42WLA Harley-Davidson 75th Anniversary Commemorative Ride
27-29th October 2017 – From Albury to Canberra via Young
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 42WLA, 78 machines assembled in Albury for a commemorative ride, meeting at Phil’s Garage in Albury for a Friday night Spit Roast. This was our first opportunity to see the roll up of 42WLAs and they came in all styles from full Military, Civilian, Chopper, Bobber, a Servicar and a couple of Sidecar Outfits, and a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Once the 8.45 am Riders Briefing was completed on Saturday morning it was time to head north following a staggered start. Not a great idea to put all those motorcycles on the road at once but a steady roll out following a local WW2 Military Jeep out of town was a great sight and we got away with no complications. The course headed north through the small town of “Walla Walla” for obvious reasons and then back to the Olympic Highway at Culcairn to the first planned fuel stop at Uranquinty; everyone was given a map setting out the route and fuel stops. Lunch, sponsored by Shannons Insurance, was at the Temora Aviation Museum where we were joined by a further half dozen 42WLAs for the rest of the event. We had a great photo opportunity with the full group with a WW2 Spitfire on the tarmac. A refuel and drop in at the Terminus Hotel in Temora saw the Group heading to Young around 4.00 pm for our night stop over and dinner function at the Young Services Club where we enjoyed music from a local band. On Sunday the local Lions Club supplied breakfast adjacent to our starting point at the rear of the Young Services Club to help bring everyone back to life. After an 8.15 am Riders Briefing we were back on the road to Canberra with another staggered start. Fuel stops at Yass and then the outskirts of Canberra saw the group arrive by 11.30 am at the Australian War Memorial (AWM). Arrangements had been made for group photos with the bikes on the road adjacent to the front then off the bikes on the front steps of the AWM in both directions. Then it was a 10km ride to lunch in Canberra at the Harmonie German Club at Narrabundah, and the end of the official 42WLA Ride. Most of the riders were still a long way from home. Around 3.00 pm most of our Melbourne group headed south and we stopped at Gundagai for the night before heading back to Albury and then Melbourne on the Monday. The round trip over 3 days back to Albury for the bulk of the Melbourne riders was around 900 km which is a great effort on a 1940s motorcycle. Many other riders did a lot further – testament to the capabilities and reliability of the 42WLA and riders alike.
In front of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Leighanne Patterson – Best civilian 42WLA award.