Grey mat­ter

Old Bike Australasia - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

has just popped through the let­ter­box and what a great read it is and I thank you for the se­lec­tion of ar­ti­cles. Read­ing them was a real trip down mem­ory lane for this “ob­ses­sive” mo­tor­cy­clist, specif­i­cally your re­view of the Rob North Rocket 3 of Gerry Row­ley. I have had the plea­sure of Gerry’s com­pany as we have both at­tended the Triples Rally here in North­ern NSW for many years now and it was un­for­tu­nate that he was un­able to bring the Rob North ma­chine up this year, but he did bring his 1969 BSA Rocket 3 sim­i­lar to the one that I have owned for many years. As a re­sult we both scored awards this year; he for the best BSA and for me the best BSA Rocket 3. The other ar­ti­cle that got the grey mat­ter mov­ing was “Dur­ban to Jo­han­nes­burg by Ve­lo­cette” by Dave Whit­nell. I would con­cur that this is pos­si­bly one of the best and most in­ter­est­ing ral­lies and is one that I have had the plea­sure of com­pet­ing in 1975/77/78/79/80 on var­i­ous bikes such as a 1911 Rudge, 1934 Tri­umph and my favourite, the 1933 BSA.

As noted it is a reg­u­lar­ity run with penal­ties for each sec­ond early or late at check­points and in­stru­ments other than stop watches are a no-no. We used to count the white lines in the mid­dle of the road, or the power poles, if there were any, as the South African author­i­ties at the time were metic­u­lous in the spac­ing of th­ese items and the re­sults were very ac­cu­rate with com­peti­tors hav­ing very low penal­ties over a two day event. We then con­verted the time recorded into KM/H or MPH to keep a check, I won­der if they still do this, as it was a won­der­ful feat of men­tal arith­metic? The ar­ti­cle “The one the Army missed” is of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est. Why? Well, this ar­ti­cle is about the BSA Q7 OHV ver­sion, and I have had the 1933 SV ver­sion (W35-6) for al­most 45 years now and it is the one that I used for the DJ in South Africa in the mid to late 1970s. This lit­tle SV bat­tler is now a fam­ily heir­loom hav­ing gath­ered a side­car over the years to trans­port two young sons, who are now in their late 30s but have lim­ited to no in­ter­est in the old bikes. A cou­ple of years ago we en­tered it in the North­ern Rivers Clas­sic Club Rally and it was well re­ceived and I was asked about its his­tory. So I wrote a brief story of what it was and where it came from. This ad­dressed the DJ part of its his­tory but more im­por­tantly how I came to own it and

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