Brisbane Expo draws the crowds
GAVEN DALL’OSTO went along to the Brisbane Motorcycle Expo held on 21st-23rd March. Here are his impressions and a few snaps. It has been a while since Brisbane has had a Motor Show, let alone a Motorcycle Show. The HMCCQ has displayed bikes at past events held at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Enter Troy Bayliss Events. Brisbane was chosen as the first ‘Moto Expo’ and the Brisbane Exhibition Ground as the venue. The vision was to have traditional displays of the latest and greatest of the major manufacturers but also to make the show dynamic. Thus he added test rides, freestyle motocross, stunt riders, trials exhibitions, test rides, kiddy moto training, and the ‘Baylisstic Scramble Team Challenge’, which saw the reincarnation of the main area at the Exhibition Grounds to speedway type action which has long disappeared. Troy welcomed representation from the historic angle, requesting 10 bikes for display. I made inquiries to my fellow HMCCQ members and was overwhelmed with an enthusiastic reply. Top of my list was John Finglas’s dirt track racer. I knew that John had bought his beloved Matchy new, modified it, raced it at the Exhibition Speedway and still owned it. The rest of the selection was based on various decades of motorcycles, various types (road, outfit, race) and various countries of manufacture. The result was: Don Nicol’s 1911Truimph TT Racer, Soapie Sinclair’s 1913 Balmain Precision, Soapie Sinclair’s 1914 Indian 8 Valve board track racer, Ian Rennie’s 1918 Excelsior Super X, Ian Rennie’s 1929 Indian 402 outfit, Neal Bolam’s 1942 Harley Davidson Model U, My 1950 AJS Model 18, Ralph Roles’ 1955 R50 BMW, John Finglas’s 1959 Matchless dirt track Racer, Ian Dallimore’s 1962 Harley Davidson/Aermacchi Ala Verde, Don Nicol’s 1973 Triumph X 75 Hurricane. The resultant display generated a lot of interest from the public and we talked ourselves hoarse by the end of each day. Other old bikes were displayed by the Historic Speedway Association of Australia who had 7 bikes on display. Notable bikes they displayed were: Ray Andrieux’s wonderfully restored Vincent HRD Sidecar which he had raced at the RNA; John Lennon had recently purchased a 1926 AJS GR7 from Paul Reed. Paul restored the bike which had been raced by Tony Batros (Cootamundra, NSW) and is believed to be the oldest active dirt track bike in Australia; a Weslake, with large metal flake Union Jack paintwork as raced in the UK by Sydneysider Brett Saunders; a magnificent Excelsior JAP and a beautiful ESO. The main feature of the event for most was the Baylisstic Challenge. The action had us all smiling as these guys were playing for keeps. Four teams raced heats for points to find the eventual winners. The teams were captained by Troy himself, Stephen Gall, Paul Caslick and Chris Vermeulan. Paul’s team was to be the eventual victors. Between the racing, there were a few demonstration laps by Jason Crump on his World Championship-winning Jawa, an all-girl race, and a group of young kids did several laps much to the delight of the crowd. Between seven and eight thousand people were in attendance for the sideways action which may be a signal to bring back Speedway to the Ekka. The Expo saw an estimated 16,000 visitors over the three days and in my eyes was a great event. It was a joy to have something to cheer about given all the bad press on motorcyclists over the last year. Many thanks to my fellow HMCCQ exhibitors and those that helped put the display. I was humbled by the willingness from everyone who went out of their way to help in so many ways.
ABOVE HMCCQ display. LEFT John Lennon’s ex-Paul Reed Big Port AJS.
Racing returned to the Ekka in front of a healthy crowd.
Soapie Sinclair’s 1913 Balmain Precision. Australian made and the only one left.
Don Nicols’ 1911 Triumph TT racer – one of two in the world.