “Tappers”, the local motorcycle shop and Velocette agents. When Tappers bought a brand new Mk8 KTT Velocette, Alf was their only mechanic who could set it up and get it running properly. ➢



ABOVE 1960 KRTT as modified and raced by Alf Groves. BELOW John Twaddle on his 1960 KRTT.

In 1952 Alf was sacked after losing his temper and throwing a spanner across the workshop at his irascible boss Alf Tapper. Having spent some time in the pub he returned later that day to pick up his wages. He also had his pistol with him, shooting and wounding Alf Tapper in the shoulder! After serving time “at her majesty’s pleasure” he rebuilt his life and by 1960 had enough money to buy and import a brand new Harley-Davidson KRTT 750. Alf bought the KRTT 750 to compete in the open classes in local club events, hill-climbs, sprints and beach racing. After some initial runs, he decided, with Burt Munro’s help, to do a bit of tuning, adding a second magneto and a second sparkplug to each cylinder head. The second magneto was fitted where the rev counter drive emerged from the timing chest. The cylinder head fins were also drilled, whether to improve cooling or lighten them is not clear. In this form the machine was clocked at 118mph at a Christchurch meeting, however on a photograph taken at the time, Alf wrote “Twin plugs tried – no success”. He later remarked that the twin magneto set up was no faster than the single mag! At a later Christchurch meeting he achieved 125mph one way and a two way average of 122mph. Alf

continued to race the KRTT 750 through the 1960s, occasionally buying updates from the factory. After some years of racing the KRTT 750 was getting rather long in the tooth and so was Alf, so he sold the machine to an Auckland dealership, Haldanes, who then sold it to Jack McKay of Auckland. The machine was registered for the first time in 1970 by Jack and was allocated plate number 73 NC. The next owner, Tim Thompson,

came across the KRTT 750 purely by chance. He had heard that Jack McKay had a 1947 Harley Davidson 1200cc UL for sale, and flush after selling some land in Arrowtown NZ, wanted to buy it. However Jack McKay didn’t want to sell the UL until he had got rid of the other Harley he had, the KRTT 750, so Tim bought them both. How long Jack McKay owned the machine is not completely clear, according to the ownership papers it was sold to Tim Thompson in



Mikuni carburetor fitted for ease of use.

1973, although it is very likely that Tim owned it for some time before registering ownership and the registered address does not exist, all of which has a bearing on the next part of the story. In 1972 Alf Groves (or somebody purporting to be him) contacted the Harley-Davidson race shop asking to buy the latest updates for the KR750TT. As the machine had now been superseded by the XR750 they despatched two (yes two) complete sets of latest tuning parts, including the twin carb arrangement, special barrels, close ratio gear cluster, a complete selection of cams and a host of special parts, free of charge. The date of the request for the parts is strange as Alf had sold the machine more than two years earlier and seemingly had no contact with Jack McKay. However Tim Thompson did know Alf Groves and knew of his previous contacts with the HD race department. Tim Thompson was well known in Southland and Otago for wheeling and dealing in motorcycles and cars before his premature death. After

LEFT 1960 KRTT engine number, believed to be the 15th made in 1960.

being caught taking deer carcasses he did community service as a teacher, running a class at the local Intermediate School for deprived children. One of their projects was to rebuild a motorcycle he owned! In 1978 Tim Thompson decided to take an extended working holiday in Australia with his friend Gordon Twaddle. Before leaving he told John Twaddle (Gordon’s brother) that he had made a will, leaving him the KRTT 750, and they joked about it. After touring northern Queensland, Tim, Gordon, and a lady Gordon met, went missing. Their bodies were found on the side of a bush track in a remote settlement called Spear Creek near Mount Isa; all three of them had been shot. The crime has never been solved despite circumstantial evidence as to who the murderer might be, and is one of a number of unsolved murders and disappearances in that remote area. ➢

ABOVE Certificate of Registration in

Jack McKay’s name 26/2/1970. LEFT The KRTT parts shipment receipt from H-D.



John Shand inspecting the mountain of KRTT spares. The KRTT as it arrived at John Shand’s home.

TOP The TT front brake with dummy air scoop. ABOVE TT rear brake. BELOW Alf Groves’ modifications

– twin plug cylinder heads.

Alf Groves’ modifications – the additional magneto and drilled cylinder heads.

Tim Thompson’s bequest of the KRTT 750 to John Twaddle was in recognition of all the hard work he had put in to the machine. John got it going again after Tim had bought it, mainly by returning it to its original factory specification. With a known baseline, John worked on improving and developing the machine for Tim to race. John was well placed to look after the machine as he had owned and repaired a number of Harley-Davidsons and worked at McIvor and Veitch in Dunedin who subsequently became Harley-Davidson specialists. John competed successfully on the KRTT 750 in hill-climbs, road races, BEARs, circuit races and beach races until the mid-1990s. A knee injury forced him to stop riding it and eventually convinced him to sell the machine. The machine also took part in some road rallies, including a national motorcycle rally, complete with open exhausts.

The current owner John Shand knows John Twaddle from his time at McIvor and Veitch, so when he found out the machine was up for sale he made John an offer he could not refuse. When Shand picked up the machine he was amazed at the large number of unused spares that came with it, a number of which were still in their original black, red and white H-D packaging. Unfortunately some parts could not be used as they were made for the later “lowboy” framed twin carburettor KRTT. John had enough later spare parts to build a 1969 twin carb engine, which he put in an early XR750 frame (something the factory did), which is now on display in his front room. Over the years the machine had been updated and modified so John Shand decided to return it to the state that Alf Groves raced it in in the early 1960s. Re-instating the twin magnetos, twin plug cylinder head and other period parts was relatively simple. The machine has been rebuilt for demonstration runs at events but it will not be raced. The only concession to modernity is a Mikuni carburettor, so much easier to live with than the capricious Linkerts and later Tilitsons. ■ I am indebted to John Shand, John Twaddle, Ashley Bell and Ray Sharp for their help in compiling this article and helping to sort out the facts from the fiction that surround this machine and its owners.



AMA C Class Racing In the 1920s and early 1930s the American factories spent small fortunes racing highly developed prototype machines. To reduce the cost of racing for ordinary riders and to try and level the playing field, the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) introduced Class C racing in 1933, based on production motorcycles.  As the Great Depression hit home and racing budgets were slashed, the factories moved into C class racing which became the premier US racing class, and fuelled an intense rivalry between HarleyDavidson and Indian. C class machines were production based sidevalve engines with a maximum displacement of 750cc, or overhead valve engines with a maximum displacement of 500cc. The rules were amended in the early 1950s banning overhead camshaft machines, after Norton successfully raced Manx Inters at Daytona from 1948 to 1951. The AMA Grand National Championship series featured four different types of races; the Mile and Half-mile held on oval dirt tracks, TT (turning track) also on dirt but with bends and jumps, and circuit racing on sealed courses. After the failure of Indian motorcycles, the Harley-Davidson factory dominated the series until the early 1960s. British manufacturers then got into their stride, with BSA and Triumph winning most of the national titles from 1963 to 1970. In 1969 new regulations were introduced allowing 750cc overhead valve engines.

KR Series Harley Davidson Harley-Davidson introduced the ‘middleweight’ K series in 1952 to counter the growing popularity of the lighter and faster British motorcycles. The 750cc side-valve K-series engine was based on the bottom end of the previous WL engines, with the same bore and stroke (2-3/4” x 3-13/16”), compression ratio of 6.5;1 and aluminium cylinder heads. However the rest of the machine was a radical departure from its predecessor; the new unit construction crankcase housing a 4 speed, right hand foot change, gearbox and primary transmission. The all-new frame had hydraulically damped swinging arm suspension and hydraulically damped telescopic front forks. Producing 30-horsepower in a bike weighing 400 pounds, first-year K-models were not much faster than Harley’s 600-pound Panhead. Harley-Davidson quickly introduced the KR and KRTT racing models to replace the ageing C Class WR racers. The factory KR dirt track racer had a bolt-on rigid frame which allowed riders to switch back and forth for different types of track competition. The KRTT used a version of the new road going K series

The XR750 that superceded the KR 750.

frame and cycle parts. Besides high-performance engine parts, hubs, rims, brakes and six gallon tank were available as factory racing parts. The factory also produced two further KR variants; the KRM, a desert racer that was only made for a couple of years and the KHR an 883cc version for use in some events that allowed up to 900cc side-valves. The road-going K series was superseded by the OHV 888cc Sportster in 1957, but production of the race-only KR-models continued until 1969. The race department built small batches of machines each year, keeping some for themselves and selling the rest to sponsored riders and dealerships. There was always a shortage of new machines, so how Alf Groves in New Zealand was allocated a new machine is a real mystery. Over its eighteen year factory racing career the KR engine was gradually developed, with improvements being made available to riders each year to keep pace with the smaller OHV opposition. Dick O’Brien, head of the Harley-Davidson racing shop, recruited tuner and camshaft expert Tom Sifton, gas-flow guru Jerry Branch, and others to help develop the engine out of all recognition. The factory even developed different camshafts to suit each of the racing disciplines. The factory also issued a handbook

John Shand’s XR750KRTT on display in his living room.

detailing how to bring the machine up to the latest standard and recommendations on how to set up the machine for each of the disciplines. The final factory version of the KRTT 750 for 1968/69 had a new “lowboy” road racing frame and twin carburettor conversion. Dick O’Brien has stated the greatest power they ever achieved was 58bhp, despite wild rumours of much larger outputs. In 1964 the AMA lifted a ban on fairings in road racing, and the factory eventually produced an excellent road racing fairing and streamlined seat for the lowboy frame that added 6mph to the top speed over the previous fairing. The new fairing and seat were painted in the distinctive Harley-Davidson orange, black and white colour scheme that is still used to this day. The KR 750 was superseded by the XR750 in 1970 but the KRTT remained competitive in road racing whilst the early iron engine XR750s were redesigned with better aluminium heads and barrels. Cal Rayborn rode an outdated KR 750 “lowboy” in the 1972 Trans-Atlantic Match Races against some of the finest riders in the world on their latest factory machines. With no experience of the English tracks Cal won three of the six rounds and tied for the overall title. ■




lives in Dudley

Another delivery of pork pies.

Story and photos Stephen Heath. olverhampton, in the English West Midlands, was unkindly described by the future Queen Victoria as “a large and dirty town”, but during the period of her reign, grew to be a wealthy one, thanks in no small part to the manufacture of cars and motorcycles. The wheeled history of the city began naturally enough with bicycles, with over 200 manufacturers at one stage. Two of these, Sunbeam and Rudge, went on to greater things, at least in the eyes of us motorcyclists. But from 1909 to 1931, Wolverhampton was also the manufacturing base of A.J.Stevens & Sons (A.J.S.), which turned out some of Britain’s finest machines prior to being swallowed up by Matchless during the Depression. Today, the Jaguar Land Rover Engine Assembly Plant is the most recognisable aspect of the city’s history in the motor manufacturing sector, but the past is remembered in a carefully preserved area containing the Black Country Museum. Located in Dudley, 16km west of Birmingham, this is an openair, living museum that began in the mid-1960s on a derelict piece of land riddled with mine shafts that was gradually reclaimed. Existing houses, shops, workshops and public buildings have been disman-


Restored section of the canals.

More of Wolverhampton’s finest.

tled brick-by-brick and rebuilt to create an early 20th century village, a tramway system installed in stages, and the intricate canal system restored prior to the museum’s opening to the public in 1978. Since then, over 7 million visitors have experienced the museum, which is constantly expanding. There are numerous examples of the motor vehicles that made Wolverhampton famous; buses, trucks, trams, trolleybuses, cars, and of course, motorcycles. Currently, the two wheelers number

around 40, all of which originated in the Black Country. AJS and Sunbeam dominate, but there are also lesser-known makes. A walk down the village’s main street is a trip back in time, with quaint shops, cottages and industrial buildings, just as they were during the boom times. As long as you don’t suffer from claustrophobia, you can even take a tour through one of the original mine shafts. The Black Country Museum is definitely a must-visit if you find yourself in the area. ■


TOP Where to buy your new Sunbeam or AJS. ABOVE Former car and motorcycle showroom

in the main street. LEFT Early Sunbeams rub shoulders with tender vehicles. BELOW A ride in the restored fairground. Speedway was a big part of the area’s history, and the Dudley town was home to the Cradley Heath league team from 1947 to 1995.

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Welcome to Old Bike Australasia Out’n’about – a forum of people, places, history and happenings.

Ron flies the Z1300 flag Our frequent correspondent RON WESTE, along with his wife Colleen, are off to Holland in June for the 40th anniversary of the release of the six-cylinder Z1300 Kawasaki. “Apparently I am the oldest Z1300 rider in the world,” says Ron. “I turn 80 in July, so the Z1300 Owners Club in Holland has invited me to attend the rally to be held in their country. Z1300 owners from all over Europe and the U.K. will be attending and they tell me a great weekend has been arranged with rides and camaraderie galore. I also attended the 30th anniversary 10 years ago, but I don’t know about the 50th though!” Ron will no doubt have his camera along to record the event, and you will see this in a future issue of OBA. ■

VJMC at the Adelaide Supercars MICK GODFREY REPORTS; On March 1 to 4 the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club had a display of bikes at the Adelaide 500 Supercar event as part of our 35th Anniversary year. We collected 44 bikes with a good cross section of the main four brands plus a lone Bridgestone. The machines ranged from a 1971 CB175 Honda through to a 1981 Z1300 Kawasaki with Suzuki being represented by five Katanas and a GT750 Waterbottle. Two CBX Hondas, 3 Yamaha 650s and a 750, 3 very different CB750 Hondas as well as both a 350 and 400 Four and six trail bikes were also on show. It was a very long weekend for some but there was a lot of interest in the bikes with many recounting their youthful experiences. The VJMC provided the bulk of the display but there were also bikes from the Z1 Owners and the Barossa Valley Classic clubs as well as a small selection from the Yamaha Retro Motorcycles floor stock. Several of the exhibitors took advantage of our passes to also see the car racing and attend the concerts with Cold Chisel on the Friday evening and Robbie Williams on Sunday being very well received. ■


OUT’N’ABOUT LEFT Mike Hailwood on the Moreparts Ducati 750SS at the 1978 Adelaide Three Hour Race. BELOW This Zundapp K800 will go under the hammer at AMCA.

