Beach party

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

My ear­li­est con­tact with a motorcycle was at 4 ½ years of age, out­side what was to be­come ‘Power Brakes’ run by Derry Greenek­lee. Dad later had a Sloper BSA and one day he said ‘jump on’, with a milk bucket over my arm to milk the cow in the East Park­lands. I was 15, and he showed me how to set the spark on the Sloper on full re­tard and set the rock­ers to .003” clear­ance. When I reached 16 dad bought me a 1925 round tank BSA 2-speed which I con­verted to foot change with a push bike span­ner. A fur­ther gi­ant leap for­ward was when I fit­ted a twist grip throt­tle. I was ap­pren­ticed as a fit­ter and turner at Bruce Co Ltd 43 An­gas St Ade­laide. The out­go­ing boss Mr A.V. Bruce was re­tir­ing and the new boss was Mr Frank Duck­ett who raced a 350 Har­ley Peashooter be­fore WW2. I got to turn pis­tons on an old lathe which is still in my shed. A va­ri­ety of peo­ple worked there on and off: Bob Reed, and Bill But­ler of side­car fame whom I rode pas­sen­ger for at Row­ley Park, Port Pirie mile track and scram­bles. I first raced at the last Wood­side meet­ing and fin­ished last. I pur­chased a 1939 3H Tri­umph which my sign writer brother Reg turned into a Tiger 80 by paint­ing the ma­roon petrol tank sil­ver. It was miss­ing a mag/dyno so I bought a BTH Rac­ing mag­neto and scram­bled for one sea­son. I took the mag to a spe­cial­ist who re­wound it with finer wire, and which­ever bike it went on went like a rocket. Next I bought a 348cc BSA from Bob Lord who was in charge of J.N. Tay­lor’s work­shop. It had been rid­den by the late George Crowe and it had been fit­ted with a ½” shorter Gold Star con­rod, short­ened bar­rel, close ra­tio gears, brass body Amal 1 1/16” carby and 9:1 (later 12.5:1 ) pis­ton. First time out at Sel­licks Beach I hit a rut and pulled the spokes out of the 20” al­loy rear wheel. Be­ing a sk­in­flint I re­built it with a 19” steel rim. I changed to an ex Max Parkin­son 7R AJS which was sold when I mar­ried June. We were mar­ried for 56 years un­til she passed away in June 2014. My lat­est motorcycle is a 2004 “Mit­tiga” frame with an 84 year old en­gine with 14 gears. I had a crack at His­toric rac­ing and worked for K. Litch­field En­gi­neer­ing for 24 years. R Stevens Firle, SA

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