The Tip­per­ary Mile

Then and now

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT -

JIM BUT­LER, nowa­days a mem­ber of the North­ern Rivers Clas­sic Club who es­tab­lished a strong friend­ship with the club’s late pa­tron Jack Ahearn, grew up near Coon­abarabran, in the north west of NSW. This was the area iden­ti­fied by oil com­pany BP/COR as a suit­able site for a se­ries of record at­tempts in 1957, by the com­pany’s spon­sored car and mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ers, which in­cluded Jack Ahearn, who was briefly back in Aus­tralia af­ter stints in Europe.

You can read the full, quite in­cred­i­ble story of these record at­tempts, in is­sue 6 of OBA. The ac­tual site was a dead-straight and very nar­row four-mile stretch of coun­try road that ran be­side a rail­way line be­tween Coon­abarabran and Bara­dine. The cen­tral point of this road passed the prop­erty Tip­per­ary Sta­tion, and the ex­er­cise be­came known as the Tip­per­ary Fly­ing Mile. The mo­tor­cy­cle brigade was rep­re­sented by Jack For­rest, with his ex-works BMW Rennsport, Trevor Pound with the 125cc Walsh Bantam BSA and the equally fa­mous 350 BSA/Nor­ton owned by Jimmy Guil­foyle, and Jack Ahearn with his 350cc Manx Nor­ton and a 250cc NSU owned by Hazell & Moore. Rep­re­sent­ing the side­car fra­ter­nity were Frank Sin­clair and Bernie Mack. Jim But­ler, son of the orig­i­nal own­ers of Tip­per­ary Sta­tion, moved out of the area many years ago, but re­cently re­turned for a visit and pho­tographed this des­o­late stretch of road that holds a unique piece of his­tory in Aus­tralian motor sport. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to com­pare the road, sixty years apart.

BP ad­ver­tise­ment from 1957 show­ing the new records achieved at the Tip­per­ary Fly­ing Mile.

ABOVE Jack For­rest es­tab­lish­ing a new Aus­tralian record, speed­ing past the Tip­per­ary prop­erty in 1957.

BE­LOW North­ern end of the Bara­dine Road in 2017. BOT­TOM Harry Hinton giv­ing Jack Ahearn a push start in 1957 prior to a record run on the 350 Manx Nor­ton.

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