AMCA advances With the August 25-26 dates for the 2018 AMCA weekend at Bulli, NSW drawing nearer, more significant motorcycles have been registered for the auction. Images and information can be seen on the website and entries are expected to be capped at 20. If there is something you wish the organisers to consider, contact Tony on 0419 229-605 soon. A 5% Buyers Premium only applies, with no cost to sell.

CURRENT ENTRIES 1947 Velocette KSS: Factory Paint, an unrestored original; Buyers Guide $17 – $20k 1953 AJS 7R: restored Factory Racer with provenance; Buyers Guide $33 – $40k 1953 Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide: unrestored original; Buyers Guide $35 – $40k  1937 Zundapp K800: rare machine, expert restoration; Buyers Guide $37 – $42k 1930 OEC Twin Port JAP: Duplex front end! With spares; Buyers Guide $22 – $28k 1946 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead: Yes, original!!  Buyers Guide $75 – $85k 1969  Triumph T120 Bonneville: D’arcy Nagle Collection; Buyers Guide $15 – $18k 1961 Triumph Tiger 110: a fully restored showpiece; Buyers Guide $13 – $16k 1937 BSA Y13: 750 OHV V Twin, rare and most desirable; Buyers Guide $50 – $60k 1976 Yamaha XS650 Custom: a very cool motorcycle; Buyers Guide $10 – $15k 1966 BSA Hornet 650: fully restored, a handsome m/cycle; Buyers Guide  $10 – $15k 1948 Indian Chief: factory paint, unrestored, 16,000 miles; Buyers Guide $40 – $50k  The AMCA weekend will feature a number of technical seminars, an innovation that proved very popular at the 2017 event. Confirmed for this year are talks on Chronometric speedometers (Dennis Quinlan), Soldering and Silver Soldering (Peter Wilson), Magnetos and generators (Chris Zoch), Simple metal fabrication (David Pagano), Wheel building (Brian Martin and Miro Radojcib), Veteran motorcycle riding (Antony Gullick), Hand pin striping (Bob Brookland), Gearboxes (Antony Gullick), Speedo and tacho restoration (Jason Baverstock). There will also be a talk by OBA editor Jim Scaysbrook on his experiences with Mike Hailwood in the Castrol Six Hour Races, and the Moreparts 750SS ridden by Mike and Jim will be on display. ■

Ride ‘em John JOHN WOODWARD, from the quaintly named Moore’s Pocket in Queensland, was for many years a rodeo rider, “so I know how to fall.” Since retiring from one saddle, John, now aged 78, has been in numerous others, pursuing a love of long distance touring aboard a wide variety of motorcycles. He has ridden a 250 MV “I just like the look of them and they’re very reliable” from Adelaide to Darwin, stopping at Ayres Rock along the way (where the photo below was taken), numerous Harley trips, including one that ended with a major accident and where his rodeo experience came into play, and on a BMW R60/7 that took him from Brisbane to Perth. Motorcycling runs in John’s family, his father Stan is pictured here (above right) on what John thinks may be a 500cc A92 AJS. In the other photo (right), John is astride the Harley with his great grand son. ■

A Moriwaki

moment Story Gaven Dall’Osto

Motorcycling is a fantastic way to meet like-minded people but it also leads to long-term friendships which can border on to an extended family. Leif Martinsen is part of the bike builders business and over the years has affectionately mentioned both his and his wife Estee’s friendship with Midori Moriwaki and Moriwaki products in general. Leif builds race bikes as well as roadies and regards the Moriwaki products as some of the best. He and his business partner Yosuke (Yoshi) have realised their dream by being granted distributorship, so now stock and sell the Moriwaki product in Brisbane. Midori Moriwaki was in town recently so Leif, Estee & Yoshi thought it was a good excuse to get together with friends and share a bit to eat and drink (appropriately labelled a ‘Meet and Greet’) with Midori. I went with curiosity as I didn’t really know much about the Moriwaki story but did a little research beforehand. I discovered Midori’s Dad had started Moriwaki Engineering in 1973. Moriwaki’s main business was the development of race bikes. Initially, and for many years after, they used Kawasaki engines but now predominantly use Honda units.

Midori Moriwaki with Leif Martinsen and Gaven Dall’Osto.

Moriwaki Engineering was instrumental in the careers of many Antipodean riders. In the late ‘70s a Moriwaki Monster Z1000 secured Graham Crosby many wins and podiums. Graham is currently a Moriwaki distributer in NZ and remains a good friend of the family. Leif told me that it was Graham who was responsible for him and Estee making initial contact with Midori. 1980 and 1981 saw Wayne Gardiner ride a Moriwaki Monster Z1000, again with many successes. Wayne built a replica of one of his Moriwaki race bike which is on display in the National Motor Racing Museum in Bathurst. I was also lucky enough to see this motorcycle at the Australian Historic Motorcycle Championship at Lakeside in 2014. Graham Crosby and Tony Hatton rode Wayne’s replica on a lap of honour at that meeting. Luckily, it still retained the dual seat so both got around in comfort. Peter Goddard rode a Moriwaki Zero X750 in local and Japanese events from 1986 to 1988. The 2000 and 2001 seasons saw Brock Parkes race with success on a Moriwaki in the Japanese Championship. Andrew Pit rode a Moriwaki MD211VF in a few races of the 2004 MotoGP. A story of the Moriwaki MH80R was featured in OBA 63 and it was to play a large part in the careers of Ant West, Josh Brookes, Chris Vermeulen, Brock Parkes and many others. Midori is the Managing Director of Moriwaki Engineering and runs the Moriwaki race team. To my delight I found she has no problem sitting down with an ordinary person (she had only just met) and discussing anything, including very personal stories. I found her so humble and down to earth that it was easy to overlook her status and achievements. At one point I spent the best part of 15 minutes conversing one on one and I noted a few interesting facts which I will share. Midori’s Dad, Mamoru Moriwaki, who started Moriwaki Engineering, is very much alive and still very passionate about motorcycles. He actually raced for ‘Pops’ Yoshimura and married his eldest daughter, so Midori is an offspring of both famous motorcycling dynasties. The original Moriwaki logo and the colours they use for all their race teams is based on nature. 70% blue for the sea and sky and

ABOVE Graham Crosby and Tony Hatton aboard

Wayne Gardiner’s replica Moriwaki Monster Z1000 at Lakeside, Queensland in 2014.

30% yellow for the earth and Moriwaki spirit. Their factory and race teams continue with this same colour philosophy to this day. Midori’s other siblings do share a motorcycle passion but they have their own careers and Midori is the only one who is fully devoted to the business. She has a passion for the history of Moriwaki and even had to hide the old race bikes for a while as Mamoru told her that he was only interested in the future, not the past. She went on to say that all changed one day when she dragged out one of their old race bikes and fired it up. She said a glow lit up Mamoru’s face and he then realised how special the memories and his past creations were. Swinging her Dad around to embrace her view was a very special moment for Midori. She told the story of Mamoru being the pioneer of using aluminium motorcycle frames. She explained that Mamoru was approached by a large manufacturer who said that they had the rights and that he would not be able to continue without infringement. She remembers in particular when he replied that they had better check the intellectual property registry. It was in fact they who were in breach but Mamoru was not bothered to pursue any retribution. Another of her special moments as a race team boss was when Tony Elias, riding a Moriwaki MD600, won the Moto2 World Championship in 2010. This was the inaugural year for Moto2 and she proudly showed some photos of the celebration on her smart phone. She shared a story of how she been badgered for many years to join the FIM but declined until recently. Her achievements in the sport were never in doubt but she went on to explain that she couldn’t agree until she felt she could devote enough time to carry out her role properly. She has recently accepted an FIM role is as an ‘Expert Member’ representing circuit racing in the CFM (Women in Motorcycling Commission). In the end I found it such a pleasure to learn so much about a truly devoted motorcycle family. The realisation of the responsibility that rests on Midori’s shoulders, all her achievements and the fact that she still has time to share with grass roots motorcyclists made my experience a very special one indeed. ■

ABOVE Danny gets the Manx/G50 under way up the Bluff Hill Climb. INSET BELOW Danny Ahern, Bill Swallow and

Murray Johnson swap stories at the Hill Climb.

Danny does Invercargill Danny Ahern joined a group of intrepid Aussies to the 2018 Burt Munro Challenge in NZ. He made a few notes: “I got the opportunity to be an integral part of one helluva trip. Eddy Garner’s Aussie Bike Tours were the instigators. The Burt Munro Challenge now being held in February instead of November all helped us all make up our minds. Eddy had 23 takers in total. Some to race, some just riding around, some participating in rallies. The emphasis was the ‘Hand Change Challenge’ being Harley and Indian bikes racing each other, Australia versus NZ. Eddy did a marvellous job getting everyone over to NZ along with their bikes and of course all the logistics involved once we got there. Our first competition would be The Hill Climb at The Bluff, about 20 km from Invercargill. Wow what a hill, what an event, laid back officialdom, pits spread throughout the backstreets at the bottom of the climb. Everyone was excited to be there and just couldn’t wait to start up their bikes and be part of this institution, The Burt Munro Challenge. People coming up to chat and admiring our bikes. This included many Aussies, some I knew, some were friends of friends others were strangers but we all had one thing in common; heaps of people lining the road up the hill a la Isle of Man style. The merchandise caravan could not keep up, Burt Munro stuff selling like hot cakes. This event ended around 2.30pm and we all headed over to Teratonga race track where the Drag races were destined to take place as a twilight event. Me with my Manx-framed G50 along with all the C Class Indians and Harleys from Australia were to do ‘demo runs’. I had never done drag racing before, so with some tutoring from my pal Murray Johnson, I thought I’d give it a go. Reaction time was credable, elapsed time of 15.04 secs was too along with 90mph terminal speed. I just did one run, most of the hand shifters did two! Wow what a day, two events participated in on one day! Friday had us back to Teratonga for a bit of practice for Saturday’s circuit racing, before heading off to Oreti Beach for the Beach races. I stood out of that event and used the time working out of the Transit van to change my gearing in readiness of the racing on Saturday. All the hand shifter mob raced on the beach and had a ball. Gee the crowds were huge and just loved it. Saturday came around and the Road Races at Teratonga were just great, one quick circuit indeed. I was thrilled to be dicing all day in every race with Isle of Man legend Bill Swallow. Once races were done we headed to the speedway for a look, wow huge event indeed. Sunday was our last event, Street Races, unfortunately rain came, roads were slippery and as such the event got cut short after qualifying and just one race. I’m sure most of us will do it all again in 2020. ■


OUT’N’ABOUT Year unknown, but possibly 1948 with rigid frame singles and the new LE on display.

1949, with the LE on prominent display.

The Velocette stand at the 1951 Earles Court Motorcycle Show with LE, MAC and other models.

Images from a bygone era The Earl’s Court Show in London, usually held in November, was always the biggest event of the year as far as the British motorcycle trade was concern. New models would be released, and existing ranges presented in all their finery, along with TT and Grand Prix machines, accessories and other related equipment. It was a place to see and be seen, with trade luminaries, famous riders and dignitaries present. Sadly those days, along with most of the British motorcycle industry, are long gone, but Dennis Quinlan, in his enduring role as Australia’s Velocette doyen, has collected these fascinating images of the Velocette stand over the years. Glittering and pristine, the Velo display was a far cry from the factory in Hall Green, Birmingham! ■ 1956, with the fabled Roarer up front and a US model Scrambler behind.



Ray Owen

A powerful legacy ABOVE The Owen family wearing their tribute t-shirts. LEFT The late Ray Owen with the perpetual trophy which bears his name.

The central sphere houses a nugget of gold he mined himself.

I first met Ray at the second event at Beaudesert in 2009. Good fortune had it that my bike was chosen as Bike of the Show and when presenting me the trophy, Ray pointed to the small transparent orb nested in the perpetual trophy. He told me it contained a gold ingot which he had himself fossicked many, many years ago. From that day I looked on Ray as an inspiration. He was very famous but easy to talk to, had a cheeky smile and every year at the bike show he would be surrounded by his family. Ray and Pat’s family have come to every event and they did again this year even in Ray’s absence. A couple of his old race bikes were on display, with a framed photo of Ray (amongst his many race trophies) on one of the bikes. Two of Ray’s trophies were also handed out to winners who are given the privilege to set it on the mantel piece at home until the 2019 event. Wife Pat and all the kids and grandkids all arrived wearing T-shirts which they’d had especially printed with ‘#27 Ray Owen’ (his old race number). Adding to the magic, I counted exactly 27 of them as they all lined up for a group photo just before the presentation.

