Vets in the mid-west
Parkes National Veteran Rally
29 Sept-4 October, 2013 – Parkes Showground, NSW
Check-in on Sunday at the showground saw a large gathering of riders and machines, with an entry of 127 riders with 169 veteran motorcycles. The public had been invited to view the display. The rally committee and some riders were dressed in period costume, or just old clothes from Vinnies, and the wind-up gramophone with old 78 records was getting a work-out, all adding to the atmosphere of the event. The evening ‘meet and greet’ BBQ, again with period costumes and music was a big hit.
Monday saw the riders start the rally with a ‘shake-down’ ride out to the telescope. The theory was that this would sort out any major flaws in the machines before the longer runs planned for the next few days. The bus, carrying wives and families, was available daily with fun prizes planned for the passengers and arrived at the telescope before the bikes. Lunch was purchased and many took advantage of the guided tours. Some riders were interviewed by a local Prime TV station reporter, a good looking blonde who did us a great spot on the evening news. Then it was back to the Parkes motor museum for a leisurely look around before returning to the showground. The next four days saw some long runs to interesting places including Forbes with lunch at the motor museum; Canowindra which is an interesting small town with the museum of fishes, and a visit to an historic homestead at Trundle. Unfortunately, there was one nasty accident which resulted in Don McRae being hospitalised. The steering stem broke on his BSA and he hit the tarmac hard resulting in a fair loss of skin and bruising but no broken bones. It is a fact that few of us have any idea of the state of the stressed parts of our old bikes. Who knows how many knocks they have taken over the years or how much hidden corrosion in the frame or forks, not to mention fatigue of the metal, and of course the riders. The long rides in lovely countryside with very little traffic, plenty of good food, good marshalling and back-up services made for a very pleasant week’s riding. On the last day I recall seeing veteran motorcycles in a long line, stretching out into the distance and thought how great, what a sight, and what a sound! These events prove that veteran motorcycles have a really strong following in Australia. We should invite riders from around the world to this event in the future. They would love the open, uncluttered roads and fair weather. A big thank you to all who supported this rally. The riders, marshalls, organisers and sponsors. The next event is in Ararat, Victoria, in two years time. If you have a veteran machine, it is well worth the effort to get there.