2016 DJ RALLY TAKES HIGHER TOLL ON VETS

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTOR BIKING -

RALPH Pitch­ford, a vet­eran of the Dakar Rally both as a mo­tor­cy­cle me­chanic and a co­driver in a num­ber of cars, as well as for­mer cham­pion SA off- road rac­ing co- driver, was a pop­u­lar win­ner of the 2016 DJ Rally for post 1936 mo­tor­cy­cles at the week­end.

Se­cond place this year was taken by Gavin Wal­ton on a 1936 500cc AJS with a to­tal er­ror of 255 sec­onds, in­clud­ing the low­est score on the first day at 56 sec­onds. He is a reg­u­lar top per­former in reg­u­lar­ity ral­lies for clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cles with his suc­cesses in­clud­ing win­ning the 2009 DJ Rally.

Over the past few years, Gavin has had to over­come se­ri­ous in­juries to his leg when he was hit by a car when sta­tion­ary while go­ing home af­ter the 2013 Pre- DJ Rally.

Gavin Wal­ton’s com­mit­ment to the clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cle fra­ter­nity is such that he has re­cently taken over the Bri­tish mo­tor­cy­cle spare parts sup­ply op­er­a­tion, which was run by Mike Lang for many years.

Third place in the 2016 DJ Rally was filled by Tony Lyons-Lewis, rid­ing a 1928 500cc over­head camshaft Nor­ton, with an er­ror of 270 sec­onds. He also won a spe­cial award for com­plet­ing his 34th DJ Rally.

This year’s event at­tracted an en­try of 90 rid­ers with 82 start­ing from Hill­crest and only 62 fin­ish­ing, which was a higher rate of non- fin­ish­ers than usual.

Among the rid­ers to re­tire was Sa­man­tha An­der­son, who was rid­ing the old­est mo­tor­cy­cle in this year’s event — a 1909 500cc Hum­ber pedal cy­cle. Soon af­ter leav­ing New­cas­tle on the se­cond leg of the rally the fuel tank tap came adrift, drench­ing the hot en­gine in fuel, which ig­nited im­me­di­ately.

Sa­man­tha suf­fered burns to her leg but the mo­tor­cy­cle will re­quire a lot of work to get it back to its pre­vi­ous state as a reg­u­lar finisher on the DJ Rally. The old­est mo­tor­cy­cle to com­pete this year’s event was a 1913 1,039cc Match­less rid­den by Hans Co­ertse, who fin­ished 61st.

The year- long restora­tion of this clas­sic ma­chine, which dates back to the first Dur­ban- Jo­han­nes­burg race, was com­pleted shortly be­fore the start. Or­gan­is­ing the DJ Rally is a big task and al­ready Claude Stander, who was chief mar­shal this year, has been an­nounced as clerk of the course for the 2017 DJ Rally.

He was chief scorer this year. — Roger Houghton.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Win­ner of the 2016 DJ Rally Ralph Pitch­ford.

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