On the 13th May the 10th Annual Ray Owen Classic Bike Show and Swap Meet was celebrated. Ray couldn’t make last year’s event and sadly passed away on the 29th May 2017. Story & photos Gaven Dall’Osto

There was a T-shirt displayed beside the presentation stage with one of my photos printed on the front – one of my fondest memories of Ray. I was asked by the family to take a shot of Ray and his Manx Norton after the 2015 bike show. They wanted to send it to the UK Norton Club. While standing beside the Manx, I thought I could make the shot more exciting if he hopped on board. When I asked the family said “No, Ray’s hips are shot,” but Ray quickly interrupted “Yes I can!” and he did. This says a lot about the man, always rising to a challenge. I crouched down and got Ray to lie flat on the tank, hand on twist grip and looking down the barrel of the camera with that cheeky smile of his and the result (in my mind) was priceless. At the conclusion of the trophy presentation, Gary Stephens announced that Pat had given permission for the event hosts (HMCCQ Mt Tamborine area) to continue using Ray’s name for the event. The perpetual trophy (with Ray’s ingot) will thus continue to have the names of the winners of Bike of the Show added each year. So while Ray is not with us physically any more, his legacy lives on, and I’m sure he was looking down with pride on the magical event that will continue to carry his name. The memory of this day will stay with me forever. ■ NOTE: A full report of the 2018 Ray Owen Classic Bike Show will appear in OBA 74.


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Tracing an

Abingdon King Dick

The G&B in January 2018. Photographed by Ron Weste.

If my research is correct, I think I am the 6th known owner of the circa 1909/1910 3 1/2hp Gahagan & Beddome (G & B) King Dick motorcycle with possibly a 7th and perhaps first owner, yet to be discovered. Story Dick Prisgrove

This particular motorcycle, as far as I can ascertain, was first written about by Mr David Dumble when it featured on Pg.15 of his 1974 book, Veteran Motorcycles in Australia. The earliest known photo of the G & B King Dick is from 1914, when it was issued with number 2707, according to information given to me by Mr Ken Young. The first question this answers is that the gent astride the bike is, in all likelihood, a Mr Alfred A. Campbell of Bourke Street, Launceston. But what evidence do I have that the King Dick motorcycle I have now the privilege of owning, is in fact the same machine? The photo has been handed down from previous owners, but it is also in the hands of the present VMCC Abingdon marque specialist in the UK, Mr William (Bill) Whiteley, who was able to connect the photo to a previous owner Mr John Hill. It has been thought that the G & B Abingdon King Dick may have been an Australian built motorcycle, however, Robert Saward in his 1996 book, A-Z of AustralianMade Motorcycles 1893-1942, rightly debunks this. Though there where Abingdon engines fitted to frames made locally up from probably imported This photo came with the bike and is thought to be Alfred Campbell of Launceston.

lugs, advertisements from 1909 to 1914 indicates the vast majority in King Dicks at this time were fully assembled and imported motor-cycles. Walter Gahagan and Charles Beddome purchased a cycle business from a Mr Sim King, trading as Gahagan & Beddome, 133 Elizabeth Street, Hobart in October 1908, selling Rover bicycles and shortly after manufacturing cycles under the G & B brand. Mr Beddome left the business in October 1909 and Mr Gahagan continued trading as Wally Gahagan, continuing with G & B trade name. In Sept. 1911 Wally Gahagan indicates his business is moving from bicycles into motor-cycles, and on the 9th Sept 1912 places his first advertisement as an Abingdon Agent (sic). Two years later he places his last advertisement for Abingdon, but stating within this ad he has “many second hand FN’s, Triumphs, Rovers, Abingdons, G & B’s (probably bicycles), and Matchless, any reasonable offer to clear” (sic). In January 1917 Wally Gahagan lodges for Bankruptcy. As far as I can ascertain, N.L. Frost of the Devon Cycle and Motor Works, Ulvestone, was the first agent to sell the Abingdon King Dick motorcycle

marque in Tasmania from March 1911. I think it reasonable to assume the Mr Frost was getting the Kings Dick’s through Mr Sim King. He is certainly cited as doing so a year or so later. The very first advertisement I have found of the Abingdon King Dick motorcycle in Australia is from The Age, 25th December 1909 placed by E.W. Brown, 207-213 Swanston Street, Melbourne. The bike I now have was often seen at rallies up to (I think) the late 1970s mid 1980s when it was owned by Guy Leopold. It is thought the bike was in the possession of John Hill of Moonah West, Hobart and later of Melbourne, at the time David Dumble’s account was printed. In all probability, the bike I now have is the same bike cited by Mr Dumble and Mr Saward. The marque specialist, Bill Whiteley is happy to date the bike to either the first or second quarter 1910, or even 1909 from its physical characteristics, but as import documentation does not exist, I am happy to cite it as circa 1909/10. However if Mr Alfred Campbell was its first registered owner in February 1914, where was the motorcycle and who owned it from 1910? An educated option came courtesy of the gentleman who has been of great assistance to me in getting the bike running again, Mr Neville Babb, who observed that front wheel is from a bicycle, and he is right. Perhaps Wally Gahagan refreshed a second hand machine as he certainly had plenty of Abingdon bicycle parts to use. I must also make a special mentions to Mr Bill Veitch, owner of New Zealand’s oldest Abingdon King Dick (1909), for helping me locate that elusive frame number, Mr Brian Bennett for the many trivial questions I have inundated him with and Mr Ron Weste for the photography. If all goes to plan, I will be taking the G & B to the Antique Motorcycle Rally in Ulvestone, Tasmania in March/April 2019. I welcome any additional information that may add to the story of this G & B King Dick motorcycle. ■ FOOTNOTE: The author wishes to acknowledge various newspapers and journals as the source for information, including Tasmanian Police Gazette, The North Western Advocate & Emu Bay Times, The Age, The Mercury, Hobart, Daily Post, Hobart, The Quest for King Dick by William Whiteley, A-Z of Australian-Made Motorcycles 1893-1942, Veteran Motorcycles in Australia by David Dumble, 100 clicks; The History of the Tasmanian Motorcycle Club by Ken Young.

Alan Mitchell’s glorious 1930 Model 18.

A British gathering A combined BSA/Norton gathering took place on April 15 at a new location for 2018; Jerry’s Café at Kulnura on the very popular weekend riding route on the NSW Central Coast. This service station/café was packed with motorcycles from early in the morning, not just the classics but a never-ending stream of onlookers and others on their way to or from somewhere. Organiser Ben Woolven from the Norton Owners Club seemed well pleased with the turnout, which included veterans as well as the more modern stuff. ■

If NVT had built this they might still be in business. Graham Dickie’s 750 Production replica heads an impressive line up.

Japanese Classics from the 70s’, 80s’ and 90’s. 1 Hawthornden Road, Avonhead, Christchurch, NZ Open Fri, Sat, Sun 10am - 4.30pm





T R A C K Unlimited P3 winner Russell Craddock.

Indian-mounted Chris Beaumont in the Handshift battle.

Victorian Historic Road Racing C/ships • 7-8 April, 2018 – Broadford, Victoria

Paddy Clancy and Steve Bonney. The sign on the rear guard is apt.

Title tussles at Broadford Report Mick Large Photos SCE Photography

The annual Victorian Historic Road Race Championships were run in perfect weather, with promoters the HMRAV again running a well organised event at Broadford. Despite some delays on Saturday the full forty-five events were run over the two days. Machines from the 1940s up to the 1980s strutted their stuff and the riders’ ages reflected the same spread. Ken Lucas and Ron Mathews were racing before most of us were born and are still going strong, with Ron featuring in the trophy presentations. At the other extreme, sixteen-year-old Paddy Clancy piloted a sidecar with mum Chrissie in the chair. She also crewed Mick Alton’s Formula 2 machine. John Clancy rode his Post Classic sidecar with Warren Grubb in the chair. Ours is a family sport. Highlights of the meeting included Chas Hearn blitzing the Forgotten Era Unlimited class on the T Rex Racing Harris Honda. He was circulating in well below one minute but still had time to entertain the crowd with the front wheel in the air. In the Classic 500 class evergreen Bob Rosenthal battled a much younger Garth Francis, with the pair rounding the left hander into the finishing straight handlebar to handlebar. Bob’s G50 Matchless just pipped Garth’s home-brewed ESO special to the post and to a points win. Garth showed his versatility by

then taking out the Unlimited Classic Sidecar class. The up to 650 class was won by the ever consistent pair of David Wain and Greg Ditchfield on their Triel. The growing Handshift Battle pits Indians and Harley-Davidsons against each other in a team format. Indians were victorious in round one but the battle will continue at Historic Winton in May and the Southern Classic in November. Harley-Davidson won the first two years with Indian taking the honours last year. Not all went to plan at Broadford. Stuart Gorrie and Stuart Williams got it a bit wrong at pit corner, with the BSA outfit involved in a frighteningly spectacular multiple rollover. Stuart spent some time in hospital but is recovering well after surgery. Dad Doug will need to perform some surgery on the outfit, which he has been racing for over thirty years. As usual, the pits were busy with people working on their own and their competitors’ bikes. Russell Craddock dominated the Unlimited Classic solos on Lady Penelope despite again spending much of the weekend working on other people’s machines. He really personifies the spirit of Historic Racing. He also entertains with “colourful” trophy acceptance speeches! I won’t quote him here. Full results are available at Computime. ■

Chas Hearn had plenty of time to play to the crowd.

AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE SHOW’N’SHINE Sunday, 1st July 2018 ★ Open to all American motorcycles ★ Free Registration ★ Show open 8.30am-midday Live Blues, hot coffee & great food from the SurfSide Diner, prizes and trade displays, workshop open for inspection and plenty of parking. First time exhibitors especially welcome – your bike doesn’t need to be a show pony, just an honest ride. Prize categories include – Peoples Choice, Best Paint, Best Custom, Most Original, Best Modified, Best Pre-WW2, Most Unique, etc. These shows are our way of saying thank you to SurfSide’s customers and the riding community.

SurfSide Motorcycle Garage 42 Winbourne Road, Brookvale, Sydney

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The biggest day of the year in Maldon. Nearly 700 bikes lined the streets.

BSA Motorcycle Owners Association All British Rally • 21-22 April, 2018 – Newstead, Victoria

Bumper All Brit Report and photos Ron Weste

Run annually since 1977, this event just seems to go from strength to strength. This year a whole new bunch of motorcycles were on display demonstrating there is a never-ending supply of old bikes being restored and extracted out of sheds to come to this Rally, which has its headquarters at the old Newstead Racecourse. Of course the weather plays an important part and this year it was perfect. As

usual spectators jammed the main street of Maldon for the Saturday after the bikes did their run from the Rally site. It was estimated between 600 and 700 bikes from pre first world war models to the “last hurrah” of the British motorcycle industry were on display. The club always has a very desirable door prize and this year one lucky contestant went home with a BSA A65 Firebird Scrambler.

As always I heard stories of recent restorations and talked to others about family bikes being handed down through the generations, one in particular being the 1917 Regnis owned by Brendon Cain. Brendon’s father found the bike under a shearing shed in country Victoria and now Brendan has it in unrestored condition complete with oil and grease gathered over 100 years to give it a fine patina.

Serious sprinter: Darren Burnett’s twin-engined Triumph ‘Alter Ego’.

Brendon Cain on his 1917 Regnis.

To add atmosphere to the day a local motorcycle spare parts shop had a musician playing on the street, all adding to the ambience. The local businesses did a roaring trade serving food and refreshments to the spectators and riders. Although the bikes, and their owners, get older with each event, I think the All British Rally is here to stay well into the foreseeable future. ■



Overhead camshaft Square 4 soaks up the Maldon sunshine.

Peter Bender brought his Brough Superior from Tasmania.

Heading out of Newstead Race Course for the Saturday ride. A highly polished Velocette Thruxton sparkles at Newstead.

ABOVE Darryl Rosser’s 1924 AJS B5.

FOOTNOTE (LEFT) A feature of the All British Rally each year is the gate prize, and the 2018 winner was Andrew Paterson from Seaholme Victoria who took home this very tidy BSA A65 Spitfire Scrambler.


RALLY REPORTS BATHURST EASTER Greg Blades, dressed for the part, with his Matchless at Chifley Dam.

Hans Sprangers’ 1935 Nimbus soaks up the sun at the Tarana

Vintage Motorcycle Club of Australia (NSW) Inc. 2018 Bathurst Easter Tour • March 25-April 1, 2018 – Bathurst, NSW

Cruising the central west Report Sue Scaysbrook Photos Jim Scaysbrook

The makeup of the entry list may change, but the Bathurst Rally, which ran for the 44th time over Easter and in the preceding week, attracted a healthy line up of motorcycles of all eras. Six veterans entered, the oldest being Jim Clarke’s 1910 Humber, and Ross McDermott’s Triumph and Kent Hillier’s Bradbury, both 1912 models. The incessant dry spell in the central west of NSW was evident in the surrounding countryside, but the great roads were still there and the far off

sound of around 190 classic motorcycles enjoying these wonderful roads is music to the ears. The rally consisted of eight separate runs, radiating from Bathurst HQ, beginning with Trunkey Creek on the opening day and concluding with Forest Reefs on Easter Sunday. In between there were rides to Carcoar Dam, Burraga, Chifley Dam, Sofala and an optional leg to Hill End, Tarana and Neville. There is no judging, no prizes, with the emphasis on riding and

Many took the opportunity to ride to Hill End as part of Thursday’s Sofala run.

When gremlins attacked the editor’s CB750, many hands made light work of the problem!

camaraderie. And this is just the way we like it. Time spent riding with good mates is always the draw card. And this year Jim and I were the source of great consternation when both our Hondas needed attention! It was like “bees to a honey pot” with so many chaps weighing in on the likely causes of the problems and on both occasions, our bikes made speedy recoveries thanks to the

“brains trust” of our fellow rallyists. Continuously one of the most popular fixtures on the calendar, the rally has always been based at the Bathurst Caravan Park, but in coming months this venue is being substantially rebuilt, and the owners cannot guarantee it will be ready for Easter 2019, forcing the organisers to possibly consider other options. We will have to wait and see! ■



Refreshment stop on Saturday at the Neville Hotel. Dick Arter on his 1967 BSA Spitfire on the run to Chifley Dam.

