All Bri­tish Rally

All Bri­tish Rally

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - Re­port and pho­tos Ron Weste and Andrew Hose­mans

26-27 April, 2014 – New­stead, VIC

This rally is just get­ting big­ger and bet­ter ev­ery year, with new ma­chines com­ing out of the wood­work. Camp­ing sites were at a pre­mium at New­stead – it was a sea of tents in­ter­spersed with so many makes and mod­els, all Bri­tish from a by­gone era. This year the whole town of Malden was packed with bikes and spec­ta­tors who me­an­dered up and down the main street to look at the huge num­ber of in­ter­est­ing bikes and talk to their own­ers. The photo of the very di­lap­i­dated MAC Ve­lo­cette and the next photo are the same bike be­fore and af­ter restora­tion by Bob Phillips of Bal­larat. It took twelve months of ten­der lov­ing care to fin­ish this piece of art. It seems shed finds are still turn­ing up and en­thu­si­asts are putting in huge amounts of their time and re­tire­ment funds to put these bikes back into pris­tine con­di­tion. Some ex­tremely rare bikes were ob­served; the 1936 cammy square four Ariel amongst the no­table ones. Other rare bikes ob­served were the Hes­keth and the 700 Silk owned by Kevin Craine. From my own wan­der­ings and ob­ser­va­tions around the rally site I can say this rally is here to stay, and it just goes on im­prov­ing ev­ery year. It may have been the 38th an­nual run­ning of the ABR hosted by the BSA Mo­tor­cy­cle Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Vic­to­ria, but it still had some sur­prises up its sleeves and treated the nearly 1,000 rally go­ers to freez­ing overnight and early morn­ing con­di­tions that left the trusty Bri­tish steeds cov­ered in a lux­u­ri­ous frosty coat­ing! As al­ways though the BSA MOA had ar­ranged for sup­plies of fire­wood but the rally go­ers’ bon­fires man­aged to con­sume 14 tons of wood in two nights! The stan­dard of bikes on dis­play just seems to get bet­ter each year and once again gave the judg­ing panel a mighty tough time. They ranged from Mark Gas­coine’s won­der­ful century-old Tri­umph in glo­ri­ous oily rag con­di­tion that won Best Orig­i­nal and Un­re­stored through to Mar­cus Doller’s stun­ning and ex­tremely rare BSA M24 Gold Star that de­servedly took out Best Bike at Rally. How­ever it is worth point­ing out that the ABR hon­oured its ec­cen­tric but proud tra­di­tion of only con­sid­er­ing bikes that at least took part in the or­gan­ised ride on Satur­day, so a num­ber of im­mac­u­late ma­chines with clean mud­guard un­der­sides and ex­haust tips were po­litely de­clined! Satur­day night saw the cognoscent­i treated to a slap-up roast sup­per cooked by the lo­cal schools and sports clubs (who use the ABR as their prime fundraiser for the year) and the more hardy souls danced (and pos­si­bly drank) into the wee small hours to lo­cal band ‘Cutest Lit­tle Monster’ who did a fab­u­lous rock ‘n roll set. Brian O’Shea made him­self pub­lic en­emy No.1 by win­ning the 1970 BSA 441 of­fered as the Gate Prize, but in a weekend full of sto­ries and yarns around the camp­fire per­haps the one which cap­tured the ABR spirit most aptly was that of the win­ner of Best Bri­tish Bike Rid­den by a Fe­male – Rachelle Ed­wards. Hav­ing fin­ished her 1959 BSA Ban­tam and get­ting it reg­is­tered just the day be­fore the Rally, 20 year old Rachelle rode it ap­prox­i­mately 120 km to the Rally only for it to ex­pire with duff ig­ni­tion just 500 me­tres from the Rally. Un­de­terred, she in­sisted on push­ing the bike into the Rally un­aided and was re­warded with a rous­ing round of ap­plause from the crowd at the tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tion. How­ever we’ll leave the fi­nal words to BSA MOA Pres­i­dent Craig Burke who summed up the Rally per­fectly – “The ABR, some­thing I am proud to be a part of”.

Til­brook Dan­daloo side­car finds a soul mate. Orig­i­nal and still op­er­at­ing Raleigh. ABOVE AND BE­LOW One year apart: Bob Phillips’ restora­tion of his 350 Mac Ve­lo­cette. Early OHC Ariel Square Four sheds a tear on Malden’s main street.

TOP Rush hour in Malden. BE­LOW No store-bought tro­phies here. RIGHT Highly-per­son­alised BSA Light­ning.

ABOVE Well-rid­den Hes­keth V1000. RIGHT Ve­lo­cette, like Vin­cent, went through a phase of con­ceal­ing their best fea­ture be­hind fi­bre­glass. There’s al­ways a project to be picked up. LEFT Match­ing sil­ver pud­ding basin sets off a DBD34 Gold Star BSA. BE­LOW...

Camp­fire ca­ma­raderie. All that glit­ters: Jeff Mill­ward’s 1978 Wes­lake-en­gined AKB Long Tracker for­merly raced by Bri­tish all-rounder Arthur Brown­ing.

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