The Po­plars

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

What an ab­so­lute plea­sure your “Tracks in Time” seg­ment in OBA 74 was on The Po­plars cir­cuit at Black­town. It brought back so many mem­o­ries for me, a cou­ple in par­tic­u­lar, one which some of the read­ers of The Po­plars vin­tage may be able to help me with, but first things first. In 1940 there were a cou­ple of brothers; Noel and Dud­ley Ni­cholls who lived in Milperra. They were ded­i­cated Red Hunter Ariel tuners and rid­ers, and were mem­bers of the then Bankstown Can­ter­bury MCC. In those days get­ting your bikes to the meet­ings was some­time a big­ger bat­tle than rid­ing them at the meet, so they (as we all did at some­time or other) welded a bar in lieu of the rear bumper bar with two bits of pipe the size of the front axles of the bikes, so af­ter re­mov­ing the front wheels and rear chains you were away. On this oc­ca­sion (I think 1940) Dud­ley was the owner of a Singer 9 HP Sedan, so with the bikes on the back and Dud and Noel in the front we ap­proached the en­try to the track. The two stow­aways in the back – Jackie Os­borne and Ray Cur­tis – were told by Dud to get on the floor and pull the blan­ket over us, which we did, so we were to be at our first Open meet­ing but not the last – for free.

The names of the rid­ers you have men­tioned have been and will be in my mem­ory for life. Dud­ley mar­ried a girl named Hazel Payne, sis­ter of Arthur of Nuwarra Mo­tor Cy­cles who I was later to ride a Ban­tam for at Mt Druitt. I spoke to his brother Keith only re­cently. The se­cond part of my story is, there was a rider of which the only info I have is the sur­name; Palmer. It has been men­tioned sev­eral times over the years as a re­la­tion of the Cur­tis clan. Sadly he was killed when rid­ing through some bush­fire smoke on a road he knew so he took the risk, but he col­lided with a car that was stalled in the smoke. Per­haps a reader will know more.

Ray Cur­tis Na­rooma, NSW Email: ray­curt2@gmail.com

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