Garry Appleyard heads down the hill into Sofala on his 1980 Yamaha SRX600.

Perhaps Australia’s oldest Moto Guzzi, Michael Coates 1921 Normale at Chifley Dam. Don Sinclair enjoying his 350 Kawasaki on Saturday’s run to Neville.

OBA’s Advertising Manager gives her faithful CB500 a workout near Newbridge.



Ariels at Rosedale on the Saturday run.

Australian Ariel Register (AAR) 25th National Rally • 23-26 March, 2018 – Traralgon, Victoria

Celebrating AAR’s Silver Anniversary

Two Flat Tankers in action: Brian Fleming and John Deeth, both from Queensland.

Ariel Rally Judging Results CLASS

Report Chris Hillbrick-Boyd

This year’s AAR National Rally was labelled “Ariel Power in the Valley Rally” and was located in Traralgon in the picturesque Gippsland area of Victoria. Over 70 keen AAR members from Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and the A.C.T. made the journey. The Ariel marque ranged from a 1915 Ariel Roadster 500 through to several 1958 Ariel models. Two very early Ariels, flat tankers, were part of the Rally. The Rally HQ was based at the Big 4 Park Lane Holiday Park whose owners were very helpful in catering for our groups’ accommodation and some BBQ meals. The Friday short fettling ride of approximately 75 km in warm dry weather took riders on some quiet roads to view a coal-powered power station and the Loy Yang open cut mine, then back to the rally HQ and a welcome BBQ dinner. The smallest Ariel bike made, the Pixie, did not make the full circuit and came back in style on the back-up trailer. Saturday

brought some showery weather for the ride to Heyfield where a local charity group provided us with a delicious morning tea in a local park. The lunch stop was Bonny Brae, a farm stay/function centre, where the judging of machines took place in steady rain. Amongst the Ariels on display were some local’s unusual Ariels that were ex short-circuit racers which he demonstrated with his granddaughters as the “monkeys”, much to participants enjoyment. On return to Rally HQ the AAR AGM was held on site before moving to the Century Inn for the Rally Presentation Dinner. Local LaTrobe Shire councillor and motorbike enthusiast, Darren Howe, opened the Presentations part of the evening. A swap meet of all things Ariel started the Sunday activities. This time the ride headed into the hills behind Traralgon in showery weather, with a long and short ride on the windy, wet roads that combined at the village of Erica, then headed for the Walhalla Goldfields Railway Station for lunch.



Vintage Ariel

Alan Stratton (NSW)

1930 Model F 500

Pre-War Ariel Single

Peter Ferguson (Vic)

1939 VH 500

Pre-War Square 4

Chris Ridsdale (Vic)

1934 4F Square 4 600

Post War Ariel Single

Peter Young (Vic)

1949 NH 350

Post War Square 4

Bruce Webb (NSW)

1958 Mk2 Square 4 1000

Post War Ariel Twins

Gary Stratton (NSW)

1952 KH 500

All Ariels not incl above

Bill McKee (Qld)

1956 Square 4 1000

All non-Ariels

Tim Said

1950 Matchless G3 350

Most Original Ariel

Rod Barker (SA)

1930 Model F500

Lady Rider on an Ariel

Michelle Lees (NSW)

1949 NH 350

Furtherest Ridden Ariel

Rod Barker (SA)

1930 Model F 500

Most Desirable Ariel

Chris Ridsdale (Vic)

1934 4F Square 4 600

Presidents Choice

Peter Ferguson (Vic)

1939 VH 500

Oldest Bike & Rider

Merv Means (NSW)

1946 VG 500


Walhalla is a popular tourist destination town and the cricket pitch and field on top of one of the steep hills is a unique feature. Some of the supporters rode the Goldfields train back to the next stop where the bus picked them up for the return trip to Traralgon. The ride back to Rally HQ was dry, an enjoyable ride for all. A Sunday evening Farewell BBQ was

well attended by approximately 80 participants who were exchanging names and arrangements for the 2019 AAR Rally at Huskisson, NSW. All agreed the AAR Rally Committee from Traralgon and Melbourne did a superb job; special thanks go to Matt Gellert and his dad Noel, Greg and Vicki Vardy, Ken Ingwersen, and Ken and Jan Kennedy (deceased). ■



Brian Fleming’s 1916 Ariel.

ABOVE Winner of the Oldest Bike

& Rider combination trophy, Merv Means from NSW. LEFT Bill McKee from Qld, winner

of the All Ariels Trophy.

Bruce Webb from NSW, winner of the Post War Ariel Sq4 Trophy. Chris Risdale from Vic, winner of the Most Desirable Ariel & Pre War Sq4 Trophies.

Winner of the trophy for the Best Lady Rider on an Ariel, Michelle Lees from NSW.



29th Mail Run • 17-18 March, 2018 – Napier, New Zealand.

The Mail Run must get through!

ABOVE Gary Alve on his 1936 ES2 Norton. ABOVE RIGHT Mike Harris and his 1928 AJS K8. RIGHT Dennis Palmer won Best 1930s

for his WLA Harley.

Report and photos Jim and Maggie Lord

This year’s Mail Run Rally nearly didn’t happen! Heavy rain, slips and flooding closed SH5 between Taupo and Napier on the Thursday leading up to the weekend event. Fortunately for us, the road reopened and cleared, enabling myself and other participants to get to Taupo on Friday for the start of the rally on Saturday morning. Saturday dawned fresh and clear with a good gathering of bikes and riders soon had a jovial atmosphere going anticipating the start. Riders’ briefing assured everyone that the road to Napier was safe and clear, with the oldest bikes, which included three Indian Scouts and an AJS K8 all pre 1930 leading off at 10am. A strong head wind and a substantial climb out of Taupo, ensured no speed records were broken on the first leg! The regroup at the Rangitikei Tearooms enabled the usual tinkering

then away to the Tarawera Cafe lunch stop. The bikes, once again, assembled in ‘decade’ groups for voting by riders and Hawkes Bay Motorcycle Club members who joined us for lunch. With the conditions near perfect, everyone set off for Napier. Once over the ranges, the ride down the Esk Valley was picturesque and enjoyable. Everyone regrouped outside of the airport before travelling into Napier for a public display outside the Masonic Hotel; this allowed a well earned drink for the riders! The evening meal and prize giving went well with first-time entrant, Dennis Palmer from Lower Hutt taking out the “Tin Man Trophy” – the riders’ choice – on his stunning WL Harley. Next year will be the 30th running of this event with hopes of a bigger turnout of bikes and riders. ■

Mail Run Judging Results

Rally bikes soak up the breeze in Napier.



Best 1920s

Dennis Bristow


Best 1930s

Dennis Palmer

1939 WL Harley Davidson

Best 1940s

Alan Watson

1947 Ariel NH

Best 1950s

Kirk Ellis

1952 Sunbeam S7

Tin Man Trophy

Dennis Palmer

1939 WL Harley Davidson

Lady Rider

Karen Nitschke

1954 BSA B31 Trevor Alve with his 1937 Norton ES2.



Grahame Hunter’s 1915 Excelsior. Edith Irving in the chair of Mark Gascoigne’s Vincent Rapide outfit.

Vintage Motorcycle Club of Victoria 5Oth Maryborough Rally • 9th – 12th March 2018

Golden times Report John Cox Photos Cooper Brownlee, Chris Seufert and Ron Weste

Being the Golden Anniversary of the Rally, the VMCC of Victoria had five bikes entered that were on the first rally held in 1969. Among the 75 entries were Alan Greenway, Ken Hall, Rob Bonner, Dave Dumble and Graeme Wilson who were also on the first Rally. Dave rode a Douglas with Graeme on the pillion in 1969 and they reversed their positions 50 years later. The late Phil Irving ‘s wife Edith was guest of honour and presented the trophies at the Sunday night dinner held in the historic railway station. Fittingly Edith travelled in a 1948 Vincent outfit. The four days of rallying in magnificent sunshine took in the historic towns of Carisbrook, Talbot, Avoca, Clunes and Maldon with visits to sites that were on the 1969

program. Denis Reed-Smith and his committee are to be congratulated on organising a first class rally. ■

Maryborough Rally Judging Results

Edith Irving presents the Phil Irving Trophy to Alan Greenway.




Phil Irving Memorial Trophy – Best Bike

Alan Greenway

1924 Excelsior outfit

President’s Award

Trish and Daryl Stayches

Best Veteran

Grahame Hunter

1915 Excelsior

The Mark Byrnes Memorial Trophy – Best Sidecar

Bob McGillivray

1939 Harley Davidson

Paddy Walsh Memorial Trophy – Oldest Veteran

Graeme King

1910 Triumph

Best Vintage Bike

Malcolm Cox

1929 Norton

Best Post Vintage Bike

Matthew Gellert

1937 Ariel

Club Spirit Award

Neville Babb

Longest Distance by any means

Frances and Ken Hall

Longest Distance Ridden by Club Eligible Bike to Rally

Adrian Robinson

The Family Award

Jeffrey/McNamara Family

Beginner’s Award

Emma King

1940 BSA M21 1930 BSA

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30th Australian Rudge Rally • 3-4 March, 2018 – Orange, NSW

Rudges in the Central West Dan Morgan with the Rob Hart Trophy for the Best Rudge.

Report and photos from Rudge Enthusiasts Club

The 30th rally was based at the Conobolis Caravan Park, Orange, a beautiful area over the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Numbers were down but Harry Scoble (from Victoria), now 86 years young, was very proud to be riding with us. We had 23 Rudges and 30 people including two new riders: Ben Morgan on his freshly restored 1932 full radial Ulster and Rick Nabkey on his 1927 350cc ‘Sports’, while Graham Goodwin had finally finished restoring a 1911 500cc single speed veteran. Friday afternoon saw the gathering of ‘clan Rudge’ with much fun while renewing friendships and getting to know the new faces. Riders registered and received their ‘Goodies’ bag and celebratory bottle of 30th Rudge Rally wine (a top vintage by all accounts.) Locals, Bernie and Liz Schell had spent twelve months planning the routes to keep us on the better roads with visits to local places of interest. They did a great job organising corner marshals and support vehicles as well. Liz had also spent the previous month, by the look of it,

cooking up a storm for our delicious morning and afternoon teas. An early start on Saturday morning was called for as we had almost 200km to travel with two interesting stops. We left Cook Park in central Orange at 9am. The roads were very motorcycle friendly with plenty of bends and pleasant scenery, but little traffic to contend with. Our first stop was Manildra. The ‘Amusu’ (amuse you) picture theatre is one of only two remaining original picture houses in Australia. The old motor mechanic workshop next door is now a museum – primarily movie cameras and movie memorabilia including hundreds of original, authentic posters along with other interesting everyday items too. We had our fabulous morning tea, then were ushered into the Amusu Theatre for a showing of three silent movies, car chases of course. Allan Tom, who set up the picture house in 1923, had previously run a travelling picture show. His daughter, now in her 90s, was our usherette. She does enjoy people coming to visit, so we made a fuss of her.

It was then on to Canowindra for lunch. Not everyone needed to eat so wandered around town after a welcome beer at the local club. It had been a hot trip. Unfortunately, Grahame Heath had a flat front tyre on the return stretch to Orange, but a local motorcycle shop delivered a replacement tube to the caravan park that afternoon and would not accept payment. Good people! The evening ‘gettogether’ and presentations was at the motel restaurant next door to the caravan park. A lovely meal and great company. Sunday began with a Rudge ‘swap-meet’ at the caravan park followed by more of Liz’s spectacular morning tea. We left the park at 10am and rode the roundabout way via popular motorcycle roads towards Bathurst before turning back to Millthorpe. A shorter run of about 100km as some riders wanted to get away early for the journey home that afternoon. We stopped in the historic ‘town’ of Millthorpe where there is a very interesting museum full of early implements and machinery. The main street has plenty of old buildings, some now trading as cafes and antique shops. For those still around at 2.30pm we hopped into several cars and Bernie led us out to visit a local car club member’s home, a beautiful 1920s farm house. We were treated to his Chevrolet collection of several veteran cars and a couple of trucks. The eye-opener was his three ‘big wheelers’, basically horse carriages with a motor. They were designed to persuade people to transfer from horse drawn vehicles to motor cars and the large wheels handled the rough tracks well. He has restored them all himself with the help of the apprentices he teaches at the Technical College. As Russell Court, from Victoria said, “This is the rally that keeps on giving”. Keen to contribute to that theme, Russel and several other Victorians have offered to plot the runs for next year’s rally at Corryong, Victoria (just over the NSW border). We look forward to another great weekend at our 31st Annual Australian Rudge Rally. ■

Rudge Rally Judging Results CLASS

Graham Goodwin with his newly-restored 1911 model.



Best Veteran

Graham Goodwin 1911 500cc Single Speed

Best Vintage

Rick Nabkey

1927 350cc Sports

Best post-vintage

Warren Young

1937 500cc Special

Jim Wallace Memorial Rick Nabkey

1927 350cc Sports

Rob Hart Memorial

1932 500cc Ulster

Ben Morgan

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Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

A very neat package Road Impressions Bob Rosenthal Photos Jim Scaysbrook

It’s been a long time since I last had the pleasure of riding a Triumph. So, when friend and editor Scaysbrook suggested we do something with a Speedmaster and a Bobber I jumped at the chance. My stead was to be the Bonneville Speedmaster.



TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE SPEEDMASTER The engine is a beauty; stacks of torque and impressive acceleration.

