2016 DJ RALLY TAKES HIGHER TOLL ON VETS
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.
Winner of the 2016 DJ Rally Ralph Pitchford.