Now, this bike is built for a very specific market, not quite hipsters, more the laid-back suburbanite cruiser. Both these bikes are built on the same platform, why not, it works. Same basic frame, suspension and engine. There the similarities stop. This is a bit like what Ducati did with its Monster and BMW did with the RnineT. Same running gear, different Tupperware. Firstly, it uses the latest incarnation of the vertical twin Bonneville engine, suitably set up for this role. It’s a lusty 1200cc parallel twin with offset crank pins to give a 270-degree firing order with liquid cooling. So, it sounds and feels like a vee twin. Nothing new there, lots of manufacturers have done this. This firing order imbues a lovely “feel” to power delivery. Why do you think Ducatis do so well in WSK racing and KTM does so well at Pikes Peak? It’s all about feel and delivery. As a plus, the exhaust note sounds fantastic. Triumph has done a wonderful job here. This engine is tuned for great mid-band torque which makes it a natural at urban traffic work. See a gap, plug it. The six-speed gearbox helps with good wide ratio selection and a smooth shift feel. It is very high geared, like so many bikes these days, to get through noise tests. No matter, the flat torque curve makes a mockery of the gearing and is ultrausable from 2500 RPM to well over its peak at 4000 RPM. Triumph quotes 106Nm at 4000. Oh, the clutch has a light linear feel. It’s a slipper, back torque limited unit that also has forward “tightening” so it gets away with very light springs. The more torque you put into it, the tighter it clamps the plates. Horsepower is a quoted 54kW (76BHP) at a low 6100RPM. Just what

Forward mounted footrests, not foot boards.

Single instrument with a host of functions at your fingertips.

you want for urban work. Even on our freeways, overtaking was a simple matter of just opening the throttle. Just don’t use sixth under 80 KPH because of that tall overdrive. Brakes are 310mm dual disc Brembo fronts and a 255mm single piston Nissin calliper rear. ABS assisted of course. Needless to say, they work as expected without any vices. Now to the suspension. Front is KYB 41mm cartridge fork with 90mm travel and no adjustments. Rear is a KYB Monoshock with a rising rate linkage and only spring pre-load adjustment. Travel is only 73.3mm though. Both felt a little on the stiff side to me but keep the intended use in mind. Thank goodness the seat is well padded and shaped. With steering dimensions of 29.3 degrees rake and 91.4 mm trail I thought it might be a little edgy on the road, but the 1510mm wheelbase settled things down and the Speedmaster felt secure and planted.

Triumph’s ability to keep the seat height to a low 705mm and all the heavy bits nice and low helps here too. The actual seating position is the typical cruiser style, sit upright, feet forward and a big wide handlebar. The handlebar bend was a bit awkward at first, but it grew on me. Triumph has sensibly used conventional footrests, not floor boards. These seem to help a bit with weight transfer. Get used to wearing out your heels though. Things scrape a bit early. Not much ground clearance. Remember the bike’s intended use? Instrumentation is simple. A classic headlight nacelle with a single speedo in it. The speedo has a small LCD in it to show a number of functions. Cruise control, fuel consumption, distance to empty, RPM and so on. These are selectable via a button on the left-hand switch block. Having drive by wire there is also a mode selection of road or rain. The engine still makes the same power in rain, it just slows down the throttle opening rate. The cruise control is a one button, on or off affair without the ability to toggle up or down. Simple and effective, it worked very well. I look at these things as licence savers. So, how does the Speedmaster feel out on the road? It feels lighter than its 245.5 dry weight would imply. Manoeuvrability is very good and you don’t have to manhandle it to change direction. The front brake is a twofinger affair with plenty of feel, and if you over-do it the ABS will help. For those of us of more average stature, you can put both feet down easily at traffic lights. Wow, no more one cheek sneak. And just cruising along the bike feels unbustable and planted. Hey, these modern Trumpies are pretty good! ■

Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

Off-the-shelf ENGINE

Parallel twin, SOHC 4 valves per cylinder. Liquid cooled.

BORE X STROKE 97.6mm x 80mm = 1197 cc COMP. RATIO



EFI, 2 x 44mm Keihin throttle bodies.


77kW at 6,100 rpm


106Nm at 4,000 rpm

TRANSMISSION 6 speed. Torque-assisted wet multi-plate clutch. Chain final drive. FRAME

Tubular steel cradle


Front: KYB 41mm forks. Rear: KYB Monoshock


Steel spoked aluminium rims.


Avon Cobra Front: 130/90B 16 Rear: 150/80R 16


Nissin ABS. Front: 2 x 310mm floating discs twin-piston callipers Rear: 255mm disc singlepiston calliper.


245.5kg dry






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Benelli TRK 502

Surprise packet Road Impressions Clyde Ikin Photos Jim Scaysbrook

Benelli, under Chinese ownership since 2005, now has a 500cc parallel twin engine platform that does service in several guises; the Leoncino, a traditional looking city slicker, the TRK 502, and soon, the TRK 502 X, which is an Adventure-aimed machine based on the standard TRK 502. ABOVE AND BELOW Rider and passenger seats are plush and comfortable.



Standard rear rack accepts Givi luggage.

Fat 50mm forks with twin 320 discs on the front end.

Benelli TRK 502

Off-the-shelf ENGINE

It’s that middle model that is the subject of our test, and to position it, the TRK 502 is a learner-approved 500 with the styling cues of a GS BMW or Ducati Multistrada, with considerably less power. And considerably less price. For just $8,870 ride way, this motorcycle represents incredible value for money, and within reason, delivers pretty much all that is required for the average rider. OK, it’s no powerhouse, but the engine is flexible, happy to rev to 9,000, and it handles very well. Amazingly, the TRK weighs 235kg, which is 28kg more than the Leoncino, and that’s all down to the extra gear that’s been added in the adventure style; steel structure to hold the screen and top bodywork, higher-rise handlebars beefier rear end and luggage rack and so on. However I never found this weight to be a problem, and although initially a bit curious if the 800mm seat height would be comfortable for my 185cm build, I had no qualms after a 200km ride. On this ride I was accompanied by several 700/800cc bikes and I had no trouble keeping up. Chassis-wise, the trellis frame looks impressive, as does the beefy front end with 50mm upside down forks with 145mm travel that would not seem out of place on a bike of twice the capacity. Front suspension is nonadjustable and the rear centrally-

DOHC, parallel twin with 4 valves per cylinder.




35kW @ 8,500 rpm


46Nm @ 6,000 rpm.


Wet sump


Electronic fuel injection with twin choke 37mm body.


20 litres

FUEL CONSUMP. 3.9l/100km IGNITION Finish and attention to detail are first class.

mounted shock has adjustment for the spring pre-load only. The brakes are very high specification with twin 320mm discs, but in no way fierce, do their job well, and for a learner rider, would be very easy to live with. The ABS system can be switched off if you fancy a bit of off-roading. I was impressed with the dash, which is well set out, with a digital speedo and analogue tacho, fuel gauge and clock and the usual indicator lights – all easy to read. There’s a 15V USB charging point near the dash for a GPS or phone. The screen is not adjustable but it seems to be in the right position for me. The bike handles very well, and the standard Pirelli Demon tyres

have a hand in this. The only thing I was not keen on are the footrests which have fat, flat rubbers and feel a bit vague. I do the Sydney to Phillip Island ride fairly regularly and I would have no problem doing the trip on the Benelli. Out on the open road it buzzes along at legal speeds very happily, and the 20 litre tank capacity also means you can do a very long stretch – Benelli say up to 400km (and my ride supports this) – before refuelling is necessary. Overall, I think the TRK 502 is a surprisingly versatile mid-capacity tourer, that also happens to be LAMS approved. ■

ECU Bosch MSE 6.0


Tubular steel trellis


Front: Upside-down 50mm telescopic forks 145mm travel Rear: Swing arm with central shock absorber 45mm travel


Front: 2 x semi-floating 320mm discs with 4-piston caliper and ABS Rear: Single 260mm disc with single floating caliper and ABS


Front: 120/70 ZR17 M/C 58W Rear: 160/60 ZR17 M/C 69W








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A Maroubra Speedway Scrapbook By William Boldiston 308 pages soft cover ISBN: 978-0-9757212-9-2 Bol d’Or Publishing Available from Automoto Books (02) 9231 6713 Pitstop Books ( and the author 240 Leura Mall, Leura NSW 2780 (02) 4784 3868 Price: Standard edition – $80.00. Leather-bound limited edition (50 only, price on request). Author Bill Boldiston has ten previous books to his name, all on historical themes, but says that with his 90th birthday approaching, this will be his last. It’s a huge tome, in both size and content, and a credit to Bill and a small team of helpers that includes Brian Greenfield who contributed the motorcycle details. We briefly told the story of the

infamous concrete bowl in issue 67, but that barely scratched the surface of this track’s shortlived but controversial existence. While largely concentrating on the car side of the sport, this book does cover in detail the incredible machinations behind the commercial side of the venture, which at the time, was an enormous undertaking. What followed the circuit’s opening were scandals, fatalities, political chicanery and more, plus of course, racing. As well as the facts and figures and detailed description of the events year by year, this book is profusely illustrated with photographs from the era, posters, programmes and other memorabilia. It is an invaluable addition to the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in Sydney’s chequered history of motor sport. JS

All The Burning Bridges by Steve Bisley Echo Publishing 245 pages soft cover ISBN 9 781760 400842 RRP $32.99 Available at most bookstores For many baby boomers Steve Bisley will forever be Jim Goose, the Kawasaki Z1000 wielding Motor Force Patrol rider in the cult classic ‘Mad Max’. Bisley’s first bike was a WLA Harley outfit he bought for ten bucks over 50 years ago and, 30 bikes later, he’s now aboard a 2003 BMW K1200LT. In between times he was once clocked at around 300 km/h on his Hyabusa but, after autographing a bunch of memorabilia for the troop of Highway Patrol officers who raced to the scene of the crime, Steve was given a cheery bon voyage. Motorcycles are incidental to Steve’s second memoir which is as fast paced as his eclectic career – and a bloody good read about the era before the wave of political correctness dampened our spirits. Peter Whitaker

From the Inside BSA/Triumph’s Umberslade Hall Research Establishment Revealed By Brad Jones 138 pages hard cover ISBN: 978-1-912009-82-4 Compass Publishing Available from author; email Price: AUD $45.50 + AUD $14.00 P&P More information: As if there weren’t enough mystery and intrigue going on in the ‘sixties to keep Britain’s most venerable motorcycle brands alive, then there was Umberslade Hall, sometimes cruelly referred to as

Slumberslade Hall. It was BSA Managing Director Harry Sturgeon who pushed the idea that the combined BSA/Triumph group should have a dedicated Research and Development Centre, but following his untimely death in 1966, it was his successor Lionel Jofeh who decided to lease the grand mansion originally built between 16901702 for this purpose. BSA/Triumph took up residence in the spring of 1967 after a lengthy series of negotiations with the council over extensions and extra buildings that were needed to convert the property to its intended use. Brad Jones’ previous book, BSA Motorcycles – the final evolution’, traced the road to the grisly end of the marque, but this one focuses on the inside story of the management and decision making that ensued in what was a turbulent period. As the author says, “many time-worn myths and inaccuracies have been put to bed by speaking to some of those that were actually employed there (at Umberslade Hall)”. Jones has been able to access many previously hidden or thought-lost documents which contain details on the development of many of the motorcycles that resulted from the R&D centre. These include the DOHC 350 twins, the B50 range, the planned BSA and Triumph versions of the venerable parallel twins, and the Wankel rotary project. For the student of British motorcycle industry history, this book is an absolute must, for it raises as many questions as it answers. What might have been? Like the British industry itself, Umberslade Hall is now a shadow of its former grandeur, having been converted into apartments in 1978. JS ■

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This is a free listing for all clubs and organisations, as well as a free directory of up-coming rallies and other events. E-mail details to: ★ Denotes new or modified listing.

Adler Owners Club

BMW Airheads Downunder (B.A.D)

Restoration advice & information freely available. Australian Rally held every two years. Contact Don Littleford, Toowoomba, Qld. Ph: 0746 141 207 Email: Web:

For Aussie and Kiwi owners of the Type 246 and 247 boxers affectionately known as ‘Airheads’. Register your bike at: or Aussie_Airheads/index.html; Em:

AJS & Matchless Owners Club (Aust) Inc.

Bombala Bike Show Committee

Australian section of the AJS&MOC Ltd. Spares scheme, machine dating, library, technical advice, International monthly journal. Contact Dave Baker, 03 9786 4063.

Meeting 2nd Wednesday month at Bombala RSL Club, 6pm or visit Contact Sam Dyer (Publicity Officer) Em: or Ph: 0459 311 997 – PO BOX 298, Bombala NSW 2632

Albany Vintage & Classic Motorcycle Club Inc.

British Motorcycle Club Tasmania. Inc.

Concessional licensed Club catering for older and newer bikes. All types of rides and events to enjoy. Ssecretary (08) 9845 1278 or PO Box 429, Albany, WA 6330.

Promotes restoration, preservation and use of British manufactured bikes of all ages. Club runs, monthly meetings, Club magazines. Enquiries to: Secretary, British Motorcycle Club Tasmania c/-Post Office, South Hobart, Tasmania 7004. Web:

Albury Wodonga Motorcycle Enthusiasts Club. Meets 8pm 4th Tuesday each month Wodonga RSL. Secretary Paul Hare PO Box 1400 Albury 2640.

Antique Motorcycle Club of Australia Inc Founded 1987, caters for motorcycles made prior to 31 Dec, 1930. New members welcome. Sec: Frank Staig, 0432 693 242.

Australian Ariel Register Inc. Members receive a quarterly magazine. Annual National Rally. Sec. (02) 62420495

Australian CX500/650 Register Also caters for CX400, GL500/650/700. Over 900 members to share knowledge, rallies held in various states. Contact Les Francis Web site:

Australian RD & RZ Owner’s Register

British Singles Motor Cycle Club Inc With an interest in all British & Euro bikes meets 2nd Monday month at 1485 Old Cleveland Rd. Belmont Brisbane 4153. PO Box 771 Nanango 4615. Ph: Darryl 0403212545 or B.C. 0411222484 Em:

British Motorcycle Owners Assn. of Mackay Inc. Monthly meeting 2nd Sunday of month 9.30am at Mackay Aero Club. Club Rides 3rd Sunday of month. Correspondence to President or Secretary PO Box 591, Mackay Qld 4740.or Email: Web:

British Two Stroke Club of Australia Sec: Andrew O’Sullivan. 21 Mathison Circuit, Churchill, Victoria 3842. Em: Ph: (03) 5122 2337. For those interested in British two strokes but open to any brand of bike. Monthly runs in Baxter/Frankston and Bendigo areas. Bi-monthly meetings & newsletter. Victorian Roads Red Plate approved.

Not a club, no fees, just a register to help locate parts or bikes, get together with other owners etc. Messages circulated via a private email database. Contact Ray Birchall 0429 353 683. Em:

Broken Hill Veteran, Vintage and Classic MCC

Australian Speedway Riders’ Association

PO Box 4023, Homebush South, NSW 2140. Secretary Em: South Coast Branch: PO Box 3323, North Nowra, 2541. Mid North Coast Branch: PO Box 169, Lake Cathie, NSW, 2445.

Welcomes current or past solo and sidecar riders/passengers, support crew members or enthusiasts. Our aim is to promote goodwill and camaraderie in a social environment and the preservation of speedway history for future generations. Contact Bill Powell (02) 9583 2706 or

Barossa Valley Classic Motorcycle Club Inc The BVCMCC is a social group sharing a common interest in preserving and riding classic motorcycles. Contact us at PO Box 490 Nuriootpa SA 5355 or email:

Bendigo Historic Motorcycle Club Inc. Promoting the use and restoration of Veteran, Vintage and Classic Motorcycles. Regular Club runs, Rallies and motorcycle -only Swap Meet, First Sunday in December. Meet at Llanelly Public Hall 11.00 am 3rd Sunday of each Month. Secretary Rex Jones 03 54414473 or

Best Feet Forward Group Members in two states – interested in any feet-forward machine including scooters. Ken Butler 03 5678 2245 em:

Cancer Research Advocate Bikers (CRAB) raises money for cancer research. Victorian chapter known as Mornington Peninsula Hermits & conducts meetings & rides 1st Sunday each Month. Club approved  by Vic Roads for club permit scheme & looking for new members. Website:  – Email: Phone: Ross 0418 325602.

Cairns Motorcycle Restorers Club Incorporated Established 1979 50+ members. meets first Saturday each month. PO Box 6560 QLD 4870. Em: or Webpage:

CBX-6 Owners Club of Australia Inc. Dedicated to the preservation, restoration, promotion and enjoyment of the Honda CBX 1000 6 cylinder motorcycle. PO Box 78 Cherrybrook NSW 2126. Website: (emails & phone numbers of the Office Bearers under the “Contacts” tab).

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Club Inc. Restoration, preservation and use of old motorcycles. Meetings at Ourimbah RSL Club 4th Tuesday each month. Club rides every Sunday and Wednesday leaving 9.30 from Macdonald’s Tuggerah. For info call Denis on 0243 631 656 or Paul on 0410 617 881.

Central Coast Vintage Motor Cycle Club Caters for motorcycles 30 years and older. Regular veteran, vintage and classic runs. Exclusive runs for veteran and vintage motorcycles. Tech. assistance and restoration help. Meets 7.00pm on 3rd Tuesday of the month at Conference Room, The Entrance Leagues Club Bateau Bay NSW. Enquiries: Colin 02 4399 1372 Email:

Clarence Valley Historic & Enthusiasts MCC Meetings 1st Tuesday of month South Grafton Ex-Services Club 7pm. Monthly social rides for classic & modern bikes last Sunday of month plus annual Grafton Classic Rally held last weekend August. Contact Geoff Meller 0266493357 or Terry Ryan 0266493382

Classic & Enthusiasts MCC NSW Inc.

Rides every Saturday, leaving Aquatic Centre 12 noon. Visitors welcome. Sec: Allyson Verburgt 08 8087 3299.

Meets 4th Wednesday of each month at Rydalmere Central Bowling Club, Park Rd. Rydalmere NSW at 8pm. Ph. 9639 7017 or


Classic & Enthusiasts MCC – Illawarra Branch NSW

BSA Owners Club of Queensland Inc. Meet 9am Beenleigh Historical Village and Museum Cafe, 205 Main Street, Beenleigh, 3rd Sunday each month. Contact Marita on 0418 761 361 or Fred on 0418 381 934. Em. PO Box 714, Runaway Bay Qld 4216.

BSA Owners Association Inc. Membership is continually increasing and the scope of the Club’s activities grows proportionately. All information for joining is available from the Secretary, PO Box 8100, Northland Centre, 3072 or

BSA Owners Club of South Australia Inc. Meetings & social events for members from Adelaide, country and interstate. First Tuesday of the month at CCC Club Rooms, Glandore Community Centre, Clark Terrace Glandore. Club Ride the following Sunday. Annual Rally in October/November. Secretary c/o PO Box 380, Plympton SA 5038. Email at

Meets 8pm 2nd Monday every month at Keiraville School, 286 Gipps St. Keiraville. Lester Hamilton (02) 4229 4003.

Classic Italian Motorcycle Association of Australia Italian makes no longer in production and Italian motorcycles over 30 years old. Call: Bruce (Syd): or 0404 873 034, Garry (Syd): 0414 916 101 or Ian (Melb): (03) 9866 8529.

★ Classic Motorcycle Club of Victoria Inc. Catering for all 25 year and older bikes. Meets 8pm third Wednesday month at Sturgess Hall, Chatfield Ave, Deepdene (Balwyn). Monthly Sunday, midweek and weekend runs throughout the year. Web:

Classic Owners Motor Cycle Club Inc. SA Meets 7:30pm 4th Tuesday of the month James Nelson Hall, Woodville Centre, Woodville Rd, Woodville SA. Club ride following Sunday. Midweek rides first Wednesday & 3rd Tuesday each month. Moped/small bike runs bi-monthly. Members library, club regularly hosts displays and social events. Enquiries to: Website:


CLUB DIRECTORY & MARKETPLACE Classic Riders Club of Goulburn Inc. Meetings 2nd Tuesday each month 7.30pm Goulburn Workers Club. Contact Ross PO Box 415 Goulburn NSW 2580 Email:

Classic Scramble Club Inc. (Victoria) Dedicated to the Golden Era of Scrambling, catering for scrambles machines from ‘60s to Pre-75. Pres: John Kempers Ph: (03) 52819469; Sec: Bernard Andrivon Mb: 0427523953. Em:

Sec: Glen McAdam 0438 229 957. PO Box 184 Tuart Hill WA 6939.

Griffith Classic Motorcycle Club Meets 3rd Thursday at Griffith Exies Club, 8.00 pm. Currently 200+ members. Club runs 1st & 3rd Sundays each month. Contact Brian (Hoppy) Hampel 0409 624 716.

Hastings Valley Motorcycle Club

Indian Harley Club (Bunbury) Inc. Founded 1971 for owners of all makes. Meetings second Tuesday of month, Bunbury Motorcycle Clubrooms, Shrubland Park, S’West Highway, Bunbury, WA 6230. Sec. Faye Carn, (08) 9797 1709 or Website:

Indian Motocycle Club of Australia Inc.

PO Box 5444, Port Macquarie NSW

Meet 3rd Wed. Feburary, May, August & November. Call Conor Murphy, PO Box 1015 Ashwood 3147 Mb: 0415 581 060

Highlands Classic & Enthusiasts Motor Cycle Club

Indian Motorcycle Club of Western Australia

Coalfields Classic & Enthusiasts Motorcycle Club

Catering for rides of vintage & classic motor cycles as well as members with newer bikes who just like to ride with a group of like-minded people. We have RTA authorisation for the issue of historical plates, based in the NSW Southern Highlands. President Kevin Roberts, PO Box 693, Moss Vale 2577. Website:

Dedicated to the preservation, restoration and use of vintage Indian motorcycles. Monthly ride/meetings and quarterly magazine. Meet 3rd Thurs of the month. President Murray Morell (08) 9332 8826 Em: or – Find us on Facebook at Indian Motorcycle Club of WA or

Meets first Monday of the month at the Tattersalls Hotel, Greta, NSW. Ph Gary 4938 7352.

Highland Restorers Club

Indian Owners Register of New Zealand

Yungaburra Qld. Meet every Sunday morning at the Whistlestop Café Yungaburra. Qld. Contact President Ph. 0417 707 693 Em:

Annual rally and quarterly Club magazine. Contact President James Chambers ,04 2323260, Website

Historical Motorcycle Club of QLD Inc.

Inverell Motorcycle Restorers Club Inc.

The Dry Lakes Racers Australia are the official sanctioning body for dry lakes racing in Australia. Contact Carroll Hadfield Ph:03 5472 4629. PO Box 349, Castlemaine VIC 3450

All aspects of old motorcycling through SE and Central Qld. 900 members & 14 areas catering for restoring and numerous events on club calendar. Contact: The Hon. Secretary, PO Box1324 Fortitude Valley, Qld 4006.

Meets 4th Tues. month at Inverell RSM Club, 7.30pm. Social ride 2nd Wed. month meets at McDonalds 9.30am. Annual Rally in April. Contact President 02 6722 2729 or write PO Box 324, Inverell, 2360.

Ducati Owners Club North Coast

Historic Motor Cycle Racing Register of SA

Operate a Historic Register for eligible Italian motorcycles. Phone Ross on 0403 69 8188 or

Meets third Thursday each month at MSA Office, 251 The Parade Beulah Park, SA. Trevor Henderson. Ph: 08 8384 5284 or email:

For all Indians and variants from 1901 to current. We embrace the entire history of the marque. Monthly rides, 3 annual major rallies. Historic or Red Plate permits, Club runs 1st Sunday month. Meets Last Tues each month at Pascoe Vale Hotel, 12 Railway Pde, Pascoe Vale 3044. Contact: Peter Kime 0409 798 641 or George Fitzpatrick 0411 886 636, P.O. Box 2264, Werribee, Vic, 3030.

Club Laverda Queensland Our passion is Laverda, our goal is to share the good times. Meet 1st Tuesday at Lord Stanley Hotel, East Brisbane. PO Box 5399 West End, Qld 4101.

Coffs Harbour & District Motorcycle Restorers. Encouraging preservation of motorcycles 30 years/older. Meet 3rd Thurs/mh 7.30pm, Sawtell Bowling club, Lyons road Sawtell. PO Box 4248 Coffs Harbour Jetty 2450. Ph: 02 66534532.

Dry Lakes Racers Australia

Ducati Owners Club of NSW Inc. Est. 1976. The wealth of knowledge and experience within the Ducati Owners Club benefits all members. Information freely shared, regular club rides organized, social events and Ducati related activities in our colourful events calendar. Monthly Meeting 3rd Saturday – check website events calendar for info Em: 0412402808

Ducati Owners Club of Queensland Est. 1977 – Social rides, track days, events and displays, quarterly magazine “Desmochronicle”. Meets 1st Wed. month, Shannons Insurance Clubroom, Unit 5B, West End Corporate Park, 303-315 Montague Road, West End, Brisbane. 6.30pm for BBQ, drinks and socialising, meeting starts 8pm. Contact (E) (W)

Early American Motorcycle Club (WA) Dedicated to the restoration and use of American made mc’s manufactured before 1967. Monthly rides and weekenders.

Historic Motorcycle Racing Assoc. of Vic. (HMRAV) ‘The Heart Of Historic Racing’. Meetings bi-monthly 2nd Monday, Mitcham Angling Club, 11 Brunswick Rd. Mitcham Victoria, 7pm. Web: Ph: Doug (03)59 689 395. Em:

Hunter Valley Norton Owners Club Inc. Meets second Tuesday each month at Wallsend Bowling Club. Contact Secretary Karl Folpp 0421089956 PO Box 51 Warners Bay NSW 2282.

Illawarra Classic Motorcycle Club Meets last Monday month at Albion Park Bowling Club, 3252 Taylor Rd Albion Park, NSW (7pm Bistro available). NB. no meeting in December. Caters for motorcycles 30 years and over. Regular runs and our annual Red Scarf Rally. Extensive library and reasonable membership rates. Contact the Club Secretary Kris Minter 0419 473619 Em: PO Box 94, Oak Flats, NSW 2529.

Iron Indian Riders Association of Australia

Kawasaki Z Owners Club, Qld Meet 1st Tuesday of month (ex January) at Motorcycle Sportsman Club Crosby Rd, Albion, Brisbane Qld. Ph: Beno (President) 0411269980 Em:;; Post: 92 Coomera Springs, Upper Coomera 4209 QLD.

Kawasaki Z Owners Club, South Australia Meetings 2nd Tuesday of month (ex January) 7.00pm at Velocette Club rooms, 74 Drayton St Bowden 5007. All welcome. BBQ dinner each meeting, Monthly rides, Historic Rego, Rallyies, Social events. Ph 0425 224 797.

Kawasaki Z Owners Club, Victoria P.O.Box 96 Brunswick West Victoria continued next page....

Rally stickers Club secretaries and rally


organisers please note. Our everpopular rally stickers are back in stock, and the new models have a few changes. The new stickers are exactly the same size, but are un-numbered, so all you have to do is write numbers using a felt pen. This allows you to use different colours for different classes – something we have been asked for many times in the past. And they’re still free. Just contact the editor with the number of stickers you need for your rally or show, and a postal address. ■

COB’s CLASSIC CYCLE SPARES New, used and UK made reproduction parts for British Motorcycles. • Web • Em • Phone (02) 6553 9442 • Quality Job Lots Purchased ABN 38 756 114 659


CLUB DIRECTORY & MARKETPLACE 3055. Meets 3rd Tues. month 7pm, Fairfield-Alphington RSL, Railway Place, Fairfield. Monthly social rides, all welcome. Sec: Mb: 0400 052 598 Em:

Levis Motorcycle Register of Australasia Contact Les Thomas, 3 Brigalo Court, Keysborough, Vic 3173. Email: Phone: (03) 9711 5692

Macquarie Towns MC Restoration & Preservation Club Formed in 1981 to promote and foster the restoration and preservation of motorcycles 10 years and older. Meetings second Monday of month 8pm. Pitt Town Uniting Church Hall, Bathurst St, Pitt Town. Contact: Secretary MTMRPC, PO Box 4254, Pitt Town NSW 2756.

Monarchs Motorcycle Club (Victoria) Established 1965, currently 200+ members. Meetings 8pm second Tuesday of month, Wishing Well Tavern, Station St, Carrum, except July (AGM) and December. Active in touring, rallying and promoters of three annual rallies; Sidecar, Dargo High Plains and Domino. Also member/family club events. Victorian Club Permit Scheme.

New Imperial Owners Association

Port Macquarie Classic Motorcycle Club Inc.

Aust. branch of UK New Imp Owners Assoc. Advice, help & encouragement to owners and breeders. Quarterly newsletter, technical support. Contact John Ferguson, PO Box 94, Rosanna, Vic, 3084. Em: Mb: 0408 320 511

Open to owners of bikes 30 years of age or over, all makes and models welcome. The club’s aim is to encourage classic bike restoration, preservation, and registration. Regular rides and social functions, family membership encouraged. Meetings 2nd Tuesday of the month at Settlers Inn, Hastings River Dve, Port Macquarie. Contact John Butler 02 65826878 or 0419485493.

New Zealand AJS Owners Register Inc. Pres: Ian (Mac) McKercher. 10 Houghton Cres, Redwoodtown, Blenheim 7201 NZ. Ph: +64 3 577 7238

New Zealand BSA Motorcycle Owners Club Wellington meetings 1st Tuesday of month at the Parrot & Jigger, 477 Hutt Rd Alicetown, Lower Hutt 7pm. Auckland meetings 2nd Wednesday of month Northcote Tavern 37 Queen St Northcote 6.30pm. President Ashley Blair (04)239 9642; Web:

Northern Classic Vintage and Veteran MC Club

Queensland Early Motorcycle Sports Club Promotes road racing for motorcycles up to and including Period 6 New Era 1st January 1983 – 31st Dec 1990. Meets Motorcycle Sportsmen clubrooms 35 Crosby Rd, Albion, Brisbane 7.30 pm 2nd Tuesday of month except January. Visitors welcome. Contact president Peter Searle, 0410 514 419

Rickman Metisse Register

A small, Sydney based club for those who wish to restore, register and ride Classic, Veteran and Vintage Motorcycles. Contact Phil Ward on 0422 988794.

Open to owners of all Rickman models, aims to promote awareness, camaraderie, locate spares etc. Contact John Matthews 02 9565 1226 or 0403 394940. Victorian contact Rod Menzies 0419 575518

Northern Rivers Classic Motorcycle Club

Road Race Association of Townsville

Visit our website or contact Andre Deubel Em: for more information.

Meets Clunes Community Hall 2nd Tuesday month 7.30pm. Club rides most Sundays. President: 0418 242 044, Secretary: (02) 6629 1131. Website:

Meet 1st Wed. month, 17 Yarrowee St. Garbutt, Townsville. Ph 0422248607 or 0409499526 Em:

Moto Guzzi Club of Qld

Norton Motorcycle Club SA Inc

PO Box 1159, Fortitude Valley Queensland 4006, Australia.

Rides, social events. Meetings 7:30pm first Monday every month except January & public holidays at Velocette Clubrooms, 74 Drayton Street, Bowden. Monthly Sunday club rides. Em: Web

Enthusiasts/owners are invited to join at or send SSAE to PO Box 4075 McKinnon VIC 3204. Ph 0411 770 225. Melb. meets last Tues/month, 8pm, The Racecourse Hotel, Caulfield. 0411 770 225. Sydney – 7.30pm first Tues, Newington Hotel, Stanmore Rd. Sydney. Perth: first Tuesday Woodbridge Hotel, Cnr East & Water St, Guildford 77.30pm. Brisbane ride – Bill Borg 07 3396 1519. Membership covers the costs of the NSW Historic Royal Enfield Club.

Moto Guzzi Owners Association of NSW – MGOA

Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria Social sips first Wednesday every month Leinster Arms Hotel, 66 Gold St., Collingwood, Vic. All welcome. Club runs, meetings, Magazine and Spaghetti rally. Contact Neville Briggs 03 9528 6989 or

Motorcycle Enthusiasts Club Gold Coast Weekly Monday, Thursday and Saturday morning rides for all bikes. Monthly meeting last Wednesday of the month 7pm. See our website for all activities. Clubhouse at 238 Mudgeeraba Rd Mudgeeraba.

Norton Owners Club of NSW Inc. Meet 1st Friday each month 7.30pm Leichhardt Rowing Club, Glover Street Leichhardt. Regular rides. Help with Norton matters. New 961 owners welcome. Visit or email or call Ben 0405 539587 or Tim (02) 9489 0450 for more info.

Norton Owners Club of Victoria Inc.

Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc.

Rudge Enthusiasts’ Club New members welcome to the Australian branch of the worldwide club, which has extensive parts service and a quarterly mag. Peter Scott Em:

Russian Motorcycle Owners Association (R.M.O.A.)

President: Mark Bunting, Ph: 02 6567 1336 Mb: 0438 588 689 Em: PO Box 417, Kempsey NSW 2440.

Established 1981. Meets 2nd Wednesday of month 8pm (except January), Oakleigh Bowling Club – Melways 69F6. Regular rides & events, bi-monthly magazine, membership open to all Norton enthusiasts. Ph: (03) 9723 4440

Newcastle Classic Motor Cycle Club Inc

Panorama MCC Inc. Veteran & Vintage Group

Shoalhaven Classic Motorcycle Club

Meets first Tuesday night of each month at 7.00 pm at the City Bowling Club in lower William Street, Bathurst. Greg Donald 48 Miriyan Drive, Kelso 2795. Ph:02 63317290 Mb:0439111608 Em:

A family orientated club for classic and modern classic machines. RTA recognised historic club affiliated with the motorcycle council of NSW. Family days, barbecues, club runs, weekends away, annual bike show & technical advice. Meetings first Sunday of month at 9.30am Bomaderry Bowling Club. Em: or call 0244 557 407.

Natureland Classic Motorcycle Club

Meetings at Club Macquarie Argenton last Tuesday each month. Correspondence to The Secretary NCMCC.Inc., PO Box 134 Boolaroo NSW 2284.

Newcastle Vintage Motorcycle Club Inc. Est 1965. Meets first Wed. month at 7.00 pm, Sth Newcastle Rugby League Club, 46 Llewellyn St, Merewether. PO Box 3094. Most runs are on the 2nd & 4th Sundays of the month. Mid week runs on Wednesday. All machines 30 years of age or older. Secretary Bruce Turner – Ph 0468 676 201.

Panther Owners Register Australia Quarterly newsletter, help with parts. Membership $10 per year to cover postage. Call David at

Est. 1979. Fostering the love of old and new motorcycles from the Russian states. Meetings held online, bi-monthly newsletters, annual magazine and two annual rallies, the Canetoad Rally and Weabonga Rally. Secretary: Ph 07 4697 8232. Email:

continued page 112....

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CLUB DIRECTORY & MARKETPLACE ★ Singleton Classic Motorcycle Club Inc.

Tweed Heads Motorcycle Enthusiasts Club Inc.

Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club Australia

Meetings first Thursday each month Singleton RSC club, Castlereagh St, 7.30 pm. Info: Jacob 0422 072 901 after 7pm or PO BOX 255 Singleton NSW 2330.

Meetings 7 pm (NSW time) 1st Monday month (If it falls on a Public Holiday then it’s the following Monday) Tweed Heads Bowls Club, Cnr Wharf & Florence Street, Tweed Heads. (Function Room). Telephone 0400 871 699. For club and ride info visit

Preservation and enjoyment of classic Japanese motorcycles. All marques welcome, active calendar, 20+ branches. Contact PO Box 254, Modbury North, SA 5092. Email: or ring Mick Godfrey 0401 196 922.Website:

Velocette Owners Club

Vintage Motor Cycle Club Of Australia (NSW) Inc.

South Grafton Ex-Services Motorcycle Club Meetings held 2nd Monday of the month at South Grafton Ex-Services Club 7.30pm. Social rides, emphasis on Vintage, Veteran & Classic bikes. Contact Club Captain Terry Ryan on 02 66493382 or email:

SR500 Club Australia Open to SR500 and siblings (400, XT, SRX, TT etc.) and like riders. Melbourne based but Australia-wide club providing information, rallies, newsletters and monthly meetings in Melbourne. Contact or web or Paul on 0413 019 657.

Stevens Register Help and advice for anyone with a Stevens motor bike or three wheel van (not A.J.S). built between 1934 and 1938. Contact David (02) 9600 9894 or go to our website at.... – under ‘Stevens register’.

Surfside Motorcycle Club Inc. Meets 2nd Tuesday of month at Surfside Motorcycle Garage, 42 Winbourne Rd, Brookvale. Caters for vintage and social riders. Calendar of events circulated by Surfside Motorcycle Garage. Jim Delaney Club Registrar Ph: 0468 313 555.

Tamworth & Districts Antique Motor Club For motorcycles & vehicles older than 30 years. Call: Peter on 02 67656085 or PO Box 5045, Sth Tamworth, NSW 2340.

Taree & District Classic & Vintage Motorcycle Club

Centres throughout Australia. Spares scheme, national rally, technical advice, club magazine, club runs, meetings & events, all for $25 per year. Call Peter Underwood, Ph: 02 9651 1793

Veteran & Historic Motorcycle Club Ltd For restoration & riding motorcycles over 30 years old. RMS Historic Rego available for eligible bikes. Mid-week and weekend rides each month, social outings, weekends away and rallies. Meetings at Dundas Sports & Recreation Club, NSW 7:30pm 3rd Thursday each month. Ph (02) 8883 0390 PO Box 366 Kellyville 2155.

Veteran Motorcycle Competitors Assoc. of SA Monthly social luncheon, Annual General Meeting and Annual Dinner only. Must have held an ACU licence 25 years or more prior to joining. Meets 1st Tuesday of month at Morphett Arms Hotel for lunch 11.30 – 1.30pm except November – 2nd Tuesday. Contact Nip Kuerschner 08 83903990. Mobile 0418854565.

Veteran Racing Motorcyclists Association of Victoria Inc. (VRMAV) Membership application forms are available NOW by contacting VRMAV PO Box 94, Heathcote VIC 3523 or email Annual Dinner 2017 Friday 5th May, register by 24th April

Meet 3rd Tuesday of month 7:30pm Airport Tavern Hotel, Lansdowne Rd., Cundletown. Catering for all makes, models for historic registration, regular mid week and weekend rides, annual rally. Contact PO Box 978 Taree 2430 or email:

Veteran, Vintage & Classic MCC ACT Inc, Canberra

The 59 Club Australia Inc.

Veteran Vintage Motorcycle Club of NYP

Official branch of the 59 Club London. Open to anyone interested in classic bike or café racers. Regular rides, meetings and activities. VicRoads approved for red plate permits. Post Classic race team. National President: Shadow 0416 838 565, Qld: Roy 0410 574 127, WA: Sparra 0415 622 585, Vic: Drifter 0418 207 794. Postal address: P.O. Box 8064, Burnt Bridge, Croydon Vic 3136. E:

The Historic Competition Motorcycle Club of WA Dedicated to preservation and usage of all historic road racing motorcycles and sidecars. Sec. Mick Tesser. PO Box 568, South Perth W.A. 6951.

The Veteran and Vintage Motor Cycle Club of SA Established 50 years. Club runs, library, historic registration, swap meets, monthly magazine ‘Smoke Signal’. Meets second Tuesday of month at Payneham RSL at 8pm. Web page Contact phone – 0409 514 213.

The Vincent HRD Owners Club Queensland Inc. Club rides, rallies , social events. Meetings last Wednesday evening each month. Email: or

Townsville Restored Motorcycle Club Inc. Meets 1st Wed. month at Basque Assoc. Hall, Sabadine St, Aitkenvale. PO Box 1016 Aitkenvale, QLD 4814. Call Hedley Cooke (07) 4779 7495 or John Alexandrou on (07) 4773 4332.

Triumph Motorcycle Register of Australia Dedicated to the restoration, preservation and riding of classic Triumph motorcycles. Monthly rides for historic bikes throughout NSW and ACT. Weekend trips held during the year and annual rally at Bathurst. Details

Monthly rides & annual rally. Meets 8pm 1st Thursday each month at Spanish Australian Club, 5 Narupai Pl, Narrabundah ACT. Visitors welcome. Write PO Box 3127 Manuka ACT 2603 or Catering for all types of motorcycles regardless of size, style or age. Meets 3rd Thursday of month, except December, at our clubrooms Drain Road, Kadina SA 5554. Email:,

Vincent HRD Owners Club NSW Section Inc. Runs, rallies, social events, club permits, newsletter. Meetings – Last Monday of the month (except December) 8pm at Concord RSL, Nirranda St, Concord West, Sydney. Email: or PO Box 1565, Macquarie Centre, NSW, 2113.

Vincent HRD Club of South Australia, Inc. Club rides, rallies, social events. Meetings last Saturday odd months, Pub social nights third Wednesday each month. Em: or PO Box 8013, Grange, 5022.

Meeting third Wed. month. Veteran Car Club Hall, 134 Queens Rd, Five Dock. Established 1955 for machines up to 1947. Monthly events & newsletter. Annual Vintage and Veteran Rallies. Spares and Library. Ph: 0415 284 620. Email:

Vintage Motorcycle Club of Tasmania Regular runs, meetings/activities. PO Box 110, Lindisfarne, TAS 7015 or Ph: Keith Tattam (03) 6272 1976 or David Moore (03) 6248 1538.

Vintage Motorcycle Club of Victoria Inc. Founded 1964, caters for m/cycles manufactured prior to Dec.31, 1942, also military use in WWII. Meets first Thurs. month at 8pm in VDC Clubrooms, Factory 8/41 Norcal Rd, Nunawading 3131. Melway 48G11. Membership enquiries John Street 0417 558 214.

Vintage Motorcycle Club of WA Inc. Formed in 1975 the club now has 600+ members and 1000+ motorcycles on register. Events include short mornings to full days out, two day rallies, seven day tours, static displays, annual swap meet. Focus on restoration and preservation of all motorcycles more than 25 years old. Club has spare parts shed. Monthly meetings first Wed. every month at VCC club rooms, Hale Road, Wattle Grove, Perth. Info: 0894016763 or or write to PO Box 858, Hillarys, WA 6923

Voyager Classic Motorcycle Club Inc. Meetings held every 2nd Wednesday of the month 7.30pm Voyager Centre 61 Kittyhawk Drive Chermside Qld. Secretary 0418 152 904.

Wagga Classic Motorcycle Club Previously Griffith CMCC ‘Eastenders’. Welcoming everyone with a motorcycling interest, from veteran to modern. Restorations, ‘oil warmer’ short rides, rallies, touring, racing and even track days. Annual Rally – 2nd weekend of October. Contacts: email Web: Phone: Ray Birchall 0429 353683.

Williamstown Motorcycle Club Club Fun social riding. All welcome, any type of bike. No attitudes. Club Meetings: First Tuesday of month (ex January), 8:00 pm, Customs House Hotel, 161 Nelson Place, Williamstown, VIC, 3016 Contact: Sandy (President) 0418 389 791 or Anne (Secretary) 0412 899 265. Email Address: Website:

Yamaha XS650 Club of Australia Inc. (NSW)

Runs, rallies, social events, club permits, spares, newsletter. Meetings 8pm, first Friday of even months. Leinster Arms Hotel, 66 Gold Street Collingwood. Contact: Bob Allan 0418 528 259,

Several Club rides per year and all members receive a bi-monthly Club newsletter. Currently 230+ members across Australia and internationally, with active presence in each Australian state. PO Box 312, Croydon,Vic 3136. Email: Ph: 0409 164 274. Website:

Vintage Enduro Riders Inc.

Yorke Peninsula Vintage, Veteran & Classic MC Inc

Vincent HRD Owners Club Victoria Section Inc.

(VERi) conducts non competitive vintage enduro (vinduro) events for pre 1985 trail and enduro bikes. Events for registered and unregistered bikes, with emphasis on fun. Secretary Peter Drakeford 0422 299 003 or John O’Brien on 0457 844 512. Em: Web:

Meetings 2nd Thursday each month at clubrooms, Yorketown SA. Club outings 3rd Sunday each month. Treasurer Les Schwab PO Box 131 Yorketown 5576. Ph: (08) 8852 1834 or Leon Hall (08) 8837 3226

A FREE EVENT LISTING FOR CLUBS & ORGANISATIONS Send your event details to Em: – SECRETARIES PLEASE NOTE – Because of our lead time for printing, please ensure your listing is received at least four months prior to the event.

JUNE CEMCC 18th Debenham Winter Tour 16-17 June, 2018 – HQ Moss Vale Caravan Park, NSW A rally for older and smaller capacity bikes. eligibility; up to 1930 no capacity limit, 1930-1945 maximum 500cc, lightweight maximum 250cc 30years old, outfits up to 1959 no capacity limit. Country roads and crisp air. All runs marshalled, back up trailers. Entry forms on club webpage. Contact Merle Graham (02) 4632-7202.

JULY Tamworth & District Antique Motor Club – Middle of the Year Run. 20-23 July, 2018 – Tamworth, NSW For bikes over 30 years only. Older bike run on Friday, long and short ride on Saturday. BBQ and Presentation dinner. Contact Mike 0413 693176 Barry 0401 435892

Lowood Motorcycle Swap 21-22 July, 2018 – Lowood, Qld. Historical Motorcycle Club of Queensland (Brisbane Area). Saturday 21 July – Vendors from 2pm – $10 per site (includes entry and site fee). Camping $5pp Sunday 22 July – Gates open 6am – Vendors $10 per site. Entry for General Public $5pp. Partners and children free. Catering rights reserved. Meals and refreshments available at venue Saturday afternoon and early evening, Sunday morning breakfast through to afternoon. Contact Darryl 0425 174 258 or email:

Macquarie Towns Motorcycle Restoration & Preservation Club Annual Rally 28-29 July, 2018 – Starts at Pitt Town Sports Club NSW Check in 8am ride through Hawkesbury Valley starts 9.30am. Entries close 13th July. Enquiries Fran Mead (02) 9838 4313 Garry Appleyard (02) 9674 2535.

AUGUST Speedway display at Indian Motorcycle Museum 5th August, 2018 – 419 Newman Road, Geebung, Qld. Vintage and modern solos and sidecars, memorabilia and tribute to the Australia v England Test matches. Special guest John Boulger. Info: Darren Sonnenberg 0413 166340 or Tony Webb 0481 990364

CEMCC Illawarra Rally Jamberoo NSW 11-12 August 2018 – HQ Kevin Walsh Oval, Jamberoo NSW All accommodation types available close to rally base especially Kiama area. Details Tim Seiber 0401 276988.

Newcastle Vintage Motorcycle Club Annual Rally 17-19 August 2018 – Stockton Beach Holiday Park, NSW Contact: Michael Archer 02 4932 7805, Bruce Turner 0468 676201.

Moto Giro Australia 21-26 August, 2018 – 10th annual event based in SE Qld. Details from Peter Morrow 0413 941 550. Email:

2nd Annual AMCA National Weekend 25-26 August, 2018 – Bulli Showgrounds, Grevillia Park Road, Bulli, NSW All models/makes of motorcycles and memorabilia, 35 years and older, Vintage, Antique and Classic Motorcycle Swap Meet, Camping, Bar/Food on site, Demonstrations, Technical Seminars, Auction, AMCA Judging and Peoples Choice Show, over the weekend. Key Note presentation on Sunday by Jim Scaysbrook and his experiences with Mike Hailwood competing in the Castrol Six Hour – their Ducati 750SS will be there also. For info, or to book camping, auction, a Swap Site, Club Displays, Judging etc, email Phill on or call Tony on 0419 229-605. See for regular updates and entry forms.

SEPTEMBER All Historic Racing Wakefield Pk 1-2 September, 2018 – Wakefield Park via Goulburn, NSW. Races for Period 1, 2 and 3 motorcycles. Details: Phone (02) 4822 2811 Website:

Sunbeams in Oz Rally

Spaghetti Rally

14-16 September, 2018 – Gloucester, NSW Rides each day. Rally dinner Saturday night Gloucester Country Club. Details from Rally Coordinator David Pryce-Jones: (02) 9939 1540, 0448 907934.

19-21 October, 2018 – Edi Cutting campsite, Wangaratta, Southern end Brought to you by the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria. $30 for rally badge and Saturday’s pasta. Firewood provided. Info: John Ferguson 0408 320 511

OCTOBER Velocette Good Companions Rally 7-14 October, 2018 – Lennox Head, NSW HQ Lake Ainsworth Sport & Recreation Centre. Limited to 140 entrants, expressions of interest by February 2018. Contact Tim Thearle 0417 892766.

All Italian Day 14 October, 2018 – Belmont NSW. Please bring your Italian car, motorcycle or truck along and park in the grounds behind Cahill Oval.  Take a lazy morning and enjoy coffee and Italian food. 9.30 am – 2pm Info: Dr. Graeme Studdert E:

Girder Fork Rally 19-21 October, 2018 – Based from Cooma Car Club Clubhouse, 11 Bolaro Street, Cooma NSW. Organised by the Cooma Monaro Historic Automobile Club Inc, over scenic sealed roads of the Cooma Monaro area and foothills of the Snowy Mountains. Exclusive to Girder Fork Bikes manufactured prior to 1950. For those arriving early – short run on Friday afternoon. Entry details: Email:

Cootamundra Antique Motor Club 27th Fathers Day Swap Meet 2 September, 2018 – Cootamundra, NSW From 6am. Outdoor site $15m inside site $25. Set up Saturday, gate entry $5 Contact Lynn & Barry Gavin, (02) 6942 1282 or 0488 421 976.

Strathalbyn Swap Meet 21 October, 2018 – Strathalbyn Harness Racing Club, SA Gates open 5.30am for seller, 6.30am for buyers. Site fee $15, under cover sites $30. Bookings to Dean 08 85521042, info: Malcolm 0488 528 331 or Deidre 0422 078 127.

NOVEMBER AJS & Matchless Owners Club of Aust Inc. 38th Downunder Jampot Rally 2-4 November, 2018 – HQ The Outlook, Boonah Qld. Info. Wayne Renz 0428117016 after 7 pm Cindy Renz 0422305098 after 7 pm web:

2018 Australian Historic Road Racing Championships 8-11 November, 2018 – State Motorcycling Complex, Broadford Vic. Promoted by Preston MCC. Contact Bruce Hill 0404 158168.

Yamaha SR500 Club Annual Rally 23-25 November, 2018 – Bethanga Recreation Reserve, 20km east Albury/Wodonga, Vic. Live band Saturday night, AGM 9am Sunday. Info

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Macquarie Towns MR&P Club Annual Show Day 9 September 2018 – Macquarie Park, Windsor NSW. Great display of bikes from all eras on the banks of the river in historic Windsor. Visitor bikes welcome. Call Jason Stone: 0452 528 766.

Central Coast Vintage MC Motorcycle Only Swap Meet 9 September, 2018 – Doyalson/Wyee RSL Club, Pacific Hwy Doyalson NSW. Gates open 5am for sellers, 6am for lookers. Sites 6sq m $15 includes driver entry. No camping, no dogs, no glass. Info: Allan (02) 4396 7187 or Colin (02) 4399 1372.

For less than $25 per week you can reach the largest audience of classic bike enthusiasts in Australia and New Zealand.

Contact SUE SCAYSBROOK 02 9672 6899

Edgar Jessop guides the Spagonaut through the coastal waters of Gibraltar.

Next Issue


Sunbeam S7/S8 Original thinking

Edgar Jessop

Mediterranean melodrama “Diversify or die”. That was the message, loud and clear, from the Spagforth board of directors, shortly before they adjourned their monthly strategy symposium in Acapulco. Business concluded, they quickly changed from

Suzuki RG500 Replica racer

Peter Nicol WA all-rounder Old Bike Australasia No.74 available on newsstands from

2nd August, 2018

staid business suits into gay calypso raiment to attend a cocktail party at the Pakapunch Rum distillery, a division of Sir Carruthers Spagforth’s Mescalin Holdings Inc. Of deepest concern was the dramatic downturn in motorcycle sales, particularly those of their own illconceived and deploringly unreliable models, which resulted in a vast backlog of unsold machines, parked on the guvnor’s private desert in Nevada; a sprawling mass of two-wheeled orphans that could be clearly observed from the company’s orbiting satellite “Spagnik”. As the Mojitos, Daiquiris and Coquitos flowed, numerous ideas and schemes were aired; most rejected as fatuous folly. However one that gained traction was the concept of the Spagonaut – a radical amphibian device based on the embarrassingly unsuccessful Spagforth Mutant Moped. Chief of the Experimental Division, Clarrie Coldchisel, soon had a team engaged on the construction of a prototype Spagonaut, the testing of which was entrusted to the company’s ace all-rounder Edgar Jessop. Initial sea trials took place from the

private beach of the guvnor’s villa on Gibraltar, where the azure waters lapped against the jetty constructed of Tuscan marble. With cautious enthusiasm, a more comprehensive trial was booked for Sardinia. Once the Spagonaut’s 6-litre engine had been started with a cartridge from a Hauser, Jessop soon had the craft manoeuvring smartly between the fleet of luxury yachts moored in Cagliari harbour. Tragically however, a champagne cork became jammed in the throttle linkage and the Spagonaut careered violently into the open sea, pounding across the treacherous waters until Edgar was able to beach it on the littleknown island of Lecherous. This tropical Shangri-La was inhabited solely by young women, who, between frolicking in the crystal waters and feeding on oysters, busied themselves with the cultivation of native juniper bushes, from which a potent form of gin-like spirit was distilled. Nothing was heard of the Spagonaut, nor Edgar Jessop, for several months, until a passing aircraft spotted a sign scrawled in the pristine white beach sand, in distinctly shaky script, which read, “Send more olives”. ■

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Old bike australasia june 03 2018  
Old bike australasia june 